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Can I use Aldara as preventative medicine against anal warts?
May 3, 2003

About 4 months ago I was with somebody and found out through a friend that they were infected with HPV. They had the warts treated but I know the virus can last a while.

We didn't have sex, I did perform oral sex on him and we did lay together naked. No sex just a lot of close contact.

I noticed about a week later that my bottom was really itchy. It's been that way for the last 4 months. Some days it's there, some not, some days worse than others. It's like that horrible itch that just attacks you out of nowhere that needs to be scratched immidiately. I was scared that I had HIV and had really bad night sweats and diarrhea, but when I tested negative they went away. I guess I'm kind of an STD hypochondriac.

Sorry to ramble. I check around that area often and don't see or feel any symptoms, but I know that HPV can lie dormant in you for a while. I have enough packets of Aldara left over from when I had a wart on my foot. So whether I'm infected or not could I use it twice a week as a preventative medicine just to be safe? Also should I abstain from sex? I don't want to infect anybody else but I know this is common in men.

Response from Dr. Dezube

I would not recommend using Aldara to prevent warts, although I can understand the rationale of your question. Although I don't doubt that you have been exposed to HPV infection, it is possible that you may have cleared the infection. A good portion of patients, particularly HIV negative folks, will actually clear the HPV infection through their immune system. Second Aladara can cause redness and itching aroung the butt. If you have warts, then the side effects of Aldara are worth the benefit. However, if you don't have warts, then I'm not sure it's worth the side effects. I would just recommend that you examine yourself as you are doing for early development of warts. Assuming you are a gay man, I would recommend that you get an anal PAP smear once a year. If the PAP smear shows any abnormality, then the next step would be to have anoscopy, a procedure by which a health care provide looks up your butt for any changes caused by HPV. Availability of this procedure depends upon geographic location.


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