Thanks for that. So basically what you're saying is that the 80% figure shouldn't really make anyone with EGW feel better, right? Because in that case, "Genital Warts", i.e. HPV-6/11, is still a fairly uncommon virus -- which is probably why all the stigma is attached to it.
I really thought the prevailing viewpoint was that many people exposed to HPV-6/11 were asymptomatic. Then again I did read somewhere that "new evidence" suggests that nearly everyone with HPV-6/11 expresses some symptoms. It's all very confusing and depressing.
Most of the "feel good" information about the prevalence of HPV does not therefore apply, and the notion that future partners have very likely already been exposed to the low risk strains (and have cleared it) is probably morally bankrupt in light of what you're saying.
Maybe you can help me with some of my anxieties:
For the record, I don't know if I have HPV. In January I found something that freaked me out -- I could barely eat or sleep for days, until I returned from the holidays and could drop in at my local STI clinic. Once there I got an intern who was useless, saying it was a "tricky" diagnosis, and then proceeded to point out 3 or 4 other lesions in the pubic area (some of which were clearly moles or ingrown hairs). He called in an "expert", during which I sweated bullets.
When the expert arrived, he examined it and said "I don't see any warts." But there was a tiny lesion that we had identified that we then "lost" and spent minutes searching for again. The expert grew impatient and was ready to leave. Finally we found it, and I pointed to it, he looked, and then said "I don't see any warts" again.
When I returned home, I froze it off with a home freezing kit just to get it off my mind, but I never thought about HPV again until 2 days ago. In the interim, it turned out that I got molluscum ... starting below my navel.
I've been battling molluscum for almost 4 months now and the damn thing is persistent. I have had serious anxiety and depression surrounding this "trivial" STI.
And then amidst all that, I found something that might have been a wart. I was so terrified and decided then and there to get rid of it myself, because I could not possibly handle a positive diagnosis at this stage, 4 months into molluscum-related depression.
So I froze it (I've been using an upside down can of dust-off sprayed into a bottlecap, and the resultant liquid applied with a q-tip, on my molluscum sometimes). Naturally, in my state of panic I over-froze it. The lesion turned a bright red, almost cherry red, unlike any wart I've ever frozen on my neck. I told myself it probably wasn't a wart, it was a skin tag or any other benign skin lesion, but I kept staring at it and theorizing.
I didn't want to go in to check, and felt like a murderer covering up the scene of the crime. The next day the area got swollen due to the over-freezing, and I starting pulling on it with tweezers, and surprisingly the tissue just came off (with most of the underlying skin that was inflamed). I then noticed a tiny other blemish of similar sort, but softer, and was out of freezing fluid so I actually pulled it up with tweezers and made a tiny incision with a razor blade that was sterilized. Of course I have all the tools -- alcohol, povidone iodine, tea tree oil, tweezers, razor, so forth.
Basically now I have removed all evidence of those lesions, but I find myself uncomfortable not knowing. My rationale was this: if it was HPV but was to be an isolated minor episode, with no more warts to follow, then I'd rather not know. I want to be one of the masses of people who are asymptomatic or just never realize it until they clear it. I don't want to face it. Maybe if I hadn't been struggling with the loneliness and depression of molluscum, I'd be more adult about it. But I just can't now.
And I figure if it was really HPV I'm likely to get more, and then it'll be unavoidable. But maybe I'll get lucky. And in the meantime I'd like to hope that it was not a wart that I froze. But I'm gathering all the info on HPV just so I feel less horrible about it, and maybe will be able to better deal with it if it comes up.
It doesn't seem like HPV is that much worse than molluscum, but it IS stigmatized. I hope it doesn't come to me knowing for sure.
For the record: the growths were almost like a "ridge" with one major bump and two tiny minor bumps. Not as soft and floppy as a skin tag, almost like a harder skin tag that looked a bit like a mountain range in profile. No wart I've ever had looked anything like it -- I've had flat, rough warts on hands and feet, and I've had the "horny", filiform warts on my neck that sort of look like multiple stalks with a rough surface when you touch the tips. It definitely wasn't molluscum.
What do genital warts typically look like? Multiple stalks, or roundish bumps with rough cauliflower texture? Or can they look like anything?
Sorry for the disjointedness of this reply. I didn't mean to spill so much in this one post, but it's late and I guess I have a lot on my mind.