Okay, I admit, the recent data from the CDC about the high prevalence of genital herpes in black women was alarming, but the numbers are not new.
A review of data from the late 1990s revealed similar results as the CDC report. For example, the journal Clinical Microbiology Review (Jan, 1999) used representative national data (NHANE III) and found that 35 percent of black men and 55 percent of black women were infected with genital herpes. Public Health officials have been sounding the alarm on the dangers of sexually transmitted disease in the black community for many years.
Clearly, fear and words alone don’t change risky sexual behavior.
We need to examine who will or won’t wear a condom.
Sexually-transmitted diseases (STD) don’t care if you are urban or rural, wealthy or poor, young or old, male or female, black, white, Asian or Latino. If you are sexually active, and want to lower your risk of getting a STD, wear a condom. Simple thought, right?
Most men view condoms as being beneficial for two things, preventing infection and pregnancies. Barriers to condom use by men are cited as being inconvenient, a “mood killer”, hard to access, and that they “don’t like the way the condom feels”. Some men may also become suddenly psychic and make a determination about how infectious a potential partner may be based on his/her looks. Dangerous territory isn’t it? Women express similar thoughts.
Men who have had some form of sex education are 50 percent more likely to use a condom. Also, some studies suggest that black men are frequent wearers of condoms, which is good news. Other factors that predict condom use are a new partner, or length of time between partners. However, men will use condoms less if their partner utilizes another form of birth control, is involved in a long-term relationship, and has sex frequently with the same partner. In other words, condom use starts off strong than lessens as the relationship goes on. If both partners don’t have genital herpes, and monogamous, that may work. But situations happen. Right Tiger?
This is not to suggest any relationship between Tiger Woods and genital herpes. But some of Woods’ mistresses have claimed he never wore contraception. “He didn’t use a condom. It was never not even discussed, he just never used one,” said Jaimee Grubbs, a 24-year-old cocktail waitress.
What’s notable is reportedly not only did Tiger not wear a condom, but his partner’s didn’t insist upon it. Think Elin had a say? I bet she does now.
Here’s the deal. Sexually transmitted diseases are equal opportunity. Genital Herpes may be largely asymptomatic especially in women.
Examine your feelings about wearing condoms for the duration of a sexual relationship. Talk openly and honestly about your sexual history with your partners.
Protect yourself by putting your health first.