Nichola met this wonderful guy. She really liked him, but she was kind of afraid. You see, like many of us, Nichola was feeling all these emotions for him. She became terrified that she may end up having sex with him. "We have only been seeing each other for two weeks," she said to me. "I just can't sleep with him. I mean, I feel like I know him. We have these great talks, but I don't really know him. What if he has AIDS or something? You know these days they walk like a cute little puppy and talk like one too, but then you find out they are nothing but dogs." I looked at her in total agreement; and even though I knew it was a serious issue for her, I couldn't help but chuckle a little bit. "I am serious," she wined. "So how far have you two actually gone?" I asked.
"We have only kissed," she replied.
Three (3) weeks have passed since my best friend and I had that conversation. Now it saddens my heart to see her lying in a hospital bed, unable to help herself. She has a fever of 106 degrees, sever sore throat, swollen lymph glands in her neck, under her arms and at her groin, enlarged spleen and liver, jaundice, severe aching all over her body, and she is ten (10) pounds lighter because of her loss of appetite. The doctors have her on IV. What could be wrong with her? Did she go have sex with this guy, and indeed he had AIDS? The answer to the first question will have you in shock just as it did me.
Many of us try to be so careful not catch AIDS or any other transmitted disease. I must admit that there may be a few who simply don't really care if they do or not. Those are the ones who sleep around and won't even consider using a condom. These are the same heterosexuals, homosexuals and even bisexuals who aid massively in the spread of AIDS, herpes, syphilis and all those other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). We, the careful ones, try to always or almost always use a condom, stick to just one partner, or simply just will not have sex. However, are STDs the only thing that could harm our health? Are they the only diseases or viruses that our so called loved ones could bring to us? Are they the only consequences of our bad habit and careless behaviors? I don't think so. Have you ever heard of mononucleosis? Do you know what mononucleosis is? Well let me generously fill you in. Mononucleosis is a contagious virus(Epstein Garr Virus) transmitted from person to person by close contact, such as kissing, shared food or coughing. It is widely known as the "Kissing Disease" since kissing is the most common way the disease is transmitted. The symptoms of this disease are the same as those Nichola is experiencing. Did you know that adolescents and young adults 12-40 are most affected? Could you be affected too? You are more at risk if you are stressed, have an illness that has lowered your resistance, or if you are suffering from fatigue or overwork. The high incidence among college students may result from inadequate rest and crowded living conditions. Am I scaring you? Symptoms take four to six weeks to become visible. Are you more scared? Could you have it and not know? Could Nichola have prevented this situation? Was she just too hasty? She did not have sex with him. All she did was kiss him. Studies say that we can prevent getting this disease by avoiding contact with persons with mononucleosis. How can we guarantee that? It's not like we can just look at someone and tell. Should we resort to taking someone to the hospital for a check up before we kiss him or her? The sad part is that complications may occur. One could get meningitis or even encephalitis. If you do get it, what can you do? Doctors recommend that the individual rest in bed, especially when he/she has a fever. Resume activity gradually. Rest when you are fatigued. Don't participate in contact sports until at least one month after complete recovery, and, for all you fitness freaks, no exercise.
Will you now think before you kiss someone? Will you become more particular about who you eat with and from? Will you freak when someone coughs on or near you? I guess right now you can't give me an honest answer; but when/if you get put in the situation, you will know the answer to all these questions. I hope I did not scare you. My only aim was to provide you with information that may become important to you. On the other hand, maybe scaring some of you will make you more responsible about your health and well being. As for Nichola, my only hope is that she recovers and recovers soon.