How to Tell a Boyfriend About HPV

Serious conversations are difficult, but sometimes necessary.
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Your heart races, your head spins and you feel butterflies in your stomach when you think about telling your boyfriend you have genital Human Papillomavirus, also known as HPV. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 20 million people in the United States are infected with HPV. The virus can affect the genital area, mouth and throat and is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Approaching your boyfriend can make you feel ashamed, embarrassed or scared.Telling your boyfriend that you have HPV can go smoother if you are calm, collected and prepared.

1 Location and Timing

Pick a time when you can talk face-to-face without being rushed or distracted. Talk after school or on the weekend when you have more time. Choose a location that is private, so that no one will interrupt. Do not attempt the conversation while in the middle of a physical embrace, writes Dr. Charlotte Grayson, an internist, on This is a serious conversation and needs to be taken seriously.

2 Be Prepared

Gather as much information as you can about HPV. Ask your doctor for pamphlets and do research on your own. Write down what you want to say beforehand. Be prepared to correct false information and calm your partner's fears, writes Yvonne K. Fulbright, who holds a doctorate in international community health studies, on FoxNew's website. Let your boyfriend know in advance that you have something important to talk about. You might say, "There's something very personal that I need to discuss that you may find upsetting." This allows him to be prepared for a serious conversation, according to U.S. News & World Report in "How to Tell Your Partner About an STD."

3 Telling Your Boyfriend

The anticipation of telling your boyfriend will probably be worse than the actual conversation. You may be worried your boyfriend will reject you or tell others that you have HPV. Remember, you are doing the right thing by telling him. Be honest and direct. For example, "I really care about you and need to tell you before we get physically intimate that I have HPV." Look him in the eyes and tell him calmly. Your attitude and frame of mind will affect how the message is received, so have the discussion when you are relaxed and fully focused, says Louanne Cole Weston, a licensed therapist and author of "When and How to Reveal You Have an STD."

4 His Reaction

Your boyfriend may be upset, angry, surprised or understanding. You may discover that he has HPV and didn't know how to tell you. Be patient and listen. Answer any questions. Your boyfriend may need space to sort out his feelings. Don't rush him to make a decision. Let him know that if he needs to talk, you are available. If your boyfriend decides he doesn't want to continue the relationship, respect his decision and try not to take it personally. You can be proud that you did the right thing, which took courage.

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.