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  #41  
Old 11-15-2009, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post

Just as a note, I AM scared and feel like clamping up my pussy now.
heh, just kidding, kinda.
Your reaction is a common one and exactly why it's so scary to talk about for people who have an STD. It opens you up for more reinforcement that you are untouchable just when you have gotten the courage up to stop believing that.
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  #42  
Old 11-16-2009, 09:30 PM
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From what Wikipedia reports on HPV, lots of folks have had it or carry it. I found out I have had it, as any kind of wart is caused by HPV. I used to have warts on my hands years ago--and had no clue those were caused by the same thing that causes genital warts. Apparently, in most instances, the virus runs its course and is gone after a year or so--it's rare that it would remain longer than that.

My son has had a couple of warts on his hands and I know he's never had sexual contact with anybody other than himself. Wherever he picked up the virus, it didn't involve sexual activity.

And I'm glad that to know that the strain I know I've had caused warts. The strains that don't are the ones that cause cancer. Sheesh!
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  #43  
Old 11-16-2009, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Quath View Post
I think it would be helpful to have thread that deals with sexual diseases. When I grew up, the basic advise I was given is "avoid AIDS and herpes." All other diseases were ignored or assumed to go away with penicillin. The rules of thumb were basically, "look for spots or sores and if you see none, it is probably ok."
YIKES!!! BOTH of those diseases can be there with no physical signs!
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  #44  
Old 11-16-2009, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sunnydee View Post
I retract the word "catapult," however, this could be a bit of a problem with language also: You do NOT have to be irresponsible, at all, to get a high-risk strain of HPV. You can check histories, tests, and use condoms, you can not even have intercourse, and you can still get it, and it's not even that unlikely.
The same is true for Herpes. MANY people have it and ARE NOT AWARE. It's contagious even if you don't have a sore if it's "active" and often people are in the "shedding" stage-and don't know it-which is NOT where you would see a sore.

So it can (and does) get spread around between people who aren't even aware they have it in the first place.
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  #45  
Old 11-16-2009, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by sunnydee View Post
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.
I was given to understand (when my oldest child was talking with her doc about it) that it's not offered to anyone (regardless of age) whose already had sex. It was suggested that the reason was it was only beneficial to someone who hadn't been exposed. I'm not sure of the technical data on that. But because it became available here LITERALLY weeks after my daughter first had sex-they would't give it to her.
Also-it's not given to ALL girls who haven't had sex, the parents have to agree to it and in many cases have to REQUEST it.
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  #46  
Old 11-16-2009, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Rarechild View Post
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.
Congratulations on facing your fear here. That's awesome-absolutely awesome.
Since you are #1, I'll be happy to be #2. I just found this thread and read the first two posts and decided after I read the whole thing I would post my "life truth".

I will do so more in depth at the end of reading! But I wanted to say now-before I keep reading-good job opening yourself up and big hugs to you!
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  #47  
Old 11-16-2009, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Rarechild View Post
I have actually directed one potential to this site in the past, and writing on here means he may find out from this thread.

I have been waiting to discuss it until I am sure that there is a possibility of sexual interaction, not wanting to assume our relationship will get to that point. The rub here is that I want to trust a person's respect for me before I tell them about my disease, but don't want them to feel as if I've been dishonest because I don't want to bring it up in small talk right at the beginning when I don't know where it's going.

I don't feel brave most of the time about this, and always feel like I should speak out more- it's just so hard to expose yourself to the reactions that people have whether they are fair or not.

One positive thing about having herpes is that if you can get through this conversation with someone well, and there is compassion and clarity on the facts to begin with, it is a really profound bonding experience, creating trust, communication and intimacy that few budding romances contain that early on.
YES! It was hell coming out with this trivia with Maca. I KNEW I loved him, I KNEW we were meant to be a couple. But it hurt to even CONSIDER that my oldest child's father cheating on me none-so carefully led to me having to risk my potential future with Maca before we even had time to build it.
I did and I'm glad I did-but it's very hard. Some people REALLY flip out and are not understanding at all. Others-like Maca are kind, caring and considerate and they look at the risks and compare them to the benefits of the relationship to make their decisions, instead of just making a decision based in fear.
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  #48  
Old 11-16-2009, 11:35 PM
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So the kicker with Herpes is that again-many many people have no clue they have it. They can be contagious even if they don't have a sore.
There ARE precautions you can take and things that make it less likely to spread.

