How Long Do HPV Breakouts Last?

Although human papillomavirus (HPV) is a chronic infection that is lifelong and does not have a known cure as of 2015, the warts that arise as evidence of the infection can last for a variable amount of time and can sometimes disappear on their own within 2 years, according to the New York State Department of Health. Warts can be removed by a medical professional who can freeze the warts with liquid nitrogen, use laser surgery to remove the warts or destroy the warts with an acid medication. A cream called imiquimod can also be applied to cure the warts.

It is important to note that patients with HPV often do not show visible signs or symptoms of the infection, states the New York State Department of Health. However, when a patient does exhibit symptoms, they may be marked by small red bumps that increase in size after 1 to 3 months (or longer) post exposure.

These red bumps can appear on the vagina, vulva, penis or anus and are typically painless but can become sore or tender when bothered. Increased discharge from the vagina or itchiness of the vulva are other visible symptoms of HPV. If these red bumps are noticed, seek a medical professional's help. They can perform tests depending on the patient's age to determine if the red bumps are caused by HPV.