Thursday, July 3, 2008

I smell... Bullshit!

Read this blurb:

The Bachelor Producers Hit With Herpes Dilemma

The producers of The Bachelor have been floored by the amount of pretty women who don't get to woo series hunks - because they have herpes. A new report reveals a substantial number of single stunners were turned away from the most recent show's auditions after testing positive for herpes and other communicable diseases.

A show insider tells the National Enquirer, "Some of the best looking women have been told recently that they didn't pass the medical portion of the test due to herpes."


My reply:

Are there at least 4 or 5 producers working on The Bachelor ? THEN THE STATISTICS SHOW THAT AT LEAST ONE OF THEM HAS IT THEMSELVES. Morons.

It is time to grow up, people.

This procedure of screening out the women who have herpes for a TV show about dating is absurd, scary, and downright dangerous.

HSV2 can happen to absolutely anyone. 1 out of 4 women have it! Most have no symptoms and don't even know they have it. And the medical community, for bizarre and archaic reasons, doesn't encourage us to get tested if you have never had a symptom.

And yet THE BACHELOR has the right to???

I could see if they screened the women for herpes and other STDs, and then just required that they were open about it with the Bachelor when that time came. But eliminating them from the show altogether? A quarter of all women? WHAT?

So let me get this straight. We can't portray a few people dealing with herpes (or just an HSV2 diagnosis with no symptoms) in a normal and mature way on a tv show about dating and sex? Instead they are treating herpes as a non-issue, when in fact, a quarter of the women that the bachelor would meet in real life would have it?

Dare I say, it's almost as bad as screening out people of a particular race. No, you are not born with herpes, but it is something that happens to people as a result of normal human behavior. People don't choose to contract herpes. Last time I checked, having sex with at least one person in your life is expected of us, and what makes the world go round, actually. If you've done that, even if it's been protected sex, you've been at risk for getting herpes. Hell, I know a virgin who got it from another virgin - his cold sore was passed to her genitals. The herpes virus is simply part of existing in the twenty first century. It's the knowledge of knowing one has it that can empower us all, because then as a woman one can take the precautions and lower our partner's risk of contracting HSV2 to a measly ONE PERCENT PER YEAR.

I thought the Bachelor would do anything for love. But he won't even do THAT?

By continuing to pretend that herpes doesn't exist, we can all remain blissfully ignorant and the virus can continue to spread. Is that what we want? By continuing to pretend that those who do have HSV2 are all hiding under a rock somewhere and not dating, we can hold on to the belief that herpes will never, ever happen to us. UNTIL IT DOES.

I live in LA, I am not naive, I know that the last thing that a reality show usually portrays is anything close to reality. But when this kind of thing happens that is a direct insult to around a quarter of the population, and there is no public outcry whatsoever, it is time for the public to grow up, face reality, educate themselves, and evolve. GET TESTED. Only when people can see that it is their very own family members, their best friends, themselves even who are being discriminated against in this stupid way, will the real outrage will begin.

Just FYI, my anger here is not coming from my own ego. I personally would actually be allowed on the show, as I have type 1 herpes genitally. A blood test would only show that I am positive for type 1 herpes, which 80% of people would also test positive for, and it is assumed to be "oral cold sores." (Which are actually much more contagious than having it genitally like I do, and which are totally capable to becoming genital herpes through giving oral sex to someone else.) So in even thinking that they are capable of screening out all people with genital herpes, or who are capable of giving someone genital herpes, the producers are wrong.

Hey, I just had an idea! I should try out for and infiltrate the show, steal the bachelor's heart, and then at the final moment when he asks for my hand in marriage, tell him on national TV that I have genital herpes and the producer's tests didn't screen for it because it is type 1, the common cold sore virus!!! I would love to see the blood just absolutely drain from the producers' faces at that moment.

But there is no way in hell that The Bachelor doesn't already have HSV1 anyway, with all that making out going on.

The bottom line is, if The Bachelor is not mature enough to deal with the existence of HSV2 out there in the big bad world, and not knowledgable on how easily transmission can be prevented, he is not mature enough to be dating and having sex. That goes for everyone. Period.

The producers are doing a major disservice to humanity by denying us of this opportunity for growth.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Let me just say that one more time.

I got an STD from someone who does not have an STD.

I got genital herpes from someone who does not have genital herpes!

WTF?

(for new readers and those not in the know: cold sore, even when one is not currently present + oral sex = a form of genital herpes. which is what happened to yours truly.)

