Genital Herpes: Virus Discussed in 8th Grade Homework

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A controversial homework assignment in an 8th grade language arts class discussed a herpes infection among teens. (1)

HSV-2 can increase the risk of catching and spreading HIV, the disease that causes Aids.

— World Health Organization (WHO)

ROCHESTER, NY, UNITED STATES, November 25, 2015 / —

Teens in 8th grade were given a controversial homework assignment that asked them to “consider how they would react if they ‘had a one-night stand’ and ‘contracted herpes’ and were forced to spend the rest of their lives never knowing ‘when an outbreak will occur,’ according to a report in the Washington Post. (1) Some parents considered the assignment to be controversial because they felt that it was not age-appropriate.

The Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease (CBCD) understands both sides. On the one hand, as teens become sexually active, issues such as genital herpes infections become relevant. This is because, as the World Health Organization (WHO) says, “417 million people in the 17- 49 age range … have … HSV-2, which causes genital herpes.” (2) The WHO goes on to note that “HSV-2 can increase the risk of catching and spreading HIV, the disease that causes Aids. Little is known about any link between HSV-1 and HIV/Aids, although it can lead to other serious complications such as encephalitis.” (2) On the other hand, the CBCD sympathizes with parents who try to protect the innocense of their children.

Click to learn more about herpes symptoms.

The CDC notes that “genital herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take weeks to heal. These symptoms are sometimes called “having an outbreak.” The first time someone has an outbreak they may also have flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, or swollen glands. Repeat outbreaks of genital herpes are common, especially during the first year after infection. Repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak.” (4)
It is important to note that WebMD says that “People who have symptoms average 5 outbreaks a year during the first few years. Most have fewer outbreaks after that. People report that certain things may trigger outbreaks, such as: emotional stress, fatigue, other infections, such as a cold or the flu, physical injury, such as irritation, of the genital area, new sex partners, menstruation … (and) … any condition that weakens the immune system.” (5)

The bottom line?

For one thing the public should watch to protect the innocence of the younger generation. But the other thing is teens are becoming sexually active at younger and younger ages there for require awareness of subjects such as STDs and other maters that are involved in this change.


(1) Holley, P. “Parent furious eighth-grader’s homework had question about contracting herpes from ‘one night stand'” Published November 7, 2015. The Washington Post

(2) “Herpes affects two-thirds of people under 50, WHO says” Published October 28, 2015. –

(3) Polansky, H. Itzkovitz, E. Gene-Eden-VIR Is Antiviral: Results of a Post Marketing Clinical Study. Published in September 2013.

(4) Genital Herpes – “CDC Fact Sheet.” Page last updated: October 14, 2015 –

(5) – Genital Herpes Health Center – Genital Herpes – What Happens – Last Updated: November 14, 2014

Greg Bennett
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