The Mental Stages Of Discovering You Have HPV

Here’s a common yet scary scenario that happens to a lot of women; you go in for your routine pap smear. You go home and forget about it because those things have always gone perfectly fine and your doctor has never called about anything. You give yourself a gold star and some gelato for keeping up your annual appointments.  Then fast forward a few weeks and you’re confused to see your gynecologist calling. She’s calling to tell you that your pap smear came back “Irregular.” The word “irregular” has never sounded so terrifying. How does your gyno sound so calm?! You run over the events of the past year in your head; every sexual partner and weird bus seat you ever sat on. Nothing odd comes up—how could this have happened!? Relax, says your gyno—it’s just HPV. You’re not sure if it’s “just” HPV, but you look it up and discover that, in fact, nearly 80 million Americans currently live with it. Here are the awkwardly true stages of finding out you have HPV and accepting it.

But I used condoms!

Why did I spend all of that money on condoms over the years if I was just going to catch something anyways! Oh—right. Pregnancy and incurable STDs and things like that. Okay—it’s good I used condoms.