By The Ovee Community
In honor of cervical health awareness month, we recently posted an instagram question asking our followers to share their experiences with a positive HPV diagnosis.
We get DM's about what menstrual cups suction better to the vaginal wall, how a particular birth control pill demolishes sex drive, what lubricant caused a raging yeast infection, but when it came to HPV no one wanted to share their story.
HPV is the most commonly transmitted STI; 79 million Americans, mostly in their late teens/ early 20’s, will be infected with HPV. Yet social stigma prevails–– lack of discourse can make a diagnosis isolating, anxiety inducing, and unnecessarily traumatic.
Out of hundreds of followers, two women bravely shared their experiences with HPV, these are their stories. [insert LAW & ORDER SVU dun dun noise]
I'VE HAD CONSECUTIVE DIAGNOSES
"Last October was the 3rd consecutive time that I tested positive for HPV. I was really hoping the test would come back negative, but it didn't. They took a biopsy and it came back with low/minimal cell change, the same as its been the previous two times. I feel thankful to have health insurance because after each biopsy I get a bill from Kaiser Permanente breaking down the cost per procedure. If I didn't have health insurance I would have to pay $800 dollars every time they tested me. I find that to be complete bullshit. We have to pay to check if we have cervical cancer?! Which basically means those who cannot afford to pay for the procedure might have early stages of cervical cancer but might not know it? Every time I get that bill I get angry at just how expensive the procedure is, but I'm also thankful to be in a position that I CAN afford to get tested every year.
A few weeks before I make my yearly appointment in October I get a mini panic attack. I think of the worst possible outcome. I fear I might have precancerous cells in my cervix (or my mouth or vulva! Which I HAD NO IDEA HPV COULD DO THAT! WE DID NOT LEARN THAT IN HEALTH CLASS!) My lady doctors have always been sensitive when doing this procedure, some are more informed than others but overall I've been lucky enough to have gynecologist that tell me when to cough to make it hurt less. However, I wish I didn't have to wait 1-2 weeks to get my test results. Especially for someone like me that has tested so consistently, I would like to know the status of my cells that same day. I do worry that my HPV will develop into cancer and I try not to think of it. I told myself that I'm going to start running, since being active helps getting rid of this thing so I'm gonna try and run, but I can't make any promises, I really hate running."
I told myself that I'm going to start running, since being active helps getting rid of this thing so I'm gonna try and run, but I can't make any promises, I really hate running.
[ READ MORE: CURIOUS ABOUT THE HPV VACCINE? ]
I HAD NO IDEA WHAT HPV WAS
"I had my annual exam when I was 20 and got a Pap smear for the first time. I really just wanted a birth control prescription but they wouldn't give it to me without the test.
The nurse told me if I didn’t receive a phone call, I could assume everything was normal. A few weeks passed and I had forgotten about the whole thing until I received a call in the middle of work from an unknown number. It was my GYN; I had some abnormal cells and tested positive for HPV. I politely thanked them (not sure why I felt the need to say thank you for bad news), hung up, and immediately rushed to a bathroom stall where I burst into tears.
I felt betrayed, confused, scared. I had recently just started dating someone new and will never forget that feeling of mistrust. Without hesitation, I called him in a fury of rage, accusing him of lying to me about getting tested. Fun fact: there are no male tests for HPV.
After researching, I found out HPV is one of the most common STI’s. Most people that have it will never know, because doctors usually only do co-testing for HPV after an abnormal PAP smear. I wish they would have explained that to me during that phone call. I wish they would have told me the likelihood of having the cancer causing strain of HPV was extremely low since I had been vaccinated. I wish I would have felt comfortable sharing this with my mother. Apparently abnormal PAP results are common in my family. If I had anyone to talk to, I probably would have delayed getting a colposcopy that ended up permanently scarring my cervix."
I wish someone would have explained how common HPV was. If I had anyone to talk to, I probably would have delayed getting a colposcopy that ended up permanently scarring my cervix.
You're not alone if you've received an HPV diagnosis.
Message us if you want to chat or share your story with the community.