I’m surprised to find no discussions about HPV here. I am a 58 year old woman who was recently diagnosed with HPV-18, one of the two strains of HPV that can lead to cancer. Luckily my pap was clear so no problems yet. I have done lots of reading to get my questions answered, but I haven’t found definitive answers to some of my questions. Experts talk about HPV being so common that the vast majority of adults will have it at some point, so it is not worth worrying about, but that advice seems problematic with HPV-16 and 18. Women can get regular testing along with pap smears to see if there are cellular changes but there isn’t testing for men. My boyfriend is scared by the possibility of getting cancer, so he broke up with me. I can understand his reaction, although I think it is likely he gave it to me and/or that I have already transmitted it to him. So while many strains of HPV are “no big deal,” HPV-18 is a very big deal to me. I have read repeatedly that HPV usually clears from the body within two years. Here are my questions: 1) If I find that my HPV-18 has cleared and I have negative results, does this mean that I won’t transmit it to someone else? 2) Is it gone or just dormant, and I may have a recurrence? 3) Am I still more likely to develop cervical (or other) cancer? 4) What are my ethical obligations to tell a partner, both while I test positive and later if I test negative? I feel like this diagnosis means an end to my sexual life, as I wouldn’t want to give this to anyone. And the kicker is that safe sex doesn’t even prevent HPV transmission, as it is transmitted by skin contact. I hope someone can point me to peer-reviewed studies or other credible resources that answer my questions. Thanks.
Liked by Amanda Burnett, Connect Moderator