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Would the genital warts come back if positive?

Jul 19, 2000

I am a heterosexual female and had unprotected vaginal sex (once) with a heterosexual male 9 weeks ago. I do not know his HIV status. My HIV status was definitely negative before this incident. He didn't ejaculate inside me and the incident didn't last very long, although I am aware there was a risk of transmission if he was positive.

I was diagnosed with genital warts approx. 18 months ago which have since gone following treatment, and have not returned since. A medical colleague said that the warts would more than likely have returned if I had contracted HIV, as I would be immunocompromised. Is this true? I would greatly appreciate your advice on this matter.

Response from Mr. Kull

There are no "true" or "false" answers to your question. Outbreaks of HPV lesions/genital warts in an infected person are believed to be related to immune response. Exactly how this works is poorly understood. There seems to be a connection between the number and severity of HPV outbreaks and the degree of immune impairment in HIV-positive persons. It is unlikely that you would have HIV-related immune impairment 9 weeks after infection.

When you seroconvert (develop antibodies to a recent HIV infection), your immune system would be burdened. Hence the flu/mono-like symptoms. It is unclear if this would trigger an HPV outbreak.

The only reliable way to determine if you've been HIV infected is to get an HIV-antibody test 3-6 months following exposure. A one time incident like yours does not put you at any considerable risk.


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