I adore the BBC series, Top Gear. It is not my style to be obsessed by a motoring series filled with laddish overgrown, mickey-taking schoolboys smashing up cars at 200mph for the sake of it. It is complete and utter silliness, but my son and I love it. It doesn’t make sense!

Top Gear began in 1977 as a conventional motoring magazine program, but over time it evolved to become quirky humorous and boorish. The program received acclaim, as well as criticism, mainly for the politically incorrectness of its presenters, namely Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

Clarkson is mercilessly funny, but notoriously obnoxious. He admitted throwing a rage after being told he could not have a sirloin steak after a day of filming. The assault left the producer, Tymon with a punch in the face and a bloody lip. Despite being sacked by the BBC, the world anticipates Clarkson and the gang launching their own licensed version of the TV show. It doesn’t make sense!

You know what else doesn’t make sense – Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc being confirmed as successors of the new series that is due to air in May 2016. Seriously? Matt LeBlanc from Friends replacing Clarkson for the British sense of humor? Is that all BBC can come up with? I guess we just have to hold our breath till May.

The secret of Clarkson’s popularity is not just his wit; it is his risk-taking appetite and daring to stir away from conventional norm. He once commented about boredom (and herpes) in life: “This is a good idea when you are at a loose end because everything, up to and including herpes, is better than being bored.”

Another typical Clarkson’s comment was about the Bentley Continental GT: “In many ways then this car is like herpes. Great fun to catch it, but not so much fun to live with every day.” On the note, I would like to help a reader in making sense of how to continue a fun life with Herpes, despite the misfortune of catching it in his youth.

Dear Dr. G,

My name is Jay. I am 41 years old and recently stumbled upon your articles on Star online. I must say you have a very unique sense of humor. Not sure I get it all the time, but I hope you can help me.

I recently met someone on Facebook and started having an intense relationship.

To be fair, I have come clean with my past, as I contracted herpes in my youth and I am worried this infection is contagious. But my partner does not mind. I am also confused, as my previous two relationships were free from the disease.

I really would like to embark on a sexual relationship after a six-year hiatus, how do I ensure there is no risk of transmission?

I am in love, but yet there is a barrier. How do I do I make sense of this?


The word herpes originates from the Greek word “creeping in latency”. Genital herpes is a viral disease induced by the infection of HSV (herpes simplex virus). Type I HSV is usually the infection that involves the face or mouth, mostly termed as cold sores, while type II HSV is often known as genital herpes that affects the genital organs and anus in both genders.

Genital herpes is a taboo in the society as is classified as a sexually transmitted infection. The virus is transmitted by direct sexual contact of an infected individual, with or without outbreaks or bodily fluid exchange. After an initial incubation period, the virus may be transmitted along the sensory nerves to the nerves of cell bodies. The pathogens stay dormant in the bodies between outbreaks. Causes of the recurrence may vary, but are usually precipitated by immunosuppression, stress or even exposure to sunlight.

The worldwide estimation of prevalence of adults affected by the herpes virus is between 60 to 90% of the sexually active population. The rate is believed to be higher in the developing world and advancing age, the transmission risk is also higher from men to women. The vast majority of sufferers of HSV are unaware of the infections, as they may remain asymptomatic. This makes genital herpes the most common sexually transmitted infection.

The diagnosis of genital herpes is generally clinical recognition of the lesions, which are characteristic blisters appearing on the penis, vagina or anus. Blood tests for antibodies against the virus can verify recent or previous infections. However, the precise detection of the virus is determined by the presence of the virus DNA from the blisters during outbreaks.

The most effective mode of avoiding transmission of genital herpes to sexual partners is by avoiding vaginal, oral or anal sex, especially during outbreaks. However, such restraints may be impossible for most intimate relationships. The use of condoms can reduce the risk significantly. In addition, scientific data also supports the utilization of daily antiviral medication to reduce the contagion. Despite the meticulous measures, the risk of transmission is never zero.

My favorite classic novelists, author and literacy critic, George Orwell, once said: “Happiness can only exist in acceptance”. From the email, I detected a sense of remorse and regret in Jay after contracting genital herpes. Jay should accept that others will also unconditionally accept him out of love. After all, like many things in life, unconditional love rarely makes sense. Perhaps Jay’s new found love is trying to offer the greatest gift of all, described by the author, Brian Tracey: “The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance!”

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