Gambling With Genital Herpes
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Did you know that there is no proof that condoms really reduce the risk of getting genital herpes? Many young adolescents don’t even understand what genital herpes really is or how you can get genital herpes. Young adolescents should know what the symptoms are if you get infected with a sexually transmitted disease such as genital herpes. Did you know that there is no cure for genital herpes and it is a life long disease? Treatments yet alone are way too expensive for young adolescents to afford. Someone needs to inform these adolescents about the risk they take when having sex because of their lack of responsibility while having sex.
Young adolescents do not realize how much of a risk it is to engage in sexual intercourse even while wearing a condom. There are three ways you can get genital herpes: oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. According to The Washington Post, if a condom is used 100 percent of the time during vaginal sex, condoms reduce the risk of getting genital herpes by only about 50 percent (Washington 2). It’s still safer to use a condom to reduce chances of getting other sexually transmitted diseases. But adolescents should know that your risk is only cut only half while being protected. Rob Stein mentions, that many adolescents and adults say they engage in oral sex as a less risky type of sex (Stein 2). Most of these adolescents look at oral sex as safer type of sex but
they don’t understand that type-1 herpes starts around the lips and the mouth. This still leaves them at the risk of getting the herpes virus, which leads to type-2 herpes virus also known as genital herpes.
The Washington Post also mentioned that there is no evidence that condoms reduce the risk of getting genital herpes during oral or anal sex (Washington 2). Knowing that there is no proof that condoms really reduce the risk of spreading or getting genital herpes is even scarier. With that information alone no one should engage in sexual intercourse with a genital herpes carrier, with or without a condom, at all.
Young adolescents do not understand that genital herpes is highly contagious and can be passed without them knowing. There are two types of herpes viruses: “type-1 which usually causes cold sores on the lips and mouth, and type-2 which usually causes genital herpes (Wee 2).
” Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. According to The Straits Times, genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States and worldwide (Wee 1). Many people in the United States do not realize how many people really have genital herpes. Most of the forty-five million Americans, which are infected with genital herpes, do not have any symptoms of knowing they are infected (New York Times 2). “Some people may carry the herpes simplex virus for many years or even their entire lives without showing any symptoms (Wee 2).” Forty-five million Americans engaging in sexual activities without knowing they have genital herpes is a scary thought. This can lead to spreading this sexual transmitted disease without either individual knowing. One out of every five people has genital herpes; along with a half a million new cases of genital herpes diagnosed each
year (Mencimer 3).” Half a million cases a year and one out every five people infected is a very high statistic. This goes to show young adolescents how common this disease really is and how easily they can catch it. “The chance of contracting aids jumps 40 percent if you already have a sexually transmitted disease (Mencimer 4).”
Therefore, if you get infected with any sexually transmitted disease, such as genital herpes, your chances of getting infected with the AIDS virus are much higher.
Knowing when you might have the herpes virus is shown in painful like symptoms or by a test. There are many ways you can tell if you have genital herpes. “First, there is a tingly, itchy sensation. Then a rash develops. Blisters form and burst, developing into painful ulcers. The sensation is constant and severe. Finally, two to four weeks later, the ulcers dry and heal. The ordeal ends only to start again the following month. And all this is happening on or near one’s genitals (Wee 1).” This usually happens after two individuals have sex, with either one of them having genital herpes, and then both of them should feel these symptoms within the same time period. They also seem to feel frequent and recurring pain. “In about 40 percent of newly infected people, the virus causes painful, pimple-like sores on the genitals (Brown 2).” Usually, people notice they have little red or pink-like bumps on the genital area, which leads them to knowing they are infected. “When the virus is activated, it multiplies in the skin, destroying the skin and causing blisters to form. The condition is incurable because once the virus enters the body, it settles permanently in the nerves near the spine. It tends to resurface at times when a person’s immune system is weak, such as during periods of stress or fatigue (Wee 2).” Basically this shows why the virus is incurable and stays with
you for life. This also tells when the outbreaks occur which is when the person’s immune system is weak. The only way to know for sure that you have genital herpes virus is by simply taking a blood test.
According to the Straits Times, the presence of antibodies to the virus can be confirmed with a blood test (Wee 2). This means when the antibiotics are presented to the virus, it will show that the person has been exposed to the virus.
Genital herpes is a life long disease, meaning there is no cure for genital herpes. There are a few daily treatments people can take for reduction in symptoms. Treatment for genital herpes can be expensive. “Generic acyclovir, the oldest anti-genital herpes drug, costs as little as $9.96 for a months supply, Glaxo’s Valtrex costs $192.88 (Brown 3).” GlaxoSmithKline is a drug maker, who currently makes one of the three drugs for treatment towards genital herpes. Valtrex is the name of Glaxo’s drug for the treatment of genital herpes. The anti-herpes drug Valtrex is the most popular commercialized treatment for genital herpes. “A study several years ago showed that a daily dose of Glaxo’s drug Val acyclovir, also known as Valtrex, cut the odds of transmitting the virus in half – from 4 percent to 2 percent – over a period of eight months (Brown 3).” This goes to show that Valtrex does really work to prevent outbreaks even though it is very expensive to afford.
In order to understand genital herpes in person you actually have to go witness it for yourself. So I had gone out on my own to conduct field research on genital herpes. While in the process of conducting my research, I had remembered that I had an uncle on my father’s side of the family, who has genital herpes. I had called him to ask if I can interview him. He had only agreed to let me interview them as long as his name was not
mentioned. I had started by asking my uncle one question only, “How did you get infected with this virus?” My uncle replied, “Well, before I met my current girlfriend, I was dating this girl named Melissa. We had been dating and having sex for months and she had warned me from the beginning that she had herpes. I wasn’t thinking clearly so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. There were a few times I had not worn a condom. I didn’t think anything can happen as long as she didn’t have an outbreak. Our relationship had then ended. Then I met my current girlfriend and have been happy ever since. It wasn’t until my girlfriend ended up in the hospital. She was having frequent pain and sores around her genital area. When the doctor came to tell me that she has genital herpes, I was in a complete shock. I had then got a blood test right there and then to find out that I have genital herpes also. After that incident, I researched on the internet to find out more about genital herpes. I found out that with or without an outbreak anyone can still pass the infection. Right there and then I realized that it is very highly possible that I gave this disease to my girlfriend. But now things are much better I started wearing condoms with her to reduce outbreaks and I take Valtrex everyday.” Young adolescents can really take this story as a precaution. They will remember how to be more responsible about the risk they can take when having sex with a herpes carrier.
Genital herpes is something that young adolescents should definitely know about and take very seriously. With knowing how you can get it, knowing how you have it, and knowing that there is no cure and only treatments. I believe it is enough for adolescents to know the risk of having sex and being irresponsible.