Hello everyone,

I will just put it under a cut because I am so embarrassed. 

I just got diagnosed with HPV. Not end of the world and I will not die, but I have a problem. I have had sex with two cisgender guys consistently on the pill recently, so I probably got it from them. Not the best decision, but I am paying for it now.

Should I call them and let them know I got diagnosed? 

I am torn.

Thanks for your help!

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9 Responses to Phone calls you don’t want to get…

  1. SseNope says:

    First, human papilloma virus is incredibly common. This Cancer.gov site gives prevalence among American uterus-bearers as 26.8%. And that’s not even keeping in mind that 90% of the time, a healthy body clears the infection within two years. This is by no means a death knell for you or your sex life. It is not an indicator of unsafe sexual practices, nor does it mean that you’re a slut. It’s the common cold of the genitals. (And even if you had a less common STI, you’re still not a slut, because slut is a meaningless, hateful term.)

    How were you diagnosed with HPV? Keep in mind that cervical changes due to HPV usually take years to show up, and this means that if your diagnosis was those changes, the two guys were not likely to be vectors.

    I think that ethically, you are responsible for informing your partners of any STIs they might have been exposed to. (Even if you were using condoms; HPV is transmitted skin-to-skin, and so condom usage doesn’t necessarily stop it.) I do think, however, that before you tell them, you read up a lot on the infection. That way, you can be more confident and comfortable answering their questions, and present the truth, not the hype or stigma. Start with those two links in the first paragraph, and then this Planned Parenthood page, and for an injection of humor, this Hairpin essay on abnormal pap smears.

    You are not dirty. You are not stupid. You are going to be okay.

  2. Ono99 says:

    I agree with this! HPV is very common and you should not be embarrassed. You’ll be okay!

  3. Ono99 says:

    I think it might be best just to let them know that they may have it… Then they can get tested and know for future reference if they have any more partners, etc.

  4. SseNope says:

    Except cismen can’t get tested. It’s apparently done only on tissue from the suspected infected area, which means cervical samples or warts. But a blood screen or something more general like that isn’t possible.

  5. Ono99 says:

    Ah I was not aware. But it’s still good for them to be aware of that they may be able to spread it to other partners.

  6. Sseyle says:

    FWIW, I would totally consider having unprotected sex with someone even if I knew they had HPV. It’s not necessarily a stupid decision.

  7. SseNope says:

    Honestly, me too. Partly, I know I am protected from a few strains thanks to the HPV vaccine. But mostly, I realize that I’m highly likely to clear it from my system relatively quickly. Even if it does cause problems, regular pap smears track it, and we have technology to deal with the cervical changes.

  8. 29dWoman says:

    It might be useful for *their* future partners to know about possible exposure…which will likely happen for them anyway :p

    You have nothing to be embarrassed about-there are probably a ton of us here right now who have been exposed, we just aren’t tested directly for HPV and it’s only usually known if changes to the cervical cells are made. And on top of that, you’re taking the information and even considering taking action wrt your previous partners-I can’t find anything to be embarrassed about!

  9. Teo007 says:

    If you’re too embarrassed to do it in person or by phone, you can use inspot.org to send them an anonymous email. Of course, HPV is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, but if you think that doing it in person is too much to handle right now (which is totally understandable!) telling them via anonymous email is better than not telling them at all.

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