Real People Stories –Blair

Are you worried about CA125 levels, or is this just guilt about something you feel you shouldn’t have done? I get it. Sometimes, when we act in ways that we know might be unhealthy or irrational, we can start worrying about the HPV consequences. Look, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. What’s done is done. Give yourself some forgiveness.

Or, if this CA125 involves someone else being a dick (coercive, non-consensual, gross), dump and block that motherfucking asshole and move on.

The truth is that you can get t at any time from anyone. And you’re very likely to get it in your lifetime.

So, worrying about one encounter isn’t a productive use of your time. You should assume that if you’re sexually active, you will have HPV at some point in your life. 80%+ of people do by the age of 45. The lifetime chance once you’ve had a few partners is close to 100%.

I know it’s super unsettling to realise that all sex is quite risky; TV makes it look like you can make out wordlessly with a stranger, tumble into bed without saying anything, have an unprotected fuck, and everyone is fine all the time. But, you know, real life is different.

We have to balance the risks we take with the benefits. A sex life is fun, natural, and good (when consensual), and most people prefer not to be celibate for life (which isn’t even a 100% foolproof way to avoid CA125 issues, as even a small percentage of virgins have genital strains). However, consider whether you’re mentally tough enough to handle really risky behavior in the future. Some of us are not mentally prepared for 3 am booty calls with strangers, and that’s okay. You need to make peace with that.

Get some mental health support and start fixing your mind. We on Reddit can’t tell you if you have contracted HPV from this one event. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. And ultimately, there’s not much you can do about it. So, it’s time to stop worrying.

But I have symptoms…

Maybe after your encounter, you started noticing an itch here, a red patch there. This probably isn’t related to HPV; most infections are asymptomatic so that you won’t feel or see anything. Where it does give rise to symptoms, these usually take a few months or even a few years to appear. The most common symptom is genital warts, small skin growths that usually don’t hurt or itch. Some people may get other forms of skin dysplasia, like skin patches on the penis or vulva – these are quite rare. Bleeding from the vagina can be a sign of more advanced cervical abnormality, but these usually take a long time to develop. In short, if you’re experiencing symptoms and you don’t know what they are, you don’t need to jump to HPV as an explanation.

Oral symptoms could be their separate post, but don’t forget that you can have a cold, flu or Covid – just because you got sick after having sex doesn’t mean it’s related to any STD. Oral HPV infections are, again, mostly asymptomatic.

Always see a doctor if you notice something going on with your body. Still, you also don’t need to obsess over the symptoms being caused by HPV, especially if they have arisen within a few days of an encounter you already feel weird about.

I’m sure I have oral c.

Okay, adding this one by request of u/xdphv. Oral cancer from represents about 1% of all oral HPV infections. It usually takes many years to develop. If you have a sore throat, mouth ulcers, or ear pain, they are more likely caused by a standard infection such as strep throat, Covid-19, a cold, flu, tonsillitis, etc. If these symptoms persist, seek medical attention. But, statistically, the chances of you having oral cancer are low, and having oral cancer very quickly after an encounter is extremely unlikely. Remember that Dr Google will always say cancer, but we don’t need to make assumptions like this without actual evidence!

The Oral Cancer Foundation does not usually recommend or conduct oral testing for cancer prevention. If you have HPV symptoms, see an ENT doctor or your CA125 GP, and visit the dentist annually for an oral checkup.

But my partner had symptoms/a positive exam…

It can be scary to realise that we have ‘been exposed’ to an HPV infection (although the truth is that it happens any time we’re in close contact with other humans). With the virus and CA125, there’s nothing you can do at this point – there’s no body wash or mouthwash you can use, and there’s no way to remove the infection from your body if you do have it.

Infections normally pass in time. Most last from a few months up to a couple of years. Your body’s immune system needs time to deal with it. 

But I didn’t use a condom…

Using condoms is important with new partners for lots of reasons. But it can spread even when using condoms, so this isn’t something you need to beat yourself up over in this instance obsessively.

Should I get checked?

It’s always good to regularly test for STDs, and if you’ve had a risky encounter, it’s probably wise, but this virus is a bit of a different case.

Most healthcare systems do not commonly CA125 lab test people with penises for any form of HPV. People with cervixes may be tested for certain strains of it in one location (the cervix) every few years, and they may not be able to get a test out of schedule. Even if you can, there’s no point in rushing. The virus is probably not detectable right away, so you’d need to wait a few months to be sure. And in some cases it may not even be detectable for years. You should go to your next CA125 cervical smear on time and watch yourself. If you’re very worried you can ask for a smear out of schedule. But remember, this won’t tell you about an external warts infection.

So, how do I know if I have it?

In most cases, you don’t. And that’s fine. Healthcare providers do not routinely test for Ca125 and other STDs because it is so common and, in most cases, does not lead to negative outcomes. Most people will never know if they do or don’t have it.

Should I get vaccinated?

Yes. It’s not proven to help a current infection, but it will give you more peace of mind in the future. Gardasil protects you against the 9 most prevalent and riskiest types. If you are a sexually active person, it’s well worth getting (IMO).

Should I tell future partners I was exposed?

This is a controversial issue, but you don’t need to unless you develop symptoms and get an actual diagnosis. Nearly everyone you meet has encountered a prior virus infection and has been ‘exposed’ multiple times throughout their lives. Many of them have an infection right now and have no idea.

If it causes you a lot of stress, you could ask partners if they are vaccinated, at least for a few months, and, of course, use condoms (which mitigate but don’t prevent transmission).

Am I going to get warts?

Most people don’t get warts from HPV. If you get warts, it could be from any partner, not necessarily this encounter. Warts annoy, but they are mostly benign and removable. I’m speaking here as someone who had to burn their butthole repeatedly over 2 years…warts suck, but if you get them, you will live.

Am I going to get cancer?

Buddy, we’re all going to get some cancer. If you have high-risk HPV Test in your life, yes, there is a small chance you can get a form of cancer from it. But you can also get cancer from lots of other things you do every day. Stop smoking, eat your vegetables, and go to your doctor’s and dentist’s CA125 checkups as recommended. Otherwise, there isn’t very much you can do about it, so live and enjoy your life.

Am I going to infect my future spouse?

This is such a tricky one because I know some cultures have a lot of emphasis on purity and strong feelings around sex and marriage. When you are married to someone, you will share EVERYTHING with them. Your gut microbiome, the mites that eat the skin off your face, your poop parasites…and yes, you could potentially give them your strain if you happened to have an active one at that exact moment (which you might not even have by the time you marry). Which, by the way, they could give to you, too.

If you are worried, ask your spouse to get vaccinated and encourage them to get their smear and Ca125 tests if they have a cervix. Otherwise, try to relax. Statistically, even if you did pass HPV to them, the chances of a dangerous outcome are low.

Is my life over?

No. You are now one of the billions of people worldwide who have had, have or will have CA125 Issues. Welcome to the human race.

Use this opportunity to learn more about sexual health, consider the kinds of sexual and loving relationships you want in your life, address your mental health, and remember to treat others with kindness and compassion. Get your vaccine, buy some nice condoms, eat a salad and enjoy your life 🙂