April 3rd, 2007


Becoming a peer educator

I sent Planned Parenthood a note today about becoming a peer educator and sexual health outreach volunteer. I have lived with genital herpes for 12 years now and I often get in conversations with people where I am surprised how little they know about STDs and related issues. I'd like to help improve community awareness in these areas.

I have proposed the following panel for High Voltage ConFusion:

How Risky Is This? STDs: How, When and Why to Talk About Them

Did you know that oral Herpes can be either Type I or Type II? Or that your chances of getting Cervical and some other Cancers increases with the number of partners you have? Do you know how to discuss the subject of safety in polyamory or serial monogamy situations? How can you reduce the odds of getting hurt by what you don't know? Let's talk about Sex(ually Transmitted Diseases).

brendand says he likes the idea.

I manage my herpes now by taking a daily dose of 1000 mg of L-Lysine, an amino acid that suppresses the virus and seems to prevent recurrences. I've just been through one of the most stressful periods of my life with no outbreaks of the virus, for which I thank the L-Lysine.

As I approach my impending divorce, it is odd to be anticipating a new period of being single with this disease, knowing that I will need to be rigorous in discussing STDs with any new partner, for both of our safety. I think STDs should be discussed more, not less, in our society, so I will screen comments here for *your* privacy and invite questions about what it's like to get, and to live with, herpes, and how to avoid transmitting it to others (in short, you can reduce the risk with abstinence during outbreaks, even if they are just mild burning sensations, plus condoms, plus washing with soap all seem to help, according to what I've read. I personally plan to avoid certain high-risk activities as well. Anyone interacting with the disease in themselves as well as others should be extra sure to wash their hands between contact with an infected area and touching any other mucous membrane, including the genitals, anus, mouth and eyes). See the Planned parenthood website for more information. According to that page, 76% of adults in the US will have Type I HSV (herpes simplex virus) at some point in their life (that's the type that most often causes cold sores), and 26% will get type II, some with no symptoms. I encourage people to be informed.