Author’s Note: My goal with this post is not for you to say, “Oh NO she didn’t!”, but to facilitate thought and discussion. There’s more than enough judgment to go around in this hypersexual, double-standard society of ours, where promiscuous males are not looked down upon in the same manner or to the same degree as females who engage in the same carefree behavior.
I’m getting pretty settled in my new place, and of course, one of the lovely things about relocating is finding a new doctor, dentist, etc. and transferring your records over so you can get your initial appointments set up. It’s almost like dating, because you have to find someone you like and trust (or get a referral from a person you like and trust), then meet them in person and tell them your life story, I mean medical history (even though the paper records were mandatory to be seen). Then you get to fill out more paperwork before it’s all over.
So one day last week I filled out new patient paperwork at home (ah, the convenience of downloading forms ahead of time so you can look up all the answers to stuff you forgot). While doing so, I came upon two questions (on different pages) that I had not encountered before, at least not that I can remember (I try not to change doctors too often):
A- How many years [have you lived] in Atlanta? ___________ (zero)
B- Number of lifetime [sexual] partners _____________ ( > zero)
My first thought was, why are they asking me this? I don’t recall asking anyone this question, not even my ex-husband. My second thought was, shoot, I have to get up and do some research to find the answer!
Time for a Recount
Think whatever you want, but hey, I wasn’t sure, and it’s something I really should know, even if I don’t want to broadcast it to the world. Let’s just say my ex-husband was #3 and leave it at that. I was a virgin in high school, and I shudder to think what “my number” might be now if I hadn’t been faithfully married for my early adult life. I know girls in high school who boasted of theirs, which unfortunately in some cases was higher than their ages.
People will always deduce their own perceptions from these things, and they’re usually not favorable. I wish I was one of those people who saved herself for marriage and lived happily-satisfied-forever-after, but I’m not (on both counts). I’m an author who condones celibacy and teen abstinence because I believe it’s right even if it’s not popular. I know the havoc that premarital and extramarital sex can wreak on a person’s mind, body, and spirit.
What’s Up, Doc?
When I met the doctor the next day, I asked her why that question was on the form, and she said that as the number of partners rises, so does your risk factor for HPV (and I’m sure other STDs, but she only mentioned that one). And that was the reason I was there, unfortunately. Sometime in a 15-month span since my last yearly exam, I contracted HPV. I understand that it is a common disease that often goes away on its own, but I had no symptoms, and neither did my partner. I was just trying to get all my doc visits taken care of before my move, only to find this out and have to follow-up in six months. Thus, the new paperwork now.
I just read a true story in this month’s issue of Glamour Magazine where a woman sued her deceitful ex-boyfriend for giving her HPV–and WON. In my case, that would have been overkill, but her ex- knew he had it and lied about it, while also cheating on her. I think it’s despicable for someone to sleep with someone while knowingly having a disease (especially an incurable one such as herpes or AIDS) and not disclose it. It’s like playing Russian roulette with your body.
So without being preachy, I’ll strongly suggest that you go get checked out if it’s been awhile, and wrap it up if you’re sexually active with multiple partners. Don’t wait for something to flare up–it might be too late. Prevention (that is, a healthy lifestyle) is always better than medication.