Hi and welcome to the site. My name is***** hope I'm able to provide some helpful medical information for you today.
While most people clear HPV infections within 2 years, a small percentage do not clear the virus and become "chronic carriers". There are some risk factors for becoming a chronic carrier, such as smoking and immune system weakness. But we don't fully understand why some people are chronic carriers despite no obvious risk factors.
It's also possible for the virus to be undetectable for decades, than pop out again as the immune system weakens with aging.
So yes, it's possible that this HPV is from an exposure 15 or even more years ago.
With a + HPV that seems to be from decades ago, the vast majority of people have no trouble. Usually I'd get "subtyping". If she is + for either type 16 or 18, the risk of trouble over time is about 25% while if + for a type not 16 or 18, the risk of trouble over time is about 5%.
Currently, there is no treatment for chronic HPV carrier status of the cervix
but there is some evidence that green tea extract may help. There is an FDA approved product for EXTERNAL HPV called Veregen. But it cannot be used on the cervix. There are some naturopaths who have developed a protocol for a compounded green tea extract suppository used inside the vagina
, but this is not FDA approved. I do refer some of my chronic +HPV patients for treatment and have seen good results. But this is based just on my experience and not on any well-designed research.
There is also some evidence that eating foods high in beta-carotene and cruciferous vegetables may help suppress the virus.
I have extensive experience in the management of HPV related cervical disease so please ask questions if you need more detail or clarification.
I hope this has been reassuring and helpful.