Thursday, September 01, 2005
New York Magazine gets wilder and wilder:
Sex with a new partner has always been a calculated risk, deliberated in the blink of Malcolm Gladwell�s eye, but the way we calculate that risk is changing. Herpes and (perhaps more so) HPV are increasingly regarded as (1) a post-condom, mid-relationship confession, and (2) a fact of having a sex life. The lightning-quick, internal pre-sex checklist now goes something like this: I�m horny; I don�t see anything on me or my partner; we�ll use a condom. Given that, the rationalization continues, talking about my STD right now would only lead to embarrassment, rejection, or a serious buzz-kill.
Doctors estimate that one in four Americans has genital herpes, and up to 90 percent of them don�t know it. With about 1.6 million new infections every year, 40 percent of all men and half of all women could be infected by 2025. And it is estimated that, at some point in their lives, 75 percent of women and men will be infected with genital HPV. Many of them will never show symptoms.
HPV is so pervasive, in fact, that some doctors condone keeping quiet. More than a few of our female friends have been told by their gynecologists that HPV is just not worth the trouble of bringing up.