Real People Stories – Georgia

My story with HPV

I knew something was wrong when very small welts of HPV virus flesh began to appear all over my vulva, especially around the vaginal lips, and they extended towards the back.

The first thing I did was go to the dermatologist because I thought it was a reaction to hair removal. However, she told me that she had a fungus called molluscum, which is super easy to get by touching a surface with the fungus. What was strange was that it was in that area of ​​the body because that meant it was related to a sexually transmitted disease.

From that point on, the dermatologist decided to send me for much more specialised studies and recommended that I go to a gynaecologist. I went to the appointment alone because I thought it was casual, but I left completely scared. Two days after undergoing the tests, the first thing I discovered was that I had the human papillomavirus.

What I knew about human papillomavirus

Throughout my life, I have heard about the human papillomavirus. They constantly talked about this STD disease in health centres and warned us about cervical cancer, but having the virus is something that I never thought would happen to me.

When I read those words on the page, a lot of things came to my mind: was I going to get cancer? Was I going to die? It was a feeling of enormous worry and emptiness.

When medical studies are not enough

When my ex-partner and I decided to use hormonal contraceptives and give up condoms, he took several tests. These were included in a sexual protection package offered by typical private STD laboratories.

For me, it was the first partner I was going to have sexual relations with, so I didn’t think about STD testing myself.

Sadly, these packages do not usually include HPV kits for men. Although men can develop the disease, in many cases, they are only carriers and transmit the disease without knowing it.

That’s why it never occurred to me that something like this could happen to me.

My first relationship gave me HPV.

That first week, having the human papillomavirus was horrible. I wanted to die, and I felt a lot of guilt. I completely trusted my partner and found nothing amiss after completing the studies. Initially, I was extremely angry. And I thought I had waited so long – within this idea of romantic love – for “that person” to arrive, and in reality, everything had turned out disastrous.

I don’t mean to evade responsibility, but at that moment, anger was the only action I felt capable of taking.

I felt a lot of regret, and it became a huge conflict with myself; I thought I had been so stupid for not having realised that the HPV was not in the exams that my partner had done. It was a constant thinking of all possible possibilities.

Only some things are lost.

After a week, I went to an STD gynaecologist who saved my life. She explained to me that there are two types of HPV: low-risk and high-risk. She told me that there are even many women who have HPV and live with it for years, which is a completely silent virus.

They detected the high-risk one for me, but I was lucky it manifested itself with the mollusc, so we could realise it in time.

My life changed because now I have to go to the gynaecologist constantly. I take great care of my diet so that my defences do not lower, and I have to prevent myself from having internal injuries.

Beyond physical issues

It is very strong to realise that I now carry an enormous responsibility to tell people what I have. At first, I was very scared. I thought about everything that could happen when I told them. However, over time, I began to heal all of this and realised I also gained much more strength to accept it.

At first, I only mentioned it to a few friends and little by little to more people, especially because I could find myself in others and thus felt that I was not alone.

The advice I would give to other women

I did not have the choice to decide whether or not I wanted to have the human papillomavirus. It was something that happened to me. That’s why I urge all women to please get vaccinated. Don’t underestimate it; get vaccinated. Studies stress the importance of women who have had sex without a condom getting checked.  Take it seriously and always protect yourselves. Men should also undergo HPV testing.

In the end, what gives me peace of mind is that I can detect an STD in time. Although my life has changed forever, I am no longer afraid. I understood that I live with HPV. The important thing is that we do not feel judged and know we are not alone.


I think my boyfriend gave me HPV.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 5 months and change. I have a birth control implant. He was my first sexual partner.

He has had previous partners and didn’t use condoms with them. At the time we got together, it had been more than a year since he last had sex. I got the implant about 2 months ago. And I had them do a full STD panel. I’m completely paranoid about it.

He got STD tested a few weeks ago, and when we got his results, we stopped using condoms.

He said he asked for a “full panel”. However, I didn’t see his results; he just told me he was clear, and I trusted that.

Symptoms and Concerns

On another day, I noticed I would feel slightly irritated whenever I wiped. Today, it was painful. Checking with a mirror, I see a spot inside my labia. It looks almost like an ingrown hair or a zit. It’s a singular large, smooth, red bump without a head. I texted him that I was concerned it could be a genital wart. He sent me his STD lab results, which say he’s all clear for everything tested. However, there was no check done for HPV.

I am so fucking scared. I’ve teared up a few times. From what I know, HPV is incurable and can lead to cervical cancer. Both my mother and grandmother had it, so I’m already at a greater risk.

Doctor’s Evaluation and Diagnosis

I showed my boyfriend’s test results to my gyno, who was shocked to see that he hadn’t been tested for herpes. She was doing some swab tests to see if it was herpes. Still, in the middle of it, she told her assistant, “You can throw these STD swabs away; it’s a simple cyst”, so she seemed pretty confident that wasn’t it. While I did mention that he wasn’t tested for HPV, she didn’t bring it up at all. I guess she didn’t suspect that. She did still order a blood test for herpes and told me to come back if any more bumps popped up. My boyfriend said he would get tested for it, too, but she seemed pretty confident it was a cyst and nothing else. Thank god.