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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » How to work around a lifelong curse

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Author Topic: How to work around a lifelong curse
Cecile
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Just want to start of by saying this website is fantastic and has been very helpful to me and others I know, so thanks for making this resource available!

Anyways, I still have one big question/issue.

When I was adopted, as an infant, my parents and I realized that I have a disease that can never go away; it's simply incurable. This disease doesn't affect me at all or stop me from doing any normal activities or living my life because I was born with it and my body "accepts it." The only "extra" things it adds is I have to visit to get my blood checked every year and should in general stay clear away from alcohol.

The catch is this illness is spread through fluid/fluid contact like the heavier STD/Is such as AIDS etc.. (It doesn't spread from other contact though; just fluid/fluid)

At this point in time, my girlfriend and I (for the record I'm also a woman; it's a lesbian relationship) are beginning to talk about beginning to broach the topic of sex and being sexually active. Emotionally and physically, we both want to start taking these steps. However, I've got this disease which, if she contracted, could harm her even though it doesn't harm me because her body isn't "used to it" like mine is.

What can we do? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Cecile

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Cecile: welcome!

I think it would be helpful to know what, exactly, we're discussing here.

Mind, in any new relationship, it's most sound to practice safer sex to reduce the risk of all possible infections. So, protecting yourselves from Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HPV: you'd want to ideally use barriers to protect yourselves anyway. Sounds like you've been taking about sex: have you yet talked about basic safety?

If I know what disease or infection we're talking about here, it'd be easier to figure if safer sex practices we use for everything else would be just as helpful or not.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Robin Lee
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HI Cecile and welcome to Scarleteen!

Have you discussed this with a doctor recently? The reason I ask is that a medical professional (and I realize it might have to be a specialist) might have more information about your disease than you and your parentsw were given when you were a child. If you've been keeping up with doctors regarding this, then that's great!

Do you know if it's all bodily fluids that can transmit your disease, or only some of them? (E.G. the HIV virus is transmitted through many bodily fluids, but generally not through infected saliva)

I'm really glad to hear that you and your girlfriend are talking about this so carefully. It shows not only concern about not infecting her, but a strong level of care and commitment between the two of you.

What you can do is practice safer sex the way people would if protecting themselves from the possibility of contracting an STI (sexually transmitted infection). This would mean dental dams for oral sex and latex (or non-latex alternative) gloves for manual sex. The gloves protect in case there are microscopic scratches or cuts on the hands that could absorb or transmit blood.

Knowing whether saliva can transmit your disease would help you to know what precautions the two of you wish to take, or have already taken, in kissing.

Again, welcome. Very glad to hear you find the site so helpful! [Smile]

--------------------
Robin

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Cecile
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So what I was talking about is I have Hephatitus B. Also, I used disease instead of infection because while it can be transmitted through bodily fluids, it isn't normally considered an STD....?

Moving forward, yes, we are both educated on the more general safe sex practices; I was just wondering about some specifics for us.

And yes, I have kept up with my doctor about this and the state of my condition has remained unchanged. Besides a high viral count, which is common with Hep B and I've always had, I'm healthy.

Also, from what I've discussed with my physician, it's not normally transmitted via saliva unless there are distinct, open cuts.

Thanks again,
Cecile

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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STD/STI is a tricky term for most infections: when it's used, it is because a given infection is just most commonly transmitted sexually, but none are only transmitted that way. But you're right, Hep B -- all the heps -- aren't usually classified that way.

So, with Hep B, the same safety measures you'd use to prevent STIs will protect your partner here. There's nothing extra or special to do, save that she can certainly make sure she's vaccinated, and that her vaccination is up-to-date.

You're right, saliva isn't an issue: the fluids that are are typically blood or genital fluids.

So, it sounds like you feel close enough to her to be considering getting sexual: how about how you're feeling about disclosing that you have Hep B?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cecile
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Yes, I am ready/okay with telling her; we're at that stage.

And just for clarification, how should we approach oral since it is not transferred by saliva? Does that mean I could give her oral, just not the other way around or?

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Robin Lee
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It's sound safer sex practice to use barriers until we're aware of our partners' STI status through current clear STI screenings.

--------------------
Robin

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Cecile
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At this point, we are now both aware of each other's health I that say. She is completely clean and has never had a history of STI/Ds either. The only thing I have, and will continue to have for the rest or my life, is Hep B.

Is it possible I could get some advice on what specifically we can do safely and how to do it in a way that would protect her? Is there... imbalance per say with some things since I'm the only one with the disease (ie I can give her oral but she can't reciprocate in that way etc)? We just really want o be careful with this since it could have serious concerns dee for her while still being able to do as much as possible.

Thanks again.

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Cecile
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Member # 95569

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Whoops. My phone goofed and added in extra letters (it does that). In the first paragraph, you can take our "that I say"
In the third, same goes for the last sentence which should read " we just really want to be careful with this as it could have serious concequences for her. However, we still want to be able to explore our options as much as possible"

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Robin Lee
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HI Cecile,

I can definitely understand that the two of you want to be as careful as possible, while also feeling free to explore.

As you know, Hep B is transmitted through fluid exchange. Your biggest ally in protecting her from possible infection will be to use barriers. For oral sex, for example, you would use a dental dam or condom split down the side to protect her mouth from contact with your vaginal secretions. If giving you oral sex is something your partner wants to do, safe use of barriers will ensure that her risk of exposure is very low. If you want to give her oral sex, the one thing you'll want to be aware of is if you have any sores or cuts on or inside your mouth that might start bleeding. So, using a barrier, for further protection, might also be a good idea.

I'm curious: Since there is a vaccination for Hep B, have you and your girlfriend discussed the possibility of her getting it?

--------------------
Robin

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Cecile
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Yes. She has been vaccinated (before me actually under the advice of her primary physician, thought it's not "expired" yet).
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Robin Lee
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So that is an extra layer of protection.

Did you have any safer sex questions that we didn't cover above?

--------------------
Robin

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Cecile
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Nope, that's all for now I think. Thank you so much.
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Robin Lee
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You're most welcome. [Smile]

--------------------
Robin

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Just to make sure you both also know, the Hep B vaccine is highly effective: well-documented at 95% effectiveness.

So, if it makes you feel better, figure all you're really having to cover is that 5% window.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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