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  #11  
Old 03-21-2013, 01:12 AM
jaynecobb jaynecobb is offline
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Default Married/poly - Is herpes a deal breaker?

Forum noob here, but question about how big a deal herpes really is.

Happily married for 9 years, poly for 6. No symptoms, but wifey and I just got tested for HSV1 & 2. Results should be in in a few days.

Hypothetically, if she has either and I have none, is it crazy unreasonable for me to be hesitant about having sex with the wife ever again? God, just typing that sounds horrible. I'm just thinking if I say "Sure, I know we're going to be together forever, so voluntarily contracting herpes is worth it because I love you," and then 5 years down the road something happens and we get divorced am I going to really regret choosing to do that for her?

From the info I can gather, upwards of 60% of people already have it, and then a good portion of those people don't actually experience symptoms. I think it's really the social stigma that gets me about herpes.

Would love some thoughts from those more experienced and wiser than I. Preferably from both parties: those who have it and those who don't. Thanks!
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  #12  
Old 03-21-2013, 05:04 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Originally Posted by soleilselene View Post
I get insurance next month and that will be my first stop. I tested positive for HPV about 7 years ago, and that has been it. Recently my partner's wife tested positive for HPV and everyone is getting paranoid about everything.

I told my other two partners about it and one was very chill, telling me that 80% of people get it, that it usually clears on its own and blah blah blah. What I already knew.
The statistics I've read are that virtually every sexually active adult has contracted HPV at some point in their lives. It's as common as the flu. And at any given time, upwards of 70% of sexually active adults are currently viral. There are many different strains (just like the flu) and they don't all cause the same things. Some strains cause genital warts, others cause cancer, and most cause nothing but panic.

I once had an abnormal pap smear. I'd been getting regular testing, but I didn't realize HPV wasn't covered in the standard battery of tests. By the time I had my colposcopy (ouch), there was no virus present. So it will never be confirmed whether I did or did not at some point have HPV. At any rate, I don't now.

When I started dating my girlfriend, I just said it like that... "By the way, I once had an abnormal pap smear, which means I may or may not have had HPV." Her response? "Yeah, me too. It's no big deal. Everyone gets it, except virgins."

If this girlfriend is so paranoid about getting HPV, why hasn't she been vaccinated?

BTW, you can get free STD tests at many community clinics, especially women's health or gay health clinics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynecobb View Post
Forum noob here, but question about how big a deal herpes really is.

Happily married for 9 years, poly for 6. No symptoms, but wifey and I just got tested for HSV1 & 2. Results should be in in a few days.

Hypothetically, if she has either and I have none, is it crazy unreasonable for me to be hesitant about having sex with the wife ever again? God, just typing that sounds horrible. I'm just thinking if I say "Sure, I know we're going to be together forever, so voluntarily contracting herpes is worth it because I love you," and then 5 years down the road something happens and we get divorced am I going to really regret choosing to do that for her?

From the info I can gather, upwards of 60% of people already have it, and then a good portion of those people don't actually experience symptoms. I think it's really the social stigma that gets me about herpes.

Would love some thoughts from those more experienced and wiser than I. Preferably from both parties: those who have it and those who don't. Thanks!
Herpes, on the other hand, is no walk in the park. My BFF's sister had a herpes outbreak when her daughter was born. Her regular doctor was not available for the delivery, and the doctor on call did not know her history. She should have delivered by c-section, but it didn't work out that way. Her daughter contracted a herpes infection in her throat/lungs and nearly died. She's actually the first child in Canada to have such a severe case and actually survive. She was lucky. They were doing a clinical trial of this new treatment at the time. To this day, she's still immune-compromised. She has to stay home whenever the flu is going around school, she can't be around smokers at all because it irritates her lungs, and she'll never live a completely normal life. She had a tracheal tube until she was 3.

Herpes is incurable and can be very unpleasant, or so I'm told. It can be transmitted with condoms. So if you get it and you get divorced (or want to explore outside the marriage), you can kiss your sex life goodbye.

