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Personal Perspectives

I wish I had been vaccinated

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Personal PerspectivesI just recently turned 18, and found out that I may have HPV. I still do not fully understand the disease, but I do know it is an STI. It’s frustrating because I know I could have been vaccinated for it, but I wasn't educated enough to do that. Please continue to educate both women and men on this issue, to let them know HPV affects almost everybody. Your website has helped me a lot and made me not feel so all alone, thank you.

Thanks for your post. You’re correct in that HPV affects almost everyone who is sexually active – both male and female- and it’s important to know about the vaccines that are available. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you would like to ask about anything related to HPV, or would just to find some support and chat a bit, we hope you’ll visit our HPV message board forums. --ed.

 

The Male Perspective

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So being a male diagnosed with HPV Type 16 (Bowenoid Papulosis via a biopsy) has been absolutely devastating to me. I suspect I got it from my previous relationship where, although there is no way to know. I'm trying to keep perspective but it’s hard, and I’m depressed. I’m focusing on eating better, exercising, staying healthy...but my mental and emotional state is an absolute wreck.

I've gotten treatment to remove the lesions, and things are looking better but it doesn't change the fact that I'm always able to pass this on whether I have symptoms or not. I feel like I'm in the worst HPV bucket possible; a male with the highest risk strain for cervical cancer in women. I won't ever be involved (sexually) with another woman without letting her know, and I have zero confidence any woman would ever just be OK with it unless she already has that exact strain and knows it. I'm just struggling for some support here. I realize it's not the end of the world, but it's a mountain of a hurdle that now stands in the way of something I truly value in my future. The rejection and abandonment of my last relationship is hard enough right now, HPV just makes it feel that much more difficult. Someone please give me some perspective here because I'm feeling pretty lost, and that too is a difficult place for me.

--Visitor to ASHA's HPV Message Board Forum

Feeling upset over an HPV diagnosis is a common reaction and understandable, given the shame and stigma that needlessly remain attached to most things sexual. Keep in mind that HPV is very common, so much so that most sexually people are estimated to have the virus at some point. For most, the infection is harmless and clears naturally. Whether or not you’re able to transmit HPV to a new partner isn’t clear, but about 90% of cases are resolved by the immune system within 24 months. This leads a number of experts to believe the risks of transmission are likely to diminish over time, but it’s frustrating that this cannot be proven. Cervical cancer is certainly something about which women should be aware, and Pap tests and (when appropriate) HPV vaccines are wonderful prevention tools. Keep in mind that even with high-risk HPV types, cancer is a rare outcome (and most often occurs in women who have either never had a Pap test, or have gone five or more years without one). Don't overstate the risk and given that HPV infections are so universally common, don't assume you're protecting a woman from high-risk HPV by not being with her. Remember that most women with high-risk HPV never have even a single abnormal Pap as a result!-ed

 

It's possible to move past this

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I just felt I should check in to report that it's been over 2 years for both me and my girlfriend after receiving treatment for warts and we're still clear without a recurrence past the first episode (and still happily together and healthy). Honestly I hardly even think about HPV anymore and regret letting it consume so much of my time and energy only because I know that I could have been doing something more constructive with all of that energy.

For any of you who are frantically searching the internet trying to cope with a new diagnosis just know that you are not alone and I know it's scary, but it is indeed possible to move past this and live your life. I also want to thank ASHA for providing this resource because it was the best source of information I could find after scouring the Internet. Hang in there and good luck!

 

HPV needs to become our MOST talked about STD

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I am baffled when I think that up to 80% of sexually active people are infected with HPV, yet it is one the least talked about STDs. In fact, I never even knew the purpose of annual PAP tests until I was 29 years old, and diagnosed with high-risk HPV. While HPV is very common and not associated with promiscuity, I have found that many men consider infected women guilty of something.

I eventually met a man who only had one sexual partner and may not have ever been exposed to the virus. Before becoming intimate with this man, I told him about my HPV, certain that it would end the romantic prospects in our relationship. Amazingly, this man was not turned off in the least, and we had a beautiful relationship, until I moved away to take a new job. My next relationship was with a more experienced man who, while unsure about HPV, did not realize that he was likely already infected and once he came to terms with it, we shared a wonderful relationship.

HPV needs to become our MOST talked about STD. Maybe if I had known about HPV from the time I became sexually active, I would have been more careful and avoided infection.

 

I had never heard of the disease . . .

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At age nineteen I had my first abnormal Pap test results and, being young, I ignored it and went on my way. Finally at age 23 (4 years ago) I went to my clinic and was diagnosed with cervical cell changes related to HPV. I was given the choice of being treated right away, or returning for follow-up exams and biopsies every six months. I chose to take the watchful waiting approach with the frequent biopsies, and after about a year and a half I finally had a normal Pap test again.

When I was diagnosed with HPV, I had never heard of the disease and it's amazing now to see how much awareness has been spread about the infection and diseases it can cause. I’ve learned there HPV is common and I have to say, it’s comforting to me just knowing there are so many other people in a situation similar to mine!

You’re correct in that HPV is common, and virtually all sexually active people are thought to contract the virus at some point in their lifetime. It’s common to have HPV, then; the difference between you and most others is simply that you have a diagnosis! Most cases of HPV are never detected and are cleared naturally by the immune system – ed.

 


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