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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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 Post subject: Breaking the News
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:50 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:30 pm
Posts: 1
Hi,

I am writing because I find myself facing (what is for me) a difficult task:

Four years ago, I had protected sex with my then boyfriend. He is the only sexual partner I have ever had. It turns out that he had HPV with lesions at the time. When I noticed this, he went to the doctor and began having the warts treated. At some point on the relationship, I can no longer remember when, we stopped using condoms. I think it was after he had his warts removed, but I am not sure if he had been fully cleared or if he was clear, for how long. In these four years I have never had any warts or abnormal pap smears. I realize that this may mean that I was infected with HPV but never showed any symptoms.

The relationship with the person ended 8 months ago, and I have started seeing someone else for two months, whom I care about very much. Before we become sexually active, I feel I have to tell him my sexual history, because otherwise, I feel I would be depriving him of a decision that I was never given the chance to make.

I am fairly certain that he does know what HPV is, and that the ambiguity of my particular history coupled with a lack of any definitive information or alarmist information about HPV on the Web will scare him.

I guess my question is: what is the best way to go about telling him? What can I reasonably tell him about his chances of getting HPV from me with and without condoms?

Moreover, what does it mean to say that the virus is cleared by the immune system? Does it not stay with you forever? I have spoken to several health professionals, some of whom have likened it to oral herpes, which flares up from time to time. Is this the case with HPV?

Thank you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:06 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hello sallyjane,

Let me begin by saying you strike me as thoughtful, considerate, and, as much as one can determine these things from reading a message board post, a really swell gal.

While recognizing the decision is yours and yours alone, I respectfully say that I don't think it's imperative you bring up HPV with this partner.

First, you've never been diagnosed. Even if we're to assume you contracted HPV from your former partner, it doesn't mean you have it now, or can necessarily transmit the virus to a new partner. This is a tricky one to figure out because NO HPV test measures something like infectivity, but it is pretty plain that most HPV infections clear naturally over time, usually within a matter of months (instead of years).

Also, there are rarely medical complications that arise with an HPV infection, especially for males.

Now, I will say this. Sometimes the best reason to discuss HPV with a partner is because you feel totally compelled to get it off your chest. In this case, just be aware that the reason behind bringing the subject up is not really to benefit the partner. If you do decide to have the conversation, let me know and I'll be happy to go over some talking points with you. Again, though, I don't think you have any moral or practical reason to do so.

In fact, if you ever had been diagnosed with warts but were now clear, my advice would be the same.

I hope this helps, and please post here as often as you like.

Best,
Fredo

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