Real People Stories


I didn’t know what to do when I found out I had the HPV virus. I tried to find peace of mind in how common it is. STIs always have a stigma around them. Women in their early 40s who have been married for 15 years with kids find out they have an STD. It can lie dormant for years. Anyone can have it. So, although it’s easy to be mad at your ex, the fact is that 80% of people get it. The best thing to do is practice safer sex.

I wondered what I would do if I were single, and I don’t have the answer 🙁 Because there is no cure for HPV, it’s not like you can wait til it’s gone unless you wait for your next clear smear test. And you’ll most likely be with someone who has it, too. 

There isn’t enough information or advice out there, and now that screenings have changed to test for it, I see this situation everywhere. We’re all panicking, but we’re all in this together.

HPV, for me, was one of those slap-in-the-face adult moments where everything sucks, and you can’t do anything about it. 

Focus on your screenings and find ways to boost your immune. It’s a virus at the end of the day. And focus self-care self-care; you’re going to be fine!

Good luck 🙂

Jodie x


I also have HPV – which I wasn’t sure how I contracted because I am a lesbian (I thought you had to have penetrative intercourse with a male to contract it), but it turns out you can get it from any skin-to-skin contact. Some people are more susceptible to it – especially if you aren’t immunized. It tends not to affect males & only affects females (by causing cell changes in the cervix). You should tell your partner about it, but before you do that, book in to see your GP for better advice on what it is & if you need to warn partners. 

HPV 18 is (predominantly) the only HPV strain that causes warts. I have variant 16 and a few other high-risk strains, and I’ve never had warts. It doesn’t cause any symptoms like other sexually transmitted diseases. Also, they may be able to treat your virus if it doesn’t go away. 

The pain you have in your abdo could be related. I had pain in my left lower side also, and I’ve Heard other people have had that symptom as well. 

Try to positively and mindfully distract yourself while waiting for your colposcopy results, as you’ll know more then. 🙂 The virus most definitely causes changes in your cervix. In some cases, they can remove the cell changes. But you’ll need To wait to see what the oncologist recommends. 

Good luck xx


Being HPV-positive means you will always have to be proactive about smears because you have a heightened risk for cervical cancer. That said, most people clear the virus naturally within two years and never have another STD problem again. There is nothing you can do to speed that up other than to stop smoking if you do.   Also, some studies find that birth control pills can make it harder to clear the virus, so you might want to consider your contraception. But, chances are this is nothing to worry about and will be gone next year when you go for your smear.

Complexities of Transmission

As for STD transmission….it gets trickier there. The virus came from somewhere. It can be dormant for decades, so you could have gotten it at age sixteen, and it is just showing up now. It does not mean that he has cheated on you. But if you have never had another partner, he did at some point. It is worth noting that tests show that HPV lives on the skin, so it can also be transmitted through genital contact without penetration and through oral sex. Condoms are not even completely effective in preventing it because of that. So, maybe one of you had that kind of relationship before you first got together, and it came from there. No one can know when they got the virus or from whom since it hides so well and can be present and cleared and then come back. It is a tricky virus.

I would not make myself sick over it. It is probably a good time to talk to your partner and explain what is going on so you can get to the bottom and have some peace. It is nothing that will overly change your life at this point or cause you major issues, so you don’t want to cause unnecessary stress for no reason.

Best of luck.


Firstly, I can empathize with the huge shock of an HPV diagnosis. The subsequent realization that I am at a higher risk of cancer and the anxiety which goes with that.

I have spent a lot of time teaching myself more about it. Now, I know that pretty much everyone has it at some point in their lives. Some of us get to keep it longer than others because of our immune systems. Secondly, it has made me aware of how little I understood the screening process. Also, how little I understood my own body. A good book called The Gynae Geek explains many women’s STD health issues. It elaborates on what is normal/not normal and when to seek medical help.

Wish I’d read it years ago to seek help for heavy and painful periods. I just put up with it. When I mentioned it to the nurse at my woman’s check, she was very dismissive. That particular nurse has since retired from the practice. The current staff are much better. Too late for me, though, as I am now postmenopausal. Thirdly, and most importantly, I think that GPs, nurses, and counsellors need more training in talking to patients about HPV. When I referred myself to health anxiety, I had to explain it to my counsellor. She is from the same generation as me.

Sex Education

I had very little sex education at school (I missed the one talk on contraception and sexual health as I was at the orthodontist), and sex was a taboo in my home. I am otherwise very educated and feel somewhat ashamed of my ignorance and naivety.

Perhaps there needs to be more awareness raised about HPV on TV/social media to remove the stigma. On my GP STD Test website, they have put a good explanation about it, but until I was diagnosed, I never read it! The hospital staff I had were also brilliant, and if you have a clinical nurse specialist, you may also find it useful to talk to them. I’m sure they will support both you and your husband.

Once you grasp it, you can focus on what you can do and lead a healthy lifestyle to support your immune system.

All the best