PROMISCUITY RAISES IMMUNITY?

An article from the University of Virginia in the journal Science shows that monkeys who have the most sexual partners have the most active immunities, presumably from having to defend them from so many different sexually acquired diseases. When you get an infection, your body makes lots of new white blood cells to kill the invading germ and your white blood cell count rises. Female Barbary macaque monkeys, who mate with as many as ten different males per day when they are in heat, have very high white blood cell counts; while white-handed gibbons, who mate with only one partner in a lifetime, have very low white blood cell counts.

Don't feel that having a high white blood cell count is good. When you acquire immunity by having an infection, you have burning on urination, a horrible discomfort when you bladder is full, a feeling that you have to urinate all the time, and having to get up many times when you are trying to sleep. Women can have horrible burning and itching in the vagina , an odor, and pain on intercourse. Men can have terrible pain in their testicles and groins, and both men and women can develop high fevers, terrible joint pains called reactive arthritis, a chronic sore throat and even death.

Furthermore, having one venereal disease does not protect you from getting several other venereal diseases. You can have herpes, AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea at the same time, and indeed some people do. Having syphilis markedly increases the amount of AIDS-causing virus in a lesion.

» Twenty percent of the people who have gonorrhea also have chlamydia. » More than ten percent of people who have sexually-acquired AIDS also have or have had syphilis. » 1 out of 4 single people who show up in a venereal disease clinic have herpes. » More than 50 percent of women who have had more than six partners in one year have chlamydia. » Herpes is incurable and tends to recur. » 50 percent of college girls have venereal warts and one in 250 women who have venereal warts will suffer cancer of the cervix.

Promiscuity has its price, even though it raises your immunity. Getting meningitis is no way to protect yourself from the meningococcus that causes it.

Science, November 10, 2000, Charles Nunn of U of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Checked 9/3/05

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