All Articles Tagged "herpes"
It’s not often that you encounter someone who is willing to speak openly about contracting a sexually transmitted infection. It’s even less common for you to encounter someone who boasts about their love for telling people they have an STI—an incurable one no less. However, in an attempt to kill the social stigma associated with having genital herpes and personal empowerment in her own sex life, writer Ella Dawson enthusiastically embraces opportunities to inform people that she has the virus.
In a recent essay for Women’s Health, Dawson explains that she was diagnosed with herpes at a campus clinic a few days before her 21st birthday. She recalls being confused by her diagnosis because prior to contracting the virus, she hadn’t engaged in unprotected sex and considered herself to be sexually responsible. However, as medical pamphlets will inform you, HSV can be contracted even with the use of condoms. Dawson recalls the six months following her diagnosis to be gloomy ones.
The next six months were a bit like learning to walk again—I stumbled around like a baby deer, too heavy for my own body. Rebuilding my sense of self was harder than getting over the symptoms of my first outbreak, which only lasted about a week and a half, thanks to Valtrex and a ton of Extra-Strength Tylenol.
She eventually gave dating a whirl again, but after informing her suitor of her HSV-positive status on their third date, he expressed that he did not want to risk contracting the STI by sleeping with her.
He apologized and said he had just gotten over chlamydia and wasn’t in a rush to gamble with his sexual health again. Although I respected his decision, I wasn’t able to separate his rejection of the virus from his rejection of me. I was devastated, and it felt like getting diagnosed all over again.
As time went on, Dawson admits that she developed more luck in the love department and she eventually found the strength in sharing her positive status.
I don’t know what made me decide enough was enough. I didn’t feel like the woman that my friends knew me to be—a bold and outspoken campus badass—but I was sick of making myself small because I had herpes. Six months after my first outbreak, I started dropping the “herpes bomb” into conversations casually. My logic was that every time I told someone, “I have herpes,” the words would get easier to say. I started looking for opportunities to share this fact about myself, seizing the chances presented by time spent waiting in line to pee at frat parties and by lively class discussions about health care. Although surely some people made faces as soon as I walked away, I never once got a negative reaction to my bold over-sharing. Most listeners were surprised, curious, and oddly excited to hear someone’s experience with a disease about which they knew nothing.
Dawson went on to explain that a positive herpes diagnosis does not equal a dead love life and that telling a potential partner (or anyone else for that matter) on your own terms makes all the difference in the world.
Getting diagnosed with an incurable and stigmatized STD like genital herpes is assumed to be a death sentence for your love life. Every time I tell someone that I have genital herpes, I run the risk of it being the only thing they remember about me. But when I tell them on my terms, with confidence and cleverness instead of shaking hands and shame, I am immediately positioned to get a better response.
When you disclose having herpes, generally whomever you’re disclosing to follows your lead. During those early conversations when I couldn’t maintain eye contact and constantly apologized, I radiated insecurity and doubt. It made herpes unnecessarily terrifying for me and for my potential partner. Casually mentioning it in an unrelated conversation on a first date, as opposed to making it a big, uncomfortable, “I have something to tell you” reveal after a few dates, makes it a conversation topic instead of a problem.
It’s great that Ella feels comfortable enough to share this information with world. Hopefully, her efforts to do away with the stigma surround genital herpes, which one in six people have been infected with, are not in vain.
You can read Ella’s full essay here. What are your thoughts on her openness?
Today, we know enough to understand it isn’t just reckless, irresponsible, ignorant individuals who pick up STD’s—we can all be at risk sometimes, even when we take precautions. Many STD’s can still be passed even when there is a condom present, and the most evil ones show no symptoms for a long time—if ever—leaving the carrier to believe he or she is perfectly clean.
It’s very likely that in your life you’ll date, fall in love with, or even marry someone with a permanent STD like HPV or Herpes. Here’s how to navigate it so that you can increase your chances of staying STD-free, and minimize your chances of offending your partner.
