Statistically speaking, if two people are reading this article, one of them has HPV, and the other one listens to Sublime. Just kidding, even James Island guys get HPV. For those of you who ain't fuckin, or just don't read anything ever, HPV is human papillomavirus, the most common of all STIs in the world. How common? Let me sexplain.
You know how conservatives complain about the "everyone gets a trophy" culture they blame for all social ills? The adult STI equivalent of that would be HPV. It's so common that people with HPV just assume other people have it. And even though that's not ethical in my opinion, the numbers are surprising. Eighty percent of people will come in contact with HPV at some point in their life, and the older you get, the more common it is. Even your grandma ain't safe. Thank god my grandparents are safe with Jesus.
There are over 80 strains of HPV, kind of like Pokemon Go but way less cool to hunt for in groups. The craziest thing is that no one and I mean no one talks about it ever. Why?
Most people associate STDs with irresponsible behavior and they are wrong. One of my friends got her first STD from her first boyfriend the first time she ever had sex at 16 years of age. That's some bullshit, but that's also how it can happen. It's unfair, but it's true.
Our sexuality is the most intimate part of us, and having something "wrong" with it is such a psychologically stressful thought that most people ignore it all together. Being rejected is one thing, but being sexually rejected by someone you were previously connecting with because of something outside of your control is embarrassing.
There's a poker hand type hierarchy to STDs and it goes something like this:
HPV, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, AIDS. AIDS being the royal flush in this line up.
Here is the ironic thing, if we shuffled this deck by order of permanence, it would go:
Chlamydia, syphilis, HPV, herpes, AIDS.
God, it's depressing. Now here is some shitty advice that will immediately appear in the comments under this post: "Welp, that's what you get for grilled cheesin' outside of marriage dar dar dar dar."
If only it were that easy. Lots of people discover they have HPV after years of marriage, and no one even cheated! I mean they could have cheated, I wasn't there, but most people don't have symptoms, so it's possible for it to blind-side you.
OK, now that you are sufficiently depressed, here is some good news. There is a vaccine. Even though it is recommended for people under 26, it's actually possible to get it administered even if you're over 26.
Another spot of good news is that because it's so common, people are way more understanding about it. I think we often view our sexual status as a liability. As a boner killer. As an "um yeah, gotta spoil this whole night real quick" conversation. But to me, I think it's an act of kindness.
If I have a cold and you wanna kiss me, it's on me to tell you I have a cold. If you still want to kiss me, then now we have all the pieces on the board and the rest is up to you.
I've always believed that whether you're marrying someone or banging behind a Food Lion in your car, there are certain levels of respect that any sex partner deserves. I have HPV, and you probably do too and it's all right. If the worst thing that happens to you in life is HPV consider yourself lucky. It's like the old saying, "The people that matter don't mind, and the people that mind think Rascal Flatts is a good band."
If someone is in to you enough to want to hook up, be kind enough to share what you do or don't have going on. You may not get it perfect every time, but you will certainly feel better about yourself when you do. Honesty is sexy.