I'd like to ask you, are you seeing anyone else, right now, where
"seeing" means in-person? Just from an STD viewpoint (and certainly
from an emotions one, to be honest) I need to know if
there if even "only" kissing between yourself and another person.

And the other two questions being, are you "seriously considering"
others by email, or "actively" seeking? I'll let you define
"seriously".. As for "actively", I found a new singles web site
related to our general value system and have for the time being
decided not to put up my ad. In other words, I haven't taken down the
old ones, but I've decided not to put up a new one, in my case
**********************************************************************
her gettging tested 2nd time for HIV
**********************************************************************
H_S_V and mouth to mouth? / french kissing?
**********************************************************************
Also, I will do some research on HSV.  And I will send you whatever I find.
I'm sorry for the stress and inconvenience this has caused.  But we have to
just deal with it pragmatically.  

I have a lot of confused feelings about it, which will probably be with me
indefinitely unless a cure is found. Like right now, on one hand, I feel
like expressing gratitude to you for getting involved with me despite the
HSV.  But on the other hand, I think, should it really be a factor?  If
someone really likes me, of course they will just accept it as part of the
whole package.  

What makes it hard is the day-to-day uncertainty we both deal with.  Not
knowing if we should take precautions or refrain from doing x, y, or z. I
agree that the more information we have about the virus, the easier this
will be.  I want to continue to be practical about it, as we have been so
far, and not let my emotions get caught up in it. (Like thinking, if he
really loved me he would do ??? without worrying about the risk--I want to
avoid that thinking)

As for your question about "actively seeking"...I have not put up new
personal ads, but I did revise one recently.  I currently only have two ads
out there:  one lesbian personal ad, and one bi ad in the pagan personals.
Both get very few replies.  I guess I have to say that I'm about as "active"
as ever as far as meeting women is concerned.  But I have not had any
success in meeting anyone and getting involved using this strategy, which
has been about the same for years.  I'm picky--it's hard to find the right
kind of person.  I don't really go "out of my way" too much to meet women,
except through these ads.  I occasionally respond to women's personal ads
too, but that is rare, and getting a response to my response that leads to
anything else is even rarer.  

There are a few lesbian activities which I do for other reasons (like the
women-only pagan circle that meets at the gay/lesbian community center)
sporadically.  I am there primarily for the paganism, and because I enjoy
being in "women's space"--it is like a feminist support group.  Even if I
lived with you, I would attend this group for those reasons.

And I am comfortable with your continuing your own strategy to meet others.
I think we both owe it to ourselves to know what is out there.  Even though
I will of course feel pangs of jealousy knowing about it, I think it is
right.  But if you don't agree, we should discuss this some more...

And we will talk about the Peacedom stuff...
**********************************************************************
From harel  Fri Aug 18 15:52:52 2000
Hi Kim,

Sorry I wasn't able to followup sooner, but I now finally
have a stretch of time to give these issues the thought
they deserve.

I  really appreciated  your thoughtfulness, and your openness and
sensitivity, and I will try to do the same in my comments below.

Of course we don't have to resolve and completely figure out
everything right now, but I think we have a good start; we can talk
more when I call you (I am planning to call you on Sunday evening, let
me know if you'd prefer another time) and of course, when we're
together over Labor Day weekend, we'll be able to talk face to face..

   Thanks for your message.  I would like to see the article about the mouse
   cloning if you have it.

I think I sent that; let me know if you didn't get it..

   Also, I will do some research on HSV.  And I will send you whatever I find.

Thanks. I plan to read through what you sent this weekend.

   I'm sorry for the stress and inconvenience this has caused.  But we have to
   just deal with it pragmatically.  

You don't need to be sorry. I think we've been dealing with
it with openness and sensitivity, and our email discussions
now are a continuation of that.

   I have a lot of confused feelings about it, which will probably be with me
   indefinitely unless a cure is found. Like right now, on one hand, I feel
   like expressing gratitude to you for getting involved with me despite the
   HSV.  But on the other hand, I think, should it really be a factor?  If
   someone really likes me, of course they will just accept it as part of the
   whole package.  

I don't see a contradiction. For example I feel gratitude
when you show kindness, sensitivity, etc, towards me, even
though those are qualities I want/expect in a partner.