There are some headlines you come across that literally make you want to shout in your Tamar voice, “Girl, go get your life!” That is exactly how I felt when I saw this article: ‘Harlem Woman Sues MAC After Getting Herpes From RiRi Woo Pop-Up Shop.’
Unlike the usual T-shirt souvenir one would receive from a concert, Starkeema Greenidge, 28 of Harlem, NY, claims she received herpes after attending Rihanna’s Diamond World Tour, according to the NY Daily News. On May 7, Greenidge attended Ri-Ri’s concert at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center and while there she browsed the MAC pop-up shop which promoted Rihanna’s new RiRi Woo lipstick. According to the lawsuit document, while Greenidge shopped, a MAC employee instructed her to apply the display RiRi Woo lipstick on her lips. Greenidge claims:
“(MAC) didn’t use a fresh or new lipstick tube, but rather one that had been used for other patrons.” The lawsuit also states, “MAC should have known . . . it was unsanitary and exposing patrons to possible spread of disease.”
Two days after the concert, a cold sore reportedly appeared on Greenidge’s lip; her doctor diagnosed it as herpes. The damages Greenidge requested are unspecified but she states this incident has caused her “mental anguish and emotional distress.” “According to the site, STD Testing, oral herpes, caused by HSV1, is the country’s most prevalent viral STDs.”
Although I feel sorry Ms. Greenidge has contracted an incurable disease while supporting her favorite artist, everyone knows it is best for tester lipsticks to be used on your hand instead of your actual mouth. As my mother says, “all sense is not common.”
How do you think our girl Rihanna would respond to this lawsuit?
Q: I recently heard that HIV can remain dormant and undetected in your body for up to 10 years. If that’s true, what would you recommend as far as a testing schedule whether you’re single or with a monogamous partner?
It may take up to 10 years or more for someone to have AIDS. AIDS, as you may know, is the final stages of the disease, when the HIV virus damages a person’s body to the point where they start to get infections that healthy people don’t usually get. An example of a type of infection seen a lot in AIDS patients is Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (aka PCP).
The way HIV works is that once a person gets infected with the virus, it takes about 4 to 10 weeks before it can be detected in the blood (aka seroconversion). For a small group of people, it may even be more than that. At that time, the person may or may not be experiencing any symptoms. But if they are, they may complain about such things as a fever, headache, sore throat, general muscle aches, weight loss, or diarrhea. During this period of time, the virus is heavily present and the body is trying to fight it by making antibodies against the HIV virus. Most HIV tests look for the antibodies so even if the HIV virus remains dormant and undetected, a person’s HIV status can be picked up by these tests through existing antibodies.
What would be the best testing schedule? The CDC recommends that everyone between ages 13 – 64 should be tested. A repeat testing should be done if you have a new sexual partner. Ideally, it would be best to wait 3 months after the 1st sexual contact with your new partner. What would be even better is if you have your new partner tested before you even consider sleeping with him or her. People who are at very high risk for HIV (homosexual males, IV drug users, and those with multiple sex partners) are recommended to be tested every 6 to 12 months.
What can also take up to 10 years in HIV? The average amount of years an HIV-infected person who refuses treatment has from the moment the virus is seen in the blood.
Herpes is common. Really common. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in six adults has genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus.
While it may be super-common, there are still a lot of myths out there about it — here are five I hear a lot.
Myth 1: If I don’t have any sores, I don’t have herpes.
Herpes can lay dormant (sort of like it’s in hibernation) for years without causing any noticeable symptoms. Because of this, many people don’t know they have it and may have trouble figuring out how or when they got it. When symptoms do occur, they often appear as small blisters on or around the genitals. The blisters may look like pimples with clear fluid in them, and they may be painful or have a burning sensation. The best way to find out if you have herpes is to see a health care provider if you have pain, blisters or a sore.
Myth 2: We didn’t have sex, so there’s no way I have genital herpes.
Herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact with someone who carries the virus. That means you can get herpes by touching, kissing and oral, vaginal or butt sex. People who carry herpes don’t always know they have the virus, and they may not have any visible sores on their skin.
