Listen, I know better than this, but it made me feel really embarrassed. Because I have no filter I said to the nice nurse, "Oh. So I have an STD." She said, "Um.....yes." I desperately wanted her to know I wasn't a slut. I told her I haven't had a new sexual partner in almost 15 years and then I started to give her an awkward and completely unnecessary blow by blow of my sexual history with an emphasis on how safe I was including HIV tests. The poor woman was very patient and kind and told me they know so little about HPV. A guy can be a carrier without having it. You can get it even if you use a condom. She said that I could have gotten in during my very first sexual encounter and it stayed dormant until now. They just don't have answers.
So a couple of things. WAS I REALLY WORRIED A NURSE WOULD THINK I WAS A SLUT? What the fuck is wrong with me? Am I not a feminist? Because I will tell you what, ladies. I hear that you have HPV and I do not think you are a slut. I do not care if you like to have sex with lots of guys. If you make that choice it is your choice and you should do whatever the hell you want with your body and face no judgement from society, particularly no judgment different from what a man would face. I do not care if you don't care for sex, or are a virgin, or have had very few sexual partners. It's your business. You can do whatever the hell you want with yourself and that doesn't change the fact that I'd love to go get a drink with you and shoot the shit.
Also, why am I embarrassed and ashamed by this? Do I feel embarrassment for my friends who have it? Do I think they should be ashamed? No. In fact, I've sincerely told a number of friends that it isn't a big deal. Suddenly I have it and I'm a great big hairy hypocrite. So I've decided I'm not going to put up with myself today. This is not a big deal and I'm not going to wallow or feel like I've done something wrong in my past. I'm comfortable with every choice I've made because they all have combined to bring me to right now. I have a marriage I'm proud of and I've fought damn hard for. I have two adorable, frustrating, perfect for me boys. I've battled back from severe mental illness. I'm (dare I say it?) happy. So I have HPV. Who gives a shit?
A bunch of my girlfriends have told me they have HPV so it stands to reason a bunch more also have it and have decided to keep that info private. Your body, your info, you get to tell or not tell who you want-I'm not saying you should shout it from the rooftops like I am. (If a future possible employeer is reading this I promise that my HPV will not get in the way of my ability to perform my job! I'm a people pleaser! I will work very hard for you!) So here is my public servie announcement. You have HPV, friend? Hey, so do I! It is no big deal. You are lucky you were diagnosed because now you can work with your healthcare provider to stay healthy. Tell your young women friends to get vaccinated. If you have sons be sure they are vaccinated as well so they don't become carriers. I'm so glad you found out you have it so you can be proactive about your health. And I look forward to the day when all Americans have health coverage so they can be just as protected as we are.
Hey! This is me! And I've got HPV. But that is just the tiniest part of who I am. I also just made some delicious granola (thanks for the recipe, A!) and I desperately need a hair cut. Oh, and I'm crazy.
Do you see the fear in C's eyes?
Rocking hearing protection in Daddy's shop. Safety first!