I totally agree that it's "part of the package", and, not just
intellectually, but from feeling that way. But that doesn't mean that
it's not a "factor". Well, I don't know what you meant by "factor",
but it's certainly something I need to consider, (which _we_ need to
consider), as we have been.

I sure hope there will be a cure someday. I think you said you were
about 100% or 99.9% un-symptomatic, and if Im remembering that
correctly, then a vaccine for me would be almost as good as a cure,
in that case, as far as issues to do with possible transmission...

In fact, if "finding a cure" would be the "platinum" of  doing
research on HSV, then finding a vaccine would be "gold" and
a partial vaccine (I think we read, back in Boston, about
something to reduce the probability of transmission) would be
"silver". So those are what I'm most looking to find in research.

After that, are more specific articles that say something about
various sexual activities and the relative risks of each activity (I
don't like that word, "activity", but can't think of an alternative to
the standard term..) That is "Bronze". Don't get me wrong, "Bronze"
is not meant to be disparaging; after all, getting bronze
in the world-wide Olympics is a very  big deal; I realize we
might not find silver (let alone gold/platinum) for a long while..

   What makes it hard is the day-to-day uncertainty we both deal with.  Not
   knowing if we should take precautions or refrain from doing x, y, or z. I

Exactly...Bronze research findings on HSV would help here. While
also keeping an eye out for silver-or-better...

   agree that the more information we have about the virus, the easier this
   will be.  I want to continue to be practical about it, as we have been so
   far, and not let my emotions get caught up in it. (Like thinking, if he
   really loved me he would do ??? without worrying about the risk--I want to
   avoid that thinking)

I have several reactions here, and also tying some of them to the
paragraph below about "actively seeking". First, I agree we should
continue to be "Prudent" (I prefer that term to "practical" though I'm
sure we mean the same..) about safety.

Second, as for those "if we really loved me" thoughts, it would be
nice if I knew what ??? stands for. I realize you were just explaining
the general situation and that maybe you don't have a particular ???
in mind...but I guess what I'm suggesting is that we discuss these
things. Let me start us off here, and then ask if you could, too.

Three things that come to mind about ??? are: 
(i) oral and manual sex on you (ii) oral and manual sex on me
(iii) intercourse. Part of what I tried to do on the phone
is to understand better how you felt about specifics like these.

Although my pleasure is important, too, on the physical level it's
less important to me, and, for the time being, let's talk
about yours. For example, (ii) refers to _your_ pleasure from
playing with my penis/cock, which some women feel they have
to be embarrassed about, and I hope you're not (especially now
that you know how big a huge turn-on it is for _my_ pleasure to 
do things in (i)). For (ii) I think manual is pretty
safe, and oral can be 100% safe with a condom. This 
of course is not ideal, but it's a start, while we wait
until a later time (and research) which makes us ready
to do without. In the meantime, I'd like to discuss
(over the phone and in person is best) your feelings about this.

And (iii) is similar to (ii); I think almost 100% safety is ours with
a condom. As you know, there are also emotional things for me which
mean I'm not sure when I'll be ready -- but I want to discuss
these. If (when we discuss) I hear from you that you have strong
positive feelings, that will help me be "ready" sooner that I'd
otherwise be. One last comment about (iii) is that I have a good
collection of toys and can fuck you with them in a way you (and I)
would find very enjoyable, I think; but here too I want to discuss
feelings and reactions with you. Finally (ii), for me I'd love to
throw out the saran wrap, but you know what? With practice it might be
more of a frustration for orally-inclined me, than for you, it might
feel almost like the real thing; but yes, I hope to do research that
will help us decide here, too. And I also need to hear from you and
talk about how it feels for you physically, as well as, how your
feelings are, so this is another area for us to continue sharing our
feelings... From what I have read, manually is ok so long as I don't
have a big cut on my hand, and if I do, we just bandage it etc.

   agree that the more information we have about the virus, the easier this
   will be.  I want to continue to be practical about it, as we have been so
   far, and not let my emotions get caught up in it. (Like thinking, if he
   really loved me he would do ??? without worrying about the risk--I want to
   avoid that thinking)

So far I said things about _encouraging_ you to not only think about
??? but to speak with me about these things, as I hope we'll do on the
phone and in person. On the other hand, I feel I need to say a few
things (which I realize you already know) about HSV being serious...

