Please help me understand my HPV situation

Hi, I'm a 31 year old male. I just found out that my girlfriend of just 2 months is a carrier of HPV 16 and 18. She is currently dealing with a CIN 3 dysplacia and is going to have a LEEP done next month. She has been dealing with HPV for 5 years now. We have had unprotected sex several times and she did not disclose any information until a week ago.

I have several questions

1. How do I know if I'm infected with HPV?
2. If I'm infected with HPV does it ever go away?
2.2. She suffers from HPV 16 and 18. Does that mean IF I'm infected that I also have that kind of HPV?
2.3. IF I now carry HPV 16 and 18. Does that mean that IF I have sex with someone that does not carry the virus, that they would get those exact kind (16 and 18)?
3. If I'm infected should I continue to have sex with my girlfriend or any future partners? Would we ever be cured if we continue to have sex?
4. How's my sex life going to be impacted if I'm infected with HPV?
5. Can a woman pass on the virus when giving birth to a baby?

I really appreciate your help. All this uncertainty and lack of information is bothering me a lot. I no longer have piece of mind. I have spent the last 4 days worrying about this.

I wish she would've shared this information when I asked her if she suffered from any STD's :(

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Thank you VERY much for answering my post. I truly appreciate it. I am glad to get a female perspective on this. I am also glad you shared your story. I'm REALLY struggling with the thought that someone who professed love to me, could've done this to me. She swears that she didn't do it on purpose. I don't know if I should belive her or not. She is a doctor and should know better. What I don't understand is how she could've had sex with me and other guys before me AFTER finding out she is infected with HPV 16 and 18? How could she have such disregard for the lives of the women these guys are most likely going to sleep with? How do I just let that slide. I feel violated. I feel like I didn't have a choice. I feel like my sexuality has been altered. How could she not have told me when I asked her if she suffered from any STD's? Right here, right now I don't think I could forgive her, not right now. Maybe later down the road. I'm so confussed because if it wasn't for this. I REALLY liked the gal. I'm also not sure if I want to live that kind of sexual life, always wondering if she still carries the virus or I do (although I'm now screwed because I will never know unless my partner shows signs and not knowing is and will continue to bother me), wearing condoms and feeling inadequate about it. Before I found out she carries HPV and I'm now infected. I was SUPER supportive about her CIN 3 dysplasia and potential ramifications (cancer, problems carrying a full pregnancy, etc). I told her I would support her and not leave her hanging. But her not telling me about her HPV and how that was going to change my life forever, THAT I cannot forgive :'( :'(

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I completely understand your feelings and thoughts about her wrong doing, but to be fair to her as well... You must understand that since there no test for men, us women rely also on what we are told by our partners... How do we know for sure that the guy we decide to sleep with doesn't have hpv? He ofcourse wouldn't know so we to assume they are carriers of the virus... My doctor also explained to me that once you have a specific strain and that if you keep having sex it does not bounce back and forth between partners. However unless you have only slept with virgins before you slept with her then perhaps you did not have hpv. But if you have had several women who weren't virgins chances are and it's sad to say but you probably already had the hpv before her disclosure... I get that you are upset but educate yourself about this first before you completely pass judgment on her and shun her out of your life...

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I'm not a saint. I've had sex with several women before and I understand that there is a possibility that I had the virus before I was with her. But that will always be a speculation. But the fact that she knew she had it and didn't disclose make ALL the difference. I am not an expert on this, neither am I a dr but from what I now know, I feel ogligated to disclose this info or not have sex.

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ebertebert- HPV sucks. There's no way around that. She should have told you so that you could have at least gotten vaccinated before you had sex. But at this point it is woulda-shoulda-coulda and doesn't solve anything.

WantToClear95 did a great job of answering your questions. I would add that just because condoms aren't always affective doesn't mean they aren't worth using. You can also have your partner use female condoms. I think it is wonderful that you as a man have such concern for yourself and any future partners. There are a lot of men out there that think this is a "womans" Issue becuase most men don't have any complications due to HPV. As such they don't take precautions with their partners, which is part of why this virus gets spread so much. You can take the same steps that all of us ladies who've had to deal with HPV can do to clear yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep and maintain a healthy weight. Keep your immune system up! If you do those things your chance of having complications and passing on the virus is pretty slim. Default.aspx is a great resource on HPV

I know this information is mostly based toward females, but we usually are the ones who have to deal with the complications. I find the information reassuring. I had been with my husband for 5 years and married to him for 3 before I found out I had HPV. I don't know if I got it from him or one of my other partners before him. I've been blessed that he wasn't even phased by the whole thing. He was more worried that I might get really sick and has been very supportive. He's a good guy and I can tell you are too. I find stories like yours very discouraging. The issue here is that she's broken your trust, which is much harder to heal than HPV. You will have to decide what is right for you and your future with her. I wish you the best.

