I met him my first night of college. Although not the fairytale every girl imagines, we hit it off in the basement of a fraternity house. It was a passionate, whirlwind love affair that lasted about a month. Long story short, we don’t speak any more. I took it as a learning experience about relationships and the healing process was not easy.
It was an early morning over winter break when I got the call from my gynecologist. I was expecting the phone call and was prepared for her to tell me that I was perfectly normal and she’ll see me in a year for a checkup. She was reading through the list of diseases saying they all came back negative, until she said, “But, your HPV test came back positive. You have what’s called high risk HPV.” I couldn’t think of anything other than getting out of hearing range of everybody in the house. So, I ran into the kitchen and asked, “What do I do now?” She seemed so calm about the whole situation and just insisted that I make sure to come back in three months for a follow-up appointment, and to call her if I had any questions.
As I hung up the phone my whole first semester flashed through my mind. My birthday, Halloween, my best friends’ birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas… I had this disease the entire time. The girl down the hall had supposedly reached the double digit mark for people she had slept with, and I had only been with one person the whole semester. I kept thinking, “Why me?” But, I already knew the answer. The girl down the hall probably used a condom every time. I remembered all those times when I brushed off the need for a condom because I was on birth control. An 18-year-old would never be able to get an STD, I told myself, especially when she only chooses to have sex with the “good” guys. But, it happened and I realized that I was not invincible, like I thought I was.