Further notes on the HSV thing now that I have a sec, just because I've done soooo much reading about this topic lately. I came to focus on HSV in particular, because I was investigating STIs in general, and learned that it and HPV (which I've already had one strand of, and have been vaccinated against the other dangerous types) are really the only STIs that 1) are lifelong, and 2) condoms don't provide 99% protection against (more like 30% more protection versus not using barriers, but then the risk is only ~10% for PIV between outbreaks but without barriers to begin with... anti-virals lower it further, and just common-sense-wise implementing the silk boxers idea would make it nigh-impossible).
It's such a fascinating topic. In the end, we're talking about an occasional skin condition. Acne of the genitals. Not fun, but in no way life-threatening, and usually very well-contained by anti-virals. Also usually decreasing in severity over time and even disappearing completely. Not actually that big a deal at all! But there's a HUGE social stigma around it.
That social stigma is actually the reason doctors dont recommend testing for it. I've learned this from multiple sources, including the CDC. Basically, their studies showed that, for asymptomatic people, learning that they had HSV2 was emotionally distressing, and yet didn't statistically change their behavior. So, doctors were getting people upset without making a difference from a public health perspective. So they don't recommend it.
The tests USED to give fairly frequent false positives. In the past several years, newer, type-specific tests (which are becoming standard, but which one should still specifically ask for, just in case) are actually very accurate. If a result is positive, you can also re-test with a more expensive but *extremely* accurate version to rule out a false positive. So, the idea that testing in asymptomatic people is ill-advised because you won't get real results is outdated/inaccurate... I'm no doctor or scientist, but it really does seem to be ALL about avoiding the social stigma nowadays.
But why should we purposefully avoid info related to our sexual health because of potential social stigma? I don't condemn anyone for not opting for the HSV testing if they've never had symptoms (neither Clay nor Izzy get it done), but I chose to get it done because I decided that, if I did have it, I'd rather face that stigma and make truly informed choices. Maybe we can shift the culture over time so that it's not so over-stigmatized, and we can actually do a better job in both preventing its spread and treating it like the inconvenience it is.
Heh, sorry for the essay, I imagine you know how it is when you've just gained a ton of interesting new info and then somebody brings up the topic...
The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.