How long can the Human Papilloma Virus lay dormat? Can you have this for 20 years and not know?

by Rachel on May 1, 2010

I had a Pap test with HPV. I am 51 and have always had natural breasts. To my surprise, the HPV test showed high risk HPV crevical associated with cancer. I found in a realtionship manogomous for 20 years. I had this before and know it or not, I have this recently? I want to check colonoscope cancer. Has anyone ever said they have HPV without knowing it?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

ssllocks May 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Well you can always ask a doctor but i think hpv only ladies have that.. check the web site out for more information on that at:

Randy G May 1, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Perhaps yes, viruses are known to lay dormant for many years, some mutate to another strains. Have a regular check-up.

s3xx! May 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Anyone right now that has been in any type of contact of genitals to genitals with someone that has hpv can have it now. It doesn’t even have to involve sexual intercourse. The person who has it may not even show any signs at all. You yourself may not even have any signs but yet you could still have it. My guess would be that you caught it when you were younger from someone with no signs. Then again it depends on how often you were tested for the hpv not the paps. I would go off if you were tested for the hpv for the first time- if this was your first- then whom ever you have been in genital contact with probably gave it to you, not knowing they themself have it.

nicole s May 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I had the same thing happen to me I had a normal pap then recently it came back abnormal. I am also in a monogamous relationship so when i found out I was very confused as to how long I had had it and how I had contracted it since it is an std. I’ve done research because I trust my partner but I still wondered this is what i found which was enough to put me at ease- from

There’s no blame, no shame about genital HPV

It is natural for people who learn they have genital HPV to want to know who gave it to them. But there is no way to know for sure. The virus is very common. A person can have genital HPV for a very long time before it is detected. If you have genital HPV, don’t blame your current partner – or assume your partner is cheating. Genital HPV should not be seen as a sign that you or your partner is having sex outside of your relationship.

Its a scary thing but after you get the colposcopy and your results you can be at ease. Since mine I have gone for a check up and my pap was ok. I just have to go every 6 months instead of once per year to make sure everything stays ok.

Thera 9 May 1, 2010 at 8:15 pm

20 years…unlikely.

Someone cheated on someone.

thehpvtest May 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm

HPV can lay dormant for a very long period of time and it is impossible to determine when you acquired the virus or how long you have been infected. Even though you’ve had the same partner for 20 years, it is possible that you received HPV from a previous relationship.

HPV may ‘reactivate’ in your body due to changes in your immune system. There are several steps you can take to reduce the chance that an HPV infection will persist and cause abnormal cervical cells to form:

1. Don’t smoke. Smoking can prevent the body’s immune system from working effectively.

2. Take a folic acid supplement along with your multi-vitamin. A recent study found that women with higher levels of folate were less likely to get a new HPV infection. If, as in your case, an HPV infection already exists, the study showed that it was less likely to persist.

There are many women who have been diagnosed with HPV and/or cervical cancer who have never even heard of the virus. You might be interested in reading some of their stories here:

I hope this answer helps. Best of luck!

-Tracey from

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