58 Yr-Old and tested HPV Positive

Dear All,

I'm a 58 yr old woman; healthy until last Thurs. My Dr. called to tell me that my Pap tested HPV posiitve. I understand that this is a sexually transmitted desease. I divorced in 1984 and didn't have a partner, until 1995 when I met and married my now husband. I've been having regular pap tests. One of HPV symptons is warts around the vulva, which I've had for several years, and never pay much attention to it, thinking they were kind of fat pimples. My former Gyn never mentioned it during his examinations. I will have a colcoscopy and biopsy in 2 weeks. I feel so confused and surprise!

Anyone with my age, with few partners is going through this? Please write!!!

Thank you so much,

Canesrule

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12 replies. Join the discussion

hello, canesrule. sorry to hear you're going through all of this. it could be that this is the first time you're having an hpv test. the test itself is relatively new. so, excellent to know that you're new gynecologist is being thorough and is current with his info. you may want to get a copy of your medical records to see the pap test results. it's important to find out if the pap was abnormal, and if so, what it indicated. as you'll learn more about hpv, you'll find out that the hpv test will indicate if you have an active hpv infection, and it will indicate whether the hpv strains are 'high risk' (which can potentially cause cervical cancer/dysplasia) or 'low risk' (which can potentially cause genital warts. and, many women have multiple strains, and you can have both high risk and low risk strains. since you currently have genital warts, your husband should also be going to his doctor to be checked and treated as needed.

as for age and number of partners, hpv can be transmitted with just one partner, and at any age...and it can also be transmitted and then not show any problems for years afterwards.

let us know how your next doctor's appointment goes! meanwhile, you may want to take steps to clear the active hpv infection, no smoking, eating well (including cruciferous vegetables with DIM), getting plenty of sleep, reducing stress.

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Dear flowershoplady,

Thank you so much! Since the Dr, called I've been taking steps to clear the infection and boost my immune system, eating veggies with DIM, taking daily Vitamin C, yogurt, trying to relax and avoid stress (not very easy at this time!). Per the Dr. my pap test came back abnormal, and she only mentioned that I tested HPV positive. I was wondering, would HPV show in a normal blood test, such as annual physical tests. I donated blood last week, will it show?

Again, thank you so much and god bless!!!

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no hpv wouldn't show in a blood test or by donating blood. at least not that i know of.

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as itsmygoliath indicated, hpv doesn't show up in a blood test. and, once an infection is no longer active, it won't show up in the standard digene hpv test. here's a page on digene's site that provides some very useful info about hpv: http://www.thehpvtest.com/About-HPV/HPV-FAQs.html

i would encourage you to get a copy of your recent pap and hpv test results so that you know the details which are very important. an 'abnormal' pap covers a whole range of possibilities. and, the hpv test will indicate whether you have a high and/or low risk active hpv infection. you may want to get this info prior to your next exam so that you can be better prepared if you have questions, etc. for the doctor. knowledge is power!

and, you may want to plan to take some ibuprofen (or similar) prior to the colposcopy to help reduce the pain and cramping that can occur from the biopsies.

and, yes, we all talk about reducing stress, but it's definitely not easy when we're waiting for tests, test results, etc.!!!

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Thank you flowershoplady and itsmygoliath. Expressing my fears and concerns, plus receiving your emails have reduced my worries. I am trying to stay positive and do whatever is needed to stay healthy.

Take care and God Bless!!!

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Hi Canesrule,

I just turned 50 in August. I truly empathize with you as I had an abnormal pap this past January, along with a positive result for HPV. Two weeks later, I had a colposcopy resulting in a finding that it was pre-cancerous. My gyn felt it didn't warrant any treatment. She seemed confident that the active infection would go away within a year so I'm under "watchful waiting." She also reassured me that abnormal cells turning into cervical cancer is a very slowly evolving process.

In July I had a 6 mo. follow up Pap plus HPV test. My pap was normal this time, but HPV still positive (HPV-16). I return to my gyn in January. If I still test positive for HPV, my gyn said that we would then consider treatment. I'm crossing my fingers that through a healthy diet, fitness and minimizing stress the active infection will clear. I've read that 50% of active infections of high risk HPV will clear in one or two years.

I also wanted to tell you that I had an abnormal Pap when I was 21 and diagnosed with Class 3 cervical dysplasia. At the time, cervical cancer wasn't associated with HPV but I'm presuming I must have had HPV. My gyn at the time treated the dysplasia with cryosurgery twice in 12 months. From that point on I never had an abnormal Pap until this past January.

I have read that women can have a normal Pap but test positive for HPV so if women are sexually active and over 40, I would suggest they all ask for an HPV test for peace of mind. I wish I had taken the HPV test earlier as I have no idea how long I have had HPV. Since it is HPV-16 (high risk), I didn't have the warts or any symptoms.

Please keep in mind by the time a woman reaches 50, as many as 80% of women have been exposed to HPV of some kind so you are not alone.

Good luck on your colposcopy, I'm sure regardless of the outcome you will be just fine!

Midori

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Dear midori408,

Thanks for your email, it really brought peace of mind.
My colposcopy will be next Friday, Nov 21 (day after my birthday!) I'll keep you all informed of the outcome.

Take care and God Bless!!!

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midori408, perhaps you'll share with us how you were able to find out the specific hpv strain that you have? most of our doctors and labs don't have the ability to do the hpv strain typing, and i think it would help many of us to know how you got this info.

canesrule....we evidently share the same birthday! :)

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Dear Canesrule, I'm 54 and finished treatment for stage 3b cervical cancer a little over a year ago (I'm doing well) I'm so glad you kept up with your tests, though I wish you hadn't had a positive at all, as I wish for everyone here. I have 26 yr old twins and that's how long I've slept alone. I decided shortly after my diagnosis (right after I was able to think again) that I wasn't going to spend time trying to figure out who or where it came from, I was going to move forward. I have almost no risk factors, other than not getting tested as I should have. Good luck, I'll keep you in my thoughts and am sending peaceful healing thoughts to you. Betty

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Dear Canesrule, I tested positive for 4 high-risk HPV strains in 2006 around November 6 which is my birthday (56) that year. That was while the doctors were in the process of also diagnosing VIN II and CIN II. I have had cervical and vulva biopsies in the past 18 months as well as multiple colposcopies. The colpos are no pain at all. The biopsies are fine if your doc is like mine and numbs you with novocaine spray before injecting deeper novocaine. I wish you the best of luck. I had my 18 month checkup for the VIN and CIN the day after my 58th birthday so I know how that feels too. I too gave up even thinking about where or when I got the HPV. I just try to spread the word about prevention and the vaccine to those who need to hear it. I too had severe dysplasia in my early 20s with cyro but I attributed that to the DES exposure I had prenatally -- thank goodness there is now an HPV test. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. K

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Hi all -- thanks for sharing your experiences. I think there is value in trying to figure out where & when we got HPV and sharing with others because we really don't know how often HPV was just persistent (but never measured until now) versus intermittently detectable, and I think that's valuable information. So it's helpful to me to know about women who suddenly start testing positive after testing negative for years and years with no partner changes. It helps us understand transmission and also our risk for developing future problems later in life.

I've consistently been testing negative for HPV since my LEEP (3 negative tests so far), but I wonder how often after LEEP women start testing positive again at some point. We really don't know, because in studies there's no way to know whether someone is having a recurrence or was reinfected.

The other reason it's hard to know is because we still aren't looking at the male factor. How often might a man suddenly become positive after testing negative for years and years and infects his wife for the first time. Does that ever happen?

If we had individuals documenting their experience and if we were all being tested routinely for HPV along with the paps, then we would get a better picture of how HPV works and how to treat ourselves. For example, if a 50 year old woman tests positive for HPV for the first time after no sex for 10 years, then it's most likely she had a persistent HPV infection from an earlier exposure, so you probably wouldn't wait as long to treat than for a 50 year old woman with a recent partner change who suddenly tests positive for HPV after years of negative tests. You might give that situation a couple of years to clear the HPV....Or, it might turn out that it's common for women to test intermittently negative and then positive and then negative for HPV without developing any dysplasia. That would be good to know. And then maybe we might check the man to see whether he has a persistent lesion he can't clear that might be a source of reinfection for the woman versus the woman's immune system only intermittently being able to suppress the HPV... These are all possible scenarios that affect how we might view our life with HPV or treatment or prevention of transmission to others, but we really don't know because of lack of documentation/lack of collection of data.

Thanks for sharing your experiences...

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Hi Canesrule....

I turned 50 in April and this past October 5th found out I was HPV High Risk Positive when my pap smear came back abnormal can not rule out High grade lesions. It is very possible that the HPV lays dormant for years and years. I have always tested normal during my pap smears so was never tested for HPV until now.

Like most others i had little knowledge of HPV and didn't really think about it until now. I thought that since I had a hysterectomy when i was 36 that my female problems were over....wrong. The HPV virus can still cause Vaginal changes and you can still get vaginal cancer from it.

On the upside I know that i will not get ovarian, uterus or cervical cancer because they were all removed at time of hysterectomy.

I went thru a colposcopy a few weeks ago and biopsy. The results are a wait and see one for me right now. The change they are seeing are consistant with the changes that HPV causes as well as chronic inflammation and vaginal atrophy. They will do another pap smear in four months to recheck me and see if it has cleared.

It does help to get your emdical records and look them over yourself and search the internet for more information. That is what i did myself...and how i came to find this site....

Keep thinking positive and prayers are with you from many of us here like they were for me....

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