General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

One of my boyfriend's former hookups has aggressive HPV and is undergoing a LEEP procedure. Should I be this concerned?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5674points) July 27th, 2015

I’ve been seeing my significant other for about a year and we have a very strong and harmonious relationship. We’re kind to each other, have great chemistry in and out of the bedroom and are generally very compatible. We’re in love and it’s great! :)

Before he met me, he was in a relationship with the same woman for about ten years (he’s eight years my senior) and eventually they were married for about 18 months. However, their connubial bliss came to a screeching halt when she cheated on him with a colleague after he had already taken her back despite being unfaithful in the past. This was more than two years ago. Needless to say, it was an ugly divorce and a difficult time for him.

About six months into our relationship, he tells me that after his marriage ended, he went on a bit of a bender having never really been single in his adult life. This included a couple of months of dating two different strippers and one forgettable drunken hookup with a girl in his circle of friends who is openly promiscuous—let’s call her “Jenny”. (She cheats on her boyfriend all the time and I’ve seen her go home with several random guys in the year that I’ve known her.) However, I wasn’t too worried at the time because he had gotten an STD test and shown me the results. I also wasn’t worried about HPV because I had received Gardasil as a teenager and never had an abnormal pap smear.

Trying to be a progressive and mature person, I thank him for being honest with me and tell him that it’s not the end of the world. This was before he even knew me and the past is it the past. After all, we’re both adults and I wasn’t exactly a virgin when I met him either.

Fast forward to yesterday when we’re on our way to a pool party with some of his friends and Jenny is there waiting for the train with us. She doesn’t know that I know about her Jager Bomb-fueled one-night stand with my boyfriend (before he was my boyfriend), but I never bring it up and treat her as I would any other person. I don’t agree with her promiscuous lifestyle choices but whatever, I’m secure in my relationship and love my partner. Let’s all get along and have a good time, right?!

Well you could just about hear a record scratch when Jenny casually mentions to my boyfriend and I that she really shouldn’t swim because she just had a LEEP procedure done and is awaiting biopsy results after a Pap smear came back showing that she has aggressive HPV and is now awaiting biopsy results. Concerned, I asked her if she had Gardasil and she said that YES, she had and had caught HPV anyway. My boyfriend turns bright red and looks at me with a face that says “please don’t kill me” but it was all I could do not to cry and puke and then to get through a day of socialization and trying to have fun.

My boyfriend and I talked about it during and after the party, but he was quick to minimize my concerns and tell me that there’s no way I could have HPV because obviously HE would NEVER have it and blah blah blah. I had to explain to him that men are asymptomatic carriers and Jenny caught it despite also having a Gardasil shot. It’s very likely she’s had this before she slept with him and only found out when she went to her OBGYN for a pap smear, which many women only get every three years. I wouldn’t be surprised either if she lies to her OBGYN about being monogamous with her partner so she probably gets screened less often than she actually should.

I can tell my boyfreind is ashamed of himself but he’s also kind of being defensive. Yes, he slept with Jenny before he knew me BUT he also did so knowing full-well well that vagina is the softball team’s equivalent to a CitiBike share. He also insists that she “wasn’t slutty yet” when he played condomless “hide the hotdog” with her. I had to suppress laughter at this statement because when they had sex, she had (and still has) a boyfriend! She’s a known nymphomaniac. Don’t tell me she was Mary of Nazareth when you had her.

Joking aside: this really isn’t about the sex, it’s about my safety and wellbeing. I know it’s not logical to be angry at my partner for his sexual past before he knew of my existence, but the truth is, I’m very nervous that I now have what Jenny has.

Having a pap smear is the simplest solution and would help put me at ease, but I’m currently without health insurance until I find an in-house job. Worse yet, my fancy-pants Soho OGBYN would charge me over $1,000 out of pocket for a basic pap smear and even getting sub-par screening and treatment from Planned Parenthood would run me a cool $300—$500, which still hurts A LOT as a poor freelancer in my mid twenties. I literally cannot afford to have this crap in my life right now!

Should I ask my boyfriend to cough up the cash? I’m afraid of him developing a martyr complex about this and seeing it as some kind of victimization/indictment of his penis. But what am I supposed to do? How can we have a productive conversation about this? I know the past is the past, but it’s a clear and present danger to my health and, if this is not dealt with productively, potentially our relationship.

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23 Answers

Pachy's avatar

I advise you to do a Goggle search on something like “pap smear without health insurance” and see what’s available at minimal or no cost in your area. And I certainly wouldn’t put this off—you need to ease your mind.

gorillapaws's avatar

”...$300—$500, which still hurts A LOT as a poor freelancer in my mid twenties. I literally cannot afford to have this crap in my life right now!”

You know what you really can’t afford? Potentially getting cancer from HPV that you could have treated early + the stress of the uncertainty. I’d find the most affordable place to get a test and get it sorted out for the sake of your sanity and anxiety levels. I’m not sure where that would be, but it’s worth any price to take care of your health. Perhaps you could get your boyfriend to split the cost with you?

