Ask a Doctor

Ask A Doctor


As a 20 year old male I’m not sure I ever received the HPV vaccine. Are there benefits to receiving the HPV vaccine if I’m not sexually active? Would you recommend I receive it?

“Please talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated before you become sexually active to ensure you are a good candidate. Insurance coverage should still be pretty good until age 26. The optimal time to get vaccinated is before you become sexually active to protect you and your future partners from HPV infection as much as possible. For more information, you can check out our HPV vaccine coverage.”  —Dr. Monte Swarup


My (29M) fiancée (27F) was diagnosed with high-risk HPV. I go down on her all the time. I’ve never had the HPV vaccine. Should I get the vaccine to help protect against getting oral cancer in the future?

“The protective effect for oral cancer will be minimal in this case. The types of HPV she has are most likely linked to cervical cancer, which is what the vaccine protects against. Since she already has at least one high-risk type and you have been exposed, the vaccine is of minimal benefit (as long as you are monogamous). The viruses associated with oral cancer are different types. The vaccine has not been studied for oral cancer protection, but could prevent you from being infected with her virus types if you are not infected already.”  —Dr. Monte Swarup


My name is Claire and I have HPV 18. My monogamous partner also has HPV but a different strain—one that causes warts. Once my HPV low-grade cells clear up (goes away on its own or laser if I have to), should we use condoms from then on? Can I get infected again with my partner? Do I have his HPV strain as well even though I do not have the warts? Does he have my strain? We have not been using condoms.

In addition, my partner is afraid of going down on me. He is worried he will get oral warts. Is that possible with my strain?

The likelihood is both of you are infected with both of your strains including any prior oral exposure. The condoms won’t help as the infection is already there. The hope is that your immune system will be able to control/suppress it.

Don’t let this affect your monogamous sex life and choice of activities together. What’s done is done and the relationship is more important. Keep your immune system strong by maintaining good habits and considering supplements. —Dr. Monte Swarup