Genital warts, gone for now but I’m worried that they might return

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with genital warts. After I’d been given treatment for several months, the warts disappeared. I was feeling much better as if I had started a new life, and soon afterwards I met someone I really liked and we started to go out. We are in a loving and caring relationship and we started to sleep together.

I should have been more careful and sensible, but we had sex without condoms several times. I was hoping that I was clean, but I recently learned that the virus stays in your body, and the warts sometimes come back.

Am I still contagious? I now regret having had sex with him, as I might have infected him, which would have changed his life. I now don’t know what to do. Please give me some advice. – K

Dear K,

I hope you will be very happy together. Stop fretting and enjoy your new friendship. Your warts were treated and they disappeared.

They are unlikely to return now, so just tell your partner that you had them in the past and enjoy your time together. They are a skin to skin viral condition and although they sometimes return, quite often they don’t. Visible warts are generally harmless, merely embarrassing and annoying at the time. Sometimes they disappear quite quickly, other times they need treatment for several weeks or even months.

Talk to him, K, because he has most probably had sex with someone, at some stage, who also had the virus and he may well have immunity – there’s no test. We either get them or we don’t. Some people are susceptible and others seem not to be.

The “invisible” strains of HPV (human papilloma virus) are generally the problem causers, not the strains that produce genital warts.

And, for any young people (or parents of) reading this, it would be a great idea to have the HPV vaccine, that protects against four strains of HPV, rather than the one that merely protects against the strains that commonly cause abnormal cervical cell changes in susceptible women.

The 4 strain vaccine protects greatly against the two main strains of HPV that are linked to cervical cancer and the two most common strains that cause (visible) genital warts.

There are free programmes in many places so take advantage of them. Visit the nurse or the guidance counsellor at the school or speak to your family doctor about it.

The vaccines really does work well and is designed for young people who have not started to have sex, in particular.

The logic behind this is that the more chance there is of exposure to the virus before the vaccination occurs, the less use it will be. Each case is individual and should be assessed accordingly, with questions asked about the sexual history of partners as well as an individual being offered vaccination.

Enjoy your new relationship and don’t hide things from each other. You never know, he may have something to talk to you about that he’s frightened of telling you in case you reject him.

It’s okay to reject a virus but not okay to reject a person just because of a virus that is a mere ‘part of 21st-century life’!

Communicate – communicate – communicate!!

In the long run, sex is not the most important thing in life, good friendships are much more important, and they develop through openness and honesty, as well as with the passage of time.

Click to go to the Genital Wart Picture Gallery

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