If a significant other forced you to watch the American version of The Bachelor last night, you probably saw Arie take his three girlfriends one by one to the “Fantasy Suite” — you know, the ABC euphemism for sex between reality show contestants.
And if you witnessed that spectacle, you certainly may have wondered: Do these men and women get tested for sexually transmitted diseases before they get cast on the show?
The answer is yes — and according to a new book that goes behind the scenes of the popular TV dating franchise, there’s one STI in particular that prevents would-be contestants from getting a spot on the show: herpes.
In Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favourite Guilty Pleasure— excerpted Tuesday in the New York Post — author Amy Kaufman reveals that the show’s applicants must submit to lengthy psychological and medical examinations. For the latter, applicants’ blood and urine is collected for STI testing. (The practice seems to be consistent across The Bachelor and its sister show, The Bachelorette, where one woman dates a pool of men.)
- “If it turned out the person had an STI, they would be taken out of the running immediately,” Kaufman writes. “And apparently, that’s the top reason applicants don’t make it onto the show.”
Ben Hatta, the former assistant of Mike Fleiss — The Bachelor creator and executive producer — is quoted as saying that “as soon as the medical tests came back, you’d see that herpes was the biggest thing.
Which… really isn’t that surprising, because herpes is probably way more common than you think. A common STI, there’s a solid chance you have it, too.
There are two types of herpes simplex virus. Type 1 (HSV-1) typically causes oral herpes, which can manifest in the form of cold sores on your lips. Type 2 (HSV-2) typically causes genital herpes, which can result in sores, burning, and itching around your nether region, among other symptoms.
As of 2015, two-thirds of the world’s population under 50 years old was infected with HSV-1. In the United States, about half the populated aged 14 to 49 has HSV-1, and about 1 in 8 people in the same age group has HSV-2.
Lots of people are unaware that they’re carrying the virus, because it may not exhibit any symptoms.
If you think you may have herpes, we can’t tell you how to get on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette — but we can tell you how to get tested and stop it from spreading to others.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health