There is a hepatitis outbreak on the island of Oahu in Hawaii as I write this, There are 52 confirmed cases as of today. A food worker at Baskin Robbins tested positive for the virus. It is easily transmitted and the people have a right to be concerned. Not only the ones who purchased ice cream and were in contact with her, but others she may have been in proximity to along her daily travels.
The infection is usually spread by drinking or eating contaminated food and water. This virus affects your liver and can spread very quickly, Before you have any symptoms, the disease is contagious and is passed on to others unknowingly. Hepatitis A has a long incubation period lasting anywhere from two weeks to as long as 50 days. Because of this it is very difficult to identify the source of the infection. Hepatitis A has a vaccine that is readily available at local pharmacies and two doses of it given at least six months apart are needed for lasting protection. What is so interesting to me is that Hepatitis A is considered a serious and bad virus and they have a vaccine for it! It doesn't kill you and is not a chronic condition.
Herpes has some common traits with Hepatitis A. It is a virus as well and is highly contagious even though you may be asymptomatic, For lack of a better way to describe it, this is a good virus. It is controllable, won't kill you but it is a chronic condition. With some emotional and physical challenges that come along with it. While the incubation period of Hepatitis A is only 2 weeks to 50 days, you could have the herpes virus in you for years before you have an outbreak.. Which means you could be spreading the virus for a long time and not be aware of the danger you pose to your sexual partners. Especially not using a condom. Don't forget that oral sex is sex and herpes can be spread this way as well.
I have to admit. It would be nice if the alarm was raised about herpes like it has been about this hepatitis A outbreak. Imagine if there was non-stop coverage of herpes by media outlets in Hawaii. What wonders that would do! It would bring a difficult conversation to the surface. Those who have been hiding and lurking in the shadows would be encouraged to share their story. So many would be released from the bondage of shame, fear, anger and resentment.
To this day, there hasn't been a major focus on herpes. I imagine it is because it can be managed by a pill. You won't be cured, but the symptoms can be suppressed. But what about emotionally? There isn't a pill that will take care of your self esteem when you are feeling low. Nor is there a pill that can help you share your deep dark secret to the world. Therefore you remain shackled in shame and continue to pretend like all is well. Instead of walking in their truth, herpes positives continue to allow herpes to keep them in a chokehold mentally, physically and spiritually.
It would be awesome if a news anchor from Hawaii offered more education about the nature of this disease. Questions could be answered, and some myths busted. Perhaps even interview some herpes positive men and women in order to let viewers see that they are not the bogey man. Just real people, who deserve the same compassion and empathy shown those with high blood pressure or diabetes. Herpes is not leprosy or the bubonic plague. Yet the stigma is there and continues to drive those who have contracted the disease to live in an underground society.
I believe that there will be a cure for herpes and it will be as simple as going to the pharmacy and getting a vaccine just like what is available today for Hepatitis A. But the squeaky wheel gets the oil. And as long as those with herpes continue to stick their heads in the sand and not SPEAK UP, the researchers will continue to work diligently on other viruses. Not to say they aren't working on a cure, but it takes money to run labs and tests. As to date, there isn't a herpes charity, celebrity spokesperson, run, walk or bicycle ride to raise funds. And we all know that money talks and B.S. walks.....