According to you, failure to disclose of any known STI, at any point in time, is the same as being a sexual predator.
…Even if that STI is HPV or human papillomavirus — for which the only available testing is a pap smear or a pelvic exam, except where external genital warts are identifiable. Guess what that means? You’re probably packing at least one strain of it yourself right now, and will have been repeatedly exposed to multiple strains of it already. But you wouldn’t know it because you don’t have a cervix to take a smear from, and apparently have no idea what HPV is.
…Even if all the individual knew at the time was that they had the STI and had been treated for its symptoms — even if that treatment was administered without informed consent on the part of the medical practitioners involved (as in my case with HPV), who withheld information about this STI from the individual who carries it (as in my case with HPV). Guess what that means? Ignorance like yours (like what once was my ignorance, and probably still is the ignorance of most of my long-term partners) is what helps spread it from person to person.
…Even if initial exposure to that STI occurred through rape or (as in my case) incest, creating further barriers to disclosure than already existed due to widespread stigma. Guess what that means? Having a known (or unknown) STI doesn’t make you a sexual predator. Preying upon and sexually exploiting those you have authority over does. So does having sex with someone knowing you don’t have their consent. But your ignorance and bigotry in hindsight doesn’t make someone who has an STI a rapist.
…Even if failure to disclose a known STI on a single occasion was under the following circumstances (which happened ten years ago):
- I had asked my date a couple of weeks before, while we were on a lunch date, if he had ever been tested for an STI, and he said (smugly), “Nope. Never needed to.” He disclosed to me after we had been having sex for a couple of months that he had sexual contact with four previous partners, and had only ever used condoms — this is not safer sex; it’s just safer than bare-backing. He was avoiding STI testing and was not practicing safer sex apart from condom use, despite being sexually active with multiple partners, who each had partners prior to him. I was being regularly tested as a mandatory requirement for access to oral contraceptive.
- My date never pursued the subject of STI status again, and I struggled to work up the nerve to do it again myself. I had no intentions of engaging in sexual contact with him until I had disclosed to him, while he clearly felt sexual contact was more important than knowing what I tried to tell him.
- I told my date early on during the night that we first wound up having sex that we weren’t going to have sex that night. He later came onto me full-on without letting up for almost a full hour before I finally gave in to him, and we had unprotected penile-vaginal sex. He pressured me to have sex that night, before I had disclosed to him what I felt morally compelled to say.
- My date did not stop to ask me if I had a condom, and I couldn’t stop him. I told him about my HPV status the next morning, and he responded by asking me questions about HPV. He continued to see me and have unprotected sex with me for nearly a full year afterwards. When I finally terminated the relationship for unrelated reasons, he said “And how long did it take you to tell me you had HPV?” He acted towards me after nearly a year of repeated unprotected exposure like he expected informed consent the first time, simply because I was breaking up with him.
- My date very likely exposed me to additional strains of HPV I had not yet been exposed to, that he could have inherited from his four prior partners. He was avoiding STI testing and continued to do so for the duration of our relationship and some time after. He could have exposed me, not only to additional STIs, but to additional strains of HPV I had not previously been exposed to, without knowing it (this is how all STIs are most commonly spread).
Let’s just never mind the question of people who don’t know they have an STI, and are avoiding finding out about it while transmitting it to other people.
Guess what all that means, Phil? You’re an ignoramus and an asshole, and you think my date ten years ago (who is probably still avoiding STI testing to this day, and has not likely been informing his partners of his exposure to HPV with previous partners such as myself) is more entitled to civil rights than I am now. Way to pick sides. According to you, I’m a sexual predator because I found out about my HPV even though the information had been withheld from me during treatment, and I couldn’t get this information out while being pressured to have (unprotected) sex with a single person on a single occasion before I was ready to tell him about my status. You are a bigot. Your attitude creates stigma around STIs, and that in turn dissuades people from getting tested for them for fear that they will test positive for something — even if they can get treatment for it. Your bigoted attitude actually promotes the spread of the STIs you are so clearly irrationally terrified of.
It’s one thing to not want an STI, but it’s a whole other thing entirely to be utterly phobic of someone for having one.
I have continued to practice safer sex, and to discuss my STI history, status, and testing habits frankly and honestly with my unprotected sex partners for the last ten years — except with those with whom I have had protected casual sex with, not with my mouth, genitals, or my ass, but with gloved hands and/or condom-wrapped dildoes or vibrators. For those casual sex partners with whom I did have sex with my mouth, genitals, or my ass, I also informed them of my STI history, status, and testing habits before practicing safer sex anyway (except for people with whom I had sexual contact as an erotica performer — who were all getting tested regularly and were monogamous or in a closed multi-partnership off-set). I even practiced safer sex with all of the people with whom I engaged in sex work, even when that sex work did not involve penetrative sex.
Most of the individuals with whom I have had casual sex with (excluding erotica performers but including partners through sex work), and most of my long-term sexual partners, have avoided regular testing and didn’t know their STI status at any given time (even though most of them habitually practiced safer sex, except with trusted partners, in order to mitigate their risk of exposure to unwanted STIs).