I personally wouldn't risk it, and I would never ask my husband to do something like that. I consider it incredibly selfish... and I'm a pretty selfish person, so that's saying a lot.
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The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."

Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 03-21-2013 at 05:07 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-21-2013, 06:02 PM
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FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynecobb View Post
Forum noob here, but question about how big a deal herpes really is.

Happily married for 9 years, poly for 6. No symptoms, but wifey and I just got tested for HSV1 & 2. Results should be in in a few days.

Hypothetically, if she has either and I have none, is it crazy unreasonable for me to be hesitant about having sex with the wife ever again? God, just typing that sounds horrible. I'm just thinking if I say "Sure, I know we're going to be together forever, so voluntarily contracting herpes is worth it because I love you," and then 5 years down the road something happens and we get divorced am I going to really regret choosing to do that for her?

From the info I can gather, upwards of 60% of people already have it, and then a good portion of those people don't actually experience symptoms. I think it's really the social stigma that gets me about herpes.

Would love some thoughts from those more experienced and wiser than I. Preferably from both parties: those who have it and those who don't. Thanks!
I have no experience with it outside of a work-related level. First, it is possible to maintain a healthy relationship and sex life with a person who has HSV I or II.

By all means, it is very normal to feel that way. Naturally, you should have questions. If she does have I or II, precautions should be taken, but the quality of your intimate life and enjoyment should not be reduced. I strongly suggest that you go with her to talk to her gynaecologist or primary healthcare physician to come up with a plan to reduce your risk. You can also talk to your physician and invite her to come along. Those plans sometimes include limiting sexual contact during outbreaks, using condoms, the use of medicines to reduce the number of outbreaks, antiviral gels/ointments, and things of that nature. Every couple has to come up with a plan that works the best for them. Even if both parties are infected, it is still not advised to have unprotected sex because in rare cases, re-inoculation has occurred.

With HSV 2, the best things you could possibly do are protect yourself is with barrier methods (e.g. condoms, dental dams, etc.). Please know that even with these things, the risk is not at 0%. If there are abrasions or any breaks in the skin that occur during intercourse or whenever, that is another opening for the virus. If there are any sores in or around the affected area(s), that might leave you exposed. The abrasions from intercourse occur due to lack of lubrication. Super important: Even when there is no visible outbreak, it can still be transmitted. It is transmitted by touch as well.

I would strongly advise against exposing yourself to it intentionally. Do all that you can to protect yourself. Things still happen, and the only thing that guarantees an exceedingly low risk is abstinence. I know marriage is supposed to be forever, but you have to be mindful of your health and well-being. No two people handle the virus the same, so no two treatments work the same either. HSV I and II can be managed but never cured. If your wife loves you, she will understand and be proactive in helping to reduce your exposure. Also, she needs to forewarn any future partners. I know it is not the easiest conversation, but with something like this, it is a conversation that must be had.

The best thing you both can do is ask your/her doctor questions, consider the percentage of risk, etc. Naturally, the stigma is going to be much higher because some people just do not know. Wield knowledge, weed out stigmas. Just know that you can maintain a satisfied life even if she does have it, and it does not necessarily mean you will get it. Do what makes you the most comfortable, and please provide emotional support to your wife.

Best,

Ry
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Last edited by FullofLove1052; 03-21-2013 at 11:58 PM.
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  #14  
Old 03-21-2013, 08:25 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Herpes, like HPV, is transmitted via touch. It's not like other STI's like gonorhea and HIV that require fluid exchange to transmit. As a result, both are very prevalent among sexually active adults.

Condoms or other barriers help, as does simple washing of hands and other parts. There are also various strategies for avoiding transmission from one partner to another, like suppressvie drugs for herpes. Fulloflove makes a nice point on that. But nothing other than complete and total abstinence (no kissing ever!) eliminates the risk. If you have ever had a cold sore, then you already have herpes (HSV-1 probably). Chicken pox and shingles are also herpes viruses as well.

