What HPV Really Feels Like


I had a doctor’s appointment recently, and I’m still reeling from what happened. I was diagnosed with a common STD called HPV (human papillomavirus), which is transmitted through sexual contact and can cause genital warts or cancer.

My doctor referred me to an OB-GYN who explained that HPV is the most commonly transmitted sexually transmitted disease in the United States: it’s estimated that about 80 million people are currently infected with some form of it (out of an estimated population of 323 million).

I thought I had warts on my vagina.

You’re not alone. Many women feel like they have warts on their vagina, but that’s just a normal part of the skin there. Your doctor can tell you for sure if it’s a wart or just normal skin.

I saw my primary care doctor.

  • You should start by seeing your primary care doctor. If you think you might have HPV, it’s best to get screened and tested right away. Your doctor can refer you either to an OB-GYN or a gynecologic oncologist (a specialist who treats cancers of the female reproductive system).

  • If your primary care doctor determines that there is no immediate need to see an OB-GYN, then he or she will likely perform a simple pap smear and HPV test in his office or at the local Planned Parenthood clinic. It may cost anywhere from $40-$200 depending on whether there are any other tests needed along with it.

  • Your results will come back after about 20 days and usually take around two weeks for full results unless there are abnormal cells present which would require further testing if left untreated, so be patient!

My primary care doctor referred me to an OB-GYN.

Your primary care doctor is the first line of defense when it comes to any sort of health issue. If they suspect you have HPV, he or she will likely refer you to an OB-GYN for further testing.

Your OB-GYN can perform an HPV test by swabbing the cervix with a cotton swab—kind of like doing a pap smear, but with a different kind of tool and on the outside of your body instead of inside it.

I had a pap smear and HPV test.

There are several different types of HPV tests. The most common one is a Pap test, which can be done in the doctor’s office. A Pap test uses cells collected from the cervix during a gynecological exam to look for pre-cancerous changes in the cervix caused by HPV.

You may have heard that HPV has been linked to cervical cancer, but it’s important to know that this isn’t actually true. While some forms of HPV do cause cervical cancer and other genital cancers, having an infection with these strains does not mean you will develop cancer — nearly all people who have had sexual contact with someone infected with them will clear their bodies’ immune systems against those strains within two years or less. It also doesn’t mean that you need to get screened more often than once every five years if you’re otherwise healthy and don’t smoke (though some doctors recommend getting tested every three years).

My results came in and I had HPV.

The first thing I learned about HPV was that it is the most common sexually transmitted infection. The second thing I learned is that it isn’t a death sentence. And the third thing I learned is that having an STD doesn’t make you a bad person or reflect on your sexuality in any way.

HPV can be passed through skin-to-skin contact, but it often goes away on its own within two years and doesn’t cause major health problems (unless you have other issues like depression or anxiety). The virus comes with all kinds of side effects, including genital warts and abnormal cell growths called cervical lesions. But even if those do develop, they can often be treated without causing any permanent damage to your body—it just depends on which kind of HPV strain you have and the severity of your case (there are over 100 strains).

I was wracked with guilt for the next few weeks.

You might be asking yourself, “How could this person have felt so guilty about getting HPV?” There are a few reasons. First, I had internalized the idea that I was solely responsible for getting it. Second, I thought I was responsible for passing it on to my partner. Third, having an STI is generally viewed as something you should be ashamed of (and rightfully so). But there’s also another reason:

I thought that because I had HPV and gave it to my partner—who didn’t know he had it until after we were sexually active together—that meant he would never want me again or he would blame me for giving him an STD.

I eventually realized it wasn’t my fault.

I did a lot of research, and I started to realize that my HPV wasn’t something I should be ashamed about. It wasn’t my fault, or anyone else’s for that matter.

It’s not your fault if you have HPV. You can still have sex safely, using condoms and dental dams (or other barriers) to prevent transmission of the virus to others. Sex doesn’t have to stop because of the virus—you just need to use protection when having sex with someone who doesn’t have it themselves.

It’s also not your partner’s fault if they’ve got HPV; in fact, most people don’t know they’re infected until their doctor tells them so because there are no symptoms—until now! It usually presents as genital warts or cervical cancer later on in life when things go wrong internally with your body due to the presence of this virus inside your cells where no one can see it except under a microscope.

Three months later, the warts were back and bigger than ever.

The warts on my hand were gone for about three months. The good news was that they didn’t grow back, but the bad news was that they never really went away in the first place.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a virus that can cause many different types of cancer, including cervical and throat cancer. The wart-like growths are caused by HPV infection, which can take up to a year to clear up—and it can come back at any time without warning. Warts may also appear in other places on your body, particularly in the genital area or anus. If you contract an HPV infection, you may experience symptoms such as itching or burning sensations around areas where warts have developed; they tend to be painful but not dangerous unless left untreated over time (in which case they could develop into cancerous tumors).

What’s more concerning than flat-out contracting HPV is spreading it: The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact during sex with someone who has been infected with it before—which means even if only one partner has been diagnosed with having an HPV infection already means both partners should be tested before engaging in sexual activities together again! If one person doesn’t know if he/she has been exposed yet then there’s no way for him/her know whether or not he/she needs treatment first… so make sure everyone gets tested regularly!

HPV is common — try not to let it make you feel bad about yourself!

If you are going to contract the human papillomavirus (HPV), it’s going to happen at some point in your life. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States, with an estimated 20 million Americans currently infected and as many as 80% of sexually active adults having been infected by age 50.

It’s also important for people who have HPV not to let it make them feel bad about themselves. It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you or that you’re promiscuous or even particularly sexually active; it just means that you were unfortunate enough to get unlucky this time around!


There are millions of people who have HPV, and it’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s the most common STD out there and can lead to cervical cancer if left untreated. If you’re worried that you might have HPV, don’t panic! Talk to your doctor about getting tested and then follow their advice for treatment as necessary.

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