Husband denying he gave me HPV!! (Revised title)

I went to the docs a month ago and my pap came back abnormal. Went in for the colcosopy. He told me I had cervical cancer. He went on to mention that 5 years prior I had a pap done while I was pregnant with my daughter and it had come back abnormal too and that I was suppose to go for further testing 6 months after I had her. I baby and all. Well it had been 5 years since my last pap...I am 26 now. I know long time. But anyways, he asked me if my husband had a sex partner before me. We have been together for 11 years now. We lost our virginities to eachother. He is my one and only. So I told the Doc no...he said well then its been since you guys have been together. Which then my mind got furious! I confronted my husband who denied it, swears to GOD that he has never had any other woman besides me in his whole life.... What am I to believe? Is this the ONLY way of contracting this cancer...I need help.

Edited June 22, 2009 at 11:18 pm

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Wow, Amanda, what an emotional strain for you!!

First, to be clear, if your husband was unfaithful, he didn't pass along the cancer exactly...he most likely would have contracted and passed along HPV, which causes most cervical cancer. Just clarifying.

In all the research I've done, I've found that HPV is really only passed from one person to another by skin-to-skin genital contact. I have found a blurb here and there that vaguely mention other ways of contracting it, but they're not real specific. HPV isn't something that can really live outside the body (like pubic lice can), so it's very unlikely that you get it any other way. However, sexual intercourse isn't necessary to pass this along....if you or your husband had skin-to-skin genital contact without 'going all the way' back before you lost your virginities to each other, that might have been sufficient to contract the virus.

Having said all that, your husband is the only one that truly knows if he's been completely faithful or not. Sadly, there's no real test for him to determine if he has HPV. Since HPV doesn't really cause problems for men like it does for women, the medical community is not in a real hurry to develop one. I can't vouch for your husband, but keep in mind that one of the first reactions to news like "oh, by the have cancer" is to look for someone/something to blame. It's human nature. So you need to be careful and try to separate those instinctual feelings from true evidence.

You're in a very stressful and scary situation. I wish I could tell you something (anything) that would make you feel better. I can't. All I can tell you is that, on this site, you'll find lots of women in similar situations, with strength and love to share. You can know that a stranger is thinking of you and praying that you get the answers that you need.

God bless.

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HPV is not only passed via sexual inercourse. It spreads easily by skin-to-skin contact or skin to object contact. So though you may have never had sexual inercourse prior to your husband, if you did other things, HPV could have been transmitted.
It is also possible for, fingers or sex toys to carry an infection from one person to another. In rare cases, HPV may be spread without direct sexual contact. It may be possible, for example, to pick up the virus if you use a towel to wipe your genitals after it has been used by someone who has HPV or genital warts.
Recent diagnosis of HPV, anogenital warts or related cancer does not necessarily mean that a partner has been unfaithful. Infection with HPV may have occurred years ago and the virus can remain in the body for weeks, years, or even a lifetime, without any sign of an infection. This makes it hard to know exactly when or from whom someone got the virus. There is no way to find out how long a particular infection has been there, or to trace it back to a particular partner.

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Amanda, please don't blame your husband for getting cervical cancer. I know we all want to blame something and have some kind of explanation as to why we got this dreadful disease. Have you thought about what if you never had sex and still got cervical cancer? Who would you blame then? It happened, you can't change it, spend your time and energy on getting rid of it and improving your health. You need your husband for both support and to be the father of your child. I tried blaming myself and every bad decision I ever made in life and ultimately, it did me no good. It's important to focus on what you can control and move forward, forget what did or didn't happen in the past. I'm sorry you have to deal with this now, but you will get past this and holding your husband close instead of far away will make it much more tolerable to go through.

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Amanda - I would echo the sentiments of the ladies who have responded above, and as someone who has dealt with multiple invasive cancers from HPV, including an invasive anal cancer right now, I know how frightening it can be. To then think you've been cheated on as well can just be overwhelming.

However, as was stated above, there is no test for men and at this point even if there was , if YOU have HPV then your husband could have gotten it from YOU it's not always men giving it to women. True, men do not develop the horrific consequences of HPV that we women do but in this case, your husband may be feeling horrible himself over something that he unknowingly transmitted to you. Try to think about how terrible he feels on top of trying to wrap his head around your diagnosis.

Pregnancy results in immunosuppression and consequently can exacerbate previously dormant HPV infection so your positive Pap while pregnant doesn't surprise me. However, and you may not want to hear this part, YOU are ultimately responsible for your lack of following up with what you knew was an abnormal Pap not for six months or a year but for five years! Yes new baby and all but this baby was almost in kindergarden by the time you followed up with this and frankly you have to take responsibility for your medical care, treatments and follow up. No one is going to or at your age should be doing this for you. HPV does not develop into cancer overnight (by the way you never mentioned just what your diagnosis is) though some do progress more rapidly than others and, not trying to add insult to injury here but had you had this addressed earlier more than likely it would have been picked up and treated before it became cancerous. I'm not trying to be cruel. I understand your pain more than you could possibly know (as others on this board who know my history) but there is something to be said for personal responsibliity and accountability as well.

