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Although my HPV infection, and that guy, are no longer in my life, I asked her to settle all of my unanswered queries just in case a similar situation should arise in the future.
(And because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one wondering.) If your partner is a man, it’s almost impossible to know for sure whether he has HPV or not.
In other news, “smart condoms” may soon let you detect STIs in the bedroom.
I'll never forget when my best friend Violet* found out she had HPV.
“We can test for HPV in women, but there isn’t a good test in men,” Dr. Doctors usually check for HPV by taking a sample of a woman’s cervical cells—often during a pap smear—yet no such procedure exists for men. That indicates you had it at one point, but it doesn’t tell you if you have an active infection.” So basically, if your partner is a woman, she can get a pap smear to find out if she too has HPV.
(Which, WTF.) “There are blood tests for HPV, but nobody recommends using them because they’re completely not useful,” Dr. If you have a male partner…unless he has genital warts, it’s going to be hard to tell.
Now, 15 might seem young to some of you, you know, for all that sex/gynecologist drama. Cut to senior year of high school, and we all got a reality check.
And if both of us were infected, would we need to diligently use condoms for the next two years—the amount of time it can take for most strains of HPV to go away on their own—or risk passing the virus back and forth to each other for eternity, like “The Song that Never Ends”?
I never asked my doctor these questions (too embarrassing at the time), but was reminded of them during a recent conversation with Natasha Bhuyan, MD, of One Medical in Phoenix, AZ.
Okay, say you know for a fact that your BF or GF has HPV, too—say, if they had genital warts and now you do too, they were your first sexual partner, or you’re both women who have tested positive for the same strain. “So when you give HPV to your partner, they generally don’t pass it back to you because you’re already immune to that one strain.” However, she says, this comes with one big caveat.
You might wonder (like I did) if it’s possible to just pass the infection back and forth to each other. “Because there are so many strains of HPV, people can end up getting different strains, especially if you’re not in a monogamous partnership.” If you or your partner are also seeing other people and you have HPV, you should be extra-mindful of using protection—not only to protect them from your HPV infection but also to protect yourself from potential strains that those other partners may have, too.