Meet the woman who tells everyone, ‘I have genital herpes’

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Seven months after Ella Dawson says she was diagnosed with genital herpes, she remembers a young man at a college party offering her a sip of his beer. “Don’t worry,” she recalled him saying. “I don’t have herpes or anything.”

herpesDawson, 22, was just learning to shed the shame that came with her infection, which affects one in six Americans. She could already tell this sense of isolation was worse than any outbreak. So, she spoke up — and shared the tale in a Women’s Health essay, published this week:

‘That’s funny,’ I said, with as warm a smile as I could manage. ‘Yeah, that’s really funny. Because I have genital herpes.’ His face crumbled. Not because I grossed him out — I could practically see the wheels turning in his brain as he realized he’d made an ignorant joke at someone else’s expense. The guy started apologizing profusely.

Dawson, who graduated last year from Wesleyan University, didn’t take offense. Humor at the expense of people with STIs permeates popular culture, from Saturday Night Live’s Valtrex segment to Jennifer Lawrence casually joking about herpes.

But Dawson said she felt empowered talking bluntly about her affliction.

“I had seen in the flesh what a simple ‘I have herpes’ could do when said fearlessly, without shame,” she wrote. “Because when a real person — a woman you know and respect — casually mentions having herpes, it stops being a punchline and starts being someone’s reality.”

About 17 percent of people 14 to 49 in the U.S. have genital herpes caused by the HSV-2 infection, the CDC reports. There is enormous racial disparity, according to the most recent CDC data, with more than 40 percent of non-Hispanic black women diagnosed with the infection, compared to less than 20 percent of non-Hispanic white women. Condom use reduces but does not eliminate risk of infection. Skin-to-skin contact, even when no sores are present, can spread the virus.

[Why death rates among white women are soaring]

Herpes, the infection, is not new—but the stigma is. Project Accept, an advocacy group, asserts on its Web site: “[Herpes] was merely a cold sore in an unusual place until the 1970s.”

Blame an antiviral marketing campaign, which sprung up shortly after America’s free love era, said Dr. Peter Anthony Leone, medical director of the North Carolina HIV/STD Prevention and Control Branch.

“Herpes was seen as this marker of being promiscuous or bad or evil,” he said. “But unless you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship with someone who has never had sex, you’re at risk.”

Southwest Passenger Stabs Snoring Seatmate With Pen, Delays Midway Flight

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Usually, when you’re flying through Midway, the only thing you have to worry about is that one endlessly long security line that drags throughout the majority of the airport. But for two passengers flying on Southwest Airlines from Chicago to New Hampshire yesterday, the typical drama that comes with jostling for armrest space turned…deadly. Ok, mildly irritating.

Passenger Lenny Mordarski was seemingly minding his own business as his plane was taxiing, falling asleep in his chair, when he supposedly began snoring and brushed his arm into his neighbor’s personal space. While most of us would just turn up the volume on our headphones and ignore it, his seatmate took matters into her own hands. ABC7 spoke to Lenny about the incident.

According to a Southwestern spokesperson, the woman was “trying to stop Mordarski’s snoring” by taking a pen and repeatedly jamming it into the man’s arm. We think Mordarski’s friend explains the whole situation best:

“Chucklehead here fell asleep on the taxi on the runway, and I guess his arm kind of brushed over to her. She just went nuts and started stabbing him with the pen. He screamed really loud, almost like a little girl.”

The noise alerted the flight attendants, who promptly had the plane return to the gate and had the offending passenger removed from the aircraft. Luckily, the Chicago Fire Department was called to the scene to examine the man’s injuries, where he was ruled clear to continue on his journey to New Hampshire. Despite the horrific ordeal, Mordarski declined to press charges, and the woman was free to take a later flight.

His friend on the flight, Michael Sutton, posted a photo of his injuries. Brace yourself for the harrowing photo evidence of the incident, pictured below:

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Absurdity of the situation aside, we’re glad Mordarski was ok and seemed in fine spirits despite the incident. Traveling and airports can be the worst but this takes it to a whole other level.

Chinese Casanova Has to Leave Hospital with Police Escort after All 17 Girlfriends Show Up to Visit Him

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A Chinese man who was dating 17 women at once has been found out after his girlfriends turned up to visit him in hospital following a car crash.

The man, surnamed Yuan, from the city of Changsha in Hunan province, had been dating all the women at the same time, and even had a child with one, state media reports.