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I also wanted to say that if I were your husband, I'd be furious with your doctor! His obvious lack of understanding regarding transmission, dormancy and the like related to HPV has obviously created quite a rift at a time when you most need support. How dare he cast aspersions and create such marital discord!

Men do pass it on to women, but they obviously got it from some woman initially (if heterosexual) so you may have given this to him and not visa versa. Your doc never mentioned that possibility did he?

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I asked my doc if there was any other way. Now that I read jen071172 comment it got me thinking. When I was 13 I was raped by my dad. Not intercourse raped but he had his hands down on my vagina. Could this have happened because of it. Because I believe my husband is telling the truth. He would never jeopordise our family. And as for the doc I do believe he was in the wrong. Because there has to be other explanations that have not yet been determined by medical studies. There has to be.

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Amanda, I'm glad you didn't find my post too harsh and have decided to reply to the issues I raised. Kudos to you for that!

What you describe could certainly have transmitted the virus. HPV loves moist areas like the vagina and research now shows to have found the virus under peoples fingernails. Any opening in the skin no matter how slight, even an abrasion perhaps from his "fondling" or whatever it may have been would be enough for you to have contracted the virus.

As for other ways which you state "have not yet been determined by medical studies", there are a lot of other means of transmission and there are also countless documented medical studies regarding this. It was initially believed that intercourse was the means of transmission, now we know that it is any skin to skin contact with an infected body part. While viruses cannot live very long outside the body, if you dad had touched an infected area on his own genitals and then touched you yes you could have gotten it from your father. That in and of itself is yet another unfortunate and troublesome layer to this whole situation for you.

Others here including myself can provide more information if you would provide the exact diagnosis you were given. I would suggest you obtain copies of your Pap results and the results of any biopsies which may have been taken during colposcopy for your own records.

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My doc has sent in the samples he has collected and said I should get results back within 10 days. So yeah.... I feel horrible for my husband. I actually feel quite dirty and ashamed. But I know that it was not my fault. But I owe all this findings to my sister. She is 2 years older and just found out 3 weeks prior to mine that she contracted it..and she knows who from...but I would have never of went in for a pap until she talked me into it...but I was like, there is no way I have that. I have only had 1 sex partner in my whole life. And it was very stupid on my behalf for not getting my regular check ups no matter how embarassing it is for me. I am going to be switching to a female gynocologist. But I thank everyone for their replies. I was having a hard time believing and finding any other scenario on how i got it!!!!!

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Please don't feel stupid or beat yourself up about this! The important thing is that you're seeing a doctor now. Be proud that you're taking the steps you need to get this all taken care of!

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Amanda, I'm sorry that you're going through this! A lot of us feel ashamed when we were diagnosed. Sometimes it's how we were treated by our doctors, sometimes it's due to stigma attached, and often it's a combination of both. I'm sure what you're feeling is even that much worse due to the sexual assault by a family member! I hope that you've been able to get past that (as much as you can) and that this diagnosis doesn't set your recovery back.

In any respect, what tests and treatments have you had thus far? If you have high grade dysplasia or cancer, you should really see a gynocologic oncologist for your care. Also, you said your sister was diagnosed. Does she have dysplasia or cancer? (was she assulted too?... in that case you may have a common strain).

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No she was not assulted. My dad is not her dad. My mother sent me to live with my so-called dad when I was 13. I never knew him. Found him over the net by the name in which she gave me. He didn't even know he had another DD. My mom should have known better. When he came up to visit he was making sexual advances at me...none that I would like to talk about. I was 12. But she sent me anyway...I think to just get rid of me. I tried telling her of the way he was with me down in Mississippi (i reside in washington state now). So far away. I waited till he let me come back to see my family before I told everything because he threatened me with not ever seeing my family again. I have gotten past most of it. I look to the future and I try to give my kids everything I never. A better future of hope and achievement. I will NEVER let what happen to me as a child EVER happen to them. I will keep everyone posted when I find out my results. All my doctor said was that I was in the early stages of cervical cancer. I had tons of bad cells and 3-5 tiny lumps he took off. He hopes he got it all. I have no idea anything else. Just a waiting game at the moment. But you ladies, you are GREAT! You have helped me better understand things that I thought were going to destroy my marriage and now I know, well I am 98% positive where I contracted this. So thank you!

