I appreciate your concern about your partner’s health and it sounds as if she has done the right thing by getting screened and then treated for the abnormal cells. The goal of Pap tests and in some cases, HPV testing, is to identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer. Now that she has been treated, she will need to keep up with recommended exams to make sure that her tests go back to normal.
I am concerned, however, about the emotional impact this has made in your daily lives. Although HPV has been associated with penile and anal cancers in men, these are far less common than the cellular abnormalities in women. High risk HPV causes no symptoms in men or women- no pain, discharge or bleeding. The HPV test is not approved for use in men as it is not as accurate as it is in women. The HPV vaccine is currently not approved for use in men.
We assume that men, just like most women, will clear the HPV through your immune response. In fact, you may have cleared it already, but again, we have no way of testing to know that for sure. In the meantime, the better support you can give your immune system, the better it will support you in helping to clear the virus. If you smoke, try to stop. Eat a good diet with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and get adequate rest. Manage your stress in whatever way works best for you–exercise, hang out with people you care about, get involved in a cause. The benefits you get back from these healthy behaviors will pay you back in many ways!
Because HPV tends to be so common in younger age groups, it is often the first health concern that is faced and can create personal and relationship stress. If you feel that you are not getting the answers you need, talk to another provider or educate yourself through websites like this one.
–Beth Colvin Huff, MSN, FNP-BC-