Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Valinda Riggins Nwadike, MD, MPH
An HPV diagnosis, despite being one of the most common STDs, considering 80% of all women by the age of 50 will have contracted an HPV infection at some point in their lives, can still be one of the most frightening because of the grey area surrounding testing, length of infection, treatment, and long-term risk.
This interview highlights how even a common infection can turn someone’s perspective on end and how important additional education and resources surrounding these pathogens will continue to be for both ourselves and our children.
Thank you, interviewee, for your willingness to share you story with others in hopes of reminding those experiencing similar diagnosis that they, too, are not alone.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
3. What STI/STD do you have/have you had?
Trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and HPV
4. How long have you had or known you have an STI/STD?
I found out I have HPV about 1 month ago. Everything else has been treated. One was 6 years ago, the other one year ago.
5. Do you know how you contracted this STI/STD?
I think I contracted it [HPV] from my last boyfriend, but they say it can lay dormant in your body, so it may have been from a previous relationship.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STI/STD?
I am, honestly, full of fear and regret. I have done nothing but cry. I have a daughter and am afraid of dying because of this.
I wish I could go back and live differently. I trusted previous partners, and it seems I did not learn from my previous mistakes.
HPV isn’t something many know about, and it is not tested for in men.
7. Do the people who know you have an STI/STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
Not at all.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STI/STD? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
No, I am not. I am just hoping this goes away.
9. Has having an STI/STD hindered past relationships?
No. As soon as I found out, I was treated. I’m clear of everything except HPV.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STI/STD affected your partner?
I do. He is so supportive – holds me tight while I cry. I want to marry this man.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STI/STD whom you did not tell you had an STI/STD?
No, I could never be with someone and not tell them about a current STD. I would be living with more regret than I live with now.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STI/STD?
I feel more aware and wish I had done things differently.
It also has made me realize we sometimes put so much worry into little things and complain about things that are not even serious. There are things so much worse in life that really should cause worry, and we tend to worry way less about those things.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Because I read all the other interviews and feel all the people that participated deserve to be applauded.
I’ve also felt so low and depressed.
I want to let the other participants know they are not alone, and I see that I am also not alone. I want to thank them for sharing their stories and wish them all the best.
Can you relate to this interviewee? Did it help you to read someone else’s story? Have you experienced something similar or do you have some feedback to share with this individual? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!