Herpes is a very serious possible complication for a pregnant woman, as SC noted in her post. And some strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer (and very rarely other cancers in men and women). But most of the time, herpes and HPV do not result in any serious health concerns for most people. Most of the time, for most people, the risks are relatively minor. You, of course, will need to make your own assessment of what risks you are willing to take. But know that the stigma is almost always worse than the actual health concerns for most people, most of the time.
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  #15  
Old 03-23-2013, 03:35 AM
Dirtclustit Dirtclustit is offline
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Default Have your children vaccinated

because the truth is, if you were not vaccinated, and you are sexually active without using a condom at all times with every partner, you have likely been exposed to HPV. The shitty thing is, that most males will never know they they have it, as it typically only wreaks havoc on females, mostly in the form of cervical cancer.

And yes it was a rude awakening to find out that women who I trusted to tell me if they had other sexual partners besides me, didn't tell me. I felt stupid for being so naive, if you have children get them vaccinated. There are something like 40 different viruses that are all within the human papillomavirus "family" that can cause mouth, throat, and genital warts and in women cervical cancer. It is the main reason for pap-smears (which by now have all switched to liquid based, but I would ask just to make sure when your Ob-gyn is collecting the specimen for your routine screening, just say; Is this a liquid based pap, I was told it is far more accurate methodology for cytologist to examine)

and yes it is extremely prevalent, but there is not a lot you can do about it, and having the anti-bodies in your blood, just means you've been exposed to it, which may very well be above 60% of the people in some demographics. But doctors do not usually test for HPV anti-bodies because 1)it doesn't mean you have an outbreak 2) it is so prevalent 3)there are now vaccines for HPV

Jaynecobb, you are absolutely crazy to treat your wife as contaminated if tests come back positive for HPV or HSV.

Blood tests, which show evidence your immune system has detected either HPV, HSV I or HSV II, does NOT mean an outbreak. You should really only be having unprotected sex with people you know and know well enough to trust to be honest with you, ie fluid bonded.
Your immune system handles HPV much better than it does HSV, and HSV type I is essentially a cold sore that could have been spread from mouth or lips. HSV type II is considered a sexually transmitted disease as it is only known to infect mucous membrane areas of the genitals.

Both types of HSV are only transmittable during an outbreak, and anyone that tells you they are not aware of when they are having an outbreak is probably lying. They are painful and it is very apparent during an outbreak.

For this reason, it is easy for one partner to have HSV and engage in unprotected sex without the disease being transmitted to their partner. But you must NOT have sex during an outbreak

the reason why anal sex is such a risk is because some people think because a women can't get pregnant, anal sex is safe. Because the colon is torn much more easily it may very well be the best way to spread a sexually transmitted disease, plus your large intestine as an organ, it's function is to absorb nutrients so it is not an ideal place to put another persons bodily fluids that may be carrying a disease, at least your stomach has acids that will kill, your colon does not

it's not smart to engage in irresponsible sex, and it isn't love if you are not 100% full disclosure honest with your partners. If you love them, you will have the integrity to be honest, not being honest is effectively putting the kybash on their ability to protect themselves. It is unethical to not fully disclose your habits to anyone you engage in sex with, unprotected sex with someone you don't know is just plain foolish, and if you are in a relationship it is careless, if you fail to disclose it to your partners it is despicable from my point of view. Not to be a downer on anyone's good time

Last edited by Dirtclustit; 03-23-2013 at 03:42 AM. Reason: typo
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  #16  
Old 03-23-2013, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirtclustit View Post
I felt stupid for being so naive, if you have children get them vaccinated. There are something like 40 different viruses that are all within the human papillomavirus "family" that can cause mouth, throat, and genital warts and in women cervical cancer.
There are actually over 100 types of HPV. There are two vaccines. Here's the dope:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Public Health Agency of Canada
What is HPV?

There are over 100 types of human papillomavirus (HPV), each one having a number to identify it, for example HPV-6, HPV-11, HPV-16 and HPV-18. Human papillomaviruses are viruses that can infect many parts of the body. Some types of HPV are sexually transmitted and can cause warts or other consequences such as cancer (e.g., cervical, penile and anal). The types of HPV that infect the anal and genital (anogenital) areas are not the same as the ones that infect other areas of the body such as the fingers, hands and face. The types which cause anogenital warts do not usually cause cancer.

