It depends on many factors

including HPV type, location and underlying disease

This is undoubtedly one of the first questions a person, who has just been diagnosed with HPV, will ask.

It is not surprising, given the nature of the disease and the appearance of warts in the genital region.

Unfortunately, there is no single best answer that would clearly say how long HPV infection might last.

There are many factors, such as the type of virus (16, 18, 31 and so on), region involved, associated diseases (HIV), number of sexual partners, etc., that ultimately determine the course of the infection.

The incidence of HPV infections involving body regions other than the cervix is high.

One study found that HPV infections of the anus are three times more common than those involving the cervix (1).

Interestingly, one small study from Japan reported prevalence of oral HPV infection at only 0.6% (2).  While another trial involving young adults found the prevalence of oral HPV to be 2.4% (3).

 

HPV Statistics
 
 

HPV Infections of the Penis

 

Infections involving the penis tend to take similar amount of time to clear as infections affecting other regions of the body.  The exception are HIV-positive men in whom HPV takes nearly three times as long to clear when compared to HIV-negative men.

  • HPV type 16 infection in HIV-negative men clears on average in 13-14 months
  • HPV type 18 infection in HIV-negative men clears on average in 7-8 months
  • HPV type 16 infection in HIV-positive heterosexual men clears on average in 30-31 months
  • HPV type 18 infection in HIV-positive heterosexual men clears on average in 29-30 months
  • HPV type 16 infection in HIV-positive men who have sex with men clears on average in 35-36 months
  • HPV type 18 infection in HIV-positive men who have sex with men clears on average in 28 months (4)

 

Genital HPV Infections in Men

 

As a group, these infections clear in the shortest amount of time.

Overall, male genital HPV infections tend to clear within 8-9 months of infection

  • HPV infection of the scrotum (circumcised or uncircumcised) clears in 4-6 months
  • HPV infection of the shaft (circumcised or uncircumcised) clears in 5-6 months
  • HPV infection of the foreskin clears in 5-6 months
  • HPV type 16 infection in circumcised and uncircumcised men clears in 8-9 months
  • HPV type 18 infection in circumcised men clears in 8-9 months and 11-12 months in circumcised males

 

Oral HPV Infections in Men and Women

 

  • Women with persistent cervical HPV infection tend to clear oral HPV infections in 50 months
  • HPV infection in HIV-negative men clears in 8-9 months
  • HPV type 16 infection in HIV-positive men who have sex with men clears in 42 months
  • HPV type 16 infection in HIV-positive men who have sex with women clears in 48 months
  • Male partners of pregnant women clear the infection in 38 months (HPV type 16) and in 15-16 months (HPV type 18)

 

Anal HPV Infections in Men and Women

 

  • All sexually active women with HPV type 16 clear the infection in 5-6 months
  • All sexually active women with HPV type 18 clear the infection in 7-8 months
  • Heterosexual women with HPV type 16 clear the infection in 21-22 months
  • Heterosexual women with HPV type 18 clear the infection in 15-16 months
  • HPV type 16 infection in HIV-positive men who have sex with men clears in 36-37 months
  • HPV type 18 infection in HIV-positive men who have sex with men clears in 30 months
  • HPV type 16 infection in HIV-positive men who have sex with women clears in 39 months
  • HPV type 16 infection in HIV-positive men who have sex with women clears in 37 months

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