Talking to Your Partner

What Should You Tell Your Partner?

Whether or not you talk to your sexual partner about your HPV and Pap test results is your own, personal decision.

However, remember that:

  • Most adults will get one or more types of HPV if they are or have been in a sexual relationship. Chances are, your partner had already been exposed to HPV by the time your infection was detected. If you are in a monogamous relationship, there is no risk of passing the infection back and forth. Once you "share" a particular strain of the virus through sexual contact, you cannot be re-infected with the same type. If you are sexually active with a new partner, use of a condom (although it doesn't provide complete protection) can help prevent the spread of HPV as well as other sexually transmitted infections.
  • It is impossible to know for certain from whom you got the HPV virus in the first place. You could have been exposed in another relationship months or years earlier, and the infection may have been dormant, or "silent," in the meantime. So, trying to determine who is at fault is not possible or productive. There is no reason to blame your partner or to feel guilty. 
  • If your partner is a male, remember that there is no FDA-approved HPV test for men. Fortunately, serious, HPV-related health problems also are relatively rare in men.