Also call your OB’s office and see if they can negotiate an out-of-pocket rate, or perhaps refer you to someone in town they trust that has a more affordable option. At our office we negotiate with patients for out-of-pocket treatment all of the time.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I will definitely expedite my next pap smear to be within the next few weeks.

Am I crazy for being upset and disappointed in my partner now? The whole situation makes me feel icky. :(

janbb's avatar

I would probably have felt a bit icky about his past anyway – not jealous but a bit upset about his casual sex choices. But that might just be me. The HPV was always a possibility.

However, now you are here and you love him. I think it would be fair to ask him to split the cost of a Pap smear at Planned Parenthood. This needs to be done.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@janbb the stripper thing makes me feel weird too. What kind of accomplished Manhattan professional dates SEX WORKERS? He tried to tell me that “strippers aren’t sex workers” and I told him it was like telling me that oranges aren’t fruit. Strippers have sex with club patrons all. the.time. I’m not such a dumb little hayseed that I don’t know differently.

The fact that he hooks up with such women, makes me worry about what it says about me. He says that he respects me and thinks highly of me and that it shouldn’t bother me but it does.

However, I’ve never suspected him of wrongdoing during our relationship. We live together and are one of those inseparable couples who spend a lot of time together. It’s just that now this little medical confession from his ex hookup has me on edge about my own health. :(

janbb's avatar

I completely get that. I’m certainly not saying you should back off from a great relationship.

chyna's avatar

I gotta wonder why someone would “casually” mention to people who are not their close friends that they had a procedure done regarding a sexually transmitted disease. Is there a possibility she did this to just get your goat?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar


One would think but she’s incredibly basic and has no discretion. This is a girl who drinks until she has no control of herself, and seems to make it a goal to hook up with as many dudes as possible. Intelligence and class are not her forte!

And my partner is wondering why I’m giving him side-eye for ever being balls deep into that slattern.

Please excuse me. I’m a little miffed.

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t think much about it, except to say you should be getting regular pap smears anyway. HPV is still very prevalent in the population, your chances of being exposed to it are high no matter what, unless you are vigilant about condoms. Almost any guy you date has a fairly high likelihood of having been exposed to HPV.

It sucks.

It might be worth getting HIV tests for you and your boyfriend just to know you both are negative for that for sure.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Thanks JLeslie. I’m actually looking for a Pap Smear provider in NYC as I “speak” so I can put my mind at ease.

My significant other has a clean bill of health as far as testable STDs goes and is clear of HIV, Chlamydia, Ghonnorea and all of the other usual suspects.

JLeslie's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace Alright then, you are basically in the same boat as almost any woman who dates a guy over 30, you just know for sure he was likely exposed to an aggressive HPV strain.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@JLeslie Run of the mill HPV doesn’t scare me but the chance of something aggressive does.

JLeslie's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace I can understand your concern. I wonder what strain it is? I think they use the word aggressive associated with the ones believed to cause cancer. I still would not be overly freaked out. That is why women worry about HPV, because of the cancer risk. Women are positive for the “bad” ones all the time, get treated, and never have a positive Pap smear again, or do 30 years later and just get it taken care of again before it ever becomes cancer. It happens all the time. I’m not making light of it, women still die from cervical cancer, but most likely you would catch the inflamed HPV tissue before it was ever cancer.

Just a year ago a woman I know confessed to me she had been through a horrible cancer scare. As I talked to her I realized all she had had was a positive PAP smear, probably they had also done the DNA testing for the HPV strain, and decided it was one of the more likely cancer causing strains; like a whole bunch of women I know. Seriously, a lot of friends of mine have been positive. They get it removed and for the vast majority don’t have another problem. Most of the women I know are college degree, stable career, soccer mom types. You don’t need to be a stripper as we all know. Anyway, this woman revealing to me her cancer scare never had cancer. She was a nervous wreck for nothing. Her doctor didn’t explain it to her well. My point to this story is the woman who told you her situation might be using words like aggressive and not really communicating well exactly what was found nor how bad it is. Some people are more hysterical than others.

What does “aggressive” mean to you in regard to HPV?

I’m not a doctor, just a woman who has a lot of girlfriends who tell all.

Buttonstc's avatar

I understand your being miffed about the fact that, as a presumably intelligent professional, he chose to date a promiscuous stripper.

However, what I personally find inexcusable and incredibly stupid is that he did so WITHOUT A CONDOM.

If you want to get justifiably angry with him, it should be for that. WTF was he thinking? (Obviously the little head was doing the thinking not the big one with the brains in it.)

I know you’re trying very hard to be all magnanimous and mature about the past being the past and bla bla bla politically correct bullshit.

But the plain truth of the matter is that when having unprotected sex with someone one is, in effect, sleeping with every other person whom that person has slept with.

He can try to minimize it as much as he wants but that is the plain unvarnished truth.

By refusing to wear a condom, he has put you at risk for a highly aggressive form of HPV just as surely as if you had slept with the slut yourself.