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ebertebert, just out of curiousity of many women here, could you please (honestly) tell us what you would have done if your gf had told you the exact truth of her std status before you were intimate with her?

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I have so many feelings right now. I feel betrayed even tho she swears she didn't do it maliciously. When I think about how I opened my heart, my house and body to her, how I made myself vulnerable to her and what she unintentionally did, I want to puke.

I also feel like my sexuality is ruined. I will not be able to have sex with a gal without disclosing all this information. I feel dirty and broken, unworthy of enjoying my sexuality. I think it would be irresponsible to have a gal choose to run the risk of getting cervical cancer.

My wife died of breast cancer 3 years ago and I refuse to expose a woman to such terrible disease.

If my gf would told me she carried HPV I wouldn't have had sex with her. I can't say I would've left her. But I wish we could've discussed this as a couple :(

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It pains me to hear you tried to hurt yourself. I hope you are doing better.

Question! What kind of dr/expert could help me with this?

An urologist
A sexologist
Or a specialist in contagious diseases

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I am so sorry you are going through this. HPV 16 and 18 is no doubt a scary thing to be dealing with but i can tell you there is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to HPV. Please don't think of yourself as damaged goods. Unfortunately over 80% of sexually active people are exposed to the virus at some point in their lives. In the vast majority of people the infection clears with no dire health consequences.

I think you are smart to seek expert help when it comes to HPV. Although lots of us on here can offer you some good sound advice, most of us on this particular site are NOT doctors or experts in the field. When you mentioned a specialist in contagious disease I immediately thought of Dr. Hunter Handsfield on the medhelp forum. I know the site does charge a fee for submitting a question, but at least you would be getting advice from an expert. If you don't want to pay a fee you can read through the posts on the site to see if you can relate to any of them regarding HPV. I know a lot of women on this forum don't agree with the advice given on this particular site, however the advice does come from an expert who has had over 30 years of experience with sexually transmitted infections disease. He really knows his stuff and has actually written information for the CDC regarding HPV. I don't know whether this doctor would tell you that your girlfriend should have told you about her HPV with an ACTIVE infection. With a CLEARED infection, that being that the most sensitive HPV DNA test is not picking up any traces of it, or no signs of genital warts for about 6 months, this doctor would say one is under no obligation to share a past HPV infection. With an a known active infection this would probably be a different story. I know these doctors do say HPV is a fact of life and to not obsess over it. I do think your girlfriend should have been honest with you, especially knowing she has an active HPV infection. The fact that she is a doctor probably expains why she didn't share this detail with you. Many doctors view this as a very common disease with disclosure of it unnecessary. Most docs say to always use condoms for sure though. I often think I would do best to date someone in the healthcare field because he wouldn't be as down on HPV! Although men are typically not at risk for HPV, it has been shown that HPV 16 can cause oral cancer in very rare cases. Although rare, oral cancer seems to occur more in men. You would only be at risk for it if you engaged in oral sex with your girlfriend. In addition, there is some risk of you passing the infection on to other women as long as the infection remains active on your genitals.

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After finding out that I, too, have HPV, I immediately turned to the net for research. Unfortunately, there are so many conflicting reports about HPV and personal opinions, that I was confusing myself even more. I don't know if this will help, but, I found a book called "Any Mother's Daughter", written by Bonnie DiRaimondo, who sadly passed recently. She was bold and to the point, and some people found her opinions offensive. However, it gave me a better perspective of what I was dealing with and that it isn't one person or the other's fault, considering how the disease is transmitted. However, I do agree with everyone else, that your girlfriend should have disclosed her situation prior to being intimate.

Anyhow, I do recommend the book!

Good luck!

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"I'm not a saint. I've had sex with several women before and I understand that there is a possibility that I had the virus before I was with her."

Change the word possibility to the word probability and you will be more accurate.
Unless the women that you had sex with were all virgins then at least 80% of them would carry HPV.

