RISK FACTORS

hpv-kling2ALAN KLING, M.D

Dr. Kling is a recognized expert in the field of HPV treatment, Dr. Kling has lectured on HPV at Columbia, Cornell, Mount Sinai, NYU, Yale and many other medical centers, as well as at numerous national meetings. He is up-to-date on the latest advances in the diagnosis and treatment of HPV. Dr. Kling is the recognized go-to-person for HPV-related diagnoses in the metropolitan NYC area.
Dr. Kling’s private practice offices are located on the Upper East Side in Manhattan and in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The offices are comfortable, stylish, elegantly decorated and impeccably clean. You can feel reassured that your consultation and treatment will be performed by an accomplished, experienced, and well-respected board-certified physician.

Q: What are the risk factors that put a person at higher risk for developing an HPV infection?
A:
The major risk factors for getting an HPV infection include a history of multiple partners, having had sex with a person with a previous STD (sexual transmitted disease), having unprotected sex, and early age of first sexual contact. Both men who are uncircumcised and their partners have an increased risk of contracting HPV infections. Smoking has also been associated with a higher risk of acquiring an HPV infection.

Q: Are most cases of HPV caused by sexual contact?
A:
The vast majority of cases of HPV are caused by sexual contact. Early studies of cervical cancer documented the fact that it was exceptionally rare to see cervical cancer in nuns, and when cervical cancer was found in this group the individuals were found to have have an errant lifestyle in their earlier life not consistent with the code of contact they adapted after entering the convent.

Q: Was/is a man or woman promiscuous if they have been found to have genital warts, or an HPV-related infection or cancer?
A:
The fact that an individual person develops an HPV infection only indicates that they had contact with somebody who was a carrier of the HPV virus. There are many instances where a person had only one lifetime sexual contact which may not even have involved intercourse but which nonetheless resulted in an HPV infection. Each person has their own individual history and circumstances and no extrapolations should be made beyond the facts.

Q: Can a person who had very limited sexual activity get an HPV infection?
A:
There are cases of individuals getting an HPV infection who have had only one sexual partner or only one sexual contact in their entire lifetime. There are cases of people getting an HPV infection who never had sex.

Q: What percentage of people have an HPV infection?
A:
The prevalence of HPV infection in the adult population in the United States is very large. Studies have demonstrated that 50% – 80% of sexually active adults having been exposed to HPV infections by the time they are 50 years old.

Q: Does it mean that a woman has been promiscuous if she has an HPV infection?
A:
There are cases of women who have documented HPV infections who are virgins and have never had a sexual contact in their lifetime.

Q: If my partner has an HPV infection, does this mean that he/she has been unfaithful?
A:
The presence of an HPV infection indicates that the person was exposed to HPV by a current or previous partner. The past infection may have been contracted years ago and been reactivated when a person was tired, stressed out, ill or in certain cases for no readily apparent reason at all. It is factually inaccurate, unfair and does not do any good to accuse a partner of having been unfaithful based only on the fact that they had an HPV infection. You have to look carefully at the individual circumstances.

Q: What should I do if my partner is diagnosed with an HPV infection?
A:
You should go to your physician in order to be evaluated. You should use condoms until each of you are clear of the infection for a 3-6 month period of time during the incubation period. You should be supportive of your partner(s) so that both of you can be successfully evaluated and if necessary treated so that you can both move forward in the relationship.

Q: What is the most important factor that puts you at risk for developing an HPV infection?
A:
The main factor that puts a person at risk for developing an HPV infection is having a sexual relationship with a partner who has had multiple previous partners. The chances of contracting HPV are very much increased in a patient who has had multiple previous partners. The more partners that a person had the higher chances are that they have been infected and are contagious and can transmit the infection to others in the future.

Q: Does this mean that when I am having sex with my partner I can catch something that my partner got from somebody else?
A:
When you have sex with someone you are being exposed to every previous sexual partner they ever had and all of their stuff.

Q: What factors other than stress can weaken my immunity and decrease my resistance against HPV infections?
A:
Smoking, too much alcohol or drugs, poor diet, chronic diseases, other STD’ s, immunosuppressive medications and being older are additional factors that can weaken a person’ s resistance against HPV infections.

Q: What are the risk factors for a man to get an HPV infection?
A:
The factors that put women and men at increased risk of getting an HPV infection include multiple sexual partners, a large number of sexual partners, being in a younger age groups (15-25 yo), early age of first intercourse, unprotected sex, high frequency of sexual intercourse, cigarette smoking, second hand smoke exposure, being uncircumcised or having sex with a man who is uncircumcised.

Q: Why do you see more HPV in younger people?
A:
The main reason that HPV infections are most common in younger age groups is that this is a time of sexual experimentation when people are more likely to have multiple partners, unprotected sex and smoke.