In this article you will find 2 basic questions answered about HPV. I chose the most common 2 questions out of all those you asked. There will be one more article coming up with more questions answered.
How do I know if I have HPV?
The only way to know if you have that viral infection is if your health care provider tests you for the virus. For females, in relationship to cervical discovery, this may be done directly from the Pap test cervical exam. Or also by using an additional swab at the time of the Pap test.
The CDC now recommends an HPV test for women along with the pap test as a matter of routine.The oral testing in both men and women is problematic. While there have been some commercial tests available in the dental community, the value of this testing is not clear. Testing positive on any given day for an oral HPV does not prove persistence of the infection, which is what we are really concerned about.
There are no visible oral signs of an the infection. There are also no established genital tests for men. There are anal brush cytology tests for those that engage in anal sexual practices. Those tests can be early predictors of HPV caused anal cancers.
Is there a cure for HPV?
There is no cure for the virus. Most of the time, HPV goes away by itself within two years and does not cause health problems. It is only when HPV stays in the body for many years that it might cause these oral cancers. Even then, it is a very small number of people that will have an HPV infection cascade all the way into an oral malignancy, though that number is increasing every year by about 10%. It is not known why HPV goes away in most, but not all cases.
For unknown reasons there is a small percentage of the population whose immune system does not recognize this as a threat and it is allowed to prosper. Although HPV can increase the risk of developing some types of cancer, most people who have HPV do NOT develop cancer.