What Does an HPV Diagnosis Mean for My Relationship?

Couple in bed after talking about their relationship

Talking about HPV (the Human Papillomavirus) can feel taboo — not to mention embarrassing. Yet, almost everyone gets an HPV infection at some point; they are surprisingly very common.

When you or your sexual partner faces an HPV diagnosis, you may wonder about the best steps forward. Surprisingly, as the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in America, HPV may never cause symptoms. When it does, they often consist of genital warts. The biggest risk factor, however, is cervical cancer.

Inevitably, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about monitoring or treatment. Talking with your sexual partners about any STI diagnosis is also important. So, how can you and your partner best navigate this together? What should you say when bringing up an HPV diagnosis?

Talking About HPV With Your Partner

The idea of bringing up an HPV diagnosis with your partner may be anxiety-inducing. In fact, this may cause more stress than the diagnosis itself. Yet, there are many ways to prepare yourself for this tough conversation, including:

1. Seeking Out Further Resources & Educating Yourself

Consider doing further research and asking your doctor any important questions. Once you know the strain you have, you can determine whether you have a high or low-risk HPV type.

High risk may mean you’re more likely to experience warts or cancer. HPV types 6 and 11 cause most genital warts. Yet, this doesn’t mean that other types won’t cause warts. Additionally, other high-risk types of HPV may be more likely to lead to cervical cancer.

At the same time, many people experience no symptoms or complications. This is why monitoring and knowing your type of HPV is important. Thus, educate yourself. Know what to expect and what risk you have. In turn, this can help you present the whole picture to your partner so you both are in the know.

2. Avoiding Apologies & Guilt

It may feel natural to apologize to your partner. However, HPV is very common. It’s also entirely possible that you may have gotten HPV from your partner. This doesn’t mean anyone did anything wrong.

Thus, try to avoid saying sorry or feeling guilty. This can be tough, but it can help navigate the situation accordingly and avoid any unnecessary stress.

3. Planning the Right Time to Talk

Don’t try to have the conversation in a rush. Instead, plan an appropriate time to talk — one that is private and gives you both space and time away from distractions or commitments.

Alternatively, if you find this difficult, consider bringing your partner along to the doctor’s office. Here, they can ask any questions they have, and your doctor can help explain everything correctly. They can further help you both determine the best way forward.

4. Understanding the Next Steps

Rest assured that an HPV diagnosis doesn’t mean your relationship is over. While you can’t control your partner’s reaction, you can know that you didn’t do anything wrong. Ensure you give your partner space and time to process the news, if need be.

You’ll, then, want to consider what happens next. Does your partner need to get tested? What treatment is necessary? How can you proceed forward with safe sex?

Surprisingly, testing is only available for biological females. This means it may be impossible to know if a male partner has HPV. It’s also important to note that HPV doesn’t indicate cheating of any kind. HPV can go undetected for years, and partners may share HPV infections unbeknownst to either individual until symptoms arise or testing indicates its presence.

How To Prevent HPV

While there is no cure for HPV, most infections will go away all on their own. Yet, HPV can easily be spread by skin-to-skin contact. In other words, condoms might not be enough protection.

The best protection from HPV is sexual abstinence. However, this may pose problems with intimacy, making it an unrealistic option for many. Again, this is why research is very important. Knowing the difference between high-risk and low-risk strains can help you navigate this further.

In monogamous relationships, it’s common for partners to share the virus and build up a natural immunity. But routine monitoring is still important. Ensure you get regular HPV testing and Pap tests, as per your doctor’s recommendations. This will help avoid any complications arising.

What Should You Do Now?

There are over 150 types of HPV. And you aren’t alone in your diagnosis. When you or your partner find out you have HPV, consider:

  • Asking your doctor what you should do next.
  • Performing adequate research from reputable online sites.
  • Talking to your sexual partner(s) regarding your diagnosis.
  • Improving your diet, build up your immune system, and take scientifically proven supplements such as AHCC.

Getting the right information regarding your specific situation is key. This will help determine the best next step for your health and sex life. And remember, HPV is common, it’s not taboo, and it should be talked about more.


  1. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection. (2024, February 9). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/about-hpv.html#:~:text=HPV%20infections%20are%20very%20common,teens%2C%20become%20infected%20each%20year.
  2. Cervical Cancer Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention. (2023, August 18). National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/causes-risk-prevention#:~:text=People%20who%20become%20sexually%20active,cancers%2C%20see%20HPV%20and%20Cancer.
  3. Leslie, S. W., Sajjad, H., & Kumar, S. (2023, May 30). Genital Warts. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441884/#:~:text=Genital%20warts%20(condyloma%20acuminatum)%20are,the%20genital%20or%20anal%20area.
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