Genital Herpes: Say it With Conviction
Disease is everywhere. Every day hospitals around the country are flooded with patients. The world is essentially one giant germ factory so it no surprise that so many people catch viruses from their friends or co-workers. In many cases, the situations are easily fixed and some aren’t. People take medication for a little while and then go on with their lives, while others take time to heal up while sick. Being sick is seen as an inconvenience but tolerated because it will pass. However, there is another kind of sickness and unlike the flu or a simple skin rash, some of these illnesses can last a lifetime. Genital Herpes has no known cure and yet ...view middle of the document...
These sores can take up to 4 weeks to go away. This initial outbreak can also include flu like symptoms and even a second group of blister after the first one heals. Episodes following the first are similar, though they’re often less pronounce and become more infrequent over the years. However, in most cases none of these symptoms ever occur. This means that a person may never find out that they have contracted Herpes, or they may see the “First Outbreak” years after they initially get the virus. It is this combination of ignorance and infectious nature that creates the high number of infected that we see today.
Unfortunately, knowing you can have the disease can cause its own complications. Herpes can also be transmitted through pregnancy as well. Pregnant women who have herpes are at risk of transmitting the virus to the child, though such cases are rare. Then there is the worry of rejection, while it is an infected person’s duty to inform their sexual partners, some of them do not. This fear poses a great risk to the public as it can cause an infected person to not say anything and spread the virus further. After all, nobody wants to be abandoned and alone just because their sick. Luckily such cases do not happen to often and more infections happen due to the lack of knowledge then due to deception.
So how do we prevent the virus and is there any way to know if you’ve got it? Prevention is simple. The best way to any sexual transmitted disease is abstinence. The next best option would be a one-to-one relationship with an uninfected person. Sadly, while condoms can reduce the risk of contracting herpes, you can still catch the infection in areas covers by the latex. If worried that you have caught the virus then seeing a doctor it the best choice. A blood test can be used to detect the HSV-1 or HSV-2 antibodies between outbreaks. A positive test of this kind is generally indicative of Herpes. The problem is that many people don’t regularly get tested for herpes and so many infections go unnoticed.
Genital herpes possess a public health risk and yet people never get tested due to either a lack of time or a feeling that there is no reason to. The simple solution would be to make herpes test mandatory under county law. Residents of Butte County would need to get a herpes test every 6 months. These test results would be kept in the patients personal files and protected under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). This measure would not only decrease the number of accidental transmissions, but it would also help people who want to get a herpes test, but are too embarrassed to ask. Getting a herpes test would no longer cause any social humiliation about a person’s sex life, because everyone would have to get them, regardless of their recent sexual activity.
The ideal of mandating test seems fine on the surface but how could we enforce such laws? The answer is that we would not directly enforce them. We would enforce the...