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All Grown Down: Herpes

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by Joshua Espitia
So let’s talk about STD’s, shall we? (Jesus, most people have a little icebreaker or maybe introduce themselves. This guy dives right into cooties.) STD’s terrify me. I’ve thankfully never had one. Or if I did, it didn’t have any symptoms so no harm no foul, am I right? But they’re out there. My health teacher told me so. And they have scary names. And I don’t want one.
You can prevent them. They say condoms do the trick. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to latex. And you’re free to use that as a pick up line. The ladies love that kind of honesty up front. Hey, sexy lady, guess what you’ll be saving 2.50 on later… But that does limit the women I can sleep with. They have to either have a recent clean bill of health (and I am willing to wait the two weeks for results if you’re interested) or have absolutely no regard for their own well-being. But I actually insist that those women have test results. In theory.
But gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis are everywhere. I bet at least all of you have one of them. And nobody talks about them because you can’t see them. They can be hidden. You don’t have to tell a soul. Hell, you can blame the other person if they end up with it because chances are they’re a whore just like you and have no idea where they got it from. It’s a win-win!
Have you ever seen a Valtrex commercial, though? The narrator talks about people swimming and running and leading normal lives even though they have herpes. They make herpes look like Disneyland. And then, when he’s doing the legal crap at the end, he says something that blows my mind.
He’s not even giving a disclaimer. He says, and I quote, “60 percent of people who contracted herpes did so when their partner had no visible signs of an outbreak.” Now I’m no mathematician and I’m certainly no herpetologist, but it seems to be what he’s actually saying is 40 percent of people looked down, saw herpes, and said, “Screw it, how itchy could it be?” Or maybe they thought it was some sundried tomatoes and a little Alfredo sauce that fell during dinner. You figure they would’ve stopped after they tasted it, but whatever.
And that’s the thing. You can see herpes. It does the least damage but it grosses people out to the point that they’d rather have Syphilis, which will straight up kill you. It’s an odd shift in perception, too. Nobody used to care about herpes. People just kind of accepted it. 25 percent of the population had it. And they lived with it.
Herpes is the sole reason 70’s porn is riddled with gigantic bushes on women and men. It hid the nastiness. You can track the rise and fall of herpes by the pruning of the bush. In the late 80’s it started to fade. By the 90’s it was trimmed up, and in the 2000’s, it went away all together. No lesions to see means we can all look 11. Yay!
The only reason anyone started giving a damn about herpes is because a drug company invented a medication to control flare-ups. If someone in a lab somewhere, let’s not kid ourselves, hadn’t had herpes and wanted a way to make them go away then no one would have cared. But there was a way to make money on insecurity and now people hate herpes. And that’s the difference between herpes and, say, AIDS. They didn’t make herpes out to be anything but a nuisance before they had a medication. They told us about AIDS as soon as they knew about it because they didn’t have a drug and they needed people left to sell drugs to. Unless you count Magic Johnson, AIDS kills everyone.
And just an fyi, I’d don’t have herpes or AIDS. And if I saw herpes, I would be completely disgusted and keep my penis far, far away. Right after the taste test.

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