A recent reddit thread upset me to no end, and I want to talk about that.
It was a thread about Herpes, so naturally, most of the people in the thread had HSV-1 or HSV-2.
As such, they all talked about it with this completely cavalier attitude. “It’s no big deal,” one random idiot said to me. “It’s only made to sound like a big deal because drug companies want to make money off of treatments.”
I am going to set the record straight for all the people in that thread right the hell now: If you have ANY kind of STD at all it really, really IS a big deal. And if you knowingly spread it to other people because “It’s just a rash, so who cares?” then you should be locked away for the rest of your goddamn life.
Lots of people in this thread confessed that they did not tell sexual partners about their infection, even though they knew there was a 70% chance of passing the virus to their partner even while using a condom.
I have said before that it only takes one cell for an STD to be passed from carrier to new host. I have said that condoms aren’t enough, and that you need to have clean STD tests going back 6 months. (By which I mean, one from right then, and one from 6 months back.) I have again and again cautioned that STDs are spread by skin to skin contact, and a condom does not prevent some guys balls from touching your ass and giving you a rash you’ll have for the rest of your life.
And I am pleading with all of you; take this seriously.
(And I’m going to show you some very graphic images so you might take this more seriously.)
Obviously, what I want is for everyone to get tested often.
And I think every single responsible adult should. Because if you end up with an STD that can not be treated, then you need to stop having sex with people that don’t have that STD. Seriously. And I don’t care how much that sucks for you.
I knew a girl when I was living in South Korea who had HSV-2. (That means she had genital herpes.) And she would often take guys home from the bar and have sex with them. She justified this with excuses like “Well I was drunk” or “We used a condom” or “I’m not having an outbreak right now.”
I want to dispel all those myths right now:
1. I don’t care how drunk you are. If you have an incurable disease there is no fucking excuse for spreading it.
2. Condoms are only 30% effective in preventing the spread of Herpes between partners. Ergo, that still isn’t okay.
3. The virus “sheds” even when you are not having an outbreak and so YES you can absolutely pass it on when you don’t have sores.
4. And, because I hear this one a lot too, NO it does not matter if you are taking medicine to help prevent you from having outbreaks. You are still contagious. You are always contagious. Period. We have no way to prevent the spread of Herpes.
I am not saying you can never ever have sex again. Far from it. You CAN have sex with the millions of other people who are already infected, just like you. There are loads of special dating sites just for people who are HIV positive and HSV positive.
But the sheer amount of infected people on reddit who told me the disease was “no big deal” and that they’re fine with spreading it made me furious.
Look, I want you all to take a moment and consider this amazing fact:
STDs could die out in one generation if we stopped spreading them.
Think about that. I mean really think about it. Sure, 10,000 years ago there was no way to kill off an STD. No one could get tested, and loads of people can just be carriers and never actually have symptoms. So all those people spreading STDs couldn’t really prevent it the way we can now.
See now, you can get tested. And if you find out you have something, you can choose to be a responsible adult and not have sex with people who don’t have it. You can choose to not spread it. And if everyone does this, STDs will not get passed on. The viruses will die out. And we’ll make a way better world for everyone.
Now, I ask for STD tests before sex. I do this to spite the fact that I mostly go for innocent-type folks who haven’t slept around. I do this even if I trust them. And I get a lot of negative reactions. People can be downright mean.
“This means you don’t trust me.”
“Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to get an STD test?”
“Why should I have to prove I don’t have an STD if we use condoms?”
And society is on the side of these folks. That’s why I know preppies who actually brag that they have never been tested, because they’re happier not knowing if they have something. No one wants to talk about STDs. Even my fucking doctor last time I went for a test was a dick about it.
“Well,” he said, “why do you want the test? I mean, what have you been doing? Anyway the HSV tests are expensive and you should only get them if you think you have been exposed.”
Fuck you doctor. And fuck you people who don’t get tested. And fuck everyone on reddit who knows they have HSV 1 or 2 and thinks it’s “no big deal.”
If I sound angry, it’s because I am. We’re talking about the wanton spread of disease. We’re talking about people who don’t care that they’re infecting others. And that is NOT okay. I don’t care what rationalizations you use. It’s just not okay.
Fun things I learned from the reddit thread (for those too lazy to read through it.)
1. You can get Herpes anywhere. It’s most commonly on the mouth or genitalia, but you can get it on your forehead if you’re a wrestler who ends up with your sweaty head against some guys sweaty balls (yes, this happened to a guy.)
2. A huge portion of new cases on genitalia are actually HSV-1, and are obtained when a person with a cold sore performs oral sex on someone.
3. Viral researchers think Herpes is 100,000 years old.
So those were neat things to learn.
Now: One last thing. I want to talk about how I would solve this issue. I think the system that porn stars use is great. Mandatory tests every six months. And when you test positive your name is EVERYWHERE so everyone knows.
No one talks about STDs. They get really uncomfortable if you even bring it up (and this includes my doctors.) But there is no reason for this. If we taught kids the truth about STDs, and if we would all be more mature about talking about them, then we could actually eradicate these diseases. And that would be awesome.