A reader sent me an email and asked me if I would ever date someone with an incurable STD. She had recently been diagnosed with the HSV virus (that’s herpes, y'all), and wanted my answer to be honest and not "PC." So here it is goes, my unvarnished, gut reaction to the question: No, I would not date someone with an incurable STD.
ME: "What are you going to get for a starter?"
YOU: "Nachos and I have herpes."
ME: "Oh, look. My dead grandmother is calling me. It's a miracle. Gotta go!"
So that's my honest answer, and I'm a little ashamed of it. Because I should know better, considering how I spent the early '90s, the height of AIDS hysteria, in high school. That was a grim time, and the plague seemed nearly apocalyptic, especially since so many ignorant people told so many terrified people you could catch it from toilet seats or Broadway musicals. It remains a haunting chapter in my life, as I watched a mentor and friend slowly succumb to a Rolodex of illnesses and complications related to the disease. What a terrible, grisly way to go. The Frisky: Automatic Online Dating Dealbreakers
Of course, today, a fleet of powerful pharmaceuticals has rendered HIV less of a death sentence, and more of a chronic illness—for those who can afford the very expensive drugs, of course. Just know this: Even though that time period is now history, it should never be forgotten. Many wonderful people faced their death bravely, and many more hearts were ground into hamburger. The mark on my adolescent mind was indelible, and in college I signed up to be a safe-sex peer counselor.
One thing I was taught to teach was to get tested for HIV immediately if you contracted one of those minor STDs like crabs or Chlamydia. Where there's smoke, there's fire. I bundled all of those maladies into one sack of personal fear and neurosis and heaved it onto my back, waddling around like a finger-wagging Santa Claus, doling out condoms and borderline paranoid advice on how to have sex safely. I remember telling one college girlfriend that we should "double bag" it before sex. Which meant wearing two condoms at once. I might as well have worn a Firestone tire. In the intervening years, I've … lightened up. The Frisky: Do Some Guys Actually LIKE Wearing Condoms? Keep Reading...
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