Question about HPV and sexual health testing

Q: Good afternoon, I have recently found out my husband was unfaithful to me and I am concerned that he may have exposed me to HPV.  I am 47 and have had heavy unusual periods for quite some time and I also have symptoms common to those described as HPV infected.  He insists he wore a condom (but who can trust a cheater) and I know a condom is not a preventative measure against this virus.  My Paps have seemed “normal”, but two very complicating factors are that my cervix is very tricky to swab (Drs words) because it is profoundly tipped and right now I cannot recall my last Pap. I know that test does not diagnose HPV anyway, but I am aware of a digene test that could give me an answer.  I have had internal ultrasounds and when my VERY heavy bleeding suggested fibroids, we were all surprised that there were only tiny inconsequential fibroids.  Now I am wondering if I am in an active infection stage and at risk of developing cancer.  I just want to know that an event that has destroyed my life won’t also end it.  Thank you so much for this forum and for any possible help.

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Hi there!

Thanks for contacting us.  First off, you need to talk to your doctor about this – we are not medical professionals at OUTline and therefore are unable to provide medical advice.  There are over 100 different strands of HPV and it can spread through skin to skin contact, such as from hands to genital regions.  Some are more common than others, some are harmless and some have the possibility to cause warts and cancer.  Many HPV infections subside after a few years and are not anything to really worry about.  While Digene tests can be useful to find out the particular strain of HPV that you may have, that is not particularly helpful when trying to treat it and is also not covered by OHIP and is therefore expensive.  If you are concerned that you have contracted HPV, you need to get regular pap smears arranged with your doctor to monitor you.  If abnormal cells come up, they can be treated fairly easily through cryotherapy or LEEP.  Again, please go see your doctor and discuss these concerns with them – your doctor will know more about what treatment or tests are appropriate for you.

– Emma

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