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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » HPV and Sex

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Author Topic: HPV and Sex
breath
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 50014

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We are always advised to use barriers ( in vaginal , oral sex. digital and anal sex) unless it's been monogomous for 6 months with 2 tests at month0 and month6 before ditching barriers.

I have questions about importance of using barriers for sex when the only STD concerned is possible HPV. The people are tested and clear for other STDs (although due to time of testing and other factors, it isn't 100% reliable often times).

HPV in genitals: What I know about HPV (from reading here) is that it usually gets cleared by the immune system, but can cause cancers in gentials over the years if left uncleared in a small percent of people. Condoms reduce the risk by 70% but not completely. But if all we can do is wear condoms then what else can we do other than abstience? I guess this is a retheorical question.

HPV in oral sex: in response to one question here, it was said that likelihood of HPV get transmitted to throat and giving oral cancer (!) eventually is less than someone getting pregnant by using condoms only as a birth control method. So it's just a matter of personal preference at this point about the level of 'risk' someone wants to take? ie. if they are OK with using condoms as primary method, then giving oral sex or receiving it on both hetero-sexual partners isn't likely to be a big health-no-no?

I guess as an adult coming of age, I realize and still struggling that there are no absolutes in life, that there's always a risk (even though it's been greatly reduced) and sometimes knowledge of this tiny risk makes me feel guilty or hyper-serious and affects my enjoyment or pleasure of an activity. It's kind of a sad feeling.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Really, the answer here is ultimately how you and yours feel about HPV risks.

By all means, far more times than not, HPV is benign. And yes, some people do clear the virus within a few months or years, especially younger people. It is, however, as you mentioned, associated with some cancers, namely with cervical cancer, and secondarily, with oral or throat cancer.

Using barriers -- not just condoms, don't forget about dental dams! -- with any oral, vaginal or anal sex, every time, radically reduces those risks.

So, yep, from there, it's about what risks you and any partners are or aren't willing to take or are or aren't comfortable taking. Really, this is the case with things like safer sex and contraception full-stop, and there's no right answers, just how you and others you're sexual with feel about it.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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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breath
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Thanks so much.

This is something lots of young people face---we all struggle and wrestle with these kind of grey spot areas...where we have to make up our own minds (or put them to ease) instead of having a clear-set of "to do" or "not to do" to follow.

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Heather
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Honestly? This is something people of every age typically face and work through, at pretty much every time of life. With sexuality, but obviously also with a whole lot of other things!

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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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breath
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Haha, yes, I agree that this isn't just for "young" people (what defines as "young" or "old" is arbritary anyways).
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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My point is this is pretty much how intimacy and interpersonal interactions without a map -- unlike say, office relationships, where there are employee guidelines -- go, no matter how old you are.

It's just that when we first start learning how to navigate all of that, it can be a lot more daunting and challenging because we don't have experience to draw on, or as much of it as we usually will later, and we're also usually just building our confidence with all of this.

But you'll figure it out and do it competently, I've no doubt. [Smile]

--------------------
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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