Anal warts and prevention
Will I be a carrier forever?
We are never cured of the wart virus and remain carriers for life, but our immune system (when in good condition) keeps it under control. However, if our immune system breaks down, warts can reappear, as with other viruses (e.g. herpes). The virus remains in the cells of the infected area for life.
Are my future sexual partners at risk of getting infected during sexual intercourse after the warts have been treated and eliminated?
No one can say for sure if and for how long after wart treatment the virus continues to be transmitted from that particular area. In practice, if no new warts appear a few months after treatment, the area is usually considered cured. For the transmission of warts from an asymptomatic carrier, things vary depending on which strain (subtype) of HPV we are talking about.
The strains of the virus that cause visible warts, if cured, are not transmitted. But there are other strains, much more dangerous (the ones responsible for carcinogens), and they do NOT manifest with visible skin lesions (the typical warts). So, you can be infected with these strains unknowingly, have no visible lesions and transmit them. It is these strains that we fear for cancer and should be tested (by a proctologist or gastroenterologist specialist with a PAP test). The simplest and most effective way to avoid transmitting what you have and not catch anything new is to use a condom, every time you have sex.
Can we prevent cancer in the areas that carry the virus?
Certain subtypes of the HPV virus (such as 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 53, 73, 75 and others) are more dangerous for cancer. Determining the virus subtypes in all cases of HPV infection is essential, Anal cancer, like most malignant tumors, takes a long time to develop. For a long time, precancerous lesions caused by HPV (anal intraepithelial neoplasia – dysplasia) precede precancerous lesions.
These lesions are of two degrees of severity, low-grade-LGAIN and high-grade-HGAIN. These lesions can be diagnosed by simple anal cytology (Pap test). This test is easy, painless and can be performed in the office of a qualified proctologist.
Areas of anal dysplasia are identified by the acetowhitening technique. When these precancerous lesions are high grade dysplasia, they are treated by laser cauterization or diathermy. This treatment is sufficient to prevent cancer from occurring in the areas affected by the virus.
Is the infection of the anus with the HPV virus only through anal intercourse?
The virus can be transmitted to the anal area in addition to direct anal contact through vaginal fluids, hands or sex toys. Condoms do not protect against HPV infection. Drug use, smoking and anal intercourse reduce the body’s ability to fight the virus. The virus is found in the anal area, even in lesbians.
What is the risk of recurrence?
The first three months are considered the riskiest for recurrence. After three months, the risk of recurrence is lower, and after a year the risk is very low.
I found out I have warts. I have a stable relationship. Is it possible that my partner may have contracted the virus while we had unprotected sex before I found out I had warts?
There is a chance that he may not have contracted it, but generally warts are very easily transmitted.
If someone doesn’t develop warts, can they have the virus and spread it?
You can have the HPV virus without showing symptoms.
What happens in the case of pregnancy?
If active warts are present a cesarean section is usually recommended. It depends on where they are located.
Is it dangerous to have sex when I have warts? When does the virus stop spreading?
Yes, when you have warts, you can transmit the virus to your sexual partners even with simple hand contact. No one can say for sure if and for how long after wart treatment the virus continues to be transmitted from that particular area. In practice, if no new warts appear a few months after treatment, the area is usually considered cured. No one knows exactly how many months it takes.
On the vaccine that they say will eventually be produced so that those who do not have HPV will be protected, what is your opinion?
The vaccine is already on the market and protects against the strains of the virus that cause cervical or rectal cancer. It does not protect against the other strains that cause the typical skin lesions of warts. It is currently given (free of charge) to pre-teen girls. That is, the vaccine does not exempt us from using a condom.