How Long Does HPV Last? Understanding the Duration and Dynamics

Rahul Gupta
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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how long does hpv last

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a widespread Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) that has impacted millions of individuals worldwide.

HPV infections are common and have the potential to impact both men and women. 

In 2018, the CDC reported 43 million existing HPV infections and 13 million new cases. 

While HPV can result in diverse symptoms and health issues, not all infections lead to severe problems.

The common question that keeps rising is How long does HPV last in individuals.

To know more about HPV and how long it lasts in your body, read this insightful article. 

How long does HPV last in males and females

In 9 out of 10 cases, HPV clears up on its own within two years without issues. 

However, if HPV persists, it may lead to problems such as genital warts and cancer.

Although there is no fixed timeframe for the infection, the duration of HPV in males and females varies due to factors like HPV type, immune system, and habits like smoking.

Certain HPV infections may endure for an extended period, requiring treatment for the body to clear the virus.

Studies show that, on average, HPV infection typically clears in about 5.9 months, with 75% of infections resolving within a year.

It’s crucial to recognize that the duration of an HPV infection can be impacted by elements like the specific HPV type, the individual’s immune response, and other health conditions

Fact:
High-risk HPV may need 5 to 10 years to advance from infection to cervical precancers. The development from HPV-infected cells to cancer usually takes around 20 years.

Does HPV go away 

HPV VaccinationSource: Manjurul_from_Getty_Images
HPV Vaccination is highly effective

Typically, the body generates antibodies against the HPV virus, clearing the infection within one to two years in most instances.

The majority of HPV strains typically resolve on their own without treatment. 

Certain HPV infections may last for years, necessitating treatment for the body to clear the virus.

It’s crucial to emphasize that HPV may not always present symptoms, making regular testing the only way to confirm your status.

Persistent HPV infections

Persistent HPV infections can occur in some cases, even though the body’s immune system can clear the infection within one to two years for most individuals.

  • Co-infection with multiple HPV types: Those with co-infections may face an increased risk of developing Cervical Cancer
  • Specific HPV types: Some HPV types, such as HPV-16 and HPV-18, are more likely to cause persistent infections
  • Individual immune response: Individuals with a weaker immune response may experience ongoing HPV infections, as their bodies may struggle to effectively combat the virus
  • Risk factors: Certain risk factors, such as smoking and other health conditions, may influence the duration of HPV infection
Warning:
A lasting HPV infection can transform cervical cells, advancing to precancerous alterations that, if untreated, may lead to Cervical Cancer. The process from HPV infection to Cervical Cancer generally takes around 15-20 years.

Complications and risk of HPV

HPV infections, especially high-risk strains, pose various complications and health risks, including:

  • Cervical cancer: High-risk HPV infections, especially types 16 and 18, are strongly linked to the development of cervical cancer
  • Oropharyngeal and other cancers: High-risk HPV infections can also increase the risk of developing cancers in the oropharynx, anus, penis, vagina, and vulva
  • Genital warts: Low-risk HPV infections can cause the development of genital warts on or around the genitals, anus, mouth, or throat
  • Precancerous Lesions: Prolonged high-risk HPV infections can result in the formation of precancerous alterations in the cervix, anus, penis, vagina, and vulva. If untreated, these changes may advance to cancer
  • Other health risks: Additional risks for persistent HPV infections and complications include smoking, weakened immune systems, and co-infection with other STIs
Recommended Article
To know more about HPV and whether it is contagious or not, read this insightful article on Is HPV Contagious? Untangling the Transmission Web

Prevention 

use condomsSource: Signature_images
Use condoms

The HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing HPV infection and its associated health risks. It is recommended for both males and females.

The most reliable method to prevent genital HPV infection is refraining from sexual activity.

For sexually active individuals, maintaining a mutually monogamous sexual relationship can lower the risk of HPV transmission.

Consistent and correct condom use can decrease the chances of HPV transmission. 

While condoms may not fully protect against HPV, they are still an important preventive measure.

Consistent screening for HPV and associated conditions, like Cervical Cancer, is vital for early detection and treatment. 

This involves HPV tests and Pap smears for Cervical Cancer screening.

Reducing sexual partners can decrease the risk of HPV transmission as well. 

Conclusion

With millions affected globally, the duration of HPV varies, often resolving within two years. 

While most infections clear naturally, persistent cases may lead to complications, including cancer. 

Regular screenings, vaccination, and adopting preventive measures are vital tools in managing and reducing the impact of HPV. 

Emphasizing prevention through vaccines, safe practices, and regular screenings empowers individuals in their health journey. 

Though there’s no cure for existing infections, informed decisions, early detection, and healthcare guidance contribute significantly to overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does an HPV infection last?

The duration of an HPV infection varies. In many cases, the body clears the virus within two years. Factors like HPV type and individual immune response influence the infection’s duration.

How do i know if my is HPV gone? 

Most HPV strains resolve on their own, often without symptoms, making it possible to clear the virus unknowingly. Since HPV may not show symptoms, regular testing is the only way to confirm your status. 

How long can you have HPV without knowing?

HPV can be dormant in our bodies for a while, ranging from a few years to decades, causing no harm. During dormancy, it can’t be detected by a test. It becomes active later, often picked up during cervical screening.

How long does HPV last in males?

The duration of HPV in males varies. On average, the body clears the virus within about 5.9 months, with 75% of infections resolving within 12 months. Individual factors like HPV type and immune response influence the duration.

Citations:
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