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STD Screenings - Sex on TV


Updated February 03, 2014

For all the sex on TV, there are startlingly few discussions of sexually transmitted diseases. Except in rare circumstances, the consequences of sex on TV tend to be pregnancy or embarrassment, not an infection. However, a few TV shows have taken on the controversial subject of STDs, with varying results.

STD "Screenings"

  • Gay Men, HIV, and Blood Donation on Harry's Law
    Harry's Law was sadly canceled at the end of its second season, but while it was running, it tackled a host of controversial issues. In one of their last episodes, they fought to allow a gay man to donate his blood.

  • Girls: All Adventurous Women Do
    Ah, hipsters. They wear small hats, have lots of star tattoos, and love to talk about sex. I had the luck to be on set when the HBO series Girls tackled the topic of HPV. They did an excellent job.

  • Gay Sex in the Undying World of Torchwood: Miracle Day
    Torchwood, the adult spin-off of the classic British sci-fi series Doctor Who, is all about sex and violence. However, not until they took death off the table did they begin to discuss some of the consequences of failing to have sex safely.

  • Glee: Making Sex Ed Sexy
    Glee is a show that doesn't like to take things seriously... and that assumes that teenagers are complete morons when it comes to sex. Sadly, they didn't do such a great job when they tried to improve things by tackling the topic of sex education.

  • Big Love: The Oath
    Big Love explored the life of a family of polygamous Mormons living in Utah, and it also examined some of the controversies surrounding life on the polygamous compounds. Still, it was something of a shock when they decided to bring up the question of sexually transmitted dementia, particularly when they chose to attribute it to herpes.

  • (Safer) Sex and the City
    For a show that spent so much time celebrating casual sex, the women of Sex and the City experienced surprisingly few lasting consequences. Still, the show did occaisionally do a good job of tackling the downsides of failing to practice safe sex.

  • House M.D.: No More Mr. Nice Guy
    House is one of the few shows that regularly discusses the fact that sex can lead to health problems. In this episode, there were some interesting discussions of syphilis.

  • Law and Order: HPV.
    The 2009 Season of Law and Order tacked the issue of HPV, when Lt. Van Buren was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

  • Private Practice on the Privates.
    As awareness of HPV continues to grow, so does its coverage on TV. I was thrilled when Private Practice discussed the risks of oral sex by diagnosing a male patient with HPV related throat cancer.

Know of any other TV shows that have tackled the issue of sexually transmitted diseases? Drop me an e-mail titled "Sex on TV", and I'll try to find a copy to review here. Alternatively, you can review them yourself. I can't wait to read what you have to say.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  4. STDs & Society
  5. STDs On Screen
  6. Where Are All The STDs When People Have Sex on TV?

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