When disease hits, it seems to hit people of African descent especially hard. The recent Ebola health crisis spreading from West Africa is no exception. From Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Nigeria to Spain, France, and Germany to the United States, Ebola is proof that what happens in the Motherland is relevant to us all. In this case (and history can show us other cases), people of African descent are infected and die in larger numbers.
Viruses can be spread by bodily fluids, but some viruses like the flu, are airborne. Bodily fluids include blood, urine, and saliva, but also include lymphatic fluid, semen, female ejaculate, breast milk, bile, amniotic fluid, bile, feces, sweat, tears, vomit, and the list goes on!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor nor do I claim to be one. I am a matchmaker and I want us to be safe and healthy in pursuit of loving relationships with each other.
Just as you might screen a potential for sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and HIV/AIDS, the U.S. government is struggling to create legal, non-offensive methods to screen for current health concerns like Ebola. What we thought was safe before is now questionable behavior. If you are single and dating new people, you need to think about this, too.
People don’t always show outward signs of disease and even if they do, you might miss it or mistake it for something else. In addition: 1) they often lie about an infection, 2) they do not realize that they have an infection, 3) they know they are infected but don’t think that they are contagious, 4) they are in denial about their medical condition, or 5) they just don’t care.
Despite community-based prevention efforts, African American women continue to be the group most infected by HIV/AIDS. Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years has genital herpes? FYI: there is no cure for HIVAIDS or herpes.
Health workers often talk about physical protection, for example, condoms, protective gear, etc. But we know that harm reduction techniques can fail, and sometimes do. With new diseases, it can be trial and error with a deadly learning curve. What are we to do?
It is advisable to establish a foundation of trust before sharing in a physically intimate way. This takes time. This dating advice is not anything new. However, in this era, time and trust is becoming not just a strategy to keep your standards high and protect some of your most precious assets; it can also be a matter sickness, quarantine, life and death.