Re: My girlfriend just told me she has HPV
I'm going to post my experience that's been haunting me for months. I was diagnosed with warts in October 2007. The outbreak was very mild. I had two of them treated and the rest, which were too small to treat, disappeared on their own within a couple months. I hadn't seen another trace of them until about September last year. I had a bump at the bottom of my butt that remained there until I went to see the gyno in December. She couldn't tell me for sure if it was a wart or not, but she treated it anyway.
I didn't notice the "wart" was there until after I'd started a relationship with someone I met in August. We had already had sex by the time I discovered it was there. I hadn't told him about my prior HPV infection because it had been two years since I'd had my one and only issue with it, so I figured I was in the clear after all the literature I'd read on it... and I didn't feel the need to disclose it. But by the time I discovered the bump, we'd already been intimate. And I kept a lid on it for the remainder of the relationship (which ended because I left to go back home, and we have a significant distance between us).
I only heard from him once, about 3 weeks after I got home, and that was six months ago. So I'm repeatedly haunted by the idea that he might have contracted this from me because I never told him.
It's a scary thing to disclose to partners, because you just don't know how they're going to take it. Although warts are NOT a big deal (because they're harmless), they do come with a stigma, and we suffering with them already know that. Think about how we felt when we were diagnosed, and how we wished we'd had the choice. I hate that I have to acknowledge I live with an STI, whether or not it came back.
Now if I hadn't seen a trace of the warts in a decade, like your girlfriend... well you can't really blame her for not saying anything. She wants to live a normal life like everyone else and forget that she ever had it, and quite honestly, not having seen warts in 10 years is probably a good sign. But because there is so little information on HPV and whether or not the body ever actually clears it, it makes for a very grey area when it comes to telling partners. Because you're risking rejection over a medical mystery that most people contract at some point anyway, it's tough when it comes to deciding whether or not to tell. The only catch is if your partner develops them as a result and you have the guilt on your shoulders that you never told them about it so they'd have the choice, like you wish you would have had. But then again, who's to say he didn't contract them from someone else and only develop symptoms now? I mean, there's not enough matter-of-factness about this virus, so it makes it extremely difficult to make the judgment call.
I don't know if this guy I was with developed them and maybe that's why I never heard from him. But I loved him with all my heart and I'd feel awful if that happened. I feel awful anyway. It really comes down to what you'd want if the tables were turned. That in itself will tell you what the right thing is to do.