But the biggest issue that comes into play is (like rarechild said) I don't really care to share all the details of my personal life with you until we're friends (no I don't participate in sex with people I'm not close to either).

But at the same time-I don't want to hurt your feelings if YOU get interested in taking things further then friendship and I have to explain this to you but you feel like I "led you on".

It's just a crappy situation all around. And like someone said-it's a disease. I wasn't "running loose" and didn't know I wasn't being careful. I was (as far as I was aware) in a monogomous relationship with one person who I was planning to marry "and live happily ever after" with.

Unfortunately he was lying and wasn't careful with anyone. So he got it and spread it to all the girls he was sleeping with. I say girls-because I was 15 years old. We weren't ladies, we weren't women, we were girls. His theory was if it looked ok and smelled ok it must be ok." (crude I know-sorry).

The problem is-that isn't how it works.

With herpes there isn't a cure-but there are suppressant medications and when it is suppressed you aren't contagious. The medications don't guarantee it is ALWAYS suppressed. But they do reduce the risk somewhat. Obviously so does paying attention to your body. There are other symptomst that can clue you in to issues besides having a "breakout" or "sore". Itching, burning (often VERY MILD) or even scaly skin (almost unnoticable) and tingling sensations are all signs you are contagious.
Furthermore-the real kicker is the virus can be killed with soap and water prior to infection-so again-WASH with soap and water is a good idea. It can live off the body for a period of time (not sure how long) and they suggest that towels are a big risk factor.

So in 11 years together-I don't share towels with Maca, I don't participate in sexual activities of any sort if I have ANY possible symptoms and I take my drugs every day. Also-we always take a shower after (seriously). Because those things are all protections. So far he's never shown signs of symptoms. While that isn't a guarantee and of course we tell anyone who might be a possible partner that there is some risk (with him) and I'm clear that I DO have it and am a risk period. But my point is-with precautions-you can lower risk.

Again rarechild-good job on "coming out". I for one am proud of you!
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  #49  
Old 11-17-2009, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
I was given to understand (when my oldest child was talking with her doc about it) that it's not offered to anyone (regardless of age) whose already had sex. It was suggested that the reason was it was only beneficial to someone who hadn't been exposed. I'm not sure of the technical data on that. But because it became available here LITERALLY weeks after my daughter first had sex-they would't give it to her.
Also-it's not given to ALL girls who haven't had sex, the parents have to agree to it and in many cases have to REQUEST it.
If you (or your daughter) feel that she should have the vaccine, then you should ask her provider again or find another one. I was offered it after I got married. The issue is that most people that are sexually active have been exposed to HPV, so it becomes less and less meaningful to have the vaccine. That's also why they don't routinely test for HPV until the age of the 30 (note, not PAP smears, but blood tests). Many people would test positive, but often the body clears the infection without the person even knowing they had it.

Also, while it has only been approved for girls in a limited age range, many people of both genders have had it off-label. Dr. Drew from Love-Line is a very big supporter of vaccinating boys and young men. He has said numerous times that he's had his sons vaccinated.

Also, something else that might calm some fears. Most harmful strains of HPV are very slow growing. It takes many months/years in most cases to go from a normal PAP to abnormal cells to cancer. Most providers in the US have scaled back the recommended schedule from everyone yearly to either every other year or yearly for three years and then once every three years if you are in a closed relationship and have always had normal PAP smears before. Obviously, a history of abnormal PAP smears changes the recommendations.
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  #50  
Old 11-17-2009, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post

Again rarechild-good job on "coming out". I for one am proud of you!
I love that you concentrated on supporting me when you were doing the very same thing. That was truly some loving radiance.Thank you. I needed that today.

Thanks for sharing your story too- I am really encouraged by your success in managing and containing the disease for so long. Thanks for telling us about how it has played out for you two, especially the fact that it can go well when you tell someone. I don't think it would ever be easy, but I know that the fear can be replaced by education, compassion, and caring for the whole person. I know this because that's how I dealt with it when I was told by the one I loved that he had this disease.

I had actually looked around for a forum devoted to herpes/HPV to try to find some perspective on how to tell someone, but I'm glad to have sought support among this group,- it means a lot more to me to talk to people I already feel comfortable with about this.

So thanks again to Sunnydee.
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