Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG
I think it's great to discuss safe sex but I see HPV being in no special category; considering the prevalance of herpes.
"There's no reporting system for herpes in Canada, but figures from the US suggest that genital herpes affects about 25% of women and 20% of men. In other words, approximately 1 out of every 4 women and 1 in 5 men have been infected.1 out of every 4 women and 1 in 5 men in canada have been infected with genital herpes."
These facts, which are pretty much the same in the US, depending on which study you consult- (1 out of 4, one out of 5), are really scary, added tot he fact that 90% of people don't know(or don't say!) they have it, and condoms can be ineffective for herpes type 2, genital herpes as well if the infection site is outside of the coverarage area of a condom, which it frequently is.
Lots of the information out there pairs HPV with Herpes strains, because both are so common, and if you have one, you are more susceptible to the other.
Confronted with this information, it is easy to see why there is so much fear attached and why people who have these diseases have a terrible time both dealing with and talking about their condition.
Of the 300 or so active members on this forum, the numbers would indicate that 75 or so have herpes. Yet the OP is right, we never talk about these things specifically. And I know there are people out there dealing with this, in addition to all of the other special challenges of polyamory.
There are so many psychological effects as well as physical and ethical issues. People who have STD's are treated with revulsion and the stigma is great even though I see that Sunnydee has made the point that the likelihood of contracting these diseases is high for everyone, acting responsibly or not. Just the sheer amount of people that have the diseases that don't know is a huge factor- they may be judgmental toward someone who admits to having an STD, not realizing they may have it too and be asymptomatic.
The sad thing is- STDs are not viewed as what they are by most people who don't (or think they don't) have them- as a disease, a common, manageable (though highly transmittable!)disease. Because the disease affects the genitals, in our heavily hypocritical puritan society it is unmentionable, dirty, and must indicate poor character.
I am one of the 75. It's very difficult psychologically more than anything. People make jokes about it around you and it makes you feel like an outcast.
People talk about safe sex and misunderstand the large portion of the population that has to confront the fact that they have an STD, and do their best to treat and prevent the spread of the virus.
The fact is, when someone tells you they have herpes and is educated about it, you are actually in a better position than you may be when someone says they don't because there are so many people out there who have no clue. The only way to get clear, whether you think you have the diseases or not is to get blood tests done and determine if you have an STD and what type it is, so you can receive medical treatment.
Thankyou, Sunnydee. I was thinking about starting a similar thread last week but didn't have the guts. It's a big issue for me, especially in considering sexual relationships outside my dyad, and I have been very anxious about dropping the double bomb of poly and herpes on a potential partner. It's very hard to deal with, but I'm glad we're talking.
I don't expect anyone else to "come out" with such a private thing, but even though I am scared to reveal this about myself, I have to change my way of thinking and not play into the stigma. I have to be the first one to reject the notion that this disease is any different from any other. My responsibility is to be educated and manage my disease honestly. My hope is that someone who I've established a connection with that cares about me will not write me off when I share this information.