Life with HPV

I am 1 of approximately 20,000,000 infected... This is my story.

ATTN ATTN!

whatareyouthinkingashley:

If you don’t know already, I tested positive for high-risk HPV.

And honestly, I’m sick of how all people ever talk about is AIDS/HIV, herpes, and then make jokes about gonorrhea or chlamydia… but when it comes to HPV, so many people don’t know what the fuck that is. And the ironic part is that it’s basically the influenza of the sexual world. Most sexually active people will contract it at some point in their lives, and most people never show any signs or symptoms, or will even KNOW that they have it. YET on top of that, there is this stigma that exists where people will claim that those who have it are “dirty” or whores, but want to know something? People who have only slept with one person in their own life can get it if the person they slept with was positive. Having multiple partners just increases your chance of contracting it… along with every other STI.

And so here are some more basic facts about the Human Papilloma Virus:

-It’s far more serious for women than men, though men can develop penile or anal cancer.
-Men are carriers
-There are two types: low risk (associated with genital warts) and high-risk (associated with a few cancers, and most commonly cervical cancer, which is the second cause of cancer-related death in women)
-There is no cure but your body will usually “clear itself up” of the virus within 2 years of contracting it as long as you have a strong immune system. I put quotes around the words “clear itself up” because technically the virus has entered a period of latency where the level of the virus is so low that it isn’t detectable so one tests HPV negative when they were once HPV positive. However, signs and symptoms such as abnormal cell changes or warts may recur later on in life.
-There are over 100 strains
-A vaccine that offers protection against the most common types that people contract (types 6, 11, 16, and 18… the last two being the most common cancer related strains), is available. As for the efficacy of the vaccine, studies show that it is 99% effective but there have been many controversies surrounding it. Some people think it will result in an increase in the amount of kids having sex (which a recent study has shown is false), and that pushing girls to get vaccinated promotes the idea that they are promiscuous. Additionally, others have reported seizures and other injuries and medical issues after receiving the vaccine. As for those who experienced adverse effects, there was probably more to their stories.
-Just because a woman gets a normal pap smear, doesn’t mean she isn’t positive for HPV, which is a huge reason why so many people don’t know they have it.
-Cervical cancer is preventable as long as you have an annual pap smear so that in case you do have a lesion (abnormal cells) then your physician can treat it before it develops into something more serious like cancer. The main reason so many women develop cervical cancer is because they didn’t go in for their annual pap smears.
-There is no cure for HPV or any virus.
-It is transmitted sexually via skin-to-skin contact — not fluids, and if a woman is positive and pregnant/going to become pregnant. Intercourse, oral, anal, hand jobs, or anything sexual are all ways one can contract the virus.
-Most women who have HPV will never develop cervical cancer.
-Currently there is no HPV test for men which is why there is a push for boys to get vaccinated because girls aren’t (once again because of the controversy I briefly discussed in a previous point). 
-Just because you have HPV does not mean you can’t have sex with anyone. And to be completely blunt. if someone shames you for having it and tells you that you should have “closed your legs for five minutes,” they can go fuck themselves.
-Just because you get the vaccine doesn’t mean you can’t get the other strains

Lastly, please educate yourself about a disease or infection before passing judgment if someone informs you that they might have contracted something. It is for your own good!

Here are some links that I found useful in case you are still curious and want to learn more:

http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm#common

http://www.jfponline.com/index.php?id=22143&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=165900

http://www.cmf.org.uk/publications/content.asp?context=article&id=1748

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZtDrju_gwM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7g2LfDwYc8

http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-and-men.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/genital_warts_in_women/article.htm

Thank you

Hi there, I’m new to tumblr and I’m very excited about how many people are talking about HPV. It’s awesome! I have been living with HPV for over 18 years and would like to share my experience to help others. I really commend the work you all are doing. If there’s anything I can do, answer questions, or give advice, I’m happy to help! - fellow HPV survivor

Anonymous asked: Hi! I'm Chloe, I hate being anon but I'm not ready to be public about my HPV, sorry! I was diagnosed in March 2012, and since then I have not only had a continuous outbreak, I have tried everything... from Warticon, Cryo, Acid, home remedies like ACV and the absolute horror that is Aldara! Aldara makes me so sick, shivers, migraines, malaise and I loose all ability to function! Please tell me this gets easier? What worked for you in the end? :( Nice to see a blog like this though!

