If you're a girl with a Valtrex prescription, you've lost the right to demand respect from any man, ever.I've read somewhere about a quarter of sexually active Americans have been exposed to genital herpes. For some it is a one time flu-like event and after an initial episode, they are hardly bothered by symptoms again. They may never even realize they were infected. They may have such mild flares that they continue to shed the virus unknowingly. For others, it is an ongoing battle with painful monthly flare-ups that feel like death by a thousand (paper) cuts.I know several people who have admitted to being positive (and I am sure many, many more whose status I am not privy to). Like most STDs, it is a morally indifferent opportunist with a voracious appetite for new hosts regardless of their sexual histories. Every man I know who is positive for herpes contracted the virus through sexual intimacy with a woman, and every woman I know who is positive for herpes contracted the virus through sexual intimacy with a man. And all of them, at least initially, felt considerable shame and social stigma when they were diagnosed.If you're a girl (or a guy) with a Valtrex prescription, you're ahead of the game, because you at least KNOW you carry the virus. Chances are you are doing everything you can to keep yourself healthy and to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to other people. So kudos to you.It's just a virus, a pesky virus that will be making your basal ganglia its headquarters forever, but it won't kill you.Last week, despite being vaccinated in October, I contracted a flu, and perhaps because my immune system was already compromised from a previous bout with pneumonia and a series of UTIs, I wound up with a viral pneumonia that sent me to hospital in an ambulance. I was flopping around like a fish out of water, and to the extent I could think, as my brain cells screamed for nourishment and the lights flickered out all around me, all I could think was "This? Is this how I'm going to go?"I am still off work, weak as a kitten, and, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I do feel as though I have passed through the Valley of Death. If this were 1918 instead of 2014, I would probably be in the local morgue at the moment. I am feeling damn lucky to live in a century of steroids and oxygen. Having survived this brush with mortality, I expect more respect, not less!Yeah, I know, it was just a virus. But one that can kill you.