1. The HPV vaccine(s) protect against infection with several HPV strains (the number depending on the exact vaccine), but don't cure existing infections.
  2. HPV is not a blood-borne disease, i.e. cells in the epidermis don't get infected because the virus circulates in the blood, but through direct contact with infected material (e.g. skin-to-skin contact).


  1. Are the premises above correct? If not how so?
  2. Does this mean that Gardasil 9, which protects against HPV 6, wouldn't cure an existing genital wart caused by HPV 6 on the penis, but would prevent infection of the skin on the anus with HPV 6, given that the skin on the anus has never come onto contact with HPV 6 before?
  3. If 2. is true, why wouldn't this lead to genital warts gradually dying off as a result of the vaccine? Existing cells are not cured, but if a genital wart persists for longer than the lifetime of the infected cells in the epidermis this means that the wart reproduces by at least infecting as many new cells as naturally die at the end of their life cycle. If new cells are protected post vaccination, how can the wart sustain itself by infecting new cells?
  • 1
    what makes you think that HPV infects fresh epithelium once the papilloma is produced, rather than cells generated within the papilloma?
    – bob1
    Jul 31 at 1:55
  • 1
    Oh right, that makes sense I guess! But is it just the latter or both?
    – C4X
    Jul 31 at 11:48
  • Please ask 1 question per post. Aug 7 at 17:23


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