Hey there tiptoe.
In 1990, I was also diagnosed with HPV. I had one wart, it was frozen off. They have never reappearered, my pap screens have always been normal, but because those things are no guarantee that I don't still have the virus, and thus, that partners can't aquire it, it's always something I bring up before becoming sexually active with someone.
No one has yet treated me like a leper.
How do I bring it up? Pretty normally. In the context of talking about safer sex, I mention I've had it and may have it dormant still. If a partner doesn't know about it, I pass on some information, including the info that while safer sex tools help, they don't offer 100% protection from the virus. I make clear a risk of transmission may be being taken.
I have yet to have a partner decline to be active based on that, but I'm always prepared for that to happen and to accept it gladly if need be.
In terms of dealing when it happened, it wasn't fun, but these things rarely are. It was in the context of a relationship where all the precautions were taken (again, even with safer sex practices, testing, mmonogamy and condom use, it can happen), and because male screens for HPV are notoriously inaccurate, my partners two screens had come back all okay, but tracing back, it seemed likely he got it two partners before me, years before. But it took some doubting and blaming and worry about cheating before we could get there. Had we known more about it in advance, that likely wouldn't have happened.
I didn't have a support group, but my GYN was very supportive and very informative. Never forget that that's part of what your doctor is there for -- to provide support and information, not just tests and medications.
It is worth noting that HPV can actually be very medically serious for women because some strains can cause cervical cancer. So, while one can deal with it -- even if unlike me you do get warts regularly -- it does mean making sure to have your paps every year without fail, for instance. And if you do end up with both those viruses, you may find your immune system doesn't work as well as it should and may have to learn to take extra good care of yourself to stay healthy.
Understand lastly, that your current partner (and those previous) will need screens if he hasn't been having them already, and that, as I said before, unless men have visible warts, you really can't get a test that will tell them if they have HPV. And since about 90% of cases are asymptomatic, that's some iffy stuff.
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen
My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
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