Chemical and surgical methods destroy visible warts, but the virus is thought to remain under the skin. These treatments can be effective over time, but you may still worry that you’re contagious. It’s been shown that the virus can exist in adjacent hair follicles. If the virus should become active again, the warts may appear weeks, months or years following your therapy.
Recurrence rates are dramatically reduced when a combination of therapies is applied. Combination therapy doesn’t rely solely on removing the wart from the surface, but also uses immune boosting medications to boost the body’s immune system to suppress and clear the virus from the body.
You should monitor yourself to keep a minor re-occurrence from spreading. Begin by inspecting your genitals, anus and the area in between regularly. You may need a light and a hand-held mirror to get a good look. Report to your doctor any warts, blisters, moles, bumps, ulcers, changes in skin color, such as pink, red, gray or white patches.
While being treated, you should either abstain from sex or use a condom that covers the infected area. If your lesions are at the base of your penis, a condom will be ineffective and you could transmit the virus. You should consider yourself contagious for six to 12 months following removal and treatment of the last lesion. You may be over this infection if no other lesions appear during that time period, but it’s hard to be certain if the virus is still lurking. There is no lab test to confirm persistent HPV infection.
“We conclude that intralesional injections of alpha-2b interferon following carbon dioxide laser vaporization of recalcitrant ano-genital condylomata substantially reduce the risk of recurrence or reinfection.”
“Interferon tends to be a fairly well-tolerated form of therapy. According to different routes of administration, locally-used interferon appears to be much more effective than both systemically-used interferon and placebo in either improving the complete response rate or reducing the recurrence rate for the treatment of genital warts.”