04-16-2012, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
What do doctors tell men about HPV? Please help!
Several months ago I went in for a routine pap smear that showed some abnormal cells. Immediately I freaked out and asked if it mean't I had HPV, and they said usually it does, but that it's very common and nothing to worry about. I went back in for the gyno to take a closer look, and she also took a sample, but said that everything looks absolutely fine, my cervix was "beautiful" and that I didn't even have to come back in for another year. I also had routine STD testing (chlamydia, gonorrhea etc.) done at this time, and she gave me a script for bloodwork to test for HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis etc. and I had that done immediately and everything came back fine, as expected, I just wanted to be safe because I hadn't been tested in a couple years.
I asked her if this HPV thing was something I needed to share with any past, current, or FUTURE partners, and she said absolutely not, because it's so common, and that it doesn't harm males, and that if someone has had sexual contact with more than one person they are almost guaranteed to come in contact with it at some point, and not even know it.
I've since educated myself as much as I can about HPV, and have talked to numerous girlfriends of mine about it, and several of them have it as well, and their doctors said not to worry or share it either. This put me at ease greatly.
I know there are strains that can cause genital warts, but apparently that is NOT what I have. I have never had any kind of genital problem before in my entire life.
Also, the gyno told me to begin getting the Gardisil shots to prevent me from exposure to the other various strains in the future, and I did.
HOWEVER, recently I ended up having unprotected sex with someone new (yes, I realize it was extremely foolish, please do not preach to me about this, it is beside the point) and a mutual friend who knew about my HPV decided to tell him about it for fear of his safety. (This guy has also had QUITE a number of sexual partners under his belt, and I'm talking 20+ without a doubt, but he says he is clean and I don't think he would lie to me)
I am devastated, embarrassed, hurt, and mortified. This guy, who apparently didn't know what HPV was, is now extremely freaked/grossed out and upset I didn't tell him. I would never want to hurt or endanger anyone, I was simply doing what my doctor(s) told me to. And also, if what he's said is true about his sexual history, it shouldn't be a concern anyway because he's almost 100% likely to have been exposed before.
When you Google HPV, the FIRST thing to come up is "genital warts", and the CDC and various other websites make it sound like a full blown disgusting STD. I don't blame him for being scared and upset, but I'm so embarrassed, and now he will probably never want to touch me again.
He says he wants to get "checked", but I realize there are NO tests available for men and HPV because men are the carriers of it and it VERY VERY rarely has any affects on them at all, and it also is cleared by the immune system after some time.
I want to know what a primary physician would be likely to say to him when he goes in for an appointment and explains the situation. Have any men been in this situation before? What have your doctors told you about it?
It seems there are many differing facts out there (even by medical professionals), and I'm scared they are going to make it out to be something absolutely horrible and make me seem dirty and disgusting.
04-16-2012, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Sanford, ME, USA
Re: What do doctors tell men about HPV? Please help!
First: Your gyno said your cervix was beautiful and the cells were normal. For me, that meant the cells weren't cancerous, but I still had high-risk HPV. Did yours specify that you did or did not have this? Also, it is not *always* cleared by the immune system, thus the danger of cancers. So, yes, he has a right to have a freak out not only on his own behalf but on the behalf of whoever he sleeps with after you.
I'm not a male, so it's hard to say what a man would be told. However, no doctor is going to make this sound "disgusting." Very likely what he will be told is exactly what you were -- what HPV is, how it effects the body, that it RARELY results in complications for men, and how very, very common it is.
However, it is true that it's very common and with the number of people he had been with he may have been exposed. This also means that he could be carrying a strain different to your own and could in turn reinfect you. The HPV vaccines only protect against the 4 most common strains - 2 low-risk, and 2 high-risk. There are over 100 strains.
I take it upon myself as a responsibility to inform my future partners. I don't understand whatsoever this opinion of doctors that there's no need to inform a partner of HPV, when much is still unknown about it and the effects it can have on men and women alike. It actually infuriates me that you would be advised in such a manner, and that this is common. IMO, your friend was perfectly justified in telling this man that he may have HPV, whether or not it has an effect on his body.
I was even recently asked by a medical professional why I felt I had to "have the talk" with my future partners, and I put it to her this way: Whether or not the HPV could have an effect on a man I sleep with, he has a right to know that this may be passed on to him and to make a decision for himself and his own body as to what to do with that information. He also has a right to have that information to pass along to other women with whom he may sleep with in the future, women for whom this would likely have an effect, women for whom may not know what HPV is either and wouldn't know to get checked regularly. Perhaps if some woman had informed my ex that she had high-risk HPV before sleeping with him, he could have informed me and I wouldn't have contracted it.
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