Article updated: 27th March 2023
The advice for having sex when you have tested positive for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is typically the same across the board; abstain from sexual activity until you have completed your treatment to avoid passing it on to your partner(s). In the case of HPV however, the advice shifts slightly.
HPV is so common that nearly every sexually active man and woman will contract the virus at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And as there is no cure for the virus (although symptoms can be treated), the decision on whether or not to have sex is entirely dependent on your unique situation and your doctor’s advice .
Related article: What Is HPV?
Can you still be sexually active with HPV?
Having sex when you know you have an infection might seem irresponsible but HPV is so common that about 14 million people in the U.S. alone become infected every year so if you are sexually active, it’s possible that one of your partners might already have it.
If you have tested positive for the HPV infection, whether or not you would like to continue being sexually active is something to talk to your healthcare provider about, in some cases, it might be recommended to abstain from sexual activity for a certain period of time.
See also: How do you get HPV?
How can I have safe sex with HPV?
It’s common for HPV to cause little to no symptoms which means the majority of those with HPV may not even realize it. However, if you have tested positive for HPV, it’s important to note that there is no surefire way to completely prevent infecting your sexual partner - even if you always use protection (the virus is located in skin cells, so a condom may not completely cover the infected area.) 
With that said, there are a few steps that you can take to decrease the risk of spreading the infection to any partners, these include:
- Get the HPV vaccine and encourage your partner to do the same
- Use condoms and/or dental dams every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex
- Regularly check in on your sexual health and encourage your partner(s) to do the same
Is HPV curable?
Most people who get infected with HPV will clear the virus within a couple of years. However, for some people, the infection will be long-lasting.
If you test positive for HPV, there’s no treatment to get rid of the virus. However, a healthy immune system will usually clear the infection over time and people may never know they were infected .
See also: Why Is It Important To Check For HPV?
Is HPV contagious for life?
HPV is usually asymptomatic, this means that the virus can lay dormant for a number of years after the initial infection. Whether you don’t experience symptoms, or you do (such as genital warts), HPV can be passed on.
Keep in mind, like the majority of sexually transmitted infections, HPV can be spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
One of the best ways to ensure you and your partner maintain good sexual health is through regular HPV screening, this can be done by taking a trip to your doctor’s office or from the comfort of your own home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetChecked’s at-home HPV Test detects strains that are considered high-risk for developing cervical cancer. Online results will be available within 5-7 days and our dedicated medical team will be available every step of the way to answer any questions you may have.