The various types of HPV are often classified into low and high risk according to their association with cancer. The “low-risk” types are rarely associated with cancer. The “high-risk” types are more likely to lead to the development of cancer. Although certain types of HPV are associated with cancer, the development of HPV related cancer is considered a rare event.

How can you protect yourself from getting HPV?

While condoms do not eliminate the risk of HPV infection, using a condom consistently and properly during vaginal, anal and oral sex decreases the chances of getting HPV or passing it on to your partner. You need to remember that a condom can only protect the area it covers so it may be possible to become infected by any uncovered warts (e.g., on the scrotum). Using a condom will also help to protect you from other sexually transmitted infections and reduce the chances of unintended pregnancies.

Other ways to reduce your risk of infection include delaying sexual activity (waiting until you are older), limiting your number of sexual partners and considering your partners' sexual history as this can create a risk to yourself. (e.g. if they have had multiple partners previously).

There are now two HPV vaccines authorized for use in Canada: Gardasil® and Cervarix™.

Gardasil® provides protection against four HPV types: two that cause approximately 70 per cent of all cervical cancers (HPV-16, HPV-18) and two that cause approximately 90 per cent of all anogenital warts in males and females (HPV-6 and HPV-11). It is approved for use in females and males aged 9 to 26. In April 2011, Gardasil® was approved for use in women up to the age of 45 years.

Cervarix™ provides protection against the two HPV types that cause approximately 70 per cent of all cervical cancers (HPV-16 and HPV-18). It has been approved for use in females aged 10 to 25.
I hadn't realized that you could get one of the vaccines up to age 45 now. I'm going to call my doctor first thing on Monday and make an appointment. Last time I looked into it, I had missed the 9-26 window. This is good news!
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The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:40 PM
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I hadn't realized that you could get one of the vaccines up to age 45 now. I'm going to call my doctor first thing on Monday and make an appointment. Last time I looked into it, I had missed the 9-26 window. This is good news!
Turns out, it hasn't been shown effective to prevent cervical cancer in the 26-45 group, but it has shown results against genital warps. That's fine by me - pap smears are really effective at catching cervical cancer, it's mostly warts I'm more worried about. If a woman goes for her regular pap smears as recommended, there's a virtually 0% chance that she'll actually develop cervical cancer. It takes a years to get from "abnormal pap smear" to "pre-cancerous lesions" to "actual cancer." There's a large treatment window, as long as you stay on top of your paps.
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The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
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  #18  
Old 03-24-2013, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by undefinable View Post
So the no anal sex with other partners thing is kind of like double wrapping a condom? A reaction to the increased instances of tearing, etc?
Double wrapping a condom actually has a greater chance of it breaking due to friction. When I interned at the Family Planning Clinic, we were told to let people know that there is actually a greater chance of pregnancy from a broken condom if you double wrap. FYI.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:08 AM
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I wish that were true. My first abnormal pap smear showed pre-cancerous lesions, which lead to my cervix being frozen and the lesions being removed. Thankfully it never progressed further than that, but I had been getting regular pap smears and it only took the time between them for it to go from abnormal to pre-cancerous lesions.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:47 AM
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I wish that were true. My first abnormal pap smear showed pre-cancerous lesions, which lead to my cervix being frozen and the lesions being removed. Thankfully it never progressed further than that, but I had been getting regular pap smears and it only took the time between them for it to go from abnormal to pre-cancerous lesions.
I'm really sorry to hear you had to go through that.

I was going from what I'd read, but I may have confused the stages. I think I meant that it takes years to get to actual cancer from an abnormal pap smear. Of course, I'm not an oncologist... but:

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/Pap-HPV-testing
If precancerous lesions are not treated, they can progress to cancer. It can take 10 to 20 years or more for a persistent infection with a high-risk HPV type to develop into cancer.
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