Massive herpes 'spike' blamed on Coachella festival

  • 26/04/2019

Amorous festival-goers are being blamed on skyrocketing suspected herpes cases in Southern California around the time of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

A report on gossip website TMZ claims HerpAlert, a health app that provides diagnosis and treatment of genital herpes, serviced nearly 250 patients in Southern California during the festival's first two days.

The region normally generates around 12 cases per day - making the jump over a whopping 1000 percent.

HerpAlert's medical director Dr Lynn Marie Morski says music festivals are "very conducive" to the transmission of oral and genital herpes.

"That many people, in that close quarters, for that long is going to lead to increased likelihood of anything transmittable," Dr Morski said.

Videos of couples being caught on camera enjoying sex acts with each other at Coachella have gone viral online, seemