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Is HPV Curable?

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Updated May 15, 2014

Question: Is HPV Curable?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted virus that affects both men and women. It is estimated that over 20 million Americans are infected with HPV, but because HPV rarely produces symptoms, most people are unaware that they have HPV. If contracted, is HPV curable?

Answer: Unfortunately, there is no medical cure for HPV, but the good news is that 90% of people with a healthy immune system will be able to clear the virus without medical treatment within two years of infection. This may take longer in smokers and those with suppressed immune systems, but HPV usually resolves itself without causing any adverse health problems.

For some individuals, however, HPV can lead to genital warts and cervical abnormalities. When left untreated, these abnormal cervical changes can develop into cervical cancer.

Although genital warts cannot be cured, they can be managed. Treatment can be given to remove genital warts, but they can return. In this case, additional treatment would be required for removal.

Management of abnormal cervical changes in women is done through routine Pap smears, colposcopy exams, and treatment if necessary. Again, for most women, these changes will not develop into cancer, but careful monitoring is essential to watch for any progressive abnormal changes.



Sources:

Centers for Disease and Prevention."Sexually Transmitted Disease Guidelines 2006." Sep 2006. Accessed 2 Oct 2007.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Genital HPV Infection - CDC Fact Sheet". May 2004. Accessed 2 Oct 2007.

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