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Question #1: new PCR DNA test for genital warts?? Question #2: HPV and Blood Testing
Sep 30, 1997

Question #1:

I thought I had heard somewhere that there is a type of PCR test that can detect whether or not a person has been exposed to HPV. I might have been exposed over 1 year ago when a condom broke--although I think it might have snapped when my penis was already out of the vagina. I also had unprotected oral sex at that time as well. To date I have not shown any symptoms but I have this errie feeling inside of me--not knowing is the worst part about this. I would pay anything for this test! Thanks for any information!

Question #2:

I found out I had HPV a year ago. I just got out of a relationship and he is being tested. His mother, who is a nurse, supposedly had tests done when I went in for a test to see if I had appendicitis. Now she says they found an HPV infection raging in my blood. Is there such a test to find HPV in the blood? I was checked out again and my doctor found no active lesions. I'm pretty confused.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your questions. First, in regard to PCR testing, there are PCR tests for HPV infection. However, these tests use tissue samples. It is not a blood test. It is an alternative to DNA probe testing for HPV infection (which also uses tissue samples). Either test can be used to test tissue samples for HPV infection (and to determine the strain of HPV). Some strains of HPV are linked to cancer, especially anal cancers, and cervical cancer in women. These tests can be used to test visible growths, and can also be used to test cervical tissue samples in women (similar to a pap smear). Neither of these tests can be used for men who are not showing symptoms of Genital/Anal Warts.

HPV is not found in the blood. HPV causes Genital/Anal Warts, and can be found in the tissues of the the penis, vagina, rectum, and in EXTREMELY rare cases, the mouth/throat. There are blood antibody tests for HPV that have been developed, but these tests are for research purposes only! These experimental tests are not FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) approved, their accuracy is questionable, they may only show positive for a short period of time, and they are not designed for diagnosis of HPV infection. They also cannot be used to determine the clinical course of the infection. Any use of these tests would strictly be for research purposes only. These tests are being studied to look for antibodies to HPV in the blood (not HPV itself). HPV is not a blood disease!

In summary, if you are a man without any symptoms of Genital/Anal Warts, there are currently no tests available that can be used to determine if you are infected with HPV or not. The only tests that can be used to diagnose HPV, are DNA probe and PCR tests (both of which rely on tissue samples only). Occasionally, a PAP smear in women will also detect the infection. HPV antibody tests cannot be relied upon to diagnose this infection, are not FDA approved, nor are they of any clinical value at this time.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at 1-800-842-AIDS (Nationwide). I'm glad to help!



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