Why herpes isn't included in an STD panel.
Why isn't herpes included as one of the Big 3 STDs? Oh my dear, dear heart! THIS is a good question and one that has bugged me since I got involved in all of this STD stuff! The answer seems to be: #1 MONEY,,,,, and #2 herpes and Hpv are not "life threatening" like other sexually transmitted disease states that are tested for in most STD checks at clinics worldwide.
When I was working at the STD clinic we would test for "The Big 3", gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. Left untreated, these can be life threatening situations. I intend to do some checking on the death rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea but I do recognize that syphilis is very serious.
But why aren’t herpes and Hpv mandatory testing in any STD panel?
I believe, and there are many in high places that agree, that herpes should be included in every STD testing panel.
Hpv testing is another story all together because this testing is still evolving. There is the growing availability of “rapid” herpes testing and it may eventually lead to a rapid herpes test being included in an STD panel. These rapid herpes diagnostic tests must first prove that they are correctly sensitive and specific to the herpes virus and can produce reliable results time and time again to the disease state.
Mostly, these tests must be cost effective to offset the cost of it being offered. There are some clinics using these rapid herpes diagnostic tests with extremely reliable results. With more money available in the community health arena this could one day be standard practice. But not now. Bummer.
I used to think that herpes and Hpv were not tested for in an STD panel because no one of any “social importance” would “Champion the Cause” and associate their face with these undesirable STD's. But THIS is my everyday life and also my passion.
A nationwide search came down to me and my husband and we were ecstatic! We have been very open for many years about how and where we met. We wanted to put a good and hopeful face to what can be a huge tragic moment in the lives multitudes when they receive a diagnosis of herpes or Hpv. It was for us, a very difficult road initially.
We decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go out, be courageous and give our experience, support and education to those who may never even say the word herpes let alone admit they have it. We wanted to put a GOOD face to the world of herpes.
Hpv wasn't involved in this particular venture because it was a promotion from a pharmaceutical company and their main goal was herpes. There was a worldwide search for those who would go on nationwide television and radio in different market areas showing their faces and using their true identities to teach while talking about their product, which is a great product for herpes.
Our story is one of the initial tragedies of herpes, how it affected us and how we were affected by social stigma before meeting each other. That moment of our meeting brought us both hope from fear about this life changing diagnosis of herpes. We wanted to share our story proudly with others who thought their lives were ruined by a diagnosis of genital herpes, and they chose us after many interviews,so we flew to New York and went on the tube and the radio.
A question was asked that was somewhat like the one you asked here on knoji.com and I jumped at the chance to answer. This is a roundabout remembering of what I said: “Herpes education and information is not so readily available and testing not done because this is an STD we are talking about, not diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer. This is herpes, and no one will admit to being human and being subjected to this conditon because they are afraid to be labeled as socially Unacceptable. We are here to debunk the incorrect myths of herpes social stigma.”
Social stigma implies the person who gets herpes and Hpv is dirty and nasty. This is SO not true at all. That is the social stigma talking. That is, unfortunately, also ignorance talking. If the before mentioned were a true statement, some of those people you love most dearly would fit under that category of dirty and nasty. This could then include your friends, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, coworkers, teachers, pastors, childhood heroes and more. Remember, the statistic is at least 1 in 4 people have herpes and/or Hpv. How many Beatles were there? Pick one. How many presidents on Mount Rushmore? Pick one. How many people are you sitting in a room with at this very moment? If there are 4- 5 people, pick one. If there are 6-8 people, pick two….and so on and so on and so on.
The situation I am seeing is that no one whom the world views as "a champion of some sort, a high profile or well known person, a high ranking official, athlete, expert, astronaut, celebrity, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, king, queen or pauper" will admit to being human and possibly being affected by herpes or Hpv. This is my very purpose in life and I could not be more proud to be the Poster Child for Herpes and Hpv.
As examples: HIV has Magic Johnson. Hepatitis C has Pamela Anderson. Irritable bowel syndrome has some hockey player guy who will fess up. Prostate cancer has Lance Armstrong. Cover Girl has Halle Berry, Rhianna and Queen Latifah and so on. I know make up isn't medicine but it DOES hide a multitude of "ills". I think you get my drift.
There has been nothing since that I know of where anyone will go all the way live and public and champion herpes.
So I will say this now "Hello. I am Amy Poe Beilach and I have genital herpes. I have been affected by Hpv. I am not icky. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. However, I would like to set the record straight about herpes and Hpv and offer my assistance. Can I help you? Are you ok? Do you know about medicines that can help you with genital herpes? What can I do to make this a bit easier for you? I have walked a mile in the hiking boots of herpes and want to help others on what can be a tough climb.
I would like to be the Dr. Ruth of “The H’s", the ones that may be life changing and the ones that could be life taking. Gawd I love that woman!
Again, in answer to your question. Most testing for non-life threatening illnesses is a money situation.
For STD issues, there isn’t' much money for these public health issues unless they are life threatening. There is even less money for outreach, support and education. Luckily we have the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and ASHA, which is the American Social Health Association that can provide information and education. I met my husband at an ASHA sponsored Herpes/Hpv Support Group in my city. I also know of many on line people who have wonderful forums where a person can retain their annonymity and recieve the help and support they require. If you all would like to know more about these awesome groups, just let me know and I will post some links for you.
Finally, not all of us have the ability to go to medical school but we may still speak of and help with what we know and live with everyday.
It doesn’t make us doctors but I claim that it makes us Healers, and that is a worthy aspiration when it comes to any STD.