Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG
Sorry if I seem defensive but I spent alot of time defending poly and I am sensitive to anything that perpetuates the judegemental ideas of those who would attack poly rather than accept it.
Peace and love
Don't worry, Mono. I'm totally pro-poly and I'm very sensitive to the issues that this sort of thing creates for a community. There's the same danger that we see with intolerant people thinking HIV is a "gay disease." It's a very destructive idea. But I think that the refusal to think about it may be a danger too. In any case, in talking about a health issue, I don't think we need attach any moral judgments or labels to anyone (including people who pick people up in bars).
I don't have any problem using whatever language people prefer. I don't think that poly "lifestyle" means people all buy the same things. I think of it probably more as a philosophy or something probably. But, really, I'm new, so I respect whatever language you all feel comfortable with.
Now, I need to repeat and emphasize, I am extremely ambivalent about talking about or even knowing about this. It's scary and, for many people, may be needlessly scary, not because it isn't a risk, but because it's a risk that there is very little we can do about. I'm very ambivalent about knowing something scary that we can do little about. But there are some things that people, especially women, might want to know and maybe can do and when I entered the poly-world, I asked quite a few people about risks, and this was NEVER mentioned. At all. That doesn't feel right to me.
HPV is considerably more common than herpes (estimates say 50-80% of sexually active adults will have it) and can't be detected by the person who has it the way herpes can be. It is true that not all strains are actually high-risk and that most people will be able to rid themselves of the virus over time. It appears, also, to be true that once you've fought off a strain you won't get it again, but that can take many months to a couple years. People with lowered immune systems or people who are exposed to multiple strains may be less able to fight it off. Let's say this, too. The chances of dying from an HPV caused cancer, for women who get regular PAP smears and follow-up treatment, is relatively rare in the developed world, but the treatment and worry that are associated with this are not trivial. As people make decisions, they might want to know about this risk. Again, they might not. I understand that.
Also, I'm sure you are right that being poly in some circumstances brings no more risk than anyone else, maybe less, because for some people, they are even more careful and will end up with fewer partners overall. But I can imagine people who are just entering the lifestyle (or what?) might be at more risk. How many people new to poly who've had no more than a few partners in life are introduced by an experienced poly person who has a large network of potential exposure?
Has anyone had any experience with HPV?