The story of a 22-year-old girl infected- PART I

My life with Human Papilloma (HPV). The story of a 22-year-old girl infected with the virus. Since she discovered that she had genital warts, her routine took a radical turn. The student narrates the pain that the STD test treatment has caused her, as well as the loss of STI self-esteem.

See yourself in front of the mirror.

“Dying had never crossed my mind until days after starting treatment against the Human papillomavirus (HPV).”I wanted to disappear from the world. I no longer found a reason to live.”

This is how a young Costa Rican woman, 22 years old, relates what went through her mind.

Approximately three months ago, she discovered she had contracted the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and underwent chemical treatment.

The woman considered herself a young woman like any other, who divided her time between working and studying at the University of Costa Rica, where she majored in History. For this article, we will call Mariana to protect her identity. She never imagined that at her age, she would receive this HPV test diagnosis since she states that she had always been “a very sexually healthy person.”

Furthermore, Mariana thought she would not get infected because she was so young. However, the virus came to change her life.

How it started

It all started one day when she returned from work in San José. She felt some discomfort in her genital area. When she arrived home, she realized that she had some lesions – some warts, and she did not understand what was happening. Something similar had never happened to her.

She then called the gynaecologist for emergency care. She took some photos of the injuries so she could show them to the specialist, and in the office, the doctor confirmed her diagnosis.

HP Viruses are the origin of cervical disease.

“At that moment the first thing I thought was that I was going to die, I wanted to cry, a lot of frustration.

I said: ‘Why is this happening to me? Who infected me? What is going to happen to my life?’. I felt so guilty that maybe I didn’t care for myself enough. People with this virus can develop cervical cancer, and that was my concern,” she explains.

Immediate Intervention

While dealing with what she defines as a shock, the STD specialist told her that he had to intervene immediately. She agreed, wanting an immediate “cure.”

Minutes after receiving the medical warning, she experienced physical pain unlike anything she had felt before. She discovered that they were applying a chemical used to remove genital warts.

“Just picture it: one day, everything was normal. Then, I’m told I have HPV, and it’s crucial to treat it thoroughly. Next, they apply a chemical that burns the warts and damages the skin. It’s a painful process that lasts until the skin heals.” she details.

Challenges and Uncomfortable Recovery

This marked the beginning of what Mariana termed her “new life”. She had to frequently undergo the chemical application, preferring not to wait too long between sessions to expedite recovery.

However, this led to intense STD burning across her entire genital area. “There was a week where it practically felt like my skin was on fire,” she recalled. While the skin healed relatively quickly after each session, she experienced discomfort and had to walk with her legs apart, often opting to sleep without underwear for comfort and to let the cream dry.

Unfortunately, her skin didn’t fully recover, and she began developing HPV sores. This experience was entirely new to her. Despite the pain, Mariana felt compelled to hide it during conversations. “People see you looking fine, but they can’t imagine what you’re going through,” she explained.

As a result, Mariana had to adjust her clothing choices, opting for looser-fitting garments like dresses and avoiding pants altogether to minimize discomfort.

A culprit

All those changes that occurred in a matter of days made her first blame herself and then look for someone to blame. However, later, she realized that this made no sense.

However, on the recommendation of her gynaecologist, she spoke to the people with whom he had been sexually involved so that they could be tested for HPV. She mainly did it for an issue of responsibility with them and for other people who could get involved with them in the future.

“It was very difficult because we are still in an extremely sexist society. A society where they believe that women are to blame for STDs and that is perhaps one of the hardest steps. It happened to me because of a person who did not take it well. But he understood me and was precisely the only person who was infected with HPV, and he was the one who infected me. “And I assure you that I have no resentment towards him, but I see him now, and he continues to date many women. Then he made me think that what I told him, that my process had been his hard and painful moment, he didn’t care.

And I don’t care that he doesn’t care about me. Because I no longer have an attachment relationship with that person, but what hurts me is what many other women can suffer diseases because he is still not tested and not aware of how serious and dangerous it can be.”