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Ebola Just Got Sexy

Who knew that the latest sexually transmitted disease to join the list would be Ebola?! Oh, so now you wanna hear more…!

Let’s get some perspective. The current outbreak of Ebola has to date infected some 6,500 people in West Africa. Of these people, just over 3,00o children, women and men have died. A staggering 25%-90% of those infected will be dead within weeks, depending on where it is being treated. And then of those really fortunate ones who survive, the males can continue to infect via their semen for about 3 months (CDC, 2014).

So by making this into an STI can we please upgrade it from another awful tropical disease happening in poor, old Africa to the horrific international scourge that it is? Now that HIV/AIDS has become the treatable condition that is so last century [for people with access to fair medical care], now that gonorrhea and syphilis no longer kill and cripple [people with access to fair medical care] – it is beyond doubt that this is the scariest disease that sex can spread.

Just to be clear, there is nothing sexy or funny about cheapness of human life in Sub-Saharan Africa, where fatality numbers of the magnitude of 9/11 (so far, no end in sight) can move the world so little. So I ask myself whether throwing the spotlight on the sexual transmission route – a little-known fact – might give this menace a few more moments of news time? A slight hitch in the ratings? Another report at the CDC?

Maybe some of those virile survivors need to be given airplane tickets to less black continents and then we’ll see how funds are suddenly discovered to handle public health emergencies. And by the way, in democratic countries decisions of governments to get involved, of media to keep covering issues, can be influenced by popular demand. We must speak up about this issue if we care enough.


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