Real People Stories- Anonymous

Suffering from genital warts and depression – my HPV test story, questions about dating and similar experiences. I found a couple tiny bumps on the shaft of my penis about 9 months ago. After consulting with 3 dermatologists, 2 GPs, and 1 sexual health specialist, I still lack a confident an STD diagnosis test. However, I am fairly convinced that I have genital warts. I’m sharing my story, hoping to gain perspective from other men living with similar situations and women who have been involved with such men.

My Story

I was seeing a new girl when I first noticed the HPV bumps. I was inching closer and closer to taking our relationship to the next level. Not knowing what it was, I went to see my GP. He said it was just a cyst, gave me cryo, and told me to move on. Within 3 days, I got an itch in my anus. I started to freak out and looked at a bunch of stuff online. Soon enough, I convinced myself I either had herpes or HPV. Terrified, I messaged all of my past partners. All of them confirmed they had no issues. All but one girl I had no contact with. I was still worried.

I decided to tell the girl I saw about the bump and the itch. She told me not to worry, said she was fine with my STD problems, and thought it was possibly benign. She invited me over to her place while her roommate was gone. We fooled around, but I told her we shouldn’t take off our underwear since I was still unsure what was happening and needed more information. She complied.

In the days following, she started to grow distant. Texts were short; calls were missed. I knew something was up. She finally set up a date. I thought this was an opportunity to spark things up again. Unfortunately, she explained that she started to feel uncomfortable with our relationship. She said from the start, she wasn’t looking for anything serious as her parents expected her to get an arranged marriage (she’s South Asian). Feeling her actions were disrespectful to her parents, she grew wary of my situation after studying for her dermatology midterm. She ended by saying she needed to “think about it”.

The doctor’s visit

At this point, my HPV situation remained unclear. Two STD GPs couldn’t reach a diagnosis. I had to wait at least four months after my last encounter to test for herpes. The itching made me paranoid about herpes, especially the thought of infecting a virgin with a lifelong STI. The stress led me to end things with her, hoping to resume once I confirmed I didn’t have herpes. Even if she moved on, I was confident in attracting other women.

Trying to move past it, I had a trip to Cuba planned. After days of heavy drinking, I noticed the symptoms returning. I tried to push the worry aside and enjoy my trip.

Upon returning, I researched HPV more. The fact that genital warts can resemble various skin issues terrified me. A dermatologist appointment took about two months to schedule in Toronto. The dermatologist suggested it could be a wart or other skin issue and decided to remove it with an electric needle, causing intense pain.

The warts returned before the black skin fell off. Depression set in. Despite my education and well-paying job, I felt worthless. I believed I’d ruined my life and doubted I could find love again. Casual encounters during travel seemed insignificant compared to the lifelong burden of being HPV infectious. I even felt envious of the 40-year-old virgin.


The uncertainty around HPV certainly didn’t help. “It could go away, or not, no one knows.” It never occurred to me that there are incurable diseases besides HIV/AIDS. I was starting to live a fairly promiscuous lifestyle with similarly promiscuous people. I’ve always used a condom, but I had unprotected oral sex and performed manual practices. I was surprised to find out that you can get incurable STDs this way. Only wished I had paid more attention to STD lessons during gym class in school instead of daydreaming about fucking the hot blond teacher. I wish I’d researched Gardisil when my sister told me about it years ago. Wished those Gardisil commercials didn’t just have female gymnasts. I started my Gardisil shots anyway, hoping it’ll reduce my risks of high-risk HPV later on if I didn’t already have it.

My 25th birthday came around. It was the worst birthday ever. I tried to avoid everyone. The new year came around. I avoided all the partying again. The best year of my life was followed by the worst one. I did get one birthday/New Year’s present. My herpes test only found HSV1, and I’ve had cold sores since I was 10 or so.

I went to a 2nd dermatologist. He said similarly ambiguous things. Said he needed to do a biopsy to confirm, but said even that may be inconclusive and will not tell me what type of HPV I have. I decided against it. I asked him for Imiquimod. He said that was usually useless but prescribed it anyway.

After about a month, Imiquimod didn’t work. I booked an appointment with a third dermatologist. He said it was either molluscum or warts. He prescribed Veregen.

Treatment plan

Veregen didn’t work either, and it’s been about a month and a half. I got fed up and just went back to get a second round of cryotherapy last night. I cross my fingers that the anal itching won’t return like last time and that warts will be gone for good as well.

It hasn’t been all negative for HPV. My parents have been extremely supportive despite being from an Islamic background. I found out I don’t have genital herpes. The candles I get to smell during my psychotherapy sessions are amazing, and Kendrick Lamar’s u, alright, and I (in that order) send me off on some amazing highs. I’ve also done a good job trying to quit drinking and have stayed on a good diet. I’m also much more informed about STDs in general, and I hope to avoid more of them in the future.

Final thoughts

Overall, though, STD dating depression has been heavy. I’ve cried a few times in the car when by myself. I got home a couple of times and didn’t feel like getting out of the car or moving at all. I’d sit in the car motionless for about 20-30 minutes. The HPV-type test destroyed my confidence, libido, motivation, and livelihood. I’m just living day by day, forcing myself to work, go to school, and occasionally socialize. Mainly, I’ve been drowning myself in video games and porn.

I’ve avoided going out and interacting with the opposite sex besides formalities and occasional friendly get-togethers. This is not the way I want to continue living with HPV. I’m starting to take steps in the right direction. I finally got around to looking at possible travel destinations this year. Fortunately, I’ve continued my workout routine, taking it more seriously recently. I’ve got back in touch with some friends and even told a few about my STD Test situation. Their reactions were mixed: disgusted, apathetic, and sympathetic. I feel like I’ve still got a long way to go before I recover from this mentally, but hoping to climb this mountain one day.