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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » HPV and Safe Sex

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Author Topic: HPV and Safe Sex
Dzuunmod
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 226

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Hey everyone,
Today's National Post (a national daily newspaper here in Canada) has, as its lead editorial, some scary thoughts about safe sex.
It can be found here: http://www.nationalpost.com/commentary/story.html?f=/stories/20000906/390881.html
Some of the things that it says are...
-a recent study showed that HPV-infection rates are as high as 45% on certain college campuses.
-24% of Canadian women aged 20 to 24 are infected.
-a recent Canadian Medical Association Journal study says that "[condoms] do not appear to be effective in preventing HPV infection"
-the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that the risk of cervical cancer is increased by "early age at first intercourse [and] multiple male sex partners", which as the article points out, "neither of which are mitigated by condom use."
90% of cervical cancer, the article also states, is cause by HPV. However, the editorial states, "most of these HPV infections will not go on to cause cervical cancer."
I don't normally put much faith in what the National Post tells me -- especially in editorials -- but still, this all sounds a little frightening.
Is there cause for optimism, I ask the sexperts, that this editorial isn't telling me about?

Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Want the truth? Not really. It's why we talk about HPV with some regularity. It's also why aside of condom use, we're pretty hip on pushing GYN visits and STD testing, not just HIV testing.

The thing is, if you are fairly selective in your partnerships, do use barrier methods of safer sex as well as get regularly tested, you'll end up okay. if most people did these things, these rates wouldn't be so bloody high, but most people assume everyone is going to get it BUT them.

I'm not going to stand real close to the condom stats until I see with something like that what age group they tested on, and how they did their testing, since many people lie and say they use condoms when they don't. However, condoms do not protect against things like HPV *as well* as they do against HIV.

In a nutshell: get tested, use your head, be as safe as you can, and recognize that it certainly CAN happen to you, no matter how safe you think you are. Both my partner and I got HPV years (almost ten at this point, in my case) ago when we were both in long-term, monogamous relationships with others. Myself, I had been with the same person, and had been tested several times, for nearly two years before we had sex without a condom, but lo and behold, my partners previous partner had HPV, it turned out that despite what he said he HADN'T been using a condom with her, and his tests didn't show the HPV initially. Thankfully, I had one flare-up, and as of the time being, have never had another, nor has it done any cervical damage thus far.

But my partner/husband and I, though monogamous and married, still play it safe for reasons like these.

I should also mention that when I contracted it almost ten years ago, it wasn't HALF as widespread.

So, there is plenty of hope if you practice sex safely, and that doesn't just mean using a condom. It's why we're pretty militant about this stuff.

Thanks for posting this, Dzuun. You kick butt.


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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As an aside, our full article on hpv is here: http://www.scarleteen.com/pink/pages/hpv.html
Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Correction: http://www.scarleteen.com/infection/hpv.html
Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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