That said, your risk of getting the virus is higher if you’ve had contact with a partner who does have a visible sore. Using condoms can majorly decrease the risk of spreading the virus, but doesn’t eliminate it completely. Unfortunately, no other type of birth control reduces the risk of this STI.
Read the rest at YourTango
File this story under the ratchet stan files, subfile: people who have too much time on their hands. Ridiculous celebrity lawsuits have become far too frequent these days and Chris Brown and Rihanna are unfortunately the latest victims of the craze.
TMZ has obtained the documents, filed in U.S. District Court in Tennessee … in which “Chris Brown” is requesting a restraining order against Rihanna because he fears she will cause him bodily harm.
The suit contains the following (completely untrue) allegations:
— “[Rihanna] gave me herpes and then when I threatened to file a lawsuit against her for not telling me she was infested with genital blisters she began to hit herself in the face and throw herself into walls just as Jim Carey did in the movie ‘Liar, Liar.”
“Then she turned around and blamed me for the matter as a form of punishment.”
— “I woke up with three blisters [on] my p*n*s … this isn’t just a regular case of American herpes, this is a case of Herpes from Barbados, which is most likely lethal.”
The accuser is demanding $10 million … along with “a restraining against Rihanna and her case of genital herpes immediately.”
It must be a lot easier to file a lawsuit than I ever thought because this whole situation is pure foolery, not to mention a waste of legal resources and just showcases what a mockery people can make of our judicial system. I know people are having a hard time wrapping their heads around this whole Chrianna reunion but c’mon son. This is too much.
If this Breezy imposter is caught he/she could be facing punishment from a judge. Due to the sheer insane nature of this lawsuit, let’s hope that happens.
Although my New Year’s resolution won’t allow me to actively support shows like Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives and The Real Housewives of Atlanta for a variety of reasons, I came across a clip from the season finale of Love & Hip Hop’s second season and felt compelled to comment.
While Emily B. continues to ponder through her tumultuous relationship with rapper Fabolous, she receives advice from multiple sources on how to approach his lifestyle and it’s effect on their relationship. In the process, she receives this gem from Chrissy Lampkin, fiancée of rapper Jim Jones. She basically breaks down to Emily B. that dating rappers or men involved in the music industry means that you have to be “realistic.” She doesn’t tell Emily B. to ignore or turn a blind eye to infidelity, but basically to accept that “things happen” and that any man who cares about his woman will remain loyal to her in a sense but will never let her find out about his unfaithful ways. Basically put: it’s okay for a man to cheat as long as he doesn’t bring it around his main woman.
Before I call BS on yet another interesting love philosophy from Chrissy Lampkin, I had to call into question my own value system. One of my favorite quotes that I like to preach to friends in need of advice is that, “Everyone lies, but if you can’t lie correctly, don’t do it.” With this said, I refer to lies that do damage for no reason. For example, if my man tells me he is going out for drinks with the guys, but ends up at the latest stripper oasis, I don’t necessarily want him to come home with a detailed play by play of the night’s events. If he didn’t cheat, I don’t want to know. But infidelity is a completely different animal. Messy cheating or respectful cheating in my opinion is still cheating and toxic to a relationship. If Chrissy implies that women need to be realistic and expect that infidelity happens, I have to question how much worth she puts on her self-respect in comparison to her financially comfortable lifestyle provided primarily by Jimmy. Whether you’re dating a rapper or a trash man, not all men cheat and you don’t have to accept it just to live nicely.
If you suggest that you believe there is something to ignore, it sounds as if you’re accepting infidelity. Chrissy remarks, “A man is going to do what a man is going to do.” True, but in my experience, a man will only do to you what you allow him to do to you. You mean to tell me that just because there aren’t women blowing up your phone and taunting you with where your man was last night, or because he isn’t leaving panties balled up in his back pocket for you to find, it’s OKAY because he’s ”respectful” with his cheating? Well, how respectful is it when he brings home to you a nice batch of HPV or herpes while he was so discreetly cheating on you?
