Tuesday, June 2, 2009

HPV Confessional

via Trevor's Blog, by Scott De Orio

In March, after having lived for several months with what I thought was a "skin tag" on my anus, I consulted a doctor and discovered I had a light case of anal warts. My path to discovering and treating HPV was fraught with difficulties and I'd like to talk about some of them here. Rose Afriyie has also written about my experiences in her sex column for the Michigan Daily.

At the time in which I contracted HPV, I was practicing what I call "serial monogamy." This means I, having just gotten out of a long-term relationship, casually dated three men consecutively for about two months at a time. In each case, my partners and I used the fact that we were technically monogamous as an excuse to not use condoms.

In December, before having unprotected sex, the guy I was seeing and I actually discussed how he had had genital warts several years previously. He advised me that most sexually active gay men already have the virus lying dormant in their bloodstreams. True as this may be, it doesn't change the fact that having unprotected sex with this man probably gave me anal warts.

Skip ahead to February. I'm seeing a new guy and I visit University Health Services to get a "full" STI screening. After describing my sex practices to the physician's assistant, he examined my genitals and gave me a blood test, ignoring my rectum entirely. Since I am a (nearly) strict bottom, this represents a significant oversight. While I made a mistake in failing to demand that the PA peek at my nether regions, a rectal examination should have (in a perfect world) been a standard component of the examination in the first place.

After my blood test came back clean, I continued to have unprotected sex with my new partner. It was not until about a month later that I, still irritated by the bump on my rectum, discovered I had HPV. If the PA had looked at my anus at UHS, he would have recognized the bump as a wart and I could have been treated (and started practicing safer sex) earlier.

Read the rest.

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