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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Emergencies and Crises » I have HPV.

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Author Topic: I have HPV.
fille_francaise
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I am so scared right now; I don't know what to do.

PP just called me about 2 things: the results of my urine test & my pap smear. She told me that my urine test came back positive for cultures, so I did end of having an UTI/bladder infection. The antibiotics I was taking cleared it up; I feel no symptoms from that so that is okay, I guess.

She then told me that my pap smear came back abnormal & that based on the results, I have HPV. She was talking so fast that it never really registered & I had to ask her to repeat herself. She told me they're going to have to do a biopsy & that should tell me what I should do next after a couple of weeks when the results come back.

I can't stop crying; I am so mad & upset. I feel like this shouldn't be happening to a girl like me. I've only had 2 partners! & they were both screened. None of them showed any signs of this virus. I feel dirty & ashamed.

I just did research on this site about HPV; I've definitely heard about it. It seems like everyone is talking about it. So this isn't completely news to me. But even so, the information I found is really vague... like I "may" get cervical cancer. The symptoms are only wart like erosions on my genital area, which i do have, but thought I was allergic to the soap I was using. & even at my appointment, the doctor didn't mention them. I just feel so stupid for assuming that it wasn't serious... & for not taking the proper precautions for something like this. At the same time, I don't know if it would have been prevented. I do use condoms sometimes, & it said that even with condom usage, I could still contract it.


I just need some calming words, maybe some more information on what I should do next, what I should expect. My doctor's appointment is 2 weeks away... so I am assuming that this means it's not terribly serious, or else she would have requested to see me now. I can't stop crying & I have a new job starting today. I don't know if I'll be able to concentrate.

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KittenGoddess
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Take a deep breath...it's going to be ok.

Sometimes things just happen, in spite of all of the care we may have taken. Bad things just happen sometimes, and there's no reason to feel ashamed of that. Many STIs are mostly asymptomatic in men (if you had male partners).

Rather than worrying about what happened in the past, the best thing you can do is try to move on from here. There are many different strains of HPV, and some of them have been linked to cervical cancer. But no matter what strain it is, having found it and treated it early is the best first step you can take.

If you have a partner right now, it would probably be best to hold off on direct genital contact until you get everything sorted out (both in terms of transmission and, frankly, in terms of comfort...because sexual activity when you've got any type of issue going on is likely to be less than comfortable). Also, your partner will want to go get tested again as well.

For right now, just try to relax and wait for your appointment.

--------------------
Sarah Liz

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fille_francaise
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quote:
Originally posted by KittenGoddess:
Rather than worrying about what happened in the past, the best thing you can do is try to move on from here. There are many different strains of HPV, and some of them have been linked to cervical cancer. But no matter what strain it is, having found it and treated it early is the best first step you can take.


You're absolutely right about this. I've just been through so much these last couple weeks; from moving out on my own into a new town, to having my boyfriend overdose on cocaine & now this. Everything in my life has been going topsy-turvy. & it's so hard for me to relax, especially when it seems like everything's going so wrong.

I suppose that naturally, I am a pessimist & high-stessed. So this doesn't help, either.

--------------------
"...Our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

-- death cab for cutie.

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Mike062987
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One thing that's important to understand is that the latest studies show that most women end up with some form of HPV at some point in their lives. If I'm remembering my human sexuality class correctly, out of the ~120 different strains of HPV, only like 4-7 of them can cause cervical cancer. Also, a large majority of people fight of HPV within about 2 years. So you may have it now and even may be able to transmit it now, but in the future it will go away. The most important thing is to get at least your most recent partner tested and to help him understand that you can't blame each other; a standard gynecological exam has just started to include a test for HPV.
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fille_francaise
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quote:
Originally posted by Mike062987:
One thing that's important to understand is that the latest studies show that most women end up with some form of HPV at some point in their lives. If I'm remembering my human sexuality class correctly, out of the ~120 different strains of HPV, only like 4-7 of them can cause cervical cancer. Also, a large majority of people fight of HPV within about 2 years. So you may have it now and even may be able to transmit it now, but in the future it will go away. The most important thing is to get at least your most recent partner tested and to help him understand that you can't blame each other; a standard gynecological exam has just started to include a test for HPV.

Thank you for this. I understand this & it has caused me to breathe a little bit easier.

I do think it's important that my boyfriend gets tested. I told him about what is happening & his reaction was disbelief because he's never shown signs of anything.

Is it possible to receive a male exam at Planned Parenthood? Neither of us are insured right now...

--------------------
"...Our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

-- death cab for cutie.

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-Lauren-
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(Mikeo62987; this section is for staff and volunteer replies only. Welcome, and we look forward to you contributing in the main area. [Smile] )

The FamPACT program in California covers male physical exams and STI screening/treatment. He should be able to get this done free of charge at PP if he meets the income requirements and does not have insurance.

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fille_francaise
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Thank you. :]


This is so nerve-wracking. ;/

--------------------
"...Our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

-- death cab for cutie.

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Heather
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FYI, wart strains of genital HPV are NOT known to be the cervical cancer causing strains, so at the very least -- since you appear to have a wart strain -- please put your mind to rest over that risk, okay?

