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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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 Post subject: Newly diagnosed
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 10:13 pm 

Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:55 pm
Posts: 1
I feel so stupid for doing this but it was so great to see someone out there who understood many of us don't have an outlet for this issue and hear we can voice questions or concerns.
I was diagnosed with a high risk HPV back in aug of 08 since then i have had more tests done and my latest pap test came back positive for lesions. I never fully understood what my doctor meant by lesions but he then scheduled me for a LEEP procedure. The test results came back saying that there were precancerous cells but according to the pathologist they got all of it. Not sure what that means .... because my doctor is on vacation so ... i guess i am looking for help to understand this. I never missed my annual appt since i became sexually active and to have it suddenly pop up scared me. My doctor seemed nonchalant when i asked about what i should say to previous partners and my current he told me not to worry about it....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 8:17 am 
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Location: North Carolina
Hi Erin,

Pap tests sometimes detect abnormal cell changes to the cervix, which are also called lesions. These are microscopic changes, so nothing you'd feel or be aware of, and they are almost always harmless and treatable. LEEP is a common means of removing the cell changes/lesions, pretty effective in most cases, and a prime advantage of this procedure is it yields a tissue sample they can send to a lab for more analysis. Women typically have a follow-up 4-6 months after a LEEP.

There is no medical indication for talking about this with partners, as males are seldom impacted by HPV and there's no specific test or treatment for them. Sometimes people choose to have discussions with their partner because it feels good to have someone to talk with, but that's a personal thing and it's fine, just not something that's needed re: the partner's health.

Take care and post again if you have any other questions.

Best,
Fredo

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:51 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:44 am
Posts: 11
Fredo wrote:
There is no medical indication for talking about this with partners, as males are seldom impacted by HPV and there's no specific test or treatment for them.
Best,
Fredo


Fredo, you provide a great service. But I must respectfully disagree. A man should be told so that he will know that he's been exposed to HPV. That way, if he's with another woman, he will know to tell her. After all, women are at greater risk.

Besides that, penis cancer is a risk as well. I don't understand the, "yeah but it's rare" argument. It does happen. And there are other problems in males in which HPV has not been eliminated.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:58 am 
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Location: North Carolina
Hello Jack,

Thanks for your post and all viewpoints are welcome here, so I'm glad you shared yours.

Over the years I've gone back and forth over what's proper here, and have echoed your thoughts to a number of folks over the years. The issue of just what to tell partners is a tricky one, and with HPV it isn't as easily figured out as with some other STIs. It's pretty clear that with chlamydia or herpes, partners should be informed. HPV, of course, is very different from those infections in a number of ways.

There isn't much a man can do if a partner tell him he/she has HPV. No routine screening for penile cancers, and no routine HPV testing. What would be the point anyway? "Yeah, ok, you have HPV. We all do at some point. There's no treatment we can do for the virus, your body will probably clear it, and unless something manifests there's no screening for male genital cancers we typically do." The one exception here might be for men (or women, for that matter) who have receptive anal sex to have anal Pap tests (and even that's controversial).

It's a good discussion, though, and I don't pretend to have the answers here. I hope others weigh in, too. Let's keep it going!

Fredo

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:28 am 

Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 4:38 pm
Posts: 8
Thank you, Fredo.

So glad to see this discussion. I'm trying to make this decision right now. There are two people I could tell. I've already told one and the conversation went much better than I expected.

The other I'm still deciding whether to tell. The reasons I'm considering not telling him are everything Fredo mentioned -- there's no test for men; even if there was a test, there isn't any screening to monitor for cell changes; and it's so common.

The other reason I'm considering not telling him is the stress of knowing! I'm so anxious knowing I have this virus. I'm worried all the time. I've had two cold sores since I learned and I never get cold sores. I know the stress is making my immune system weaker which isn't helping the cell changes. I believe that giving someone this diagnosis could reduce their chances of clearing the virus. I wish I didn't know. I go for a colposcopy in July. I hope I can find a way to relax before then.

I'd be curious to hear others' thoughts, too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
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Location: North Carolina
You know, for some people discussing HPV with a partner provides a sense of emotional relief, and there's one British study that looked into that. I'll post it below. The best reason for telling a partner about HPV is sometimes not so much that you're protecting their health, but that it makes you feel better!

Those who think a partner should be told make some good points; a partner may then be more likely to use protection, they might choose to avoid certain types of sex (anal or oral) they would otherwise like to have, and so on. Also, it opens the door to a broader discussion of sexual health, which is never a bad thing. With a new partner, it might be reasonable not to have sex while any lesions (like warts or cell changes) are present. I think if someone has active warts, they should either refrain from sex or have a discussion with their partner.

I'm skeptical that men who learn of a current female partner's HPV diagnosis will tell future partners; some will, to be sure, but it's hard to see where the majority will.

Fredo

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
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Location: North Carolina
Disclosing Genital Warts to Partners

British study indicates partners more accepting than expected

HPV News August 2008
© The American Social Health Association

Learning that a sexual partner has been diagnosed with genital warts may not prompt the negative reaction many fear, according to a British study published in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

To better understand what factors are important in disclosing a genital warts diagnosis to a partner, Dr. Louise Scrivener, with the Department of Psychology at the University of London, and colleagues recruited 54 patients with a history of genital warts who have had a sexual relationship since their diagnosis. The participants, all of whom were patients at a London medical clinic, completed questionnaires that assessed anxiety, perceptions of stigma around STIs, and relationship variables. 57% of participants identified as white, 30% as black and 13% as Asian.

67% of the subjects reported having informed their partner of the diagnosis, with the main reasons for dong so including honesty, the partner having a right to know, desire to prevent transmission, and stress related to not disclosing. Disclosers had lower overall anxiety levels and were more likely to describe their relationships as long-term and close.

Non-disclosers, who most often cited embarrassment and fear of a negative reaction as prime reasons for not telling a partner, were more likely to express regret over their decision than were disclosers. Such fears may have been unfounded, though, as those who disclosed said the partner’s response was much better than expected.

Reference:
L Scrivener et al. Disclosure of anogenital wars to sexual partners. Sexually Transmitted Infections. 2008; 84(3): 179-182.

Posted by Fredo

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:39 pm 

Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 4:38 pm
Posts: 8
Thanks again, Fredo.

I'm again leaning towards telling him. I'm worried how it will go. I'm really trying to do the right thing. It's so hard to know what that is.

I think the point about not engaging in some types of sex or using protection is a good one. Seems obvious, but I hadn't thought of that.

One question, though. If a person has already been exposed to the virus through vaginal, rectal or oral sex, does it make the problem worse to have more of that type of sex? Would there be any benefit to abstaining from it in the future? Even with the same partner?

I know my thoughts and feelings are all over the place on this. It helps to have some place to talk. Thank you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Anytime, kiddo. Please keep in touch.

Best,
Fredo

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