If you’ve been diagnosed with an STD, it’s normal to wonder about how the diagnosis is going to impact your dating life. After being diagnosed, it’s very important to follow your treatment and your doctor’s recommendations. Many STDs can be completely cured, while others can only be managed through treatment.
Let’s discuss how you can protect yourself and your partner when dating with genital warts.
Dating with HPV warts
The reality is that, as confirmed by the CDC, practically everyone who is sexually active will get HPV at some point in their lives. But the large majority of people infected with the virus won’t show any symptoms, and most cases are cleared by the immune system within two years.
However, people can still transmit the virus even if they’re completely asymptomatic, and it’s impossible to predict who will develop symptoms and complications and who won’t. Since HPV can lead to serious health complications, it’s very important to keep yourself protected from this virus.
So how can you make sure you and your partner stay safe?
Practice safe sex
There are many reasons why you should always wear a condom correctly during intercourse, including HPV protection. As The New Zealand HPV Project reminds us, since so many cases of HPV are asymptomatic, it’s often impossible to tell when you were infected and who gave you the virus.
You should always wear a male or female condom when you’re having oral, anal, or vaginal sex. You should also use a dental dam if you’re giving oral sex to a female partner. Condoms don’t fully eliminate the risk of getting HPV, but they do offer protection from HPV and other STDs.
Even if you’re also using another contraceptive method — such as the pill or an intrauterine device — it’s very important to remember that male and female condoms are the only contraceptives that can also protect you from STDs.
Avoid contact with warts
Keep in mind that HPV warts aren’t only transmitted during penetrative sex. According to UW Medicine, HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. This is more likely during sex, but other types of intimate contact can also lead to HPV transmission. If a new partner has active HPV lesions, you should avoid having contact with the warts and use a condom. Most long-term partners with HPV will share the virus at some point, however. You should discuss your options with your healthcare provider, especially if you or your partner are infected with a high-risk strain.
Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself from infection, whether you’re currently dating someone with HPV or not. In fact, people should ideally get vaccinated against HPV long before they become sexually active in order to maximize protection.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the HPV vaccine can be given to boys and girls aged 11-12, but it can be given as early as 9 years old. If you didn’t get the HPV vaccine when you were younger, you can still get it at a later time — you simply have to discuss your options with your healthcare provider.
HPV vaccination protects you against the most common types of HPV that lead to genital warts and certain types of cancer. Even if you’ve already been exposed to HPV in the past, the vaccine can protect you against other strains. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the vaccine doesn’t treat an existing HPV infection.
Dating with other STDs
Navigating dating with STDs will largely depend on the type of STD that you have. The good news is that many STDs can be completely cured with simple antibiotic treatments, and even chronic STDs can be managed throughout your life.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, STDs caused by bacteria and parasites are all treatable with antibiotics. These STDs include:
- Mycoplasma genitalium
Viral STDs — such as HPV — can be trickier. Viral STDs include:
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis B
While most cases of HPV and hepatitis B are cleared by the immune system, these infections can also become chronic and lead to health problems. HIV and herpes, on the other hand, are lifelong infections that can be managed through treatment.
If you are diagnosed with a bacterial STD, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. Untreated STDs can lead to a wide range of health complications, and you can also transmit them to your partner(s).
You should avoid intercourse while receiving antibiotic treatment. According to Planned Parenthood, you should also avoid sex for at least 7 days after your last dose of treatment. Your partner should also get tested and treated, since most bacterial STDs can be passed back and forth between partners.
Where can you find other singles with HPV?
The truth is that it can be hard to figure out how to date with HPV, especially if you have an active infection. An HPV diagnosis can be navigated in a relationship, but there are also HPV chat rooms where you can find other single people with HPV. Some of these dating sites include:
Getting tested regularly is another way to preserve your reproductive health. Thanks to at-home testing, it’s now easier to get tested from the comfort and privacy of your home. You can learn more about at-home STD testing at STDWatch.com.
HPV Infection - cdc.gov
How will HPV affect my relationship/s? - hpv.org.nz
10 Things You Might Not Know About HPV - rightasrain.uwmedicine.org
HPV vaccine: Who needs it, how it works - mayoclinic.org
Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections (STDs) - health.mo.gov
I’m on antibiotics for chlamydia. Can I still have sex if I use a condom? - plannedparenthood.org