One article I read (an older one from a book) seemed to downplay how
serious it is at the beginning, but later on talked about how the
virus goes into the deepest part of one's nervous system into the base
of the spine, etc -- so it's not something to sneeze at. Also it said
stress can be a trigger. I have a lot of that. True, I also am
better than the average person at "neutralizing" the stress, but
if my stress causes the virus to migrate from my spine (causing sores)
and I do a relaxation exercise, and now I'm calm again, who is to say
the virus will migrate back into dormant? True, with oral herpes, I've
been lucky -- only that opening outbreak and a few times of a barely
visible blotch on my lower lip and that's it. Oral, is something that
80% of adults have and it is much more minor.

And then there is gender. It's true that consequences for women are
less than for me, but that doesn't make the consequences zero for men,
and I could be an unlucky exception (think of the small number of very
unlucky men who have breast cancer, for example).

But then I thought about this:

Even if we put those aside, what about my potential future partner/s?

And this is where there is a connection with "actively seeking".

Please don't see what I'm about to say as "blaming" you. I am only
expressing my feelings and the _impression_ I have (which might not be
a fair impression). It seems to me that on the issue of "actively
seeking others" you are leaning in the "spectrum" towards
something less exclusive that I'd prefer, while at the same
time, the less exclusive (the more "open") we are between us,
the more stupid it would be for me to play risky. See what I mean?
What if I got HSV and our relationship didn't make it past New Years, say?

Don't get me wrong, if I got HSV I'd be unhappy, no matter how long we
laster, even if we were together for the rest of our lives I'd sure
rather not have it, than have it. But if I got it and it was only 6
months in a relationship, and I'd feel "shitty" for lack of a better
term.

And what would I tell my next partner?

I don't think it would be fair to me, that it would make it much
harder for me to find a partner (who would be a woman, and women would
be even more concerned about HSV than men are, not that we aren't)...

But aside from unfairness to me, what about unfairness to her? See
what I mean? 

Well, I care about you Kim, alot. And what we have together
means a lot to me, and I want to emotionally invest in it
like watering a plant and hope it lasts and works... Which
is why in addition to all I've put in emotionally and in
communication, I have also, yes, taken some risks. And I'm
willing to take more risks, so long as they are relatively
small risks and so long as they are well thought out.

But the amount of risk I can take depends on our level
of commitment. I know I'm not telling you something
you don't already know. And I know you're way too honest
a person and you're not going to tell me something
that is not true, just to get me to take more
risks when we are together.  But I am asking you to
think about how you feel about us and about commitment.

Are my ears wrong when my ears tell me that it sounds to me
like you're still looking, especially, am I wrong in
"sensing" that you're still keeping an eye out for a woman?
Can I ask you, are you preferring a woman? If not, then I'll
drop that "insecure" worry and we can move on to other
things, but if there is a grain of truth, then we should
discuss it. (personally I strongly feel that whether it's
being a great lover, or a gentle, sensitive and loving
partner, the human quality of empathy is 100 times more
important than your gender; do I need to remind you that
it's women who perform most of the clitoral mutilation i
this wold (similar statement about circumcision)? You
can see what conclusions I draw from that as far as 
whether a woman partner would be "better" for a bisexual)

And as I said I am open to us (and under more 
limited circumstances, you) seeking a women to
augment our relationship, IF and when it becomes a
very solid long term relationship. (there
are reasons  why I would want it to be us rather
than just you and this third women if that ever
happens, and reasons other than my wanting
to share in the "nooky", namely my emotional
as well as physical (STD)  safety. Emotional
safety and yours too, requiring
close discussions, etc..)

Putting aside of whether "seeking" is vis a vis men or women,
I do sense that you want less committent and more "open" than
my preference is (again, I admit I might be misreading you). I don't
know if that is true. If it was a true, it would be foolish
of me to try to "convince" you otherwise. Maybe it is
right to keep exploring, maybe there is a woman out there
who is in some way "better" for me than you are, and
maybe there is a person out there who is "better" in your case.
All I know if I have very high standards for even
considering a relationship, and you met those initial
standards, and then you met the second level ones
when we spoke on the phone and then the third level
ones when we have been in person -- so my inclination
is to try to make what we have, work. After all,
out of 300 million people in the US I'm sure mathematically
there are people out there who in some "abstract" way
are "better matches" for each of us, simply in terms
of mathematical probability out of 300 million people.
But you know what? I'm no longer trying to find
a "perfect" woman or even a "perfect fit" woman;
there is no perfect. And finding others takes a long
time and life is short on time, so after you passed
all of my three "screenings" I decided that I want
to invest in us. Maybe you feel differently, or my
logic is wrong -- what do you think?

