I do feel for Cara Scott.
I also have little sympathy for her one-time partner and former lover, David Golding.
This, in case you’ve missed today’s news, is the somewhat fraught story of how Cara contracted herpes from David. He, it now transpires, knew he had it, did not warn her, and initially lied to her about having it. In fact, he apparently continued lying throughout most of their relationship and only admitted to same towards the end, when break-up was on the cards.
Very definitely appalling behaviour on his part, and not something to be condoned in any shape or form.
On the other hand, David is now about to start a 14-month prison sentence in respect of that conduct. Huh?
The law is there. Passing on a disease knowingly and without warning is an offence in UK law and treated as assault. In this instance, given the possible seriousness of the illness concerned, it was treated as serious: GBH.
And that’s where i begin to feel uneasy.
Pregnancy – whose responsibility?
I’ve seen this debate before, sort of, in respect of fertility. Men complain that women lie about their fertility in order to get pregnant (or not, in some instances). However, men are not exactly above doing similar if they think a spot of horizontal action is on the cards.
The answer, though, is not to penalise either party for wishful thinking and bending the truth – but to expect that each party remains fully responsible for their own fertility at all times.
Take our boy. (Please take our boy! 🙂 )
It is not unusual for people to suggest or, if they are polite, to hint, that he is “an accident”. I get what is meant: we have two 18-year-old girls. Then a 12-year gap. Then the miniature tearaway.
But it would be inaccurate to describe him quite like that. After Tash, I swore off children forever: I’d never have another. And for eight, ten years, i maintained that posture – even thru those tough times when horniness combined with a lack of birth control meant i had to forego a certain degree of pleasure.
Yep: i was a very good girl indeed and if i wasn’t 100% sure, i didn’t have sex.
Whereas, at some later date, i wasn’t exactly planning on another child: but i was not unhappy with the prospect that one would turn up. So contraception became more haphazard: risks taken became greater. I was quite consciously playing dice with God, or Nature (or whatever you prefer): and six, nearly seven years on, the result of that gamble now regularly monopolises the TV remote and fights hard with his sisters.
Take personal responsibility for your health
As contraception, so disease. I write about, give advice to, people involved in a wide range of alternative sexualities. Because of their lifestyle, some are more likely to have multiple partners than the population at large.
Some of those partners may be immensely attractive in the bedroom stakes…but otherwise a largely unknown quantity. So my advice, whenever asked, is much the same as for contraception.
Don’t: DON’T rely on the other person. Always ask your newest partner to undergo testing before you have unprotected sex.
That may sound a bit fierce: like the shift, in the ’80’s, to suggesting that women should be prepared to carry a condom with them as sensible precaution. But its common sense.
A sexually transmitted disease can range from the mildly irritating to the ultimately life-threatening. You can be scarred: you can end up infertile.
Is there any other walk of life where, faced with those as possible risks, people would be so casual about basic Health and Safety procedures.
Of course, in the headline case, which involves herpes, that might still not have been enough: herpes may be transmitted through mouth to genital contact – or simply orally – and there are few couples nowadays likely to demand a test before even a simple kiss.
The guy’s a prat: prison is not the answer
David Golding acted like a complete and utter prat. He deserves some degree of retribution. But i have two fears: first, that by bringing prison into the equation, individuals will not be made more likely to be honest, but actually learn to be even more dishonest.
After all, if you claim total ignorance, what can they do?
Second, it removes pressure on individuals to be responsible for their own health. At base, if you want a shag, it up to you to make sure you aren’t going to get pregnant – or make someone else so: its up to you to make 100% sure that you reduce the likely health risks.