Originally Posted by Ceoli
Well, the thing is that there isn't really a high risk category for contracting HPV. It's not even always sexually transmitted. You can pick up the virus just by touching something that's been touched by someone with the virus. Being part of a high risk category and contracting a high risk strain are very different things. The high risk strains are strains of the virus that are more likely to develop into cervical cancer.
They're now vaccinating younger girls against certain strains of HPV and there is a vaccine in development for boys as well. It would be nice to have more general access to the vaccine for all adults.
The only "high risk category" named is people with multiple partners, which is what I was addressing. This would really probably not be a problem at all for a monogamous couple, even in a new relationship. Even if they got it, they would probably both fight it off and be clear of it with time.
Except for sex toys actually in use at the moment (and they're not sure about that), there's no real evidence that you can pick it up from objects, skin to skin contact is said to be required, so that's probably good to know.
The vaccine for young girls is one of the reasons I bring this up. First, it protects against only 4 of the most common strains, 2 of the cancer causing ones and 2 for warts. Older women are never offered this vaccine. I'm not sure if that's just because it's considered too late (since anyone who's had sex is considered exposed) or if there's some other reason. If it's just the former, then an older woman embarking on a new .... set of choices for her life?... might want to find out if this vaccine could help to protect her.
Right now, in the U.S., HPV testing isn't even offered routinely and anal PAPs are practically unheard of. We are, unfortunately, at one of those gaps that medical science goes through at times, where we have enough information to recognize a problem and aid research but not really enough to be useful for most people (in this case, it seems older women are kind of caught in this gap). Again, the source of the ambivalence. Sigh.
One of the reasons a woman might want to know this is that IF she were to be found to have active HPV, she might want to limit her exposure to other strains that could make it harder for her body to fight off the one she has. There is also some evidence that while condom use can't prevent it, it may reduce the risk and there is one study that showed it may seriously reduce the risk of cervical lesions developing if HPV is present. Poly women considering becoming fluid bonded may want to know this.