New here. Not sure if I’m posting in the wrong place. I’m very confused about the focus on HPV. I have HPV high risk and abnormal cell changes at age of 61. Having never had any problems before, but I am completely immuno suppressed because of medication I take for an inflammatory condition. I was shielded throughout Covid. My concern is that there is a focus, which is obviously very important, on clearing ourselves of HPV, but if we don’t know when or where we got it and if your immune system is completely suppressed how can that ever be achieved? I don’t know if that makes sense and I apologise for garbling. I’m just I’m not quite myself and my first colposcopy is in 2 days. if anybody understands what I mean and can get back to me I’d be very grateful

Hi @tinytears
I’m there too, aged 63.
Here’s my reply to a post on another thread, hope the link works ok, if not let me know and I’ll post the whole reply as my experience may be relevant for you too. Unfortunately the standard response to active HPV and low grade abnormal cells is to let your immune system do its stuff. I haven’t found any research about immunosuppressed people and older people and what works for people in their 20s and 30s may not work for us. I hope my research and previous post gives you some info to be able to ask relevant questions and get effective treatment if you don’t think you can rely on your immune system. Best of luck.

Hi Rae
Still haven’t worked out how to use this forum properly and I can’t get your link to work if you can post and really appreciate it. I found an article on line saying that yes that has it has been shown. There is a link between HPV and immunosuppression, and that there are greater incidences of cancer occurring

Hi, I’m new to the forum and still trying to work it out. Only just saw your reply. Here’s my research and experience to date in case it helps.

At what was supposed to be my last routine NHS cervical screening (smear test) they found “high risk” HPV and “low grade dyskaryosis” (abnormalities) in cervical cells. The NHS stops screening after age 64 because the risk of cervical cancer is lower for over 65s although there are of course still incidents of cervical cancer in that age group.

I didn’t want the colposcopy at my local hospital after a bad experience with a hysteroscopy. The same team would have been responsible for my colposcopy.

Via the forum I found a consultant in London, highly qualified and experienced. I had a zoom consultation and the colposcopy 3 days later. Yes it’s expensive and we’re not used to paying for medical treatment in the UK. The consultant doesn’t do a routine biopsy, low-grade abnormal cells show pre-cancerous not cancerous changes, he went by what he could observe under the microscope.

I wanted those abnormal cells removed asap. As we age our immune system doesn’t work as well as when we’re young and my instinct was that mine wouldn’t get rid of abnormal cells.

The consultant did the trichloroacetic acid (TCA) treatment at my colposcopy. Here’s a research paper: short term efficacy of trichloroacetic acid in the treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia:

I think that there’s no evidence of long-term benefit because there’s been no long-term research. So we don’t know either way.

Before my TCA treatment, the consultant did a smear test which will show whether the HPV is number 16 or 18, those strains associated with most cases of cervical cancer, although having one of those strains does NOT mean you will get cancer it just means that the majority of cervical cancers are associated with those two strains. I haven’t had the results of that test yet. The NHS smears don’t test for a particular strain, just for a broad high risk or low risk categorisation .

We lose skin cells all the time and the body produces fresh new cells to replace them, like people exfoliating to create smoother skin. For me TCA seems like an exfoliator for the cervix.

Because HPV lives in the top layers of the skin I suspect that TCA reduces the amount of virus in the area because virus is eliminated from the body with the cervical skin cells that are shed after TCA which helps the immune system suppress remaining virus.

There is research to suggest that biopsies have a similar effect to prompt the immune system in that area. This research: punch biopsies shorten time to clearance of high-risk human papillomavirus infections of the uterine cervix

I’ll go back 3-6 months after my colposcopy for another smear test to see if it still shows active HPV and abnormal cells or if I’m clear. I’ll update my posts after I get the results of that smear test.