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I was just so unaware!

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I was diagnosed with genital warts today, though for the past week and a half I suspected I had it and have been doing much online research. I’ve been feeling really ugly and disgusted with myself, beginning to wonder if I should from this point forward lead the celibate life. I am a twenty-seven year old female, who has had four sexual partners in my life.

My HPV journey started two months ago when I noticed a small bump in the rectal area that a physician informed me was a "skin tag". I am prone to "skin tags" so I didn't think this was a terribly odd diagnosis, except they never itched when I’ve had them before. After using a medication for several weeks my symptoms just got worse and I started checking online for more information, which is when I started to believe that my "tags" were really genital warts. Last week, I made an appointment with Planned Parenthood and today my suspicions were confirmed; I was diagnosed with genital warts, which were treated with an acid. I will also have my annual Pap test to screen for cervical cell changes related to “high risk” HPV. Thus far, all of my Pap’s have been normal.

I am certainly frustrated in that I tried to be a proactive patient and my efforts lead to a misdiagnosis. As other visitors to your site have written, I too am surprised that more information about HPV (i.e. that it can be contracted even when condoms are used) is not available in doctor's offices. I am learning that this is a very prevalent disease that is easy to contract. I was just so unaware!

I’m hopeful that more women (and men) will become aware of HPV. I am certainly grateful for this website, the stories shared by others, and for the kind staff at Planned Parenthood that directed me to ASHA’s site.

--Thanks for the kind words, and it’s great that you found caring, well-informed health care providers who answered your questions. We agree that HPV awareness is important: One key aspect of this is understanding how very common HPV infections are, that virtually everyone who’s sexually active will contact the virus. Having HPV is normal! –ed