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Should I be worried about having genital warts?

By Anonymous December 19, 2008 - 7:50pm
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My ex-boyfriend just told me that he might have gotten genital warts. We have not been together for more than a year and he has been with multiple different girls since than. Should I be worried about having genital warts even if no symptoms have occured thus far?

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Anon, just a little bit more. If you'd like a couple of sites where you can read more about genital warts, their symptoms and treatment, and some pictures, here are a couple of good ones:




Take care, and don't hesitate to get tested, especially for your peaace of mind. The worry and the risk isn't worth it.

December 22, 2008 - 11:09am

Dear Anon, you have probably heard that when dating includes sexual relations, it assumes that you have agreed to sleep with every partner your boyfriend (or girlfriend)has had in the past.

This is a very strong assertion, wouldn't you say? Well, unfortunately, it is pretty accurate. There is probably a good chance your boyfriend knew about it but failed to tell you. So, in answer to your question, YES! You should be worried as you may be a carrier of the virus.

From your posting, it appears that you no longer date him but this experience has left you not only as a possible carrier of the genital human papillomavirus (HPV)virus but at higher risk to develop cervical cancer down the road.

HPV infection and HPV-associated cervical cancer are significant national and global public health concerns. An estimated 11,000 newly diagnosed cases of cervical cancer occur annually in the United States, resulting in 3700 deaths. Globally, an estimated 493,000 new cervical cancer cases occur each year, with 274,000 deaths; more than 80% of cervical cancer deaths worldwide occur in developing countries.

Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with an estimated 6.2 million individuals newly infected annually. These are pretty scarry statistics and knowing that your ex-boyfriend is sleeping around with unsuspected "victims" makes it almost a "crime with intent" since he knows he carries the virus. The question is what can you do about it now? Have you tried contacting your local Health Services Agency (maybe at the County), they probably have an STD Clinic where you can ask for advice on what to do about your case and the knowledge you have about this guy going around spreading the virus.

The fact that he has had several girlfriend should not be of your personal concern but it is borderline a civic responsibility to inquire about the right thing to do and warn other women of potential exposure. Sometimes, the Health Department will initiate a health investigation and contact the "source" and notify the "victims" as this could become a public health issue. Make sure to ask for confidentiality from them.

You may want to consider looking into HPV vaccine. Not sure the protocols but stay away from sex so you do not expose anyone else. The virus could be dormant in your body without any symptoms but could still be transmitted to others and become active. Use protection as a minimum and be honest with your next partner before engaging in sexual intercourse. Best of luck!

December 20, 2008 - 12:44am
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