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Do You Suspect Having HPV?

While my patients usually suspect they have HPV before they see me, it’s the actual diagnosis that they say is the most difficult to overcome.

They feel the earth crumbling beneath their feet, and a dark shadow of doubt, fear and anger is almost always cast on the relationship they’re in. Questions like Did my boyfriend cheat on me? Or, Did I infect her? Complicate our already mixed up, complex feelings. Even future relationships, people they haven’t even met yet, are thrust into uncertainty — I’m diseased, who will accept me when they find out I have genital warts?

These thoughts and feelings are normal. They’re to be expected, because there is still no cure for the human papilloma-virus. But, I have good news: You’re not a pariah, your social life is not at an end and you can move on with your life.

While genital warts may seem like a death sentence, it’s not. And it isn’t evidence that you’ve done anything wrong. The simple reality is, you encountered one of several forms of HPV that cause genital and anal warts, and your immune system is unable to keep it in check.

If an HPV patient should feel anything, it should be unlucky. We don’t fault people who come who have the flu, the common cold or the many other viruses infecting our bodies. It’s a difficult time in an infected person’s life, but the fact that HPV is sexually transmitted shouldn’t be relevant to a person’s self-esteem. You, I, and the billions of generations before us are here because of sex, and if you have HPV, you’re not the first to have a STD.

HPV patients will always need to be mindful of the disease, and everyone who is sexually active should always practice safe sex.

The good news there are treatment options that can help a person’s immune system contain and even clear the body of the virus. (See combination therapy).

Your first step if you suspect you have HPV, shouldn’t be blaming yourself. First learn what you can about the disease, and explore treatment options to help overcome the virus and move on with life.

Dr. Abbey