Safer sex, revisited

I’ve written in the past about sexually transmitted infections, and about my relationship to safer sex practices. They can be summarized as follows: I am a practitioner of unprotected oral sex and protected vaginal sex, and I don’t think a lot about disease, other than to be tested periodically. I’m far more concerned about risks such as car crashes, slipping on ice, muggings, and the like than I am about STI’s.

I just had a conversation with a medical doctor – not my long-time physician, who, I wrote previously, had always refused to test for the herpes antibodies. This medical doctor was even more emphatic than my physician. He said the following:

1) There is no test for herpes. There is a test for herpes antibodies. Many people who never develop herpes carry the antibodies.

2) The only reason he ever prescribes the test is for patients who are convinced they are having a herpes outbreak but whose symptoms are not consistent with herpes. In that instance, he occasionally orders the test to rule out herpes.

3) There is no test for HPV in men.

He only tests for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. All other STIs of note, he said, he identifies visually.

So. For the record. Here’s what I assume: I assume that you have the herpes antibody. I assume that I have it. If you have open wounds, I hope you will inform me. If I have open wounds, I will inform you. Now – let’s get to it.

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