Your partner and HPV

It's your decision whether to tell your partner you have HPV (i.e. you have had an abnormal Pap test) or not. If you have genital warts, you may choose to discuss this with your partner as he/she is at risk of developing them as well, and they can be treated.

It's possible to have HPV for a long time without ever knowing it, sometimes as a result of sexual activity many years ago. Finding out you have HPV doesn't necessarily mean you or your partner has been unfaithful.

If you do decide to tell your partner you have HPV, it might help to include these points:

  • HPV is very common in women and men who have ever had sex. Four out of five people will have HPV at some point in their lives and most won't even know it.

  • There is no treatment for HPV. In most cases, HPV leaves the body naturally. If genital warts occur due to HPV, they can be treated.

  • You can have HPV for a long time without ever knowing it, sometimes due to sexual activity many years ago.

  • It is difficult to know who gave you the virus, both because the virus is so common and because it can remain dormant in cells for more than 10 years, then become active at any time.

  • There is no reason to stop having sex because you have HPV.

For more on HPV visit hpvvaccine.org.au or call the Cancer Council on 13 11 20. 

Cancer Council Helpline