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What do you mean when you said that people can clear infections by HPV (the wart virus)?
Jan 20, 2003

Hi, I am really confused about this, you stated in one of your responses that "The majority of folks who get HPV develop immunity to the infection and actually clear the virus" When you say clear do you mean that even if they had, had hpv and went and got the blood test done that it would not show up as positive? or would they still have hpv antibodies floating around inside? Keep up the great job!

Response from Dr. Dezube

I had said on a prior response, that the majority of folks who get HPV (the wart virus, human papilloma virus) develop immunity to the infection and actually clear the virus. For these folks, HPV infection is no different than how we all go through life and get viral infections such as the common cold and so on. These folks get over the infections and develop immunity to the infection. They are not infectious nor do they have signs of ever having had the virus. A blood test may show they have developed immunity (e.g. antibodies to HPV).

The reason that this is confusing is that HIV (the virus which causes AIDS) works by a whole different model. All patients with HIV infection develop antibodies to the HIV virus. Unlike the antibodies to HPV infection, the antibodies to HIV do not create long-lasting immunity. So to confuse you further, having antibodies to HPV is good (since it may mean you are immune to at least certain strains of HPV), whereas having antibodies to HIV is not good, because it means that you are infected with HIV. The antibodies, which patients develop to HIV are called NON-neutralizing antibodies since they do NOT neutralize (i.e. kill) the virus.

I hope I clarified this confusion. If not, write back.


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