Most of my long-term partners simply never got tested after we terminated our relationship, and most of them never again practiced safer sex. One of them phoned me up out of the blue, nearly two full years after we had severed ties, panicking that one of his sex partners had tested positive for HIV. It was a false positive, but he had taken her virginity and given her and one other woman chlamydia that he inherited from a previous female partner, who was cheating on him without practicing safer sex. He actually tried to blame me for his chlamydia infection, even though I told him I had gotten tested twice after we broke up, and did not test positive on either occasion. He and one of those three women re-infected each other while receiving treatment for chlamydia, because despite telling him how to avoid this when I learned his doctor hadn’t, he had unsafe intimate contact with her while they were both still shedding live chlamydia.
And how do I know all about transmission, symptoms, testing, and treatment for chlamydia? Because I was exposed to it about 11 years ago by someone who lied to my face about getting tested and avoided practicing safer sex. I learned about transmission, symptoms, testing, and treatment when I was in the hospital a month after my exposure, and was handed the Merck Index of Sexually Transmitted Diseases by a nurse, who had opened it to the entry on chlamydia. I was an extremely rare immediately symptomatic case (98% of carriers only show symptoms 8 weeks later), and I received treatment the next morning. That man tried to blame me for his chlamydia infection too, and avoided getting tested or disclosing his status to future partners. I don’t know if he ever received treatment, or if he attempted to encourage the person who exposed him to seek treatment and inform her partners so that they could get tested.
I have not been re-infected since, because I have taken the necessary precautions to practice safer sex and get regular testing. You know. The way an adult would deal with having been exposed to an STI, in part due to their own negligence and in part by virtue of their sexual partner’s apathy. I am grateful every day for the fact that I was only ever exposed to something that could be treated and cured, but I am well aware of the fact that I might not have been so lucky. And in that case, I would have still been partially to blame for it. I didn’t need to call him names, hold him solely to blame, or press criminal charges to be angry that I had just been exposed to chlamydia (resulting in an offensively unpleasant infection) or that it could have just as easily been HIV or hepatitis. He didn’t rape me, and he isn’t a sexual predator. He’s just like any average sexually active person in North America who isn’t in a closed monogamous relationship. He just also happens to be a complete asshole, and a danger to both himself and his sexual partners — facts that don’t change if I wave a magic wand and make him infection-free.
But back to ten years ago, since you’re so insistent that what I did then makes me a sexual predator then and now. Because ten years ago, when I found out I had HPV, it was because I happened to spot it in my open chart notes when I was being told about the treatment procedure I was about to receive at the time. You could try searching for information online, but good luck finding anything you could successfully interpret from hyper-scientific medical jargon. You could try asking doctors about it (even at the clinics where you went to get testing), but they would either avoid answering your questions or give you outdated and inaccurate information. You could try searching the libraries for information about it, but you would experience a very frustrating intersection of both of the existing problems. Information about HPV only became accessible to the general public when news first broke of the first successful HPV vaccine trials, approximately five years ago. Even when this happened, doctors still frequently had inaccurate or outdated information when prompted for further information.
All current information states that HPV is skin-to-skin transmissible (even in asymptomatic carriers), and that approximately 80% of sexually active adults in North America at any given time are carriers of it. Condom use can prevent transmission, but it is no guarantee, as both visible and microscopic lesions can (and do) appear anywhere on the body, including parts of the external genitalia that are not protected by proper condom use (such as the perineum). This fact has been known since at least the early 1940s, when the pap smear was formally recognized as a reliable method of cervical cancer screening (i.e., even women who were in closed monogamous relationships were at risk if they had been previously exposed to HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer — and may be linked to certain throat and penile cancers — but which can also cause genital warts). Aside from visual confirmation of visible lesions, there is no test for HPV detection in men. That includes you, Phil.
Until I spotted that chart note during my treatment, I didn’t know I had HPV. I had protected and unprotected sex with ten different people, four of whom had sexually assaulted me (of those four, only one used protection — of the other six, all but two of them used protection). If I hadn’t spotted that chart note, I wouldn’t have psychologically tormented myself over the prospect of cervical cancer or of being some sort of walking sexual contagion. I simply wouldn’t have even known I had HPV until I was in college the first time, immediately before information about HPV finally became accessible to the general public. Even armed with entire textbooks full of medical terminology at the time, I still couldn’t access information about HPV, and neither could my partner at the time, who was also searching independently, while continuing to have repeated unprotected sexual contact with me over a two-and-a-half-year period (for the record, that was the same one that gave chlamydia to two women and then tried to blame me for it).
So Phil, you’re just a bully who, for whatever reason, just needs someone to feel smaller than you do right now. And you’re a bigot who is terrified of having sex with someone, only to find out later that they were positive for an STI. But just like the statistical majority of people who are duly bigoted, you don’t feel you share any of the responsibility for preventing transmission of unwanted or unknown STIs, and you assume that no one you’re with will ever present the risk of transmitting an STI to you personally (i.e., personal immunity, or the arrogance of the well).
Well, Phil, that’s exactly how people become carriers of STIs. By pretending that they can have all the sex they want without taking on any of the responsibility of reducing or even learning the risks of going for it. It’s a death wish, and if you don’t change your attitude, some day it’ll catch up with you. By that time, it won’t just be a death wish, but a death sentence. Then people will be looking at you the way you look at me, for even looking in their general vicinity. And I’m not going to feel sorry for you. Not one fucking bit.