If they were all virgins then you should be ashamed of yourself and if they were not then you were more than likely a 'carrier' yourself.

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I was thinking some more about this situation. I don't think you need to be ashamed of yourself. You have the right to be angry about this situation. On the same token, Rysun is correct that there is a good chance you have been exposed to HPV before. I understand that strain 16 is one of the most common HPV strains, if not the most common one, so indeed it is possible you've already been exposed to it.

Something else I wanted to say is that even though I do think your girlfriend should have mentioned HPV, especially when you asked her if she'd had any prior history of STD's, keep in mind that women bear the burden of this particular disease because of the advanced testing we have. Pap and HPV tests are certainly a blessing for us, but in a lot of ways they are a curse for us because women, more often then men become aware of their HPV status, and in a lot of ways this is not fair. It's not fair when the vast majority of the population is walking around with an HPV infection, yet only the lucky few get to know because of bad pap tests or pesky genital warts. Reality is, most people who have HPV display no symptoms. Do you think any of the guys your girlfriend dated before knew they had HPV? Probably not. To make things more equal for both men and women, perhaps routine testing of HPV for both men and women is needed. It gets complicated though because so many people are going to come up positive. What do we do, stop having sex and not carrying on the human race?

The best thing you can do is educate yourself about this virus. I know you feel like damaged goods and are worried about passing this on to future partners. The reality is that future partners are just as likely to get HPV from any other guy they have intimate relations with. You just have the burden of knowing.

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I'm sorry but I don't like the cookie-cut answers of "well everybody is problably infected so let's assume everybody carries it so that way we can relief the burden of having to tell someone.

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Ebert, do you love your gf?

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ebertebert, just want to say I commend you for your morals and your conscience. You seem to be honest and responsible person.

I'm sorry you have to be put through this awful dilema down the road. Hope everything will work out nicely for you soon.

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I care about my gf VERY MUCH and have very strongs feelings for her but I don't love her. We've only been together like a month.

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I am not talking to her right now. I'm taking time to see if I can forgive her. This Saturday we will talk. I might break up with her or I might decide to forgive her and try to figure out how we can work this out. How would our sex life be? What can we do and not do?

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I never said you shouldn't tell someone. I believe you are right to be angry. Read my posts again. What I'm trying to tell you is that you need not consider yourself damaged goods because of having a very common condition. I advise you to take a balanced approach to this situation. Educate yourself, understand how common this is and that you're not alone, be honest with future partners, and suggest that future partners be vaccinated. Your other choice is to retreat to a cave, become a hermit, consider yourself a leper and never ask another girl out. The choice is yours. Knowledge is power.

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ebertebert- I suspect your sex life would suffer because of trust issues, not because of HPV. My husband and I never stopped having sex during my treatment (except for the 6 weeks after I had my excisions done). We were committed to each other. Guess what I'm HPV negative now. You can take steps to help her heal and to heal yourself. The honest truth of this is that there is no test for men to find out if they have HPV. My dr. recommended healthy diet, exercise and supplementation to boost my immune system. That will help you clear the infection to the point that YOU WILL NOT BE CONTAGIOUS. Use condoms, you should always use condoms in a new relationship because you just don't know and people lie. Please read about HPV on the link I posted earlier.

You are not damaged goods. You are a person who is worthy of being loved and has to deal with crappy HPV. This Virus is not worth beating yourself up over. When people tell you that most people don't have an issue with the disease, that is TRUE. I suspect a urologist is probably your best bet for talking to about HPV and the risks to you. Please do talk to a Dr. if it will make you feel better.

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"I am not talking to her right now. I'm taking time to see if I can forgive her."

How very kind of you !!! Do the poor girl a favour and walk away now. You are obviously so concerned about YOURself and your sex life than you are her possible problems. So she deserves someone better who loves her and cares for her and does not obsess with a virus that 80% of the population have.

IF you decide to 'forgive' her then what do you expect in return ? Gratitude ?

Accept the fact that YOU are more than likely are now a 'carrier' and just think that any future girlfriends that you may have will have the same nasty thoughts about you as you have towards your present girlfriend. How about that ?

By all means see a urologist and possible any other 'ologist' that can make you live in the real world and grow up.

Remember YOU are now a potential carrier.

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I understand that we have to wear condoms to reduce the chances of reinfecting each other or increasing the viral load. But how about oral sex? Can we practice oral sex onto each other?

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