From Frugivore — It was my freshman year of college. I had just finished a year of excellent grades, good times, and sexual adventure. Always one to practice safe sex on my sexcapades and get tested every few months, it came as a surprise when my doctor said that my pap smear came back abnormal, and I tested positive for low-risk HPV cells.
Really? But how?
The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. At least 50% of sexually active adults will get genital HPV, and yes, it can be transmitted through condoms. There are over 40 types of HPV that impact the genital areas of men and women in addition to HPV types that infect the mouth and throat, including HPV strands that lead to genital warts and cervical cancer.
Thankfully, the body’s immune system naturally clears up 90% of HPV cases within two years. But the majority of people with HPV don’t even know that they have it, and it’s nearly impossible to test for the virus in men.
As I lay there freaked out that I had contracted a sexually transmitted virus, I wondered if HPV truly was as common as my doctor said. I began to ask my closest girlfriends, and nearly all had the same experience. Some were in the same monogamous relationship as they were in high school, while others were exploring their dating options. It seemed that HPV was unavoidable, but worse that it hit some of my girlfriends harder than others.