How to Maintain a Positive Mindset If Diagnosed With an HPV Infection

HPV doesn’t have to spell the END of your confidence. While care providers focus on HPV treatment and management, it’s also important to consider how an HPV diagnosis can impact your mental health. The truth is that you’re not alone if you’ve been diagnosed with HPV. Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. A 2023 analysis that looked at the link between an HPV diagnosis and mental health revealed the following:

  • 93% of studies confirmed that an HPV diagnosis has a negative impact on anxiety and depressive symptoms.
  • 89% of studies confirmed an unfavorable relationship between positive HPV testing and sexual function.
  • People diagnosed with HPV frequently report feelings of shame and guilt.
  • Patients with HPV report struggles with sexual desire, arousal, genital response, and sexual satisfaction.

One thing that makes HPV different from many other sexually transmitted infections is its link with specific cancers. Researchers recently became alarmed at data that revealed high suicide rates among people with head and neck cancers. Compared to the general population, people with head and neck cancers are four times more likely to die by suicide. This high-risk group includes patients with HPV-positive head and neck cancers.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with HPV, you may be struggling to handle what can feel like bleak news. However, it’s important to remember that HPV is far from rare. There’s a good chance that you encounter people living full, productive lives with HPV every single day without even knowing it! More than 42 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. More than 13 million Americans become infected each year.


Coping With Your HPV Diagnosis

Can I still live a normal life with HPV? It’s the first question that pops into the minds of people after receiving positive HPV tests. Millions of Americans are already offering living proof that a thriving life with HPV is possible. Here’s a rundown of some ways to put HPV in perspective within the greater context of the full life you can continue living!

Prioritize Your Health

It’s easy to fall into despair when receiving any type of health diagnosis. Avoid the temptation to believe that you should “give up” on your health just because you’ve been diagnosed with an illness. Hearing that you have HPV should serve as a motivator to live the healthiest life possible! How do you stay healthy with HPV? Ultimately, anything that boosts the immune system can help you to fight HPV. This includes:

  • Eating a balanced diet.
  • Limiting alcohol intake.
  • Avoiding smoking or using tobacco products.
  • Decreasing stress levels.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Getting proper sleep.

As a person with HPV, it’s critical that you stay current with screenings for cancers linked with the virus. It’s also important to update your doctor if there are any changes in your health status. Make a plan with your doctor to receive any extra care or screenings that are recommended based on your age, gender, and health history.

Connect With a Care Team You Trust

Having the right medical team is crucial when living with HPV. Be sure to keep up with annual checkups as part of a holistic, whole-body approach to health that focuses on more than your HPV diagnosis. It’s also important to choose a doctor with an encouraging, positive mindset. Don’t be afraid to look for a new doctor if you feel that your current care provider has a dismissive attitude regarding the mental struggles of living with HPV.

You may decide that a mental health professional should also be part of your team if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression following your diagnosis. A therapist can help you to learn tools for coping with the highs and lows of receiving a diagnosis. Therapy can also be an incredible resource for navigating some of the complications of dating or pursuing relationships as a person with HPV.

Final Thoughts

HPV isn’t who you are just because you’ve been diagnosed. It’s important to be gentle with yourself when waves ofanxiety or regret come. When you’re ready, devote time to exploring the vast array of positive and informative resources out there for people living with HPV. Reading HPV stories from others who have stood where you’re standing today can help you to feel connected to a larger community.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  2. National Library of Medicine: PubMed Central:
  3. Duke University School of Medicine:
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  5. The New York Times: