Urban Legend or disgusting truth?

I’ve heard this story from two different people but the details were different in both tellings. Basically a person who uses a colostomy bag checks into a hospital. The doctor examining the patient notices sores around the wound leading to the colostomy bag. He runs some tests and finds that the sores are (ewwwwww) herpes.

Sounds like an Urban Legend to me but I’ve heard stranger true stories.

Yes, I have (unfortunately) heard this one too.
The concept, for those who don’t understand, is that someone was using the patient’s colostomy incision as a receptacle for amorous expression.
It’s a majorly grody concept, but my guess is that the basic story is true and the details of time and place etc. have changed as the story got around.

Herpes can be transmitted by other means than sex

Well, we know he didn’t get it from the toilet seat.

[slaps himself]

Herpes lesions can appear on almost any part of the body. It’s pretty much always transmitted through sexual contact.

This link is really helpful: http://www.cafeherpe.com/lounge/gh_causeby.html

sigh I was diagnosed with this bastard about a month ago because of two lesions I had - one on my thumb and the other on a scar. My life now sucks, but I hope everyone else learns about the disease and does everything in their power to prevent it.

As far as it appearing on the area around a colostomy bag - no question about the possibility.

Aside: It was weird, I was reading Cosmopolitan this past weekend (don’t ask) and it was extremely pro-active in the birth control talk but made no mention of STDs. On the web site above the statistical numbers for the spread of them is staggering. I have also read that herpes is now considered an “epidemic”.

You’ll notice that Melanie’s link refers to HSV-2, the so called below the waist herpes (although crossinfections are on the rise). HSV-1, which is “oral herpes” is more common to the point that 90% of the population in their fourth decade will test positive for it. The primary route of transmission is from active lesions to mucous membranes, which is, of course, common with sex, but not limited to it. I would imagine that the lack of muscles around the stoma would make it pretty much useless for sexual gratification. I also doubt it would be strong enough to withstand the rigors of sex,

Thanks, Larry, for the added info. I just wanted to clear up the misconception that one can get herpes from a toilet seat - there has been no proof of this. Transmission occurs through skin to skin contact (so don’t kiss anyone if you have a cold sore!).

Also, my doctor informed me that sores from either type can appear anywhere on the body, so unless I request to be tested, I will not know which type I have (one sore on my thumb, the other on my calf on my motorcycle tailpipe burn). He said that it’s not likely that I have both types (albiet possible).

Here’s info that shows either type can appear on the genitals. http://www.herpes.com/Diagnosis.shtml

I seriously doubt that herpes has reached epidemic proportions. Maybe that information is based on the fact that AIDS has made herpes a more pressing health issue. Herpesvirus infections are very common in AIDS patients.

The thumb lesion is interesting, Melanie. Herpes lesions almost always appear at the point of infection. A lot of herpes researchers inadvertantly prick their fingers with needles while working with the virus and get sores at the prick point.

And just to be safe, I’d say that it is unlikely to catch herpes from a toilet seat. For that to happen:

  1. The person before you must be actively shedding virus
  2. The sore would have to be on a part of their butt that contacts the toilet seat which would be very unusual, AFAIK.
  3. The seat would have to be wet, or at least moist.
  4. You’d have to sit on the wet, herpetic toilet seat pretty soon after the other person left. It’s a fragile virus. More so than flu.

So if you orchestrate the above scenario, you might catch herpes that way, but I wouldn’t worry about it in general.

“The world ends when I die. And as far as I’m concerned, the rest of the universe might as well call it a day too.” – Matt Groening