Health issues or dating deal breakers?

theGRIO REPORT - From a family history of diseases to bad breath or incurable STDs, theGrio explores health-related issues a dating partner may have and how to get past it...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

We all have our deal breakers when it comes to dating. The annoying nail biting, the vulgar cursing and difference in religious preferences can all be grounds for dismissal. It’s one thing not to like someone for a bad habit, but what if they can’t control their problems? From a family history of diseases to bad breath or incurable sexually transmitted infections, theGrio explores health-related issues a dating partner may have and how to get past it.

Issue: Those scary three-letter combos…

STD rates are high among young people, especially in the African-American community. According to a 2010 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the infection rate among African-American women was 48 percent. Nearly four out of five people who have genital herpes (HSV-2) have not been diagnosed, and may not know they have the infection.

Although there is no cure for HSV-1 (cold sores) or HSV-2, there are antiviral drugs on the market that can greatly reduce the chances of transmission and the number of outbreaks an infected person gets per year. Other incurable sexually transmitted viral infections include HPV (human papilloma virus), Hepatitis B and HIV. Using condoms, even in monogamous relationships, can greatly reduce transmission of these viruses.

Issue: My momma got heart problems, my grandpa got cancer, my aunt is blind….

Heart disease, sickle cell anemia and prostate cancer is just a short list of the many diseases that greatly impact the African-American community. Unfortunately, unlike STD’s that can be prevented with safe sex and vaccines, these conditions are embedded into your DNA and you are prone to eventually getting the disease. To know where you stand, research each other’s family health history and getting tested for genetic diseases before starting a family. Each person must consider what it could mean to possibly take care of a sick spouse or partner long-term.

Issue: Your breath is hummmmming…

We know that if you ate garlic toast, or a bag of Funyuns, it’s expected for your breath to have a certain smell. However, if your partner’s breath cries more fouls than a Celtics vs. Heat game after any type of meal, then it may be an underlying problem called halitosis. When frequent brushing, flossing and tongue scraping just isn’t enough, a trip to the dentist may discover a deeper issue such as gum disease, chronic sinusitis or lactose intolerance.

Issue: Soaking up the sheets…and not in a good way…

If you’re sitting in an air-conditioned restaurant having a casual conversation with your significant other and he’s sweating through his suit jacket, it could be nerves — or it could be a deeper problem. Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, only affects one to three percent of the population and comes in two different forms: localized and generalized.  Localized is when you sweat in specific parts of your body, such as armpits and groin area. Generalized causes someone to sweat all over their body, sometimes when the temperature is cool. It can also signify various medical conditions such as thyroid problems, alcoholism, anxiety disorders and diabetes. Seek help from a doctor for these symptoms.

Issue: His or her medicine cabinet looks like a pharmacy…

If your beau’s bathroom is decorated with more orange vials than ceramic ornaments, then you two need to talk. Telling a new mate about your epileptic seizures since childhood, the antidepressants to overcome the PTSD you encountered from war, or the insulin shots you take every morning to control your diabetes is not going to be an easy conversation. A person’s health is very private and personal, so it should be discussed when you feel comfortable with that person and feel you can confide in them.

Keep in mind though, if you have a condition that could affect your partner, such as HIV or another STD, you should be honest with that person before engaging in sexual activity, to prevent spreading the viruses and possibly damaging the relationship. These medical conditions aren’t necessarily issues that should drive your partner away if they really want to be with you, but having open discussions and taking informative trips to the doctor can help both parties make smart decisions down the line for each other any future children.