Monday, June 7, 2010

'Jersey Shore,' 'Celebrity Rehab' Stars Pop Valtrex, Other STD Meds

Alyssa Rosenberg alerted me to this rather disturbing story about how reality television producers of shows like "Jersey Shore" and, um, "Celebrity Rehab" (I had no idea such a show even existed) constantly worry about STDs on their show -- presumably because they don't want to be sued for spreading them.
"The network [VH1] requires me to do stuff with my patients that has no relevance to anything," Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of "Celebrity Rehab," says.

"Like everyone on the set has to take [herpes medication] Valtrex," he said.

"We hand it out like M&Ms!" ["Jersey Shore" creator SallyAnn] Salsano said. " 'Hey kids, it's time for Valtrex!' It's like a herpes nest. They're all in there mixing it up."

Although one's gut reaction might be to be grossed out by this, it seems to me that reality shows that worry about such STDs, despite having a slightly different mission, could use this as a teaching moment (yeah, I know, I'm talking about MTV, here). But the reality is that most people keep sex and STDs separate in their minds -- rather than noting that basic precautions can and should be taken if one is sexually active. Producers could even film reality stars popping the Valtrex, yet the producers gloss over it, leaving it as a behind-the-scenes detail. Unfortunately, STDs are very real, but they'll never make it into "reality."

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