ucsf.edu network pattern

Today’s post was suppose to be about HPV and the spreading of the virus via oral sex…and whether this link could lead to the end of oral sex. I wanted to address HPV after seeing this story on Dominica News Online, with a link to the complete article on Jamaica Observer.

Instead, midway through reading the article, I came across this paragraph:

“Thirty-seven-year-old Wayne W, who has been married for nine years, said he has never cheated on his wife. However, there are times when he is so stressed that he will visit his girlfriend, who is also married, and they will have guilt free oral sex.”

While I am happy to see an article address HPV, especially among men and the importance of men to take an active role in understanding the virus and how it can cause various forms of cancer, my concern for the moment has to be on this relationship.

STD prevention messages keep pushing the “Be Faithful” approach with public health experts’ conceptualization of being faithful as a 1-1 relationship. However, for many people, including in the relationship described above, partners are saying that they are faithful…to their wife, their girlfriend and whoever else they are having oral or vaginal or other sexual relationships with.

I’m always intrigued by what gets someone “so stressed”  that the only way to get relief is to be with someone other than your wife or central partner. A previous article on Jamaica Observer referred to this pattern as a mental illness. Is it?

Much has been written about sexual network pattern and HIV transmission in Southern Africa. In fact, there is major debate about whether this behavior greatly increases the spread on HIV. Across the Caribbean, we see similar sexual network patters. What we do not see/hear about are behavioral research on why this pattern exists and how it is operationalized within out culture. STD transmission is very complex, and extrapolating what happens in one context to another is rarely advised. What I would like to see is more focus on understanding what facilitates these network patters across the region. Are there patterns a matter of proximity? What role does migration play in sexual networks?  What can be done to mitigate the participation in multiple and concurrent partnerships?

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