Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Don't Get Raunchy with Mr. Open Sores

We see a lot of infectious diseases.

Herpes.
Syphilis.
Leprosy.
Scabies.
Lice.

Due to the nature of the specialty, we happen to touch skin lesions. A lot. Some of the older attendings rarely put on gloves and will touch most skin lesions with their bare skin. Those in the armpits. The genitals. Even the oozing lesions. Or the occasional bloody ones. Most of us are not that brave yet. And we certainly don't want to catch something...

I've recently seen a bunch of young men with genital herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases. And because of these nice young men, I'm thinking about changing the way I start a clinic visit.

I usually start off with introductions, then shake hands with the patient. Am rethinking the hand shake. Having grown up with many brothers, I am well aware that many men do not wash their hands after doing a #1. Or touching themselves. Which is all fine and dandy, except when they have a syphilis ulcer on their penis, genital herpes, or some other unpleasant disease that I would rather not personally experience.

Perhaps hand-washing greatly reduces the risk. Or perhaps not. And maybe I'm just overreacting. It's almost a subconscious response though, much like you start scratching when you're with a friend who has flea bites. Or hallucinate scalp itchiness after your daughter's friend has lice. Either way, I'd hate to be the one to report that hand-washing is indeed ineffective at reducing viral transmission risk.

Oh, and just a message out to unsuspecting partners or potential bedmates, I know this isn't sexy, but if I were you, I'd take a look around and make sure there are no funny looking spots before hopping in the sack. Granted, you can still catch herpes from someone who has no obvious lesions, but for heavens sake, don't get raunchy with someone who has obvious open sores...

And don't expect Mr. Open Sores to tell you he has a problem. I can't tell you how many incredulous stares I've seen when I tell people with genital herpes that it is contagious, they can give it to their partners, so they should really use protection when possible, and let their partners know.

photo credit - You lucked out. I was going to use some graphic pictures in an effort to shock some sense into people, but decided that everyone should be able to keep their lunch down... maybe next time. :)

2 Comments:

Blogger ipanema said...

Great post. I hope many young, irresponsible people will be reading this. I just can't imagine how they'd be so careless in not using protection. Well, may be in haste. :) Let me share something.

I've read somewhere about a young male call boy who insisted for lights on and do a quick inspection before saying yes to a horny customer. I thought what was he doing when he's paid, he chooses? It was only towards the end of the article that I know the reason. He was looking for sores and any sign of STDs. Come to think of it, at least he's informed. :)

12:10 PM  
Blogger always learning said...

Ipanema,
it's a shame more people don't use protection. There's a lot more worrisome things one could catch - after all, herpes is just a pain to deal with, but it's not life-threatening, like HIV...

Good for the call boy. Unless he changes profession, he has the potential to spread a lot of disease, so if he keeps himself as safe as possible, he's also keeping his future customers safe...

12:12 PM  

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