And I personally think that he should pay the full cost of whatever testing you need. You were not the one who made the decision to sleep with Jenny with NO PROTECTION. HE DID.

IMHO, on his part, that’s just selfish beyond description to any future partners he would have. And now that’s you.

If he wants to be a martyr about something, let it be about his totally preventatable decision to not use a condom. He certainly knew better.

If he went through an understandable period of time sowing his wild oats, he should have made certain to never be without a condom. That’s just common sense.

That’s just my two cents worth. I’m sure some will think I’m being overly harsh but as far as I’m concerned, there is just absolutely no excuse for an intelligent guy in this day and age to have promiscuous sex WITHOUT A CONDOM.


(and please spare me all the crap about “it feels like having sex with a raincoat on” “it just doesn’t feel right”) Boo hoo hoo. Good Grief. He’s not 14 years old. He’s an adult. And part of being an adult is taking responsibility for your actions.

He was being selfish. Let him pay for the test. And tell him to quit whining about it. YOU are the one who is now at risk, not him.

JLeslie's avatar

I think HPV vaccine is a series, maybe the chick didn’t complete the full series?

Why do you think planned parenthood would give you subpar screening? There is a good chance they use the same labs as your fancy soho doctor. Is $300—$500 what PP quoted you for the test alone? That seems very high. $1,000 is simply ridiculous, even in NY.

It’s sounding to me like it has been years since you have had a pap smear, so you are due for one anyway. I don’t think you need to go running in for the test, but sometime in the next few months. I know the new recommendation is three years forceftain groups, but I seriously question that recommendation. From what I understand the thought is the body often heals itself, and a young woman can have suspicious cells, and then the next pap smear 6 months later they are gone.

@Buttonstc I think it would be nice if men help women pay for GYN visits in general, especially if the women are on birth control for the relationship, but the fact is a big percentage of men carry HPV, and most of those men are not having sex with strippers. He could have given it to her. Remember virgin forever Brook Shields? She went public about her cervical dysplasia. The only reason I harp on this, is because men and women need to understand STD’s are a risk even when someone has not been overly promiscious and has only dated stereotypical “healthy” safe people. There is no such thing. This guy could still be positive for HSV and we wouldn’t know, he wasn’t tested for that. Or, it’s very doubtful he was. Would being blood positive for HSV1 or HSV2 be a problem? A whole bunch of people walk around positive for those, but don’t even think about it, especially HSV1 from fever blisters on their mouth. A slew of people just think that is a normal childhood thing.

He should have used condoms, probably the OP should be using condoms, but when do they take the condom off? When they get married? This is the problem, eventually when we get rid of the condom we still have the same problem: very few people are using condoms every time since the first lost their virginity. It would be nice if everyone did wait to pull off the condom until a long standing monogamous relationship, but I think that is very rarely the case. The stats I see say over 50% of men have HPV. I see stats as high as 80% of women have been exposed to HPV. Maybe the numbers went down a little now with the vaccine.

I think the OP needs a pap smear anyway, just because it’s been a while from what I can tell, and she is sexually active.

Response moderated
LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Hey all, just to clarify “Jenny” isn’t a stripper. Just a girl from his softball team with a checkered past (and present). She’s so promiscuous that she’s even come on to ME! X(

The strippers do make me shudder as well though and he’s well aware of that.

Anyway, last night when he came home he said to me “If you’re not happy. I’m not happy. I put you in this position and I’ll take care of it. Schedule a Pap Smear anywhere you want. Don’t go for the cheapest place and I will take care of it.”

That makes me feel better but as @Buttonstc said, the no-condom sexual history makes facepalm.

Cupcake's avatar

I just want to add a thought/question on to what @Buttonstc said… not that you need to answer it. Did he have unprotected sex with you before he told you about unprotected sex with her (and the strippers)? If so, that would be a huge concern to me.

My husband thought that because he had some blood work done (like a CBC or something benign), that he must not have HIV because they would have told him. I’m like, “No, dummy. You didn’t have a HIV test. You had a CBC.” Misinformation abounds… best to discuss fully before having unprotected sex.

I’m glad you’re getting an appointment soon, and glad he’s helping out with it.

gorillapaws's avatar

Hey guys, just so you know, you CAN transmit HPV while using a condom (I think it’s like a 30% chance).

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@gorillapaws good point!

There is no fool-proof way to not get HPV (or another STD) besides abstinence.

We had unprotected sex after he showed me the results of his STD and blood test just days after taking it. However, he waited six months into the relationship before spilling the beans about his stripper-dating and Jenny-humping days. He didn’t realize that HPV was even a risk and that they can’t test for it in men. Thank God the stupid slut is still around AND has a big mouth or else I would never know!

The guy got through three years of law school but apparently needs some remedial sex education. Just one more reason I’m voting democrat!

JLeslie's avatar

LOL. I love how that took a twist towards politics.

Cupcake's avatar

I think most people need remedial sex ed.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s not just sex ed. People don’t understand that tests only show what was tested for. Doctors don’t bother to explain.

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