[Question #1600] Hpv

44 months ago
I'm a heterosexual male. Had sex 3 times with a condom. The intercourse did not last long . I brake up with her .  Then She tells me she has cervical cancer and she new about it.  She mad need hysterectomy .  I'm freaking out .  What are the chances I got it?  What about my next partner ? Is there a test ? Is this so common that I don't have to worry ? How do I tell my next partner? Will next partner get cancer? Sorry for rambling .  But my world has turned upside down 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

There is no significant risk of any kind to you from this exposure, and for sure no valid reason for your "world...turned upside down". for several reasons. You have already had HPV, probably more than once; we all get it. And the types of HPV that cause cancer are among the most common types, so you could well have been infected with that type; if so, you are immune to it and can't catch it again. You can assume that a quarter to a half of all women with whom you have had sex in your life had active HPV infections at the time. Sex with a woman with known HPV who tells you about it is no more risky than all those others; and no more risky because she was unlucky enough to get cancer from her HPV infection. For these resons, sex with this partner did raise your risk of HPV infection compared with what it was before the exposure. Further, you used condoms. While condoms aren't perfect in preventing HPV, they further reduced whatever risk there was.

So you should not to say anything to your next or future sex partners. You haven't said anything before now, even though up to half your partners had HPV and you undoubtedly have been infected and may be carrying it now. Your future partners' risk of HPV is no higher because of this event. There is no approved test for HPV in men and you don't need testing anyway. If and when you ever develop a wart or other unexplained skin problem of your penis, check it out with a doctor. 

If you are under 26 years old, you can be vaccinated to prevent future infections with HPV. The standard vaccine in the US covers the 9 HPV types that cause 90% of cancers and 90% of genital warts. It will prevent infection with any types with which you have not yet been infected.

Even with the highest risk types of HPV, less than one in a thousand infected people get cancer. That's why I said your recent partner was just unlucky.

For all those reasons, there was absolutely no reason for you to break up with this partner. If you did it just because of her cancer and HPV, that was wrong and you owe her an apology and probably flowers and a lovely dinner at an expensive restaurant!

Finally, I recommend you read about HPV. ASHA, the sponsor of this forum, has excellent information at http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/hpv/. Also see CDC's information at www.cdc.gov/std.

I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.   HHH, MD