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Home Personal Perspectives Personal Perspectives I'm tired of being single and sexless in the city!

I'm tired of being single and sexless in the city!

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Being diagnosed with HPV is not easy (my diagnosis came in May 2008). I still don't know what kind of HPV (“high risk” or “low risk”) I have. I had an abnormal Pap and my ex- boyfriend had genital warts, yet my doctor said she never saw any warts on me. My Pap returned to normal by itself within six months, and all have been normal since. My ex had two cryotherapy freezing treatments to get rid of the warts and has never looked back. He keeps saying it was an allergic reaction to something, but I don't think so.

Anyway, he broke up with me and now has a new girlfriend. Me, on the other hand...I am still very confused and more mentally/emotionally scarred than physically harmed by the whole experience. I have not been sexually active since 2009. It's my own fault because everyone keeps saying its not a big deal, but in my mind it is. When I tell guys I date about HPV, they don’t even think twice about it. They ask a couple of questions, then move on like I never mentioned it. I'm almost 28 years old and I need to move forward in the relationship/love area of my life. It has been hard because I really wish I had more defined answers. I hate mysteries. I wish I had skipped the Pap that day in ‘08. That way I would have never known about HPV. I can't bring myself to have sex with anyone because I'm afraid I am invisibly contagious and will pass HPV to them. Ugh! So lost and I'm wasting my life away. I feel like I'm living a double life. In public I'm happy and going out with guys (knowing that I'm not getting close to anyone because of this Wall of China I have put up), in private I'm sad and feeling like I've messed up my body and there's no second chance for me. Hate to be Debbie Downer, just needed a place to vent and be open.

I told myself this year I would be more open to building a relationship with a nice guy and not worry too much about the whole HPV thing. I think I have made very small steps towards doing that. I've been going on quite a few dates. I just haven't been putting in the effort of making anything work. I need to work on getting over the fear of a physical encounter. Anyway... I'm trying over here. I'm tired of being single and sexless in the city!

We’re sorry to hear things are still hard to deal with, and the emotional side of HPV is too often overlooked. Clinics often think they've done enough by treating the warts or cervical cell changes that occur. Studies have shown time and time again that the emotional fallout is, not uncommonly, much harder to take than any medical implications. In fact, there is a story in the News Desk section of this issue that talks about the emotional impact of being diagnosed with genital warts.

It's also not uncommon for abnormal Paps to become normal again, and often this happens even without treatment. The immune response usually clears HPV over time (typically within 24 months) but it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. It’s good that you’re taking the “baby steps” and dating. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t think that by having sex you’re exposing a partner to something horrible. Keep in mind that HPV infections are very common, so much so that almost everyone who has sex contracts HPV at some point. Most HPV infections aren’t dangerous and are not likely to be persistent –ed.