#Health and Hygiene

Beyond The Stigma: HPV And Relationships

HPV And Relationships
Roma, a 26-year-old young woman, was confident that her pap smear report would be clear. She was shocked to see what she read. The report showed that the cells in her cervix had started to change.

Finding out that it was caused by HPV (human papillomavirus) was a shocker, she began questioning her sexual history, and as someone who had no knowledge of HPV Roma fell into the trap of misconceptions about it, causing strain on her sex life, relationships, and her mental health. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research report, this case resonates with nearly 50-80% of sexually active women who can be affected by Human Papillomavirus at least once in their lifetime.

Dealing with HPV emotionally can be as overwhelming as its medical impact. It could make a person vulnerable, especially when it comes to relationships, and without having a proper conversation with one’s partner, it’s difficult to deal with HPV. In order to have an adult conversation or, for that matter, even educate your partner, you must first understand what HPV exactly means. HPV consists of more than 100 viruses, out of which 14 can cause cancer. Now, these types of HPV are transmitted through genital contact that happens during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

Most HPV infections clear out on their own, while In some cases, high-risk strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer too. It can also spread through intimate contact, and condoms may not protect against the virus in all cases. Hence, by talking to your gynaecologist about preventive measures, you can steer clear of the threat of the virus.

Speaking of preventive measures, your gynaecologist’s advice on HPV prevention, which includes both HPV vaccination and screening, can help protect your well-being and prevent future health risks. Cervical Screening and testing for HPV is an extremely important tool for women, as it can detect the virus early on before it causes any harm. This allows for early intervention, which can help prevent the development of cervical cancer. Screening can also identify women who are infected, allowing them to take precautions to prevent transmission to their sexual partners.

Unfortunately, there is no test to detect HPV in men, so it is possible that you may be passing on the infection to your partner(s) unknowingly. So while condoms may not be 100% effective, it still acts as a barrier in preventing the spread of STDs and STIs and should always be used.

Finding out for the first time you’re HPV positive is stressful, but you need to remember that talking to your partner is essential. And if you’re worried about having the discussion, you need to remember the following things that’ll help.

1) Before you decide to talk to your partner, it would be ideal for you to have answers to all the bothersome questions you have about HPV. This will bring a level of comfort to the subject matter. We recommend visiting letsfighthpv.com. It’s a great resource for more information. You can also consult the expert on all your queries related to HPV.

2) Casually talking about HPV on a random meet, or on a date wouldn’t be a wise thing. Instead, you can schedule a time, so that you can have an uninterrupted conversation. Later you can also schedule an appointment with your gynaecologist and ask your partner to join.

3) You’re not to be blamed. Don’t feel tempted to apologize for being diagnosed. HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection, it’s a risk you face if you’re sexually active.

Consult your gynaecologist to understand what exactly has happened. Feeling scared is entirely normal. But eventually, you’ll discover that you can live a healthy and unhindered life despite HPV. Talk to your trusted individual if you need help with your mental state.

So #LetsFightHPV; let us explore and ensure that the menacing threat of HPV doesn’t affect the quality of your relationship. Lastly, always remember that you’re not alone.

Issued in public interest with MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd. This information is for awareness only. Please consult your doctor.

29/04/2023 – 20/04/2024

*This article is published in collaboration with MSD India*

Suggested reading: India Launches Cervavac, First Vaccine To Prevent Cervical Cancer: 10 Things To Know