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Zer Netmouse
April 3rd, 2007
05:47 pm


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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.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:April 3rd, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
I, for one, think it's an excellent idea. Because of a relatively promiscuous past, STDs were a concern that I struggled with a LOT a few years ago. Thankfully I was infected by nothing permanent (that is testable, at least) and have had no outbreaks of anything untestable... but I spent a lot of time doing a TON of research about the various diseases because of my exposure.

I think it would be a great idea. Will you have a problem coming up with panelists?

Oh, and thank you for sharing about so delicate an issue.

And this can be screened or unscreened... I'm pretty open-book.
[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
I like this panel idea however I think you need to come up with a more alluring name and description. IMHO the people who need this info the most are the same ones who will be scared by the serious tone. We need a bit of bait and switch here. Maybe a description that emphasizes "fun things you can do that are also safe"? Hmmm. I will give it thought.
[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)
you mean like "Poly Bi Babes Tell All"?

That could work.
[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2007 02:20 am (UTC)
What constitutes high risk activities?
[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
In my view, the riskiest activity is the one that gave me the disease in the first place: oral sex (cunnilingus). The virus is happiest and spreads best in a wet or damp environment. I don't have any symptoms in my mouth but I caught it from someone who had type II oral herpes and I would want to avoid putting anyone else in that situation, so I probably won't permit anyone to go down on me.

Other risky activities involve taking parts of the body that have had contact with infected areas and bringing them into contact with other (uninfected) susceptible areas without washing them in between.

Date:April 5th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)

oral sex

Dental dams are useful for pretty good (but not perfect) protection for oral sex, woman receiving that is. In a pinch, saran wrap can be used. So you don't have to abstain totally from oral sex. If you are currently symptom free, well controlled, and use the dental dam you're in pretty safe sex territory. For men there are flavored condoms for oral sex. Nothings perfect, so you ahve to balance risk versus benefit. The l-lysine does work for many people, combined with minimizing beans, nuts, seeds and red meat (all high in arginine which promotes herpes)
- I teach sex ed at a local high school.
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