Getting any disease causes both physical and psychological discomfort and pain. It has been discovered by using various research methods from patients and medical care givers that our sexual needs are very central to our happiness and well being. They in some ways define us and impact on us in a very deep and meaningful way. So when we discuss sexually transmitted diseases and HPV(human papilloma) virus in particular we are discussing a very personal issue.
The first issue and most overriding problem raised in the research carried out is social stigma or the tabooish nature of the disease, affected the vast majority of people. It seemed worse than the fact that they had it. Intercourse has a very strong social element and that is magnified by the stigma.
Its immediate effects of receiving news of having PV and STD’s in general are shame, depression and anxiety. These physiological effects can have varying effects. Some infected patients can still start to pick up the pieces and restart their lives. Some find the depression and anxiety unbearable, affecting them in far reaching ways. Many patients who where once very sociable or sexually active people become, after the awareness of contracting the disease, distant, anti social and completely uninterested in intercourse. Patients require additional assistance to deal with their infection and the debilitating consequences. The alienation that people feel with the knowledge of their medical circumstances causes them to distance themselves from social interaction and advances from other people. Others commented about their branded opinion of themselves and felt tainted and unclean. Sexual encounters where limited of even just blocked. Many women who are the main group afflicted with HPV felt incredibly low self work and raised the issue of fear of letting men know they had HPV.
Many people did not just feel isolated by society but isolated by their partners. Questions on how individuals contracted the disease put them in a place of weakness and questioned there faithfulness in the relationship. Other feared being rejected and unloved by their partners while some wished to communicate openly with their spouse but felt so judged and ridiculed it weakened there resolve to communicate. This opened them up to being admonished not just for not communicating but not showing love to the other partner. Even lovers where effected by the stigma, in many case a sexual active partnership came under incredible pain and strain from the disease being discovered where the healthy partner wants to have intercourse but the infected partner feel dirty undesirable and afflicted by something too great to open up to be loved and to accept the invitation for intercourse
Many of the issues and emotions that affect HPV sufferers go beyond the stigma and are really due to an extreme fear of transmitting the disease. They see intercourse as an unsafe activity and embrace abstinence for their sake and others.
A lot of research has found that over time people gradually deal with the disease and the numbers fall for some of the psychological issues and problems that affect sufferers. Sometimes it takes as long as 6 months to a year after being informed for these signs to become clear. What seems to be at the back of everyone’s mind is the possibility of their HPV developing into cancer. This fear can develop into a number of obsessions towards the disease and cleanliness of the affected area.