It’s a Sunday night and I’m watching the third episode of HBO’s Girls. The main character, Hannah Horvath, plays a corky, intelligent young unemployed writer in New York City. Interestingly enough, in this episode, Hannah gets a call from her gynecologist informing her that she has HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). Faced with this unexpected news (considering her doctor visit was to rule out HIV), Hannah confronts her cute jerk of a sex partner and arbitrarily accuses him of giving it to her.
Here is how the scene goes:
Hannah: “I have an STD. I have HPV…I haveHPV”
Cute jerk of a partner: “What does that do?”
Hannah: “I don’t really know. I mean it can cause warts, but you don’t have to worry because I don’t have those. It can also cause cervical cancer which is why I have to have my cervix scraped out next week.”
Cute jerk of a sex partner: (leaning in to give her a hug and express his empathy) “I’m so sorry.”
Hannah: “Are you sorry because you gave it to me?”
Cute jerk of a sex partner: VHAT?
The scene goes on and the cute jerk of a sex partner is put off that she accuses him of infecting her with HPV. He goes on to say that it is impossible that it was him because he “doesn’t have it” and that he’s been “tested”.
This sort of conversation is probably happening, at this very moment, somewhere in the world and it is important for you to know the facts.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a virus that causes genital warts. What is important to understand is that genital warts (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease. What you should understand is that certain types of HPV can lead to cervical or anal cancer if not diagnosed and treated in the early stage of infection.
- HPV can be spread from one person to another through sexual contact that involves the mouth, vagina and anus. HINT: Just because you don’t see any warts doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
- While warts are a common visual symptom of HPV, a person could be infected and not show warts right away. It could take six weeks to six months before a person will notice warts on or around their genitals.
So you can derive from the word genital that HPV is probably common to those regions:
- Inside/outside of the vagina
- Inside/outside of the anus
- On/around the penis and scrotum
- Along the inside of thighs and other exposed skin
Where you might not expect to see genital warts but can (remember HPV is a sexually transmitted infection):
- Inside your mouth
So for Hannah and her “cute jerk of a sex partner” who are both sexually active young adults, being screened for sexually transmitted infections should become routine. Unfortunately, testing for HPV is only available for women. Currently, according to the CDC, “there are no recommended tests for men.” (So “Cute Jerk of a Sex Partner’s claim that he didn’t have HPV because he had been tested is FALSE. The episode is responsible and points out this fact.)
Vaccination for HPV is available for young girls and boys who haven’t been sexually active (yet) and who haven’t been exposed to viruses that cause genital warts.
If you are thinking about having sex or are already sexually active, it is important to be responsible. Get tested and screened before you engage in sexual activity — which means any sexual activity (this includes outer course where genitals are exposed and may come in contact with your partner’s).
And as always, remember communication is important. Talk with your sexual partners about safer sex. Ask your sexual partners when they were last tested for STDs. Be sexually responsible to protect yourself and your partners.
Hannah and her Cute Jerk of a Sex Partner had to talk about HPV after the fact. Talk with your sex partner(s) about the safer sex or else the next time we hear “HP-VHAT!” it could be you.
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Related articles and sites
National Institute of Health – Genital Warts http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001889/
CDC- Sexually Transmitted Diseases http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-and-men.htm
Posted on April 30, 2012, in Protection/Safety, Safe sex, Safer sex, Sex, Sex education, Sexual Health, STDs and tagged Genital wart, health, HIV, HPV, prevention, sex, Sexually transmitted disease, STDs, STIs. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.