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Dear Amy,

I am a 19 year old woman who has recently been diagnosed with a form of HPV. I have had severe abnormal changes that were found in my PAP smear and during a colposcopy. My doctor believes there are pre-cancerous cells on my cervix, and we have scheduled a LEEP procedure to treat them. My doctor, however, has not been clear with me on many issues concerning HPV. One of my most major concerns involves my boyfriend of two years, whom I have yet to tell that I have HPV because I am afraid he will jump to conclusions and because I am not very informed on this subject. From what I have researched, I gather that men do not usually experience any health risks from having this virus. When I talk to him about this, is it necessary that he go to his doctor right away? Should we refrain from practicing oral sex because of this? Also, are there any long-term effects of HPV that can affect a pregnancy?

Thank You,



HPV is simultaneously one of the most common issues I hear about and one of the least researched.

You should definitely check out: the American Social Health Association (ASHA) and also the National Cervical Cancer Campaign.

I had an experience very similiar to yours and I too had the LEEP, had pre-cancerous cells removed and had a baby 8 months ago, about 6 years after the LEEP. There is really not a lot that doctors know about HPV. Here's the basics:

--All cases of cervical cancer begin with HPV, but not all cases of HPV lead to cancer.
--Men are often the carriers of HPV, but there is no equivalent PAP for men, therefore it is very difficult to detect on men, couple with the fact that they don't go to the doctor on a regular basis.
--HPV can lay dormant for many years.
--HPV is likely to spread, but it's likely that it already has.
--it is rampant.

This is vague, but that's basically the basics. I have done lots of research on this and found little. The New Yorker once had a great article and so did a test magazine called Sexual Health. Other things have been snippets.

Take care -- and it sounds like all will be fine -- you should tell your boyfriend and he should be tested.

— Amy

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