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Can P Cause Positive HPV PAP Results?
from Amanda

Hi Ed:  I was just doing some research on the subject, and I came across your site.  My P started after a bout of eczema my freshman year of high school.  I didn't know what it was and it was only on my elbows.  By mid-college, it had progressed slightly down my arms and started on my legs. 

I am now 28 years old and am covered pretty much head to toe with all types of P (even my nails).  I go through phases of being covered in spots to having only my elbows and knees spotted, without treatment most of the time. 

This brings me to my point.  I was diagnosed with HPV late in my college career.  Only problem was that I could not figure out where it came from.  Then my MD explained that almost all abnormal pap tests were caused by HPV, so they don't bother testing for the virus, they just take the biopsy to find out how bad the cellular changes are. Mine were very severe and I had 2 surgery's to 'remove' the affected cells over the following year, then I started testing negative for changes, my P was also pretty clear.  I was bad after that and didn't get tested again for about 3 years.  When I did, I tested negative again.  Then, earlier this year, while my P was really bad, I got tested and the changes were back. 

I reviewed my own medical chart and biopsies from my old MD and found that they never tested for HPV.  The reports would say “consistent with but not exclusive of HPV infection.”  I asked all 3 of my GYN MD's and a dermatologist if the 'abnormal cells' could be my P.  They all said that P didn't affect mucus membranes, so they “didn't think so.”  I read tonight that P can affect mucus membranes.  I also noticed that I tested positive for HPV while I had more severe P breakouts and the more severe the breakout, the more 'abnormal' my test results were.  I may have HPV, and continue to behave as if I did, but I really do wonder if Psoriasis can cause abnormal pap results, leading to false diagnosis of HPV?   

Thank you for reading my rambling and for having a site for the afflicted!  -Amanda


Ed’s Response:  A REALLY GOOD QUESTION, Amanda.  I wish I were a biologist and could respond knowledgeably.  I know that over the past decade or so the “definition” of P has evolved.  Some derms say psoriasis may be more than one disease, condition, issue, etc.  One thing we know for certain, “psoriatic arthritis” is not a skin problem!  The tissue P-arthritis affects is not skin.  Also, circumcised men who have P lesions on the ends of their penises experience a version of P that’s not limited to skin. 

Perhaps the more telling part of the story in your email is the fact that, sometimes, HPV is presumed rather than based on testing for presence of the virus.  In this environment, HPV is a DOUBLE uncertainty.  The virus may or may not be the culprit and, if not, P might be.

Anyone with knowledge about this is heartily invited to email me.  –Ed

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