How do you like dem peaches?

Everyone loves a good True or False session!

All of the following statements are either True or False:

1) If you had genital herpes, you would know it, because you would get outbreaks.
2) You don't have to worry about asking your partner to get tested for STDs until you are ready to ditch the condoms.
3) It is safe to assume that non-promiscuous people who have been mostly in steady relationships do not have genital herpes.
4) If you have been married for 10 years and all of a sudden you come down with genital herpes, your partner must have cheated.
5) If you get genital herpes and go back and ask all your exes and no one has it, or never gave it to someone else, then someone is lying.
6) You cannot get genital herpes from someone who does not have genital herpes.

Ok, got your answers?

All of those 6 statements, believe it or not, are absolutely FALSE. Read on, this will be more exciting than Ripley's Believe it or Not!

1) If you had genital herpes, you would know it, because you would get outbreaks.
FALSE.
Although 20% of Americans have genital herpes (HSV2), only 2% are aware that they do. Huh? Here's why. 90% of those infected have either non-existent or not obvious symptoms. Only 10% of people who have genital herpes have obvious text book outbreaks. But even those who are completely asymptomatic can spread it to someone else, who can end up having obvious outbreaks. SO, if someone tells you they don't have any STDs, they actually have no way of knowing that unless they have gotten a type-specific HSV blood test. This test is not included in STD testing unless specifically requested. (A travesty on behalf of the healthcare system, which we can go into in another post.)

2) You don't have to worry about asking your partner to get tested for STDs until you are ready to ditch the condoms.
FALSE.
You do have to have the STD conversation before sex, even if you're using condoms. Here's why - genital herpes (and HPV) can be transmitted DESPITE condoms. They are viruses, and can be present on the genital area skin that the condom does not cover, even if the person is not having an outbreak. OK, so you're not having sex with someone if they have a visible outbreak, and you're using condoms, so if these two things aren't enough to prevent getting HSV2, what else can be done? Well, the person with HSV2 can take Valtrex daily, or one of the other anti-viral meds. It's a Godsend in preventing transmission (it's not 100%, but it is something like 97% effective, which is comparable to birth control pill rates.)

3) It is safe to assume that non-promiscuous people who have been mostly in steady relationships do not have genital herpes.
FALSE.
This stereotype is one that is hard to break. Sure, all STDs including herpes are going to be more prevalent amongst people who have had lots of sexual partners, since your risk of getting one increases with each new partner you have. But that does not mean that those who have only had one or only a few partners can't get it. So you only slept with one person in your life, but that person had an ex who had an ex who had HSV2. Get it?

4) If you have been married for 10 years and all of a sudden you come down with genital herpes, your partner must have cheated.
FALSE.
This is a common scenario. If your spouse is adamant that they did not cheat, they very well might be telling the truth. There are two reasons why. a) Your spouse could have had HSV2 for years, going back to before you were married, and have no idea they had it. And you can sleep together for years without it being transmitted to you (in many cases, it will never be transmitted.) b) You yourself can have had HSV2 for years, going back to before you were married, and had no idea you had it, but all of a sudden your first outbreak can be triggered by an unknown cause.

5) If you get genital herpes and go back and ask all your exes and no one has it, or never gave it to someone else, then someone is lying.
FALSE.
Again, someone can have it and not know it. But another common justification that people will use is that none of the other people they slept with ever got it. But that is not valid, because a) you are not going to transmit it every time you sleep with someone. As we discussed earlier, it is actually pretty hard to transmit. and b) they could have transmitted it to someone who showed no symptoms and still has no idea.

6) You cannot get genital herpes from someone who does not have genital herpes.
FALSE.
This is the biggest doozy for me. You CAN get genital herpes from someone who does not have genital herpes. WHAT? Yes, it's true. Someone who only gets cold sores (which, yes, is a form of herpes) on their mouth from time to time can transmit the herpes virus to you genitally when giving you oral sex, even if they are not having a cold sore at the time. This is what happened to me. Essentially, I got an STD from someone who did not have an STD. Awesome! In that case, you have genital HSV1, which is a different animal than HSV2. (For more on this, read the post following this one called Type 1 - to tell or not to tell?)

Still trying to wrap your brain around all this? Don't worry, you're not alone. Much of this info my be new to most people, because unfortunately, the info we need to know about herpes is just not out there. But I do have a feeling that studying up on these facts may be of a greater practical use for most of us than any of those calculus tests we sweated over back in the day.

Class dismissed!