Too, know that for future reference, constant and consistent condom use DOES do a great deal in terms of prevention of spreading HPV (or picking up a different strain or another STI). It doesn't do AS good a job as condoms to for fluid-transmitted infections, but consistently condom use reduces the risks by about 70%.

So, like anything else, when we find out what we were doing wasn't as good as it could have been, be sure to step it up from here on in per your safer sex practices, alreaight? That's SIX MONTHS of condom use for vaginal, anal and/or oral sex, no matter what, at least TWO full STI screens for you and your partner and at least six months of monogamy on top of all that before talking about ditching the barriers.

Suffice it to say, if you have a partner that's got a serious drug problem, in the interest of truning the whole of your life back to a more manageable, positive direction, tough as I know it can be when you're already in crisis, you should at least consider stepping away from that relationship, alright?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fille_francaise
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Thank you, Heather. You always have such wise things to say. :] I will keep these things in mind. This morning, I feel a bit calmer & I think I can face the day without feeling so ashamed & alone. Not to say that this isn't a big deal, because it is, I just feel like everything is going to be alright.

As far as my boyfriend goes, I am aware that drug abuse is a serious thing. I hadn't know he was using until he overdosed, lying in bed with me. He began to have a seizure & I assumed it was because he had mixed medicines, or something; he had told me he was sick with a stomach flu & allergies. Looking back now, all the signs were there, but I have no experience with drugs so I wouldn't have known, really, unless he himself told me. It was a rude awakening & I am done hating him for it. He's gotten help since then -- this happened nearly a month ago -- & he's vowed never to touch that or any drug again. It scared the dickens out of him. Continuing loving him may not be the easiest thing, or the wisest in most people's eyes, but I love him & I support him. I am all he's got & I am determined to shed some light on the situation & keep him accountable for his actions. He's been doing really well since then. & I'm really proud of him. Of course, our relationship has taken a strain, but trust will be rebuilt & life will go on... everyone makes mistakes. I think he reached his lowest point.


One more question:

If I have no other partners but the one that I have been with -- my boyfriend, whom I think I may have gotten it from -- would it be alright for my [our] health to still continue to sleep with each other? I understand that I need to ask this & other questions to my doctor when my appointment finally comes, but until then... what shall I do? We're not doomed, are we?

[ 06-15-2007, 10:14 AM: Message edited by: fille_francaise ]

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Heather
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You're not doomed: millions of people have some form of HPV, and like I said, especially if it's a wart strain it's relatively harmless.

But you're not going to be likely to find out for sure that it WAS from him -- HPV can have realy long incubation periods, or long times before symptoms show up, so you really need to start practicing safer sex, no exceptions. And that's not being doomed, really -- just speaking for myself, as someone who enjoys sex an awful lot and has for a very long time, barrier use is seriously no big deal, unless you make a big deal OUT of it.

You'll also just want to be sure to stay vigilant about your anual sexual healthcare and pap screens.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fille_francaise
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Certainly! That's better news than what I expected, thank you. :]

So other than condoms, would birth control be the same "barrier use" as you explained?

At my PP exam a few weeks ago, my doctor gave me Ortho try-cyclin & I was going to be a Day One starter & my period will be coming before my next appointment. Also, this won't effect the biopsy at all? My being on BC?

--------------------
"...Our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

-- death cab for cutie.

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fille_francaise
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I'm sorry I am asking so many questions; I just thought of another.

Because I am suspecting that I have HPV in the form of a wart strain, it is still possible to have an abnormal pap smear result? I ask only because the doctor never examined the area where I have these bumps...

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"...Our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

-- death cab for cutie.

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Heather
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Comdoms, latex gloves (or handwashing) and dental dams: that's your latex barrier arsenal, and again, once you get used to using them, it's really no big whoop.

I also feel inclined to tell you that given you know your partner hasn't been honest with you, and is a drug user, that you really need to consider that your risks may well have been far higher than you suspected, and you should still consider them so with this partner, since love him as you do, you've got every reason not to rely on his words about his history and habits.

Your being on BC won't effect your biopsy.

I'm confused as to how you could have had a GYN and pap smear without your doctor also doing a visual examination of your genitals -- that would be, well, not just unusual, but unless you have a visually-impaired doctor, it'd be impossible. Are you saying you didn't have any active warts when you went in?

And yes: a wart strain can also cause an abnormal pap.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fille_francaise
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She never looked at my vulva. I sat in stirrups [sp?] she did my pap smear, checked inside of me, felt my breasts & that was it. It was literally a 5 minute visit. She never actually pulled up my gown & looked in the area where I have them... & I did, at the time, have a few bumps. They were probably not as visible because of my pubic hair. I just noticed them completely when I trimmed it down a bit. That could be why.


I am okay with using condoms. Lover isn't. He passed up on sex completely when I told him to get one. I am re-evaluating my relationship as we speak.

We sort of got into a bicker last night because he wanted to have sex but I made this joke that not until he showers first; he hadn't in 2 days & it wasn't smelling so pleasant down there. I explained to him that with my body being so funky right now, I'm really going to be cautious about what I put into it [no pun intended]. I said this in an honest but caring way, but he seemed to take it offensively. Am I right about this? I mean, it seems logical to be clean before you have sex. Bacteria & sweat forms in dark, moist places, no?

--------------------
"...Our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

-- death cab for cutie.

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Heather
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In order for her to have done a speculum exam and a pap, she would have had to have been looking, and really, GYNs can do visual exams pretty darn fast and efficiently. A visual exam is also part of that basic exam.

But too, HPV warts do not appear on the mons or outer labia generally -- where hair is -- bit on actual genital tissue -- around the vaginal opening, vestibule, inner labia, perineum.

But ultimately, sounds pretty clearly like you weren't communicating with your doc, asking about the bumps, and that you'd be well-served by going back and being seen again, and also asking all your questions.

Per this guy, I really don't see a point of getting into more arguments about all this basic stuff. If he won't bathe and makes you argue with him anout it, and he won't be in any way responsible for safer sex and sexual responsibility, you really need to get smart and step away from trying to have an adult relationship with someone acting like an infant.

And FYI? If he told you he got tested before but refuses to use condoms, on top of the other lies, I'd posit you have a world-class fibber there -- and if you've gotten roped into no condoms because of him before? Honey, this isn't a boyfriend, nor is this a healthy relationship: this is a home improvement project.

From the start, when you posted about some of the appearance issues back in March, you were pretty clear that this isn't a workable fit for you, and it was clear then you seemed to be holding on in a way that was more maternal than girlfriend. If you're all he's got -- and last you posted about him, he had friends -- that's his doing, not yours, and he needs to seek out some diversifed support as well as tstepping it up his own darn self.

But even if you WERE? That's not a very sound reason to stay in a romantic and sexual relationship with someone which not only isn't working, but is endangering your own helath and well-being.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fille_francaise
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You've given me a lot to think about, on all counts.


Thanks again. =]

--------------------
"...Our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

-- death cab for cutie.

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Live_Laugh_Love
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Just some information that may not help the original poster, but at the very least might be interesting to others reading it...

My mom had an abnormal pap smear 2 times in a row last year, so they kept an eye on it in case it was cervical cancer. While she was there, her doctor told her that a lot of people call HPV an STI...but it's not really. In fact, almost EVERYONE has some strain of HPV lying dormant in their bodies. People refer to it as and STI because it's activated by the sperm somehow, so (mainly) women who have had sex can "contract" it. But even men have it in their systems. (by the way, my mom ended up fine)..

Came straight from the doctor's mouth...just thought I would pass it along.
p.s. I know that this section is supposed to be reserved for Scarleteen "professional", but I wasn't sure where else to post this where it would have relevancy.

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Leabug
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Actually, HPV IS an STI- because it is primarily transmitted through sexual activity. People are not born with HPV, as you're suggesting, unless perhaps their mother had it and passed it to them during delivery. It IS very common, and many people do have HPV and are asymptomatic, but it is still passed mainly through sexual activity. Also, I couldn't find a single thing stating that sperm "activates" HPV, so as far as I know, this is misinformation.

And when an area is reserved for Scarleteen staff and volunteer answers only, that IS the rule, no matter how helpful you think your post may be. The people who post here do so primarily because they only want the responses of those who work here.

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Lea

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-Lauren-
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The reason this section is reserved for staff and volunteer replies ONLY is expressly to maintain accuracy of information, and because it's the only advice the OP even wants.

HPV is an STI, period. It does not lay dormant and become activated by sperm. Please be sure to look up reliable sources before posting in the future.

Source: Center of Disease Control and Prevention

(My bad, Lea got it first. [Smile] )

[ 07-21-2007, 12:36 AM: Message edited by: *Lauren* ]

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Heather
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Just to make sure we're clear here, there are a LOT of strains of HPV. SOME of them -- the genital strains -- are sexually transmitted: so, when we talk about genital HPV, we are talking about THOSE strains.

And semen isn't required to transmit HPV genitally. In fact, that's a very easy myth to sort out when you read ANY basic literature on HPV, which all means clear that it is not a fluid-borne virus, but one transmitted simply via mucosal contact: no fluid sharing is required at all, which is why, while condom use between men and women helps prevent the spread of HPV, sometimes even people who use condoms will get it. Too, HPV is one of the few STIs which lesbian women are at substantial risk of, which is also very well documented, and I can assure you, there's no sperm involved between women. [Smile]

Unfortunately, a lot of general doctors and older OB/GYNs (rather, Ob/GYNs and GPs who haven't been in school a while and aren't so great about continuing education, particularly around sexual health issues) are sometimes no more reliable about information on STIs than the guy who bags your groceries. Your Mom's doctor, clearly and unfortunately, is NOT at all in the loop about HPV and gave her incredibly incorrect misinformation.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Live_Laugh_Love
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well, my bad. Seemed an awful lot like a gynecologist, who is a specialist in that area, I would assume, would be a "reliable source". hmm

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:)

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Leabug
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As Heather said, a doctor or gyn has to be sure to continue their education for the rest of their careers, as more is learnt and myths are exposed about sexual health throughout time.

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Lea

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