I've been dating my boyfriend for almost a year and we've been friends for three years before that. We're very much in love and plan on getting married and having kids. About four years ago I found out that I have HPV which developed into genital warts — I've since had treatment and the warts are gone. I never told my boyfriend for fear that he wouldn't have wanted to be with me, but the guilt was killing me so I told him the truth this week. He reacted very well and we are still together, but I'm a wreck about all this. How can I let go of my guilt so it doesn't affect my relationship any more than it already has? — Remorseful Renata
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Dear Remorseful Renata,
I'm glad to hear that you've told your boyfriend the truth about your HPV, because as I'm sure you know, you can pass it to him even if you have no signs of genital warts. With that said, it's imperative that he gets tested and I urge you to use condoms every time you have sex, if you aren't already taking that preventive measure.
A diagnosis of an STI can go hand-in-hand with a lot of guilt and shame, so if you're still experiencing those feelings, I suggest talking about it with a trusted friend, your boyfriend, or a therapist. You can also call an anonymous hotline — they hire trained individuals who have a wealth of information about all STIs and great tips on how to cope with them. Carrying around any kind of guilt has the ability to eat you up inside, so turn to those around you for support and hopefully now that you've told your boyfriend the truth, your guilt will dissipate with time.