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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Community
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Avatar universal

Threatened lawsuit over HPV transmission

I met a man in July '08, we became engaged in November '08 and I broke off the engagement in July '09.  At some point in the course of our relationship, the topic of HPV came up in a conversation and I told him I had tested positive for HPV at my last gynecological exam (late June '08; PAP was negative, though).  This was at a time after we were engaged and had already had unprotected sex.  He seemed outraged that I hadn't told him this before we had sex for the first time.  Given what I know about HPV (i.e., there are many strains, it can lay dormant in your body for years, etc.), I didn't feel it was my obligation to tell him; in fact, it didn't cross my mind at all.  

Now, 9 months after I broke off our engagement (13 months since we had sexual activity of any kind), he is threatening (in a text message, no less) a lawsuit, presumably over the idea that I infected him with HPV.  The text message is all I have to go on...in the message he asserts that I'll be served with papers shortly and that I should have a good attorney.  Relevant to this issue is the fact that he willingly continued to have unprotected sex with me after I told him I tested positive and that both my PAP and HPV tests were negative at my annual exam in July '09.

I'd appreciate any information from the medical community that may be helpful in my situation.

Thanks

24 Responses
Avatar universal
It might have been nice to tell him beforehand, especially since there are effective vaccines that may be available (BTW, HPV doesn't usually lie dormant for years, often it just clears up without causing any disease, after which you become immune to the same strain), but I sincerely doubt any court will entertain such a request from his part.

1. Does he actually have medical proof that he has been infected with HPV?

2. Would he have any proof that the infection necessarily came from you?

3. Does he have proof that he still has the infection, or that it has already caused him irreparable harm (cancer, warts etc)?

BTW, if you never told him the strain you tested positive for, make sure that remains absolutely private — don't tell anyone any details or hints regarding whether the strain was high- or low- risk.  If he tells you he's suing you for HPV 16, and you have had some other strain, then he's obviously bluffing.  If he doesn't even know the strain he has, then I doubt he did much more about the case than sending you a text message.

C.
Avatar universal
C,

Thank you very much for your response and the tip about keeping the strain I tested positive for private.  In retrospect, yes, I should have told him.  Like I said, it really didn't even enter my mind to tell him, particularly when my doctor was so nonchalant about it.

I don't know the answers to any of the questions you've posed but they are certainly ones that have entered my mind also.  Only time will tell, I suppose....in the meantime, I'll worry and fret a little and be looking around every corner for someone to "serve me papers!"

Thanks again,
H
Avatar universal
H,

I'm glad to be of some help.  Indeed, few (if any) doctors will tell you that you necessarily have to share your HPV test results with the partner.

You don't have to know the answers to those questions, but those and similar questions are something that one would most certainly have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to win the case.  As you realise, the likelihood that there'd be some proof is cloudy.  You're innocent until proven guilty. :-)

C.
Avatar universal
Hpv is so common and nearly all get it. 80 percent according to ashastd.org. You have nothing to worry about plus he would have to have a genital wart to even have medical proof but even still who's to say he did t get that from a girl before you.  Don't worry about it. He isn't educated on the subject.  
1256465 tn?1269665299
Even if he gets hpv and warts; he could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was you who infected him with. It could have been any girl he slept with in the past. Not one doctor or any credible piece of evidence can support the claim that is was necessarily you. Consider his lawsuit bogus.

Additionally, even if this could be proven, no court would fancy this lawsuit. Sex is an at your own risk activity. He knew the risks, he took them, the repercussions are his own.

Avatar universal
The problem with HPV is that even the CDC is so nonchalant about it as are health care professionals. I am finding myself in a similar situation as the original poster. They say that HPV "goes away on its own" and that most people have it and "clear" it, but they put VERY LITTLE emphasis on the worst case scenarios, the drastic consequences. I am living with myself having put many people in danger for thinking this was no big deal and everyone gets this. Not only do I experience extreme guilt, but I am also FEARFUL for the safety of others I don't even know the identities of yet whose lives my nonchalant attitude endangered. I can't just focus on my own health like innocent sick people and the fact that this may progress to cancer and the fact that I am being watched by my GYN. I also have to take responsibility for others. I'm sick but not innocent!

Well over a year after I believe I was infected, I got involved with a very nice man who didn't like condoms. And he got tested for all STDs and was free. What I knew about HPV was that within a year 90% of people clear the virus. This was over a year, so I didn't give thought to HPV. I was confident I cleared it. I did all I could to clear it. It was all behind me, or so I thought. The guy breaks up with me, and all I am worried about is my broken heart.

I truly believed I was out of the dark, that I was safe, even that this was so common it was no big deal. You clear it in 8 months to a year. Right? Everybody gets it. Right? Wrong. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. I'VE READ TOO MANY STORIES ABOUT WOMEN WHO DIDN'T GET THEIR PAPS AND THE DRASTIC CONSEQUENCES. ONE WOMAN IS ONE TOO MANY.

I AM FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACTIONS, AND ALL I CAN DO IS PRAY THAT NOBODY ELSE IS HARMED BUT I'M AFRAID THAT WILL BE INEVITABLE AND FOR THAT REASON I CAN'T LIVE WITH MYSELF.

WHAT THEY SHOULD REALLY BE EMPHASIZING TO PEOPLE IS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE HAVING SEX AT ALL WITH ANYONE WHEN THEY HAVE HPV, EVEN WITH A CONDOM. CONDOMS DO NOT PROTECT YOU FROM HPV LIKE THEY DO OTHER STDs.
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