I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wow. Another Oral Sex Issue...

My friend sent me this article the other day that explores another risk of unprotected oral sex. I can honestly say that this is new news and information to me. Very interesting...

Please read HPV study finds 7% of U.S. teens, adults carry virus in mouths


  1. I think this is extremely important, and should be a wake up call to everyone, especially given that 80% of adult will eventually become infected with HPV.
    EVERY child should receive the HPV vaccine before becoming sexually active!

  2. Zambia RPCV here - just started reading today, and I hope to get through the rest of the blog soon. A friend referred your blog with a comment similar to, 'if it wasn't us, it was one of our friends.' In my case, 'There, but for the fates, go I' is much more apt.

    ...peace and hope and love to the author.

    Also a PhD Immunologist - important to keep in mind that HPV and HIV are exceedingly different viruses with unique infectious profiles and biological mechanisms of pathology.

    Some minority of the ~140 or so identified genotypes of human papillomaviruses (HPV) are transmitted primarily through sexual exposures - many more are transmitted other ways. HPVs infect skin cells and cause them to act strangely, producing more viruses and infrequently, causing them to make a turn toward cancer (cervical, esophageal, anal, etc). The vast majority of HPV infections are cleared naturally by the infected person's immune response, and they end up never causing long term problems. HPVs are MUCH more infectious than HIV on a per-exposure basis.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12543621 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22241800 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15809897

    HIV is sometimes also transmitted through sexual exposures and commonly through other routes as well. HIV infects CD4 T cells in mucosal tissues or circulating in the blood, and it is not cleared by the natural immune response. HIV transmission is a relatively rare, as measured per-exposure event, and rates of transmission correlate strongly with viral load. With treatment, HIV is a chronic, manageable illness. The landscape of HIV disease has changed dramatically with the antiretroviral treatments available today.

    Wikipedia has great articles about both viruses, including transmission biology, epidemiology, and natural history, but the short story is that comparisons of HPV and HIV transmission are difficult to make without a very clear focus and lots of details.

    Respect to the author. This is a fantastic way to shed light and share ideas on difficult topics and issues and to spread knowledge.

  3. Thank you for posting. I mistakenly thought in 2012 the dangers of HPV, regarding oral, anal and vaginal sex were common knowledge. WHERE are young people getting the idea that oral sex is "safe"? Is it the heterosexual concern of pregnancy that fuels this?(not that I don't think heterosexual couples SHOULDN'T be concerned about pregnancy, but sexuality is about much more. )

  4. Jess,
    I walked my PCV son through the Venn diagram of his and his partner's recent (1.5 years) sexual encounters. After considering the results, they both went and had themselves tested.

    Education is a powerful tool: keep on talking!