Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You may already have an STD

The Medical Institute for Sexual Health (a conservative abstinence advocating health group) has created an STD Wizard to help people realize which STDs they are at risk for. I applaud the idea. People way underestimate their risk for chlamydia and HPV, and the latter is extremely extremely common. The only reason why many people who have had sex test negative is because they had the virus and then cleared it.

So I was looking forward to hearing them say that. I went through their quiz, filling in age, region of country, gender, race, drug use and STD history, and some yes/no sexual activity and drug questions. Not as fun as the purity test "Have you done it in a box? Have you done it with a fox?" They don't ask lifetime number of sex partners, only whether you have recently been raped or gotten a new sex partner.

And my results were. . .

I should take an HIV test, based on the fact that I haven't had a test in the past 12 months.

A healthy woman having unprotected vaginal sex with an HIV+ person has less than a 0.1% chance of contracting HIV. On the other hand, she is more than 2 orders of magnitude more likely to contract chlamydia or HPV if she's having sex with a person with those.

They follow this by, "Note: Even though many sexually active people have herpes, testing is rarely recommended."

And then, "Fact sheets for STDs you may have:" with links to HIV/AIDS fact sheets.

Way to go with the inaccurate fear-mongering. There is plenty of risk you could talk about.

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