I have been open that (a) I haven't taken down my ads.
But I said I have (b) not put  up and plan not to put
up any new ads.

Somehow (a) and (b) together define my level of commitment
which I think is a pretty high one, and I could even move
to the pont of removing the ads -- I hope you and I
reach that mutual feeling at some point.  For me
(a) and (b) include also not going to a lot of social
events in person in seeking anyone. Part of that is
just individual differences between us, which is fine.
I have no problem at all in your going to a womens
only group(s) for support. But I sense (tell me
if I am right) that part of your heart
inside, even if it's a small part, is hoping
to find a woman...and that the "socially meeting people"
(as opposed to through the internet) -- that this aspect,
is on in which you have a position on that spectrum 
which is father away from "commitment" than I'd
like, and is a different position on the
spectrum that the position which is compatible with
more sexual intimacy...there is no direct link
between the two spectrums but as I indicated earlier
they are somewhat indirectly linked in terms of how
much risk I should take...

(By the way, on another topic -- I am not concerned
about getting HIV from you in female-to-male
transmission, but if I were you, a women
who had unprotected intercourse with a man who, 
now I remember, was African, I would like to be
100% sure and I would take a second, HIV test...what do you think?)

   As for your question about "actively seeking"...I have not put up new
   personal ads, but I did revise one recently.  I currently only have two ads
   out there:  one lesbian personal ad, and one bi ad in the pagan personals.

Thanks again for your openness here..

   Both get very few replies.  I guess I have to say that I'm about as "active"
   as ever as far as meeting women is concerned.  But I have not had any
   success in meeting anyone and getting involved using this strategy, which
   has been about the same for years.  I'm picky--it's hard to find the right

This is where I might be misreading you..."as far as meeting women is
concerned", I'm not sure what this means. Partly just social
things, which if fine, but there are social events and there are
social events; some have more overlap with potential mate-finding,
than others. And as for those, your saying "about as active as I've
always been" doesn't exactly reassure me, you know? How would you
feel about hearing "About as active as ever" if you were me and
thinking about HSV risk? Again, I might be reading too much into
this...I'd appreciate hearing back from you about this too,
as with the other topics, and what you can't cover by email,
I hope the rest we can speak about over the phone, and then
more when you visit Delmarva/Salisbury.

   kind of person.  I don't really go "out of my way" too much to meet women,
   except through these ads.  I occasionally respond to women's personal ads
   too, but that is rare, and getting a response to my response that leads to
   anything else is even rarer.  

Again I appreciate your candor...

   There are a few lesbian activities which I do for other reasons (like the
   women-only pagan circle that meets at the gay/lesbian community center)
   sporadically.  I am there primarily for the paganism, and because I enjoy
   being in "women's space"--it is like a feminist support group.  Even if I
   lived with you, I would attend this group for those reasons.

That would be ok with me. In fact it would be more than "ok", it would
be something I would feel good about, for your finding community
and "women's space". Deep inside, I have my own needs, and they 
include my needing to hear directly in your own
words, and directly from your mouth and heart, what your feelings
are in terms of how much it is for these reasons, and how
much there is left of "other reasons" to do with meeting women..

   And I am comfortable with your continuing your own strategy to meet others.

There's very little there as I've said..

   I think we both owe it to ourselves to know what is out there.  Even though

Haven't you said already that you've been doing this for "several
years" when you said:

   "But I have not had any
   success in meeting anyone and getting involved using this strategy, which
   has been about the same for years."

So, my heart wants to ask you, don't you already know
"what's out there" and how much longer does it make sense to do this,
etc... But my mind is logical enough, despite my heart, to know
it's foolish to try to "talk you out of it", and I know that
if/when the time comes and you're comfortable with no longer
"trying to find out what is out there" in this way, or at
least, to this extent, then you will do so, and there is no
point trying to convince you, so I'm just expressing my reactions..

   And we will talk about the Peacedom stuff...