Hi Chloe,

That’s not a problem, stick to posting anonymously if it makes you more comfortable. What you’re going through sounds exactly like how my body was reacting from 2008 until early 2012. It seemed like they were popping up like whack-a-mole. Knock one down and two more appeared

For me, cryotherapy, although it was far more painful than anything else definitely worked best. It was pretty disheartening, however, when sometimes the warts wouldn’t die even after a thorough blasting. That was always the worst! Especially since it isn’t (or wasn’t) a cheap procedure by any means. 

You and I are on the same page with Aldara (I’m sorry to hear your side-effects are so extreme). At the time they gave me the generic (Imiquimod), but probably should have named it “spoutawart”… It appeared to be triggering growth rather than killing the warts so, for me at least, it only made things worse. I stopped using it after maybe three weeks. My immune system is already rather wonky, so it didn’t come as a surprise to me all.

In the end… The only thing that truly worked was time. While that doesn’t sound very comforting, I mean, eventually it will go away on its own.I have not had a recurrence of genital warts for over two years now. There is always the possibility it will crop up on me again, but for right now… I’m just trying to stay positive. :)

I wish you the best, Chloe. This gets better, trust me! If you ever need anything, please let me know!

Anonymous asked: Hello, it's me again! The initial strain of warts I had was about 3 years ago now and I was given a treatment to use and it worked. Haven't been back since. My OH is incredibly supportive about it all, as with other things in my life (depression ahoy!) but I think as we've just not been particularly intimate since I told him years ago the topic hasn't been opened up again for years. I wish I could know it's gone for good, I haven't felt the same since, despite how normal it is :(

Try to be open about this with your partner. I can’t emphasize it enough. If you received treatment over three years ago and it hasn’t returned, you definitely dodged a huge bullet. Many people have recurring gential warts for years (and years, and YEARS) until their immune system finally gets up to speed, even with regular treatment.  Of course, once you have HPV you’ll always have it, but that’s not something to dwell on.

I suppose what I’m eluding to is, in order to start having a healthy sex life again, you need to tell you partner you’re ready to try again. That you want to have sex with him. That you want to be close. He’s been with you for a while now, and if he hasn’t run screaming into the hills over this, then its easy to conclude you’ve found someone who really truly cares about you. As long as they are okay with having sex then go for it!

I understand this is easier said than done, and I know it is hard to face, but please consider the possibility of opening up to him. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how everything turns out. 

Anonymous asked: I have a sort of weird thing to talk about. I have HPV. After being diagnosed I sort of stopped asking questions and never went back to discuss it. I've been in a long term relationship for a few years. My OH knows about the HPV. we love each other very much and aside from a few small ventures we've had basically no sexual contact. Thinking about HPV gets me down. Just started thinking about it again. Is there anything I can do? It would be nice to share that intimacy with someone again :(

It sounds like you have repressed how you truly feel about all of this since your diagnoses. The “out of sight out of mind” method doesn’t get you far (trust me I have tried it). I know you said your other half know about this, and obviously they are okay with it, but have you tried talking about how having HPV is effecting you emotionally? Your partner “knowing” is only half the battle, I’m afraid. Have they tried to offer support when you’re feeling like this? Do you brush it off as if it is nothing when they make an attempt?

Speaking freely with them can really help break down the walls of anxiety, especially if the reason you and your partner’s lack of intimacy correlates to how you feel about yourself, not so much the fact you have HPV. For example, when you start thinking about all of this and you begin to feel gross, unattractive, or broken — try do your best to push those feelings as far away into the back of your head as possible — because not only are they false, they also hurt you on a deeper level.

Moreover, HPV is not a death sentence to your sex life.You can still enjoy sex and other forms of intimacy with your partner, I promise you, but I think you will find it easier to cope with how you feel if you have a nice, long, in-depth, no holds barred conversation with them first.

Ultimately, if you wish to begin having sexual intercourse again, I strongly suggest you go see a doctor to get yourself checked out. If you have a wart strain then schedule an additional appointment to have them removed. I can tell you from personal experience, when they’re “gone” I start to feel a lot better about myself. Yes, the possibility of transmission to someone else is still there, but it is still a huge self-esteem booster.

If you have a non-wart strain still take time to speak to your doctor. Ask for information. Be open! Doctors are there to help you, and believe me, they’ve seen and heard it all, so there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

Tens of millions of people in the world have some form of genital HPV! Not to sensationalize it or anything, but think about it, this is way more common a problem than you might think.

Thank you for reaching out to me. If ever need anything please don’t hesitate to shoot me another message (anonymously or otherwise). Next week I will be on vacation in an area where cell services and wireless are non-existent, so if I don’t respond promptly during that time, I’m definitely not ignoring you.

Try to stay positive. Everything is going to be okay. :)

Anonymous asked: Hey, im the 16 years old girl that thinks i have HPV. I went to the doctor two days ago and it turns out that i have urinary infection or something like that, and the doctor said that i dont have genital warts or something. Thank you for your advice, its really help me:) x

You’re very welcome! I’m happy to hear you went to the doctor and got this taken care of!

Thank you for writing back to let me know :)

Anonymous asked: A guy who I have strong feelings and high hopes for told me that he couldn't see me anymore because of my hpv...I have never felt so low, unwanted and undesirable :(

I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been rejected by someone you care about. Man, I know exactly how you feel right now. After managing to get your hopes up, exerting every ounce of courage to tell them… they just punch right through your rib cage and crush your beating heart with their bare slimy hand.

Maybe nothing I can say will change the way you feel, but you’re way stronger than this. You did the right thing. Telling him took a lot of guts. I can only speculate on this guy’s intentions but seriously, if he wanted to be with you for you, he wouldn’t have opted-out of starting a relationship.

Whenever I’ve been rejected like this it always makes me wonder: Did they just want to get into my pants? Did they care about me at all? To what extent did my feelings even matter to them? Is this going to happen every time? Am I ever going to meet someone who will look past this?

Please don’t just read these words, say them out loud, because I guarantee they’re true:

  • I am wanted.
  • I am desirable.
  • I am fucking beautiful.
  • I am honest.
  • I am strong.
  • I deserve so much better.

You’re on the right track! Stay honest, true to yourself and keep pushing forward! He’s the one missing out here, not you. ;)

Anonymous writes…

Recently my boyfriend and I broke up. We dated for a year and a half… he was my first. About 2 weeks after we ended our relationship I got a call that my pap smear was abnormal. So I have hpv but I do not have warts and I was told that it’s not cancerous. My dr has me taking folic acid to minimize inflammation and basically told me that I’ll be fine and if I keep myself healthy (no smoking, less alcohol, vegetables, etc) it should clear up. I know it won’t be gone forever but she said the goal is to have normal pap smears again. I took it pretty hard at first but after doing some research I feel much better about myself and the whole situation. The thing is 50% of people say oh you don’t have to tell your partner if you have hpv but the other 50% say that you should. I’m not dating anyone right now and not really planning on it anytime soon but do you think a girl who has a strand of hpv like mine should tell her significant other?

Even though you did not contract a high-risk and/or wart strain of HPV, I still feel it is necessary to inform future partners about it.

Think about it from this perspective:

Your strain of HPV has no immediate life-threatening implications, however your future partner may unknowingly spread HPV to more women (and more women, and MORE women) in the event you two have a breakup.

You yourself were not given the choice. You already said finding out put an undue emotional strain on you. Maybe ask yourself:

Do I want to do unto others as they have done unto me?

basedboss28 asked: Hi can is hpv like a std or something can it go away and never come back. Can your children be affected with it?

Yes, HPV is a sexually transmitted disease.

Over a period of years HPV is generally suppressed by the human immune system but it does not leave the body.

An older study performed in 1998 (here) suggests babies are much more likely to contract high-risk HPV during vaginal birth versus cesarean section. The CDC also has an article regarding transmission during birth (here).

Anonymous asked: If the warts are not visible, can someone do oral sex on me? I'm a girl and wondering if I will ever receive again lol sorry for the blunt question...

The CDC says:

The likelihood of getting HPV from kissing or having oral sex with someone who has HPV is not known.

(source)

I have received unprotected oral sex many times since my diagnoses.

This comes down to mutual consent. If your partner understands and accepts the possibility of transmission and decide its a “risk worth taking”, then go for it. If you have any doubts you can pick up a dental dam at your local pharmacy. In fact, try using a dental dam first to see if you like it.

The sensation will certainly be different but it’s the safest alternative to flesh-on-flesh cunnilingus.