I have Human Papillomavirus..What Do I Do Next?!

Discovering that you have HPV or living with this intriguing virus can stir up a range of emotions. This article is here to offer practical suggestions on how to optimize your well-being while embracing this unique journey. Let’s explore the steps you can take to thrive in life with this condition.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems, including genital warts and cancers. But there are vaccines out there that can stop these health problems from happening. 

HPV is transmitted through various sexual activities, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected individual. The most common mode of transmission is during vaginal or anal intercourse. Additionally, HPV can be spread through direct skin-to-skin contact in the genital area. It’s important to note that an individual infected with HPV can pass on the virus even if they do not exhibit any signs or symptoms.

If you receive a HPV diagnosis, it’s crucial to collaborate with your doctor to devise an effective plan of action. This typically involves open and honest discussions with your sexual partners regarding your diagnosis. By working together with your healthcare provider and engaging in transparent communication, you can navigate this situation with confidence and take appropriate measures for you and your partner’s well-being.

The Emotional Toll of HPV Diagnosis 

Receiving an HPV diagnosis can have a significant emotional impact, causing feelings of distress and potentially leading to social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression. It is crucial to remember that despite the initial emotional challenges, it is still possible to lead a fulfilling and regular life.

The Impact on Romantic Relationships 

Undoubtedly, having a sexually transmitted infection can raise concerns about future romantic relationships. However, it is important to acknowledge that living with HPV does not prevent you from forming loving and committed partnerships. It is essential to prioritize open and honest communication with your romantic partners, ensuring that you disclose your HPV status.

Here are some of the steps you can take, once you have been diagnosed with HPV.

1. Get Vaccinated and Encourage Your Partner to Get Vaccinated 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that boys and girls receive the HPV vaccine around the age of 11 or 12 to prevent exposure to sexually transmitted strains of the human papillomavirus. While this is the typical age for vaccination, in 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the approval of the HPV vaccine, specifically Gardasil 9, to include adults up to the age of 45. This significant expansion increased the number of eligible individuals who can receive the vaccine and benefit from its protective effects.

2. Employ Condoms During Sexual Activity 

To minimize the risk of HPV transmission, it is important to utilize condoms throughout the entirety of sexual encounters. HPV is primarily spread through direct contact, making condom use crucial. While consistent condom usage significantly lowers the chances of HPV transmission, it does not provide complete elimination of the virus. It is essential to understand that HPV can still be present on areas of the skin that are not protected by the condom.

3. Familiarize Yourself with HPV Symptoms 

Educate yourself about the symptoms associated with HPV-related infections to be vigilant in identifying them in both yourself and your partner. HPV infections may present as genital warts, which are identifiable by the presence of small, flat bumps or clusters of bumps in the genital area. It is important to emphasize that if left untreated, genital warts have the potential to grow larger over time.

4. Get regular medical check ups

It is vital for you to get a medical and dental health check regularly. For females with HPV, regular cervical screening is required to look out for cervical cancer.

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