The Reality of STDs on Reality TV

July 8, 2010

With a brand-new season of Jersey Shore rapidly approaching, we’re anticipating raging parties, big hair poufs and… STDs?!

According to a recent article from The New York Post, popular reality television shows, like Jersey Shore and Celebrity Rehab, are really concerned about their cast members getting STDs. In fact, during a roundtable discussion with reality show producers hosted by The Hollywood Reporter, a Jersey Shore producer claimed that they hand out Valtrex, a popular medication for treating herpes, “like M&Ms.”

This isn’t all that surprising, especially considering Pauly D’s wild one-night stands with random strangers. But on TV these hookups are portrayed like carefree, harmless fun, without any potential health risks or dangerous consequences.

Of course, there’s no way to know for sure whether these reality shows really are hotbeds for STDs, unless everyone is tested. But with all the random flings, you would think that there would be some talk of safer sex. Yet safer sex—which is critical for reducing the risk of getting STDs, such as herpes and HIV—is simply glossed over during filming. Rarely do we see Snooki rushing to buy condoms or Mike the Situation getting tested for-or at the very least worrying about—gonorrhea.

But just because we don’t see cast members dealing with itchy red bumps or wondering if they should be tested after last nights escapade doesn’t mean STDs aren’t part of real life. Reality shows would be a lot more “real” if they actually showed the consequences of engaging in risky sex. Hopefully, this season we’ll start hearing more about preventing or treating STDs and less about doing GTLs (gym, tan, laundry).

—Cynthia Lam, 16, Staff Writer

Posted In: HIV/AIDS & STDs
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