My story goes like this. My first serious sexual relationship was when I was 25. I am now 28 and after 3 years the relationship has come to an end. When we first started being friends she had told me about how she was being watched for abnormal cells caused by HPV. As time went on I started to feel attraction to her and we became more than just friends. She reminded me again about her hpv. part of me had read about how common it was and thought its shouldnt be a big deal, and another part of me was just so in love that I didnt stop to think rationally. We used condoms most of the time since she was on the pill at the start of the relationship. After 2 years we used condoms everytime since she stopped using the pill because of migraines.
This past october she saw her obgyn and was given the all clear because she had been to the doctor enough times and the cells hadnt changed. As for me I have never found a wart on me at all and I dont recall ever seeing a wart on her either. I consider myself very healthy, more so than the average person i am not overweight or smoke or overindulge on alcohol. This has worried me so much since we broke up recently. Part of me says its so common and not to worry. Another part of me gets worried about having to tell my future partner. Alot of information on the internet can be misleading or overwhelming. On the cdc's website it states
There is no test for men to check one’s overall “HPV status.” But HPV usually goes away on its own, without causing health problems. So an HPV infection that is found today will most likely not be there a year or two from now
if i have not had any sign of warts after 3 years does it mean the virus is being suppressed much like how the chicken pox virus comes back as shingles when you get older. So if I dont have any signs of warts does it mean I am less likely to pass it along. I realize that condoms are more effective at preventing it but what if my future partner and I want to have kids?
I am asking in this forum because I tried asking my ex girlfriend some questions recently and she seems less than cooperative in sharing the information stating that I should already know all the details. Especially any information her obgyn tells her.
I have started conversing with some people through online dating and I am unsure how to best approach this subject with them. I know its important to tell them.
thanks for the help
You should do some research into types of HPV. It sounds to me like what your ex-girlfriend had was a form of high-risk HPV, not the kind that develops warts. With high-risk HPV, there are no visible physical symptoms--women probably don't know they have it until they go for a pap smear and it comes back abnormal. Those abnormal cells can develop into cervical or, as they're now finding out, oral cancer. As long as the situation is monitored, however, this isn't likely to happen--most cases of HPV will "clear" on their own, and if they don't there are procedures that can remove abnormal cells.
Now, I said "clear" in quotations because there are two theories on whether or not the virus truly clears. Yes, within 1-2 years of infection, most immune systems will suppress the virus. Some believe that means it is gone forever. However, many also believe (and I'm among them) that it is possible that the virus merely returns to a dormant state within the body and can become reactive when the immune system is down. My best friend, who is in great shape but has a terrible immune system, has had the virus come back twice, and the last time had to under go a LEEP procedure to remove abnormal cells.
As a man, I think you're less fortunate in that there is no test for you to at least know for sure if the virus is active or not. For this reason, it is best to do as much as you can to keep your immune system in check--there have been some recent posts about that on here. Probiotics, vitamins, eating well, exercise--all things to make sure your body is in the best shape to keep the virus suppressed. It's good that you don't smoke, and lowering alcohol intake is good, too.
For future partners: Condoms are somewhat effective--as in, it's better than not using them at all. But HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, not through fluid like many STDs. This means that the condom will cover the majority of the infected area, but not all of it. It also means that female condoms are more effective as they cover a larger area.
As a female who recently found out she was infected, I let my last partner know so that he could, if he chose (and I hope he does), let future sexual partners know that he has been exposed to high-risk HPV. Most likely, he gave it to me without knowing he was doing so, but now he at least knows it is a possibility he could pass it on to someone else.
It's your own decision how you want to approach this--it's a difficult thing to do, and right now, at 25, I'm dreading dates myself for the same reason. I know the information out there is overwhelming, but honestly I found the best thing you can do is to arm yourself with information. Then, when the time comes, you can sit down with the new person in your life, explain to them what you have, the possibilities for them if they sleep with you (and for women the threat IS higher, so it's important they know), etc.
Last edited by roisindubh; 03-26-2012 at 09:27 AM.
thank you for the reply, im just curious, it certainly sounds like what im seeing is not what I want to see at this point, about the strain that I might be carrying. It seems that by having the yearly papsmear done it does offer incite into it. If the cells are viewed as being cancerous what type of procedure is then done to fix the problem. It seems that its better to obviously to take care of the problem the earlier the better. I am kicking myself so much now that I didnt think rationally, there are just so many more interesting people online that i cant believe i threw away my health for this one person. (sorry for ranting)
Do some research into the treatments. Like I said, it's really those who don't keep track of it and don't do anything for themselves that end up in a worse situation.
I know it's a hard thing to deal with--believe me. But you should keep in mind how absolutely common HPV is. I've heard so many different numbers: 75% of women (probably higher because most men don't know they're passing it on), at least 50% of men and women. These numbers are only those diagnosed--the numbers get higher when estimations are made about how many out there may not even know they have it. Point is: Doctors are realizing how much they've underestimated the number of infected people. You're not alone!
When I found out I had it, I think four of the five people I told had had some form of HPV, most of those a high-risk strain. So you can beat yourself up over it, but I've been there and it's not worth it--I think that's how I spent most of February, actually! But look at it this way: you could have chosen someone else to be with, and easily that person may have had it and not known, didn't know they gave it to you, and then you could have passed it along unknowingly. That's how I got it--my ex had no idea he had it. You and your future partners can at least be informed.