When did I contract HPV and who gave it to me?

Diagnosis of an HPV infection in a woman often creates suspicion of infidelity. This is not always the case however. HPV can remain latent in the epithelia of the lower genital tract for a number of years. In these cases there are no visible inflammations, lesions or symptoms, making it impossible to diagnose a previous infection. People are not aware that they have been infected. If the immune system is compromised at any time, the virus is given the opportunity to cause lesions, which may be visible but are usually subclinical and are discovered with a Pap test, an HPV test or Colposcopy.

Discovery of infection in one partner does not necessary mean it is a recent one. It may be the reactivation of an old infection in one of the two partners. It is very common for a person to have been infected in the past and be unaware of it.