HPV and Relationships

The trauma of handling HPV emotionally can be as overwhelming as the medical impact, which could make it difficult to deal with it. You could become more vulnerable in this area, especially when it comes to your relationships and without proper counseling and guidance to help overcome it.

We regularly get questions on how to inform both existing and future sex partners about the HPV condition. For instance, the more knowledge you have about HPV, the easier to educate your partners and provide answers to daunting questions. The information here and will equipt you with information about HPV.

Educating a partner

Before you decide to talk to your partner, ensure that you already answered all the bothering questions you have about HPV. This will enable you to attain a level of comfort about the subject matter. A crucial aspect of handling HPV, and educating your partner on the virus is to avoid hype and myths, and obtain real facts.

Also, it is important to have a genuine source for information that you can direct your partner to, so that you can rest assured that they are getting information from a genuine source. Go to HPV Hub for all of your questions.

First, before having the conversation with your partner, be aware that having the HPV virus does not mean you did something wrong.  Many sexually active individuals are exposed to HPV even though they don’t have obvious symptoms or know they have it. Being infected with HPV implies that you are exposed to a common virus. This does not reflect on your values, or character, and when talking with a partner, it shouldn’t be considered an apology or confession.

When getting into a new relationship, it is advisable to get to know more about each other and enjoy each other’s company in different ways, besides sex. 

Important points to share

Types of HPV

HPV has more than 100 types, of which around 30 of them are transmitted sexually and linked with the anogenital skin. These are the low-risk HPV types that cause genital warts while the high-risk HPV types are responsible for unusual cell changes, mostly within the cervix.

HPV Latency

Detecting the virus or developing symptoms from exposure can take several weeks, months, or even years. Because of this, it is frequently impossible to pinpoint the time or the source of a potential HPV infection.

In a lengthy partnership lasting years, if an individual recently tested positive for HPV, it does not imply the individual was unfaithful in their relationship.

Medical Impact

There are a few health risks associated with genital HPV, which shouldn’t be ignored. However, the main point is that many individuals living with HPV do not experience any obvious symptoms or adverse effects of the disease.

Only rare cases of the high-risk type of HPV that leads to cancer.  Because primarily, the effect of the virus will be suppressed by the immune system before the development of cancer. However, there are some cases where HPV may cause some cellular changes that will linger for several years, which can eventually lead to a tumor if left undetected. Consistent checkups alongside HPV and Pap tests can help quickly discover unusual conditions that can be treated before it results in cancer of the cervix.

Other cancers that are linked to the high-risk HPV condition are penile, anus, vulva, and vagina cancer. Although, these conditions are very rare and seldom occur in industrialized countries.

What about sex partners?

Several sexually active partners might share HPV without knowing, until the virus is suppressed by the immune system. Sexually active partners are unlikely to transmit the virus to each other. However, since there are numerous types of HPV, it might be difficult for the immune system to protect you from being exposed to a new strain of HPV which could make you have the virus once again.

Can an HPV test be done for a partner?

Existing partners might likely share the HPV virus but proving it might be difficult. There are limited testing options and many of them are not diagnosed.

For instance, there is no Pap test specific for screening HPV. The only available test only checks for unusual cell changes in the cervix. An HPV test for women that are 30 years and above can detect any high-risk strain of HPV that are responsible for cervical cancer.

For men, checkup entails visual and physical inspection for lesions such as genital warts. These lesions can be highlighted by applying some acetic wash like vinegar, but this procedure doesn’t confirm HPV and can result in over-diagnosis.

Can I infect another individual after treating my HPV?

There is very little information about the transmission of HPV without visible symptoms such as cell changes and warts. But research has revealed that individuals with strong immunity suppress the HPV virus in the long run.

Even though a few cases might stay for several years, it isn’t permanent. In summary, many individuals that have been diagnosed with genital HPV eventually become free from the virus after about one or two years.

According to numerous clinicians and researchers, “subclinical” HPV (that exists in skin cells without the presence of lesions) is not easily transmitted except when cell changes or warts are detected. Needless to say, transmitting the virus to others after the warts have left will become impossible in the long run. Although, there is no concrete proof for this and the absence of a concrete response about this is very frustrating. However, HPV is not usually 100% active.

Is feeling frustrated about HPV normal?

Yes, it is normal to feel frustrated and some individuals do become upset. They also feel confused and afraid, thinking they’re less alluring, lose interest in sex, and feel ashamed. They might be angry with their partner, even though the source of the virus is usually unknown.

Some individuals are scared because they feel they are more prone to cancer, or it would be difficult finding a new sex partner. Having some or all these feelings is completely normal. However, you will eventually discover that you can live a healthy, unhindered life with HPV.  If you need help with your mental state, talk with a trusted individual, such as a loved one or a caring medical practitioner.