The warts were caused by an additional strain of HPV. One person can concurrently have more than one strain of the virus. I was the lucky winner of a second strain, one that causes warts. This time, rather than becoming freaked out by the information, I was angry. This was the first time I had visible evidence of HPV and it made me feel dirty.
My gynecologist told me that I had three options regarding how to deal with the warts. The warts weren’t harming me at all so I could do nothing, I could put cream on them and they would take a long time to go away, or I could have them frozen off. I opted for the freezing. Two rounds of freezing did the trick.
The genital wart strains of HPV are the only ones that can affect males. As I am no longer with the boyfriend who was so understanding about my HPV (coincidentally, he is the one I blame for the warts), I am faced with the dilemma as to if I should tell my prospective mates. My doctor says that I don’t have to, but it would be nice of me to do so.
This left me in a quandary. The first time I was faced with a decision as to whether or not to mention HPV to someone I was dating, I wasn’t 100 percent sure I wanted to have sex with the person. I decided to tell him about the HPV and see what happened. He had never heard of HPV and the conversation went extremely poorly. It took place in his car after he asked to come inside my house and have sex with me. The conversation went pretty much like this:
Me: blah, blah, I have HPV, I explain what it is and that everyone has it, including this guy.
Him: Holy $#@!!
Me: It’s really not a ‘holy $#@!!’ It’s the most common thing there is.
Him: You have herpes?!
Me: No, I don’t have herpes.
Him: You have hepatitis?!
Me: No, I don’t have hepatitis.
The conversation went downhill from there. I decided that this dude was an ignorant jackass and I never wanted to hang out with him again, much less ever have sex with him. That solved my quandary for that moment, but not how I should deal with this issue in the future.
I told a good friend this story and she decided to blog about it to solicit opinions of other women. The consensus was that HPV is so common in the world of single people that it is a given. Saying you’ve been exposed to HPV is like saying you have been exposed to the flu virus. Who hasn’t been exposed? I’ve decided that I don’t have to tell my prospective mates about it.
The average HPV infection hangs out in your body for around two years. By my calculations, mine should be gone in few months and my trips to the gynecologist will hopefully dwindle. I imagine though that every new man I have sex with will have his own HPV strains that I will contract, so it’s likely this cycle could go on for years. For me it has become much like the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine decides if men are “sponge worthy” enough to sleep with. When deciding whether or not to have sex with a new man, I wonder “are you worthy of me contracting another HPV strain?”
Goldstein, S. (2008). My World of HPV. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 18, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2008/my-world-of-hpv/
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.