Dealing with HPV
I wrote in my blog about my diagnosis of high risk HPV. I wanted to throw it out to the forum for suggestions and as blogs aren't supposed to be for that sort of thing, I decided to post it here.
I wrote that I am very unsure of how to handle safer sex where the virus can be passed skin to skin, by touch. I am familiar with safer sex techniques in avoiding fluid exchanges. But touch? That's pretty much the point of sex for me! I am also finding it hard to get information about the risks of certain activities. Every site notes that using a condom helps. Except no one seems to know how much it helps. It didn't help me - I've been rigorous in using condoms and I still got HPV. So my doctor telling me to use condoms is the most useless piece of advice. Yes, already doing that and it didn't help.
The websites I've looked at - the CDC and the San Francisco clinic - are really helpful but don't go far enough. There isn't information on the risks of what I like to do sexually - the risks chart from the SF clinic is great but HPV is mostly in the 'unknown' category. And they don't mention finger or hand fucking or using toys or other activities. I realize that they can't cover everything in a chart. But it is frustrating there is so little reliable information.
So how does one handle the risks of a virus spread by touch? How do I even find out what those risks are so I can tell my partners something reliable so they can judge what they want to do?
Has anyone taken the vaccine? What were your experiences with it? I asked my doctor about it and I am too old for it at 40. But I have heard conflicting information on this - that it just has not been studied in older people so they have no way of judging effectiveness. I have heard about some doctors providing the vaccine to older patients. Mine wouldn't.
Also suggestions on telling partners about this? I did ok in telling my immediate past and current partners, and they were fine for the most part. As I said, Oil Man was freaked but he was certainly not mean about it. Just had lots of questions I mostly couldn't answer. That connection was certainly fading long before this came up so I wasn't surprised that it's fizzled away entirely now.
This has really disturbed me. I do feel ashamed and rather 'icky' even though I have no basis in reality for feeling this way. I have drawn back considerably from pursuing more casual encounters in part because of my diagnosis. I don't know what to tell people to help them judge their risk so I feel weird about casual sex right now. I was kind of moving away from casual sex anyway - lack of time and interest mostly - but this certainly has accelerated that.
I'm also annoyed that no one - broadly not this forum specifically - seems to be talking about HPV. It is so prevalent, but so few talk about it. It can cause serious diseases as well as warts. Doctors seem to know diddly squat about prevention or not passing it to others. Yes, the cancers are relatively manageable if caught early but I've known women who died from cervical cancer. It's still scary.
Ok, rant over. I would appreciate your thoughts, experiences, knowledge on this so much!