Dating with warts

"This is the coolest date-and-a-half I've ever had," Mike said that evening. Even though HPV is commonplace, that doesn't make it palatable, especially with a cancer warning attached.

He might find me attractive, but would he still want to sleep with me? "Being nice to me now will only make it harder," I managed to croak. (It might, but no one knows when.) Yet he didn't judge me.

I'd comb straightening serum into my hair and swab shadow onto my eyelids. I had to hum to drown out the sound of my gynecologist snipping off bits of my cervix with long, snub-nosed scissors.

I'd wear a shirt that didn't have holes in it, at the very least. In the seven days until each of my test results came back negative, purple shadows formed under my eyes and I bit my nails down to the quick.

Genital warts can be removed, and they don't really bother anyone. Men and women very often have HPV (Human papilloma virus) and have NO visible warts. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives.

As long as they're taken care of, I don't want a big froggish toad looking thing coming at me. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. The molecule of the virus is small enough to get into someone else via just skin contact.

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How you dress for a date on which you plan to tell the person you're falling for that you have an incurable sexually transmitted infection? Given the numbers, you'd think that I wouldn't feel so alone: HPV is the most common STI in the U. Most sexually active adults get it at some point, with nearly 60 million women—38 percent of the entire female population—infected at any given time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, condoms can't always cover all of the affected skin.

You can get hit by a bus while walking across the street.

Prodded by friends, family, and my mother's polite request for grandchildren, I eventually worked up the nerve to start dating again.

I filled out an online profile and soon found myself trading e-mails with a bumbling, sincere computer programmer named Mike, who admitted a weakness for Hello Kitty, chili fries, and rare birds.

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