His luck ran out when hospital staff began contacting his loved ones in the wake of his accident.

A stream of women between the ages of 20 and 40 turned up at Mr Yuan’s bedside only to learn of his substantial deception. Some women had been in a relationship with Mr Yuan for over a decade and at least one was planning their wedding.

“I was really worried when I heard that he was in hospital,” Xiao Li, a girlfriend of 18 months, told Xiaoxiang Morning Herald. “But when I started seeing more and more beautiful girls show up, I couldn’t cry any more.”

Mr Yuan’s motives appear in part to be monetary. Following a divorce in which he allegedly cheated his wife out of 250,000 yuan (£27,000) he swindled tens of thousands of yuan from his girlfriends, according to China Daily. He faces criminal charges of alleged fraud.

The story went viral on Chinese social media – although public opinion was divided.

One Sina Weibo microblog user, Duanbiao, said: “Hey brother, when do you give a training class? Single dogs [dudes] don’t lack money.”

Another user, Luk-Yiu, was less congratulatory: “A man with his looks managed to swindle girls and money, what an inspiring story!”

It was not just women that Mr Yuan deceived. According to China Daily he also fabricated a degree in civil engineering from Central South University, a well-respected university, in order to gain employment, though he only held a middle school diploma.

Man Blows Up Rental Car Trying To Kill Bed Bugs

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Because Florida can’t have all the fun, a Long Island man is being treated for first and second degree burns after blowing up his rental car trying to kill alleged bed bugs. Two other vehicles were also destroyed in the fire. Scott Kemery apparently doused the interior of the car with alcohol, then lit a cigarette while sitting in the driver’s seat. Not the smartest combination.

Idiot Long Island H.S. Students Wear Homemade “Auschwitz” T-Shirts With Swastika

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From the Long Island high school that last year saw male students wear t-shirts spelling out the word “Rape,” comes two more underage idiots.

The Commack High School duo–photographed while playing beer pong at a party–proudly displayed homemade t-shirts with a Nazi swastika and the word “Auschwitz.”

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While the photo was taken off school grounds, education officials are reportedly investigating the students, who could face disciplinary action.

In a staement, school district brass noted that, “the actions of these students are not representative of the student body at Commack High School. We do not condone or permit any form of discrimination, bullying, or hateful messaging.”

Man Beat Toddler To Death For Urinating On Him During Diaper Change

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Martin-Alvarado-JrPolice have charged 23-year-old Martin Alvarado Jr. with fatally beating his girlfriend’s 18-month-old after the child urinated on him during a diaper change.

Police were called to a home on Thursday where Alvarado was caring for his girlfriend’s son. The boy was found unresponsive and taken to the hospital where he would be pronounced dead.

An autopsy was conducted the following day  and the boy’s death was ruled a homicide after it was discovered the boy had died of multiple blunt force injuries from child abuse.

Alvarado was questioned and revealed ha had been in the process of changing the toddler’s diaper when the boy urinated on Alvarado. According to investigators, Alvarado became so mad that he repeatedly hit the boy.

Police arrested Alvarado and charged him with first-degree murder. On Monday he was ordered held without bail until his next court appearance on April 28.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said they have had prior contact with the family, but would not elaborate. Another child that lived in the home has been removed and placed with a family member.

Twin Toddlers Drown In Canal After Mother Lets Go Of Stroller To Swat Bee

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Well here’s a story to start off your day. Two 18-month-old twins drowned in a canal after their mother let go of their stroller to fend off a bee.

Alexis-KeslarAlexis Keslar was pushing her twin sons, Silas and Eli Keslar, along a canal Friday when she let go of the stroller’s handle to swat at a bee. This caused the stroller to roll away from her and into the canal.

Keslar immediately jumped in to try and save her sons, who were both belted into the stroller, but the strong current washed the stroller away from her. She managed to climb back out an called for help.

Even after the canal’s water level was lowered and the flow reduced, it still took emergency workers an hour to find the boys. They were flown to the hospital where they were both pronounced dead.

According to Lt. Don Willits, the incident has been determined to be an accident and no charges are expected to be filed.

Yuma police said the paths along the canal are popular with joggers and bicyclists, adding that people often underestimate the speed of the canal’s current and how deep the water can be.

If you want to help out the family, a GoFundMe account has been created that has already raised over $25,000 to help with memorial\medical costs.