Friday, August 28, 2009

Continuing on from a snarky comment I a little bit regret leaving here:

Well HPV, there's a vaccine for, and men should be getting that, too.

Herpes... I mean, most of the world has herpes. It doesn't cause infertility, it doesn't cause cancer, it's annoying, but, you know, everyone has oral herpes anyway, and those countries with a high prevalence of genital herpes, like brazil, don't seem to have much of a problem with it. I don't *want* herpes, but if I got it, it wouldn't be a big deal. Talk to your partner about herpes before you have unprotected sex, but don't imagine it's a life-or-death conversation.

Syphilis, Gonnorhea, Chlamydia... curable, curable and curable.

Look, yes, this is a little bit sort of intended as flame, but there's a strong current of thought that *isn't* wrong that says that you can play the numbers on this stuff. In college (seven years ago) I went to campus health services to get a full blood workup because my girlfriend and I wanted to have the kind of sex where I can actually feel something and stand a chance of climaxing (you know, the sex without condoms) and they didn't bother to test me for AIDS even though I asked for it. The nurse practitioner said "you're obviously white. are you from outside the U.S.? are you gay? do you use intravenous needles? have you patronized a prostitute? no to all? okay, you don't have AIDS."

And that wasn't wrong. I mean, my very-good-feminist girlfriend was upset, but she was also a sciences major, so she couldn't argue with it, exactly, at the personal level. A lot of the reason for condom use by certain groups is to prevent collective risk, not individual risk... to keep the statistics where they are, people need to use condoms, but there isn't an immediate and individual reason for a U.S. heterosexual white couple, even one that isn't very well acquainted, that doesn't invite sex workers to bed and doesn't use IV drugs to worry about AIDS. At that point, your bullshit meter is better protection than any condom, because the likelihood of anything serious getting passed on is so low, your date is more likely to commit an act of sexual violence than to give you a disease.

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