Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Common STI

An Interesting View on a Communicable Nuisance.

"Disease Free"
by Norm

So, the party must be safe. It says right there on the invitation that you must be disease free. Right?

Many, if not most, of the people that have herpes, HSV, don't know it. More and more people are being infected with herpes but not showing symptoms. Many people who have oral herpes (cold sores) don't consider themselves to be a risk and go on kissing people and having oral sex with them.

There is no meaningful distinction between HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both the oral and genital types of herpes may infect either the mouth or the genitals and both have the same effect and risks. Oral herpes is slightly specialized to infect the mouth area and genital herpes is more efficient in infecting the genital area.

What to do?

Just get over it. You only have to look at the information to see that it's a tempest in a teapot. That's assuming you can find information that isn't tainted by pressure from the religious right. HSV is here to stay and it's spreading beyond control, and you know what? Statistically it doesn't matter. That's not to say that some people aren't seriously damaged by herpes both oral and genital, just as a few people are killed by lightning every year. I wouldn't presume to tell those people that what has happened to them is irrelevant, but HSV is on its way to becoming one of the millions of germs that share our bodies with us with no significant impact. Of the people that may be seriously impacted are cheating spouses and people with badly compromised immune systems, such as AIDS victims. There are other circumstances where these infections can be serious, and I include oral herpes in this statement, but when it comes to assessing the risk, I say don't worry about it.

For a more learned perspective on the risks of sexually transmitted infections let me refer you to this article :

For a sane perspective on herpes you may find this site to be useful:

For a more alarmist point of view try most any US government funded medical site. They often will tell you about every nasty thing that can possibly happen without mentioning the likelihood of it actually occurring. Here and there you will find outright lies


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