I just wanted to say I’ve been in a fairly similar place around the anxiety of all this in the middle of a new relationship - I had an HPV positive smear test (with abnormal cells which eventually turned out to be CIN2 after biopsy and which I had burned off yesterday) barely three months into a new relationship with a guy who, at the risk of sounding like the starry-eyed teenager I’m definitely not lol, has turned out to be absolutely the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
I knew all the sensible things about HPV and even abnormal cells, but it still utterly crushed me, just not knowing how much he would know/understand about it and not wanting to be the one bringing a problem into the relationship. So I get how you’re feeling and I think it’s understandable when confronted with something you haven’t had personal experience of before.
But the reality is HPV is so common that you can basically consider anyone who has ever had sexual contact, not even full sex, to have it or to have had it in the past. And no method of contraception protects from HPV. I didn’t realise that because I just hadn’t had reason to think about it in such detail.
I know where it came from doesn’t matter - I could have had it for years despite all my previous smears being clear, or I could have caught it from my new partner, but it’s not about blame as we’ll never know. But the reality of my positive test means that regardless of who had it first, we almost certainly both have it, despite always using condoms.
And of course almost straight after I figured that all out, I noticed a little sore spot on his lower lip and had this flood of panic, especially over having had unprotected oral sex. It healed up in a few days and was never seen again - he’d just cut himself. Not long after, he complained about his tongue being really sore after he managed to bite it quite badly - it was totally natural that it would be sore and take time to heal, but I obsessed over it, worrying the HPV was a factor. It wasn’t. I even noticed a skin tag on my own inside thigh that I suddenly freaked out over, thinking I was sure it hadn’t been there before we got together and panicking that we’d wake up one day covered in warts.
I was horribly embarrassed to admit to my consultant that this was all causing me so much distress and he gave me quite a stern talking to, in a nice way, and told me very firmly that I needed to get the HPV thing out of my head completely and not give it a second thought. He was reluctant to go into strains because there are hundreds and also because he didn’t want to kind of humour me in obsessing about it, but he did tell me I didn’t have two of the strains most likely to cause cervical cancer and I didn’t have a strain that causes warts.
So basically what I’m saying is my worry made me paranoid and I started seeing “symptoms” that weren’t actually there. A sore lip was just a sore lip and my tiny skin tag is just that, they’re very common and it’s totally unrelated to my positive HPV result.
So please don’t worry about yours - chances are, yes, you and your partner both have it, but if you were both going to be sexually active at all, with anyone, ever, however “safely”, then it was inevitable. And you’ll never know if you gave it to him or he gave it to you or where either of you got it - and you don’t need to. All you both need to do is engage with any screening programmes designed to keep you healthy and if you do have any genuine cause for concern over anything, don’t ignore it, get things checked out early so any necessary intervention can happen before a problem takes hold. But don’t go looking for problems or be braced for them to appear just because of HPV.
I know this is easy to say, but I hope you can give your mind some ease!