The various types of genital HPVs may remain in our body for weeks, months or even many years after the initial infection. HPV-induced inflammatory lesions are usually temporary subclinical inflammations. The term “subclinical” means that they are not visible to the naked eye. Only genital warts are visible. Subclinical inflammatory lesions can stay on the skin and the mucous membranes of the genital organs and the perianal region for months or years. They regress when our immune system manages to suppress the virus. They reappear if our immune system becomes weaker for any reason during our lifetime (due to stress, certain medications, etc).
These HPV-induced subclinical inflammations of our cells and tissues usually do not cause any symptoms. Therefore the majority of individuals infected by HPV are not aware of it and nor can they know when they were infected. Of course, this means that they transmitted the virus to their sexual partner at a time when inflammatory lesions were present. This is not their fault since they did not know that they were infected.