Stories tagged syphilis

Re-Entering the Dating Scene
Now that you know you have genital herpes, you're out of the dating game, right? Absolutely not. There's no reason to stop looking for love and fun.

Genital herpes doesn't detract from your many desirable qualities, which have drawn people to you in the past and will continue to make you a great catch.

Broaching the Topic of Genital Herpes
The first date after your diagnosis may seem a little strange, however. If you hope to be sexually intimate with your date at some point, you may feel like you're keeping a nasty secret. If you are one to be candid with people, you'll want to blurt it out. Don't. There are some things you should reveal about yourself right away -- for example, that you're married, or that you're just in town for the week -- but some things are better left for the appropriate moment.

It's up to you to decide the right time to tell your date that you have genital herpes. Follow two rules: First, don't wait until after having sex. Second, don't wait until you're just about to have sex -- in which case the attraction may be too strong for either of you to think rationally and act responsibly.

If in the past you tended to start a new relationship with sex, you now might want to change your approach. It might be better to break the news about your herpes to someone who has already grown attached to you. Kissing, cuddling, and fondling are safe, so you don't have to tell before you do that. But use your best judgment as to how physically intimate you want to get before telling. One thing could lead to another, and you might find yourself in an awkward situation.

Dealing With Rejection
Anyone who dates should be prepared for rejection. The person you're seeing may beat a hasty retreat when he or she finds out about your genital herpes. If you get the "I just want to be friends" talk after telling your sweetheart you have herpes, consider this: He or she may have already been looking for a way out, and herpes was as good an excuse as any. What's more, anyone who disdains you or humiliates you for having herpes was never worth your while.

Keep dating, and you will find someone who wants to be with you regardless of your herpes status. There are certainly some who wouldn't mind keeping the intimacy level just short of doing things that could transmit the virus. And of those people, it's likely that at least one will come around, and say, "Hey, I understand there's a risk, but I'm crazy about you, so I'm willing to take it."

Depending on your dating style, you might look for another person who knows he or she has herpes, if only to avoid having to discuss it. If you already use dating services or personal ads, you can also use any of those specifically for people with genital herpes. A search on the Internet for "herpes dating" will turn up several.

  1. Common, but on the decline
    Nationwide, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older -- or one out of five adolescents and adults -- have had genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 or type 2. Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans with genital herpes has decreased, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. It's more common in women (about one out of four women) than men (almost one out of eight).
  2. Symptoms
    Most people who have genital herpes don't know it because they've never had any symptoms or don't recognize them. But often, when a person becomes infected for the first time, symptoms appear in two to 10 days. Early signs include a tingling feeling or itching in the genital area, or pain in the buttocks or down the leg. Blisters typically appear on or around the genitals or rectum. You can still infect a partner if sores aren't visible.
  3. New research
    Some clinical trials are testing drugs aimed at disrupting genes or enzymes that the virus needs to survive. Several vaccines are in various stages of development, as well as gels or creams that a woman could insert into the vagina before sex to prevent infection in herself and her partner.
  4. Pregnancy
    If a woman has her first episode of genital herpes while she's pregnant, she can pass the virus to her unborn child and may deliver a premature baby. Half of the babies infected with herpes either die or suffer nerve damage. If a pregnant woman has an outbreak and it is not the first one, her baby's risk of being infected during delivery is very low.
  5. Donating blood
    People with herpes can donate blood. According to the American Red Cross, individuals taking antiviral medication (acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir) will need to wait 48 hours after their last dose before donating blood. The American Red Cross says those currently experiencing an outbreak of genital herpes should not donate blood.

Nicole Is a STD dating site for people with herpes, HIV, HPV and other STDS.


Christopher Columbus: He discovered a painful, burning sensation.
Christopher Columbus: He discovered a painful, burning sensation.Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Does everyone remember Christopher Columbus?

There was a day when this question never need have been asked; everyone knew who the mighty Columbus was, and spent the beginning of every October making little construction paper ships, and bicorn cats, and all sorts of crazy junk in his honor. Children left and right were being named “Nina,” “Maria,” and sometimes “Pinta,” and there was never any doubt as to just who invented America.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, some began to point out that millions of people had lived in the Americas for thousands and thousands of years before Columbus arrived, and that he probably wasn’t even the first European to show up on North America. And because of these ridiculous little bits of trivia, great Columbus has fallen from his place of honor.

Just this week, though, it looks like Columbus may once again receive the sort of recognition he deserves. Thanks to the hard work of a group of evolutionary biologists, it now looks like old C.C. may be responsible for… wait for it… bringing back syphilis from the New Wolrd, and its ultimate introduction to Europe, Asia, and Africa!

Hooray for Columbus! Let’s see them try to take that away from you!

Syphilis, of course, is a curable – but nasty – sexually transmitted disease. Its symptoms range from lesions and chancres, to serious mental illness (depending on the stage of infection). Syphilis is generally curable by ordinary antibiotics, although historically people have used mercury, arsenic-containing drugs, and, for late stage syphilis, malaria. Malaria, oddly enough, was a somewhat effective treatment, as it caused prolonged high fevers, which, in turn, could cure the syphilis. But then you were stuck with the malaria.

The origins of syphilis have long been disputed. Some argue that it was present in the Old World long before Columbus’ journeys, pointing out that written descriptions of the disease date back to the ancient Greeks. Syphilis’ most popular nickname (but probably not its funniest), however, is “the great imitator,” because of the frequency with which is was confused with other diseases, leading some to believe that these ancient accounts may be describing entirely different infections.

Playing Disease Detectives on a scale spanning centuries and continents, scientists now think they can pinpoint syphilis’ true roots: a South American bacteria that appears to be syphilis’ closest genetic relative. The bacteria, which causes the disease yaws seems to be a sort of “cousin” to syphilis, and the genetic similarities make it very unlikely that syphilis or its progenitor came from anywhere but the Americas. When this information is combined with the fact that the first large, well-documented European outbreak of syphilis occurred in Naples in 1495, just after Columbus and his crews returned to Europe… Well, it doesn’t look great for Christopher.

Or maybe it does, depending on how attached you are to his legacy. I am quite attached, and from now on, on October 12, I will be celebrating the Father of Syphilis. I just need to figure out what sort of craft projects would go with that.

If you’re interested in learning about how we figure out where diseases come from on a more personal scale (how we catch them, how we figure out what they are, etc), check out the brand new Disease Detectives exhibit in the Human Body Gallery at the SMM.