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Home Personal Perspectives Personal Perspectives HPV Detected in a Long-term Relationship

HPV Detected in a Long-term Relationship

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I am 54 years old and was just told yesterday that my recent colposcopy and biopsy indicate I need cryosurgery.  Apparently a low-grade type of HPV was found.  I was shocked because I tested negative for HPV a couple of years. Soon after my son was born, 20 years ago, I started to have slightly abnormal Paps.  I was told my cervix was “friable” and I had cervicitis.   I had a colposcopy/biopsy in 1994, which was benign.  So this back and forth on the abnormal/normal Paps has gone on for almost 20 years. 

I married my husband when I was 26 and he 24, both of us virgins due to strong Catholic upbringing and “Catholic guilt”.  We have been in a monogamous marriage and faithful for 28 years.  I have been on a crying jag since I heard the news and feel extremely depressed.  I know that my husband would never doubt me, nor I him, but I can’t seem to get past this diagnosis of HPV since it is apparently only transmitted through sexual contact.  It’s like being told you have lung cancer when you have never smoked.  No matter what you say no one believes you.  One might say “get over it “ but this is a big thing to me and I am depressed as well as devastated. 

Your feelings are very normal, as an HPV diagnosis is usually upsetting. It’s normal to wonder “Hmm, what might this say about my partner?” and while we can’t sort that out, keep in mind that 1) HPV is often detected in long-term relationships; 2) there are unexplained cases that seem to defy the convention of sexual transmission; and 3) colposcopy/biopsy are an excellent means of detecting diseases but aren’t specific tests for HPV.  One other important point is that most HPV infections aren’t dangerous and the combination of follow-up exams and, if needed, treatment is typically sufficient to prevent cervical cancer from developing.--ed