I have been reading this message board for about a week since my doctor told me I have tested positive for high-risk HPV, and it has really helped me calm down and figure out what's going on, so thanks to all of you out there.
My family doctor (a D.O.) does my annual pap smears and, until the last one, they have all been normal. She referred me to a gyno, which I am going to see this morning, to see if anything needs to be done. She did tell me that she did not see any lesions during my exam, and I hope that all turns out well.
My biggest worry when all this came about was talking to my boyfriend of one year about it. After a string of terrible relationships, I've finally found someone that I think I could spend the rest of my life with, and I was terrified that he wouldn't understand and might leave me. I brought it up to him the other day and discovered that he already knew about HPV (he said his ex-wife had an abnormal pap smear before and I assume she also had HPV although he did not specifically say so), and I was relieved that he was understanding.
I've done lots of research in the past week and have discovered that:
HPV is very common; the CDC estimates that about 75-80% of the sexually active population has some form of HPV at any given time (an estimate because there is no test for HPV in men)
In most cases, a healthy immune system will "clear up" HPV within about 2 years of detection
There are rarely symptoms of HPV and unless a woman gets pap smears annually, she may never know she has it
Genital warts (caused by certain strains of HPV) are only present in about 1% of the sexually active population at any given time
Most of this information came from the Center for Disease Control, which I assume is a reliable source. The information can be found at:http://www.cdc.gov/STD/HPV/
One concern that I have is this (and it's sooooo embarrassing): my boyfriend and I have engaged in anal sex in the past, so if they discover precancerous cells on my cervix, does that also mean that it's likely that there will be precancerous cells in my anus? Anal sex is so stigmatized that discussing it with a doctor, though a must in this case, can be highly uncomfortable.
Another question: I've heard that if a LEEP procedure is performed, you're supposed to refrain from inserting anything vaginally for a while. I assume this applies to tampons as well?
Well, I've got to get ready to go to the doctor and see what's going on. Thanks again to all of you who post on this forum--it's been so helpful this past week. I'll keep you guys posted.