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You Asked: I'm Ready to Open Up About My HPV Diagnosis

You Asked: I'm Ready to Open Up About My HPV Diagnosis

Dear Sugar,

About three years ago I was diagnosed with HPV. I just got out of a serious relationship and have been dating this new guy who is absolutely great! Before we become sexually active, I believe that he must know that I have HPV. I am unsure on how to approach him with this and what to say. I can't help but feel afraid for how he'll react. We haven't talked about sex yet, but I just want to be prepared when the time comes. Do you have any advice on how to tell a new partner about HPV?

— Up Front Fiona

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Up Front Fiona,

I think it's great that you're being so conscious and direct about your HPV diagnosis. I definitely agree that it's something that should be discussed beforehand, and I'm sure if nothing else, you're new guy will be grateful for your honesty. You may want to do some research on HPV in men before bringing it up to him, so that if he has any questions, you'll be ready to answer them. Often when men hear about HPV they assume that it's just a women's STI, but it's important that he understands that he can be a carrier of the disease, pass it on to other sexual partners, and never experience any symptoms.

I'd also specify whether or not you were diagnosed with low-risk (genital warts) or high-risk (abnormal cervical cells) HPV in order to give him a better understanding of the specific type of HPV that he could be exposed to. Most importantly, keep and open dialog with him and make sure he understands that he can open up to you about any concerns he might be having. As long as you keep the lines of communication open, you guys should have nothing to worry about.


Join The Conversation
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
I agree with bella, snow and AFRY! Have some pamphlets on hand. :)
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
I speak out a lot about this, and you can probably find a TON of previous post about it, so if you want to do some research, you can check some of my old posts. HPV has been around longer than we have been able to diagnose it. Years and years and YEARS ago, women just got abnormal paps & didn't know what caused it. And like 75% of all people that get HPV, their pap just stopped being abnormal, cause their body had "cleared the virus". A couple things I want to clear up. The virus NEVER leaves your body... it's like chicken pox.. it's there, it's just dormant. Your body can "clear" the virus, which basically means that it is no longer producing abnormal cells in your cervix, but it's still there. My OBGYN also says not to bother telling partners. The fact is that most men have it too, and it's nearly impossible to test them. So your BF may very well already have it, and don't be afraid to mention that when talking about it. Also, the chances that it will ever effect him are riduculously slim, but I commend you on wanting to be upfront about it. It can affect his future partners. And there are different strains. If you were infected with one, you can get reinfected with a different strain. PM me if you want some info. The stats you are reading here are correct. By age 50, 80% of all women will have had it. Stats I've heard in the past say that only 10% of women will have it turn up on a pap, or will ever know about it. Technology is getting better now, and with specific testing, I feel a lot more women will find out about it. Ask your mother, or your aunt... odds are that they had an irregular pap or two in their day, they just didn't know what it was. Most importantly, if you are going to tell him. DON"T get emotional. Be honest, and prepared with LOTS of information. Talk about it nonchalantly & know your statistics. Best of luck.
Isn't it awesome that STDs have become so commonplace that they are no longer considered a "big deal?!" It's just great, really...
blooditsnotfunny blooditsnotfunny 9 years
And for what its worth.. if you have a strain of HPV that causes genital warts.. it doesn't matter if you're male or female, it causes genital warts. So it does affect men.
blooditsnotfunny blooditsnotfunny 9 years
Your boyfriend most likely already has it! 75% of the population has it and doesn't know. You have also probably read a bunch of BS that said that HPV is a lifelong disease... but it is not. In most cases with people that have healthy immune systems, it leaves the system within two years. If you haven't had a breakout in while, you should go to your gyno and talk about that.
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
Here's the thing about HPV: you can wear condoms and he/ you can still get it from skin contact. It's not only transmissible by fluids (ask your ob/gyn to confirm). Chances are, he is going to get it. It doesn't do anything to men, but it will affect his future partners. There's very little you can do to keep him from getting it. I know a respectable ob/gyn who actually told her own patient with HPV to not bother telling future partners, in all seriousness (which I find disturbing, but ob/ gyns think it's that common of a disease).
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I think the most important thing would be to tell him that 4/5 woman have it and a lot of them have no symptoms and it goes away on it's own without a problem. Also tell him that he can be a carrier of it and it's very easy to pass on and that condoms aren't 100% effective with HPV. Tell him that you want to be safe and then if things progress and you end up in a long term relationship or marriage you can decide what to do.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Yep, four out of five women have HPV. It's obviously very common, and usually after the virus does its thing, it lies dormant for years -- if not indefinitely. I would just be honest, be prepared for questions, and maybe even have some pamphlets on hand. My obgyn told me that after three years of clear Paps and no warts, you don't even need to bring it up, for what it's worth. But I think it's best to do so, if only to destigmatize what is an ultra-common thing. Good luck!
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I'm not sure how I feel about this. According to the CDC, 80% of American women by the time they are 50 will contract a strain of HPV. That's 4 out of 5 women.... I would be really interested in knowing which strain you had. While I can't believe I am actually suggesting you don't disclose an STI, if it isn't one of the strains that causes cancer I don't know that I would tell him. According to Wikipedia 19 of the 37 strains of HPV that are sexually communicable could cause cancer, and type 16 is the type most associated with causing cancer. And like someone else mentioned, condoms aren't 100% effective against preventing the spread, they don't cover the entire genital area. I guess if it's not a big deal, then it shouldn't be a big deal to tell your bf!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I just did it as soon as I realized we were going to become exclusive even though we both knew we wouldn't sleep together until we were married. I just kind of blurted it out. "Just so you know, I have HPV" and then explained what it was and how I got it. I also knew when I told him that once we were married and having sex, there was no chance of condoms since we planned to use NFP from the start. However, I was also able to get laser surgery to remove the cells, and have tested negative ever since. But that doesn't mean I won't ever "flare up" again, and it also means that my husband would be a carrier. But he's ok with that. The fact is, if he's had sex with anyone else, chances are really high that he's already a carrier. Although he may not know it.
lindholmka lindholmka 9 years
Yikes, this is defiantly a touchy subject. I admire you for being so honest because I know A LOT of people that haven't told their boyfriend(s). I guess my advice would be to gather up as much information as you possibly can about HPV. Brochures, internet print outs, anything you can think of. (Especially information explaining how COMMON this sexual transmitted disease is.) I heard once that if you "ever" have sex, even once, you have a 50/50 chance of getting it. (Not sure how accurate that is) When you do sit down with him, all the information will be right there if he has any questions. Also HPV is not fully preventable with a condom so I think you should make sure to inform him of that. You should keep in mind that theres a good chance that he might freak out because thats how people (not JUST guys) tend to react towards any talk about STD's. Heck...for all you know he may be already expose and doesn't know it! Good luck and I hope all goes well for you.
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