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hi, amanda. i'm so sorry to hear that you've been diagnosed with cervical cancer. did he say if it's cancer....or dysplasia? if it's cancer, the first thing that needs to happen is that you need to go to a gynecologic oncologist - not your regular gynecologist.

and, as others have posted, hpv can be transmitted via intimate sexual contact and not just vaginal intercourse. this would include all sorts of sexual 'play' between partners. it could have happened when you were assaulted, or your husband could have engaged in sexual contact without having intercourse.

and, cancer isn't transmitted from one partner to another - it's the hp virus that is transmitted, and, in some women, can result in dysplasia or cancer, although it takes some time to develop.

please be sure to continue to get your medical treatment and hopefully now you understand the need for regular routine check ups. you can make a difference in other women's lives by reminding them that they need their annual pap and hpv tests!

let us know how you're doing.

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thanks again.

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amanda, you've shared your concerns about you got hpv....please focus your energies for now on getting yourself better. have you already made an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist? do you have a treatment plan? let us know how you're doing!!

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You have so much to absorb and I am sorry that you are dealing with so much. At this point there are more scenerios than you realized as to how HPV was contacted. What you need to do is focus on recovery and put any anger aside. When I heard HPV from my doctor and reacted, his response was it's no big deal as 75% of men and women have it and just don't know about it and that it typically clears up on it's own. It is a symptom free virus, and only gears it's way to detction from a cervical exam. Though your husband was a virgin, it doesn't mean that he never explored a little in other ways, or the other possibility is the sexual abuse you encountered. At this point, put your attention on getting better. If you are able to, take the needed support from you husband, sister, family, or other friends.

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I think your doctor was WAY out of line!! There's no way he can possibly know how you contracted HPV!! A lot of people seem to forget that HPV can also be transmitted through kissing. I'm sure you or your husband must have shared a kiss with another, prior to becoming involved in your relationship!! HPV can then be spread from the mouth to the genitals via oral sex. I'm just going to go out on a limb here, by also assuming you've had oral sex with your husband.

This doctor's negligence has not only caused you to doubt your husband's fidelity, but it's also caused you to drudge up some really painful memories from your past. I think I would let my doctor know how this misinformation has impacted your life and would encourage him to keep his mouth closed, in the future, before destroying anyone else's lives/families/happiness. The diagnosis, itself, is damaging enough, without all of the misinformed opinions of uneducated doctors.

I had something very similar happen to me and once I became more informed on the subject, I was absolutely livid with the doctor I spoke with!!

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3 years ago I had a pap test it was positive for HPV my Dr.'s told me it was OK, 2 1/2 years later went for another Pap, new Dr. told me that the previous one 3 years ago had checked bad, and so did this new one. A Dr. should be sued & Shot for not letting his patient know about HPV, I get the feelin sometimes that they dont get real concerned with HPV.
Anybody comment on this?


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Hi Amanda, my situation is almost identical to yours. I had an abnormal pap smear at my 6-week check-up after my 5 yr old was born and chose to ignore it. I was busy with the baby. If I had my time to go back, I would have done things differently. Now I have been diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to go through chemo and radiation. My doctor never told me that I have HPV and I did not ask because my mother was in the room with me and was terrified. At my next check-up, I will definitely find out for sure-I know that HPV causes 70% of cervical cancer and now I am doing research and reading the posts on this website to find out more. I have been blaming my husband deep down inside because I know that I have been faithful to him for 12 years and that he cheated on me a year ago. He is alot older than me and has had alot of years of sex with different women that I found out about after we were married. I can't say for sure that he gave me HPV. I was wondering if anyone knows if it is safe to keep having sex with him? I have been sleeping in my kids' room to avoid him . If I already have HPV, would it hurt to keep having sex with him. We have been through so much and I did forgive him for his affair, but I never thought that I would be going through this.

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Sorry but I'm going to side with the doctor on this. The docs know that the chance of getting any std from a toilet seat or dirty towel are (although technically possible) very remote. Also, the docs have heard all the denials, and they have memorized all the excuses so that when they hear them again, they are not buying them! People cheat and people lie. Don't enable the guys to do it again by letting them off the hook by believing some self-serving, and selfish fabrication. Maybe I'm just old and jaded but I'd believe a doctor's educated opinion on this before I'd ever believe any guy who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar (so to speak). Concentrate on getting well, and be strong (but not naive). Been there...M

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janet, actually it's 99.8% of cervical cancers are caused by hpv. if you have squamous cervical cancer or adenocarcinoma cervical cancer, then hpv was the causative agent - of course, most women who have hpv do not develop cancer. the .2% pertains to rare types of cervical cancer. i'm sorry that your doctor hasn't explained how hpv is linked to cervical cancer, but it's never to late to learn more. if you had an abnormal pap 5+ years ago, most probably the cancer's been developing all this time, and your hpv exposure would have been prior to that time, either from your husband or your previous partners. i'm glad to hear that your treatment is behind you, and i hope you are healthy again.

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