While I can respect Chrissy’s right to feel the way she does about her own relationship, I think it’s a poor message to send to women that when dating a man you have to accept the good with the bad in order to maintain a certain lifestyle. I am sure there are plenty of men in the industry who find a balance between fidelity and success without discreetly or indiscreetly disrespecting their woman. And any woman confident in her worth knows that she doesn’t have to settle for whatever a man tries to sell her. It’s perfectly “realistic” to be in a relationship where you don’t have to invest time into analyzing the difference between “respectful” and “disrespectful” cheating all over some fringe benefits.
Check out Chrissy’s love lesson for Emily B. below:
Get More: Love And Hip Hop
Is it acceptable for a man to cheat as long as he does so “respectfully”?
Toya Sharee is a community health educator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee.
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There is good news on the sexual health front today. A vaginal gel that is known to reduce women’s risk of AIDS infection is even more effective in decreasing genital herpes.
The new study conducted by European researchers of a microbicide gel showed a 39 percent reduction in HIV infections, and unexpectedly that herpes risk was lowered by 51 percent as well. Although the gel was originally developed to fight AIDS in Africa, this new finding means the treatment could be useful to fight both diseases in the U.S. as well, where an estimated 48 percent of black women have herpes.
“This could be incredibly helpful,” said Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, a herpes expert from the University of Washington’s medical school. “Protection that a woman can control is the holy grail in this field. It’s hard for me to believe that something that protects against both HIV and herpes wouldn’t be appealing to a lot of young American women.”
It would be hard for me to believe that too, however we may never have the chance to use the gel. An executive at Gilead, the company that makes tenofovir, the anti-AIDS drug that is the gel’s active ingredient, said the company is debating whether to spend the millions of dollars needed to get the gel approved in the American market. If they do go ahead, it would be at least three to four years before the company could even submit data to the Food and Drug Administration. Sigh.
No matter how many years it takes, it should be criminal for the company to even debate not spending the money to bring the gel to the U.S. where it is clearly needed. Safety and acceptability tests for the gel were done in several countries including the United States, and American heterosexual couples did not find the gel unpleasant; nor did South African couples.
As far more people suffer from herpes than HIV — as many as 20% of sexually active adults — the FDA and Gilead need to move forward on bringing this product to the American market.
What do you think about this new prevention method? Would it be useful for women in the United States?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Research shows that an increasing amount of the population harbors some form of herpes (cold sore, vaginal, penile, and shingles), and in women, HVP, the human papillomavirus, can sit in wait but rear its ugly, warted, head in the form of cervical cancer later. And HIV is the highest growing disease affecting black women, so it goes without saying that young women should always, always, ALWAYS use protection when they choose to have sex before marriage. That’s a big “DUH,” so forget what will.i.am said about condoms being tacky. Preventing yourself from contracting a sexually transmitted disease is worth losing the respect of this misogynist, and anyone else who says it’s un-ladylike to own and use some condoms with a dash of spermicide, just for good measure.
But once you’re married, all the condoms and spermicide should go to the wayside, right? I mean, if you’re monogamous, what’s the worry of getting a disease? Not so fast, muchacha. Just because you’re being faithful and true doesn’t always mean your partner is. I have one unfortunate friend who found out her husband cheated on her not once, BUT TWICE, because she caught a case of Trichomonas–twice. Lucky for her, ‘trich’ is easy to cure, but if I were her, I’d never let that fool touch me with his man parts ever again.
Dear Very Smart Brotha,
I’m in my early thirties and have been getting to know a guy I think is amazing and can really see myself being with. Not just in a boyfriend girlfriend situation but a marriage deal. I contracted herpes in my last relationship and for months have been nervous to date or let myself go there. I feel ashamed and really like trash. I know u shouldn’t and I’m sure in time I’ll get over it and learn how to deal. So even with all that dealing with this man I can forget about the ‘affliction’ my question is how and when do u think is a good time to tell him. He needs to know I would never do to him what someone has done to me.
Hopeful with Herpes