June 21st, 2011 |
Genital Herpes Fast Facts, Herpes Fast Facts, Herpes Information
Herpes outbreaks can be painful and unpleasant, but rarely do they earn the sufferer any money. A gossip-column story this week, though, tells of an “A-list celebrity” of international renown who apparently gave herpes to an unnamed female partner.
This, after he claimed his last STD test was clear.
But all was not lost for the woman who got a surprise herpes outbreak not long after having unprotected sex with the star: he has reportedly settled out of court with her for $5 million.
The High Cost of a Herpes Outbreak
Is this the price of unprotected sex when you’ve got herpes? Or is this the cost of lying to a partner about your STD testing history? Either way, the incident shows how our nation feels about herpes.
But the aversion is likely the result of ignorance:
- About 16.2 percent of American adults have genital herpes. That’s one in six! And the numbers are higher for women (who are more susceptible to the virus): about one in five American females are infected, and about one in nine males.
- As much as 80 percent of American adults have oral herpes (HSV-1). This virus is most common around the mouth, but can be spread to the genitals as well.
It’s true that online pictures of herpes make it look like a pretty unappealing disease. And it’s also true that herpes symptoms can be treated but not cured. But $5 million in hush money seems a little preposterous.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this celebrity used the opportunity to make a public statement about STD testing and prevention? I guess we can always dream…
March 30th, 2011 |
Though the herpes disease is not fatal or compromising to one’s overall health, it carries a strong societal stigma. Herpes can manifest both orally and genitally causing unsightly cold sores around the mouth or embarrassing genital lesion in both men and women. Despite the fact that herpes disease is among the most dreaded STDs in the country, it’s highly manageable with proper treatment. Knowing the facts about herpes can help de-stigmatize and bring understanding to this widespread condition.
Herpes Disease in Women versus Men
According to the CDC, approximately 16.2 percent of people (or one in six) aged 14 to 49 have the herpes simplex virus type 2, which causes the genital herpes. Herpes simplex virus type 2 is more widespread among women in that same age group as compared to men. Whereas approximately one out of every five women aged 14 to 49 has genital herpes, the infection only strikes one out of every nine males. It is easier for a woman to contract herpes from an infected man than for a man to contract the virus from a woman. This disparity is not influenced by behavior, but is based on the increased surface area of a woman’s genital area.
When a Herpes Outbreak Strikes
Though the herpes disease is known for its ability to produce potentially painful symptoms, the reality is that for many people, symptoms of herpes are either mild or completely nonexistent. In fact, since signs of herpes can be absent or subtle, 90 percent of those with herpes are unaware they have virus. When a genital herpes outbreak does occur, it typically produces painful blistering sores in the genitals, thighs, or anus. These sores may or may not be accompanied by fever, swollen glands and other flu-like symptoms. Overall genital pain can also present during a herpes outbreak.
It's important to note that herpes disease is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. If an affected individual is experiencing an outbreak, they should abstain from all sexual activity is critical to prevent the spread of infection. However, the absence of herpes symptoms does not preclude those infected from passing the disease on to their partners. A carrier for genital herpes can still transmit the infection, even if he or she has never experienced a herpes outbreak.
Though there is currently no cure for herpes, antiviral medication can work to alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency of herpes outbreaks. Though the physical ramifications of herpes disease can impact the quality of life in those infected, it is often the mental and emotional aspects of the disease that cause the most distress. Additionally, while herpes is not known to be life-threatening in affected adults, pregnant women with herpes disease do run the risk of transmitting infection to their babies during childbirth, at which point the infection can be fatal. For this reason, herpes testing is essential among those at risk for infection, particularly pregnant women who have reason to believe that exposure to the disease may have occurred. If pregnant with herpes, delivery is often performed through caesarean section to avoid passing the virus to the child.