I have HPV.
There I said it, doesn’t seem so hard to type it. It turns out it’s a lot harder to tell a potential partner.
I have HPV, and not the sad, I may get cancer kind, but the gross, causes genital warts kind. I know this because I feel like I am now an expert on the topic. For those of you who know a little bit about HPV, this may not seem like news, but for the rest of you, here are some stats straight from the Canadian Cancer society webpage:
- HPV is the most common STI.
- There are many different types (40-130 depending on where you get your information).
- 75% of sexually active adults will have an HPV infection in their lifetime.
- Some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer (high-risk), some genital warts (low-risk), some never show any symptoms at all.
- Wearing condoms does not fully protect you. The only way to 100% protect yourself is abstinence.
- Men are prone to carrying the virus with no symptoms at all.
Is anyone else blown away by the fact that 75% of sexually active people will have some form of this virus in their lifetime? And let’s be clear, MOST of the 25% who don’t, are people who have only had 1 sexual partner.
So why do I feel so ashamed? Is it just because these relatively minor lesions are on my lady bits? Is it because it is an STI? I can tell you right now if they were anywhere else on my body I sure as hell wouldn’t be so conflicted about telling someone.
So how do I tell him? And let’s be clear I am going to tell him, and yes I know I don’t have to, my doctor made that very clear along with much of the internet saying “they probably already have it”. That doesn’t matter to me; my human decency level is high enough that I believe he deserves enough respect to make that decision himself.
Still doesn’t make it easy to say those words out loud.