First screening - HPV Positive - Monogamous relationship for 4 years

I have just had my first screening and received positive HPV but with no abnormal cells (invited to re-test in 12 months) I have been with my partner for 4 years. Does this mean I have contracted the virus within these 4 years and my partner has been unfaithful? or is it possible that I contracted it before (e.g. 5 years ago) and it has been dormant and only become active in the last year or 2? or that it was contracted 5 years ago and my immune system has not got rid of it yet? 

My question then is, is it common that HPV can be dormant, becoming active years later and even show as negative on a screening for some people? If I did contract it 5 years ago and it has been active since, is this a bad sign that my immune system has not got rid of it yet? 


It is entirely possible that you were infected with HPV before you met your current partner.  It is very much a characteristic of HPV that it can lie dormant in the body either to remain that way or maybe get reactivated at some point;  it can also be completely cleared by the body.   If you test negative for HPV you either don't have the virus or it is dormant; either way, assuming you get regular screening, it shouldn't cause any problems.  If you have an active infection, either newly acquired  infection or because of reactivation, then a HPV test will give a positive result and there is the potential for cervical cell abnormalities to develop which may then become a cancer if not treated. 

Regarding your question about whether it is a bad sign that your immune system hasn't cleared the virus if contracted 5 years ago, I'm not an expert but I would suggest probably not (insert disclaimer).  The immune system is a complex thing and everyone is a bit different.  There is evidence that smoking reduces the chances of clearing the virus so if you are a smoker then it's best to quit.   After many years of normal smear test results, throughout my 20s, 30s and 40s,  I was diagnosed with cc age 60y.  In my case it is highly likely that I was infected with HPV during my 20s and had a persistent infection for decades - maybe it lay dormant all that time or for all I know maybe it went through cycles of reactivation and dormancy.  I don't take it as a bad sign that my immune system didn't clear the virus, I don't think anyone really knows why some women get persistent infection and some don't and anyway I enjoyed very good health for all my life until cervical cancer reared its ugly head.  Arguably, the bad sign was that  I developed an attitude about  smear tests and stopped attending for screening when I was 50y.

HPV testing does seem to cause a lot of anxiety and possibly even a guilt thing.  But in fact it's a significant step forward in the world of medicine which enables improved monitoring of cervical cell abnormalities  and should result in hundreds of fewer cases of cervical cancer in the UK every year in the near future.

Hope this helps a bit?


Iam not sure if iam posting in the right place so aplogises if not ,I had leetz for 1a1 cc in march this year and got all clear margins etc ,since i have,nt felt much like sex but i have done 3 or 4 times for my partners sake ,each time before iam fine no bleeding then after i have this horrible brown spotting with stringy brown/black thick strings sorry T.M.I ,iam driving myself insane thinking that the cc has come back its nearly time for my 6 month check up and iam absolutely terrified i keep getting pains in my pelvis and my bladder seems weaker than before ,and iam constantly tired I dont know if iam been a paraonoid mess going crazy or if I should be worried xx

Hi Tulullah I'm sorry to hear how worried you are and it definitely sounds to me like you should get this checked out for your own peace of mind. I haven't had the same experience but I think you might find someone who does if you go to the forum protocols part of the web page and post under new post and create a new subject header. It took me a while to work out how to post on here and then after my first post I forgot how for a while. I hope that you manage to find out what's going on soon. 


I contracted hpv and have been in a monogamous relationship with my husband for almost 18 years. 

Hmm. I'm actually only here for this query. My wife's results came back HPV positive. We have been (I hope) monagamous for 13 years.

Has it been dormant for 13 years and just activated?

Has it been on/off? Has it been on continuously and her body not dealt with it? Has she contracted it elsewhere more recently?

It doesn't seem a clinical hard line exists for HPV contraction other than it proves some sort of sexual act has taken place involving the genitals at some point. It therefore doesn't prove/disprove anything as far as monogamy is concerned.


Same here. Wife HPV+ via cervical test.

we have been together 13+ years. Very scary.

not enough information or support to advise about dormancy and possibilities. Just the usual line about mostly goes in two years. Easy to lead to the conclusion it was picked up in the last two years which could spell disaster for the relationship. I have struggled around this. Especially as their have already been threats to suggest someone else potentially may have been on the scene recently. Vicariously denied by my wife and accepted by me. Now a positive HPV test churns all that doubt back up. But as has been suggested, it can lay dormant and be activated to be traceable.