Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bigger than HIV?

I noticed it when I was 2 customers away from the check out counter. There was a dark discolouration at the corner of the cashier's mouth and the lady in front of me was rattling on and on about 'Gerpes' and her male companion made a crude remark that I unfortunately understood. Idiot.

When I got to the cashier, I smiled and told her that I'd be needing 2 plastic bags, please and I realised that in all probability the girl had an exacerbation of HSV. I considered the alternative of a malignised mole (meaning melanoma) but it was more of an ulcer, the location was typical for the HSV infection and given the unpredictable weather and dark rings under her eyes, the girl was probably immunosuppressed - the main reason that HSV flares up again from the latent form. Too medical-ish? :)

My point is, the couple before me should have known better than to throw words like that around, because like all other STDs, it attracts social stigma. If I with my broken Russian could have understood what they had meant, I'm sure the young girl did as well. Will someone say 'idiot' for me? Please?

The crappy thing about herpes is this: once you get it, there's no guarantee that it won't flare up again even with proper medication. It's a ghost that'll follow you around all life long. I'm qouting a lecturer here - sort of!

Herpes is more than an STD. Did you know that the chicken pox virus is a member of the Herpes family too? Yep. Chicken pox and shingles are related to HSVs too. 

EBV infections which look like the common flu/sore throat is also a Herpes virus, causing infectious mononucleosis and nasal carcinoma in susceptible populations.

Kaposi's sarcoma which look a lot like tumours of blood vessels is usually associated with AIDS, but in fact occurs in systemic dysbiosis and  other immunosuppressed states as well.

There is CMV which also looks like the common flu, the highest intrauterine infection to date and ones of the TORCH-ES infections the Ob-Gyns keep harping about.

Then there are the Herpes virus 6 and 7 which are still being studied. Type 6 is sort of connected with diaper rash. Really.

All in all, the 8 Herpes viruses are nothing to snigger about. I read in passing some time ago that in a decade plus Herpes viruses will become a bigger threat than AIDS so it's time people realised that going around cracking 'Gerpes' jokes at the expense of another person's self esteem doesn't make you chaste, it makes you an airhead. 

Sorry bout the vent, think of it as a part of the information parcel ;)


rainfield61 said...

How to say "idiot" in Russian?

Kirigalpoththa said...

Good post!

Because of the heavy focus on AIDS we often forget about this side of the same coin.

Anonymous said...

Oh my...I didn't know that chicken pox is part of the herpes family. Saw on tv about a news report that apparently polio still exists in a certain part of the world today.

Loshini said...

Idi-yot (sebutan baku) hehe..

Thank you :)

Mei Teng:
Yeah, I heard about it too. Just when we thought we'd eradicated polio, huh? But those are more vaccination mishaps if I'm not mistaken. Googling it right now actually! :D