The Emotional Impact of HPV on Relationships

It can feel scary to learn that you or your intimate partner has contracted a sexually transmitted infection like HPV in the present or past. But before you let your emotions get the better of you, it is crucial to take a step back and put the situation into perspective.

First, you must realize that around 80% of all sexually active unvaccinated adults will contract HPV at least once in their lifetimes. Many never even know they have HPV because most HPV-infected people do not develop symptoms.

However, an HPV-infected person can still transmit the virus to their intimate partner, who may develop symptoms if they contract HPV. Partners must share their HPV diagnoses to avoid confusion if one suddenly acquires an HPV infection.

Only a few HPV-infected people will develop symptoms, such as abnormal cell growth or genital warts. It can sometimes take months or years after the initial infection date for the symptoms to spring up. That is why if one intimate partner does not share their HPV diagnosis with the other immediately, it could lead to a relationship issue once the symptoms suddenly start to show. One partner may accuse the other partner of cheating on them recently despite contracting HPV months or years before their relationship began.

Numerous research studies have shown that a person can develop abnormal cervical cell growth or genital warts many years after the last time they were sexually active. For this reason, it would be wise for an HPV-infected person to be upfront and straightforward with their new partner before any intimacy occurs.

How to Inform Your Partner About Your HPV Diagnosis 

Tell your partner about the HPV diagnosis as early in the relationship as possible, especially before having sex. It may be a shock to them, but they will appreciate your honesty about it. Still, they might become hesitant to be intimate with you out of fear of getting infected.

Share vital information about HPV so they can make a more informed decision about being intimate with you.

Here is the information you should share with your partner:

  • Nearly 80% of all sexually active unvaccinated adults will become infected with HPV at least once in their lifetimes
  • Most infected people never develop symptoms
  • Most people’s immune systems will eradicate HPV within two years
  • The HPV infection could have been contracted years ago and remain inactive in the body
  • An HPV diagnosis does not mean you were unfaithful to your partner
  • There is no cure for an HPV infection other than relying on the immune system
  • You can still have an everyday, healthy sex life
  • Condoms can reduce the risk of transmitting HPV
  • HPV tests are available to detect certain HPV types
  • HPV vaccinations can prevent HPV infections

Talk To Your Doctor

An HPV vaccination may be the best solution to ease your partner’s mind. Make an appointment with your primary care physician or gynecologist for more information about HPV and how to inform and protect your partner.