I've already mentally composed the five (or so) points I
want to express and for you to acknowledge, and after that,
I'm ready to send you the first two fantasies...but I had
to put that on hold since I needed to put most of my 
energy into thinking about issues to do with what
I've been responding to in this email...

   Blessed be!  (a common pagan closing--do you approve of it?)

Not onto do I "approve", I like it. In part because,
for whatever reasons, I don't see "blessed" as _having_
to come from a god, I see it as something that
can express wishes, feelings, emotions, between two
people, and that it comes pretty close to expressing
the ideal. The ideal would be love for fellow human
beings, and wishing them well, and wishing them
prosperity and happiness and fulfillment and joy --
that is what that phrase says to me. Maybe it sounds
this wonderful to me only because I heard it from your lips first and
how I feel about you, but I think I'm not way off, I mean,
this is pretty close to what it means to you, and others, right?
 ------------------------------------------------------------------
| Harel Barzilai | hb@harelbarzilai.org | http://harelbarzilai.org |
 ------------------------------------------------------------------
From harel  Sat Aug 19 09:36:17 2000
Subject: Re: HSV
Kim,

I've printed out and read the three articles you sent. As you may have
noticed yourself, the first one is general, the second one about black
college women and HSV (an important topic but not one which pertains
to us), and the third one is by far the most interesting.

It's about HSV vaccine development and apparently the term "Vaccine"
here means both the standard sense (which is termed here "prophylaxis"
type or preventative) and a second sense, "therapy" for those already
having HSV.

It's a November 99 article about "Phase I trials" which have been
completed in the 4th quarter of 98 and the results reported in October
99 at a conference. The article focused on the Phase I and only said
about the Phase II trials that were then commencing, that it would
determine the time to first recurrence following vaccination, so
apparently it would test mostly or only HSV positive people for the
effects of the vaccine.

Anyway, this was 9 months ago so one might hope that the results or
Phase II are in and maybe Phase III or whatever comes next has already
begun. One might even hope that in not too many months I can ask
about a vaccine from my doctor. It is optimistic of course to do so,
but you only know if you try. My brother is taking his Boards this
weekend and when it's over I can ask for his assessment and what the
different Phases etc mean.

In the meantime it's certainly a promising piece of information and I
think we should hunt for more about this, at least, find out the latest
from these trials, and also try to find out if there are other
companies and other potential vaccines out there.

On the former, keyword searches should relate to Cantab
Pharmaceuticals and to the name of the genetically altered
HSV used to make the vaccine, which is "DISC HSV".
Perhaps you can do this on your databases, and I on the web.

DISC HSV has been altered to it can still enter cells and provoke
immune responses, but but destroying the virus' ability to replicate
and spread. IF the virus can still enter cells I wonder if it's smart
to take this vaccine if you are HSV negative...something to ask my
brother, but I am hopeful (maybe they have several variants or have
thought this through etc) since the article, again, does mention "two
potential development tracks: the first for therapy and the second for
prophylaxis" -- the second of these being "gold" and the first might be
for an HSV positive persons almost as good as the "platinum" of a cure.

So it's very exciting that both type of vaccines are under
investigation, and hopefully now 9 months later it's farther
ahead...let's see what we can find out...

Talk to you very soon!

Harel
XOOX
From harel  Sat Aug 19 10:35:20 2000
Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 10:35:04 -0700 (PDT)

I've created

http://harelbarzilai.org/hsv/

as a way to help organize and help both of us keep track...

This includes a direct jump to Glaxo and Cantab press releases, and
some promising leads. It also includes at the top some
sobering comments from folks on herpes.net, which are also
worth reading... That is how I sometimes feel. At
other times I think of how wonderful unprotected-sex could be and that
I might not get HSV even with unprotected-sex... but then
I remember what "might not" means and personally,
having experiences moderate chronic medical problems
in both my brother and in myself, I know I shouldn't
risk adding yet another item to that list...

How badly I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it
disappear Kim... But if we persevere we can make it
through this.  If we can't stick with it and stick
together just because of the challenges of HSV, then
what do we have? If on the other hand we do deeply
value what we have, and can stick together for it, then
we should be able to have enough love and caring to
make it through the wait until the vaccine and through
the extra inconveniences that sex will mean until that
comes...

After reading the sobering stuff, remember that the
first one said it may only be six months or less before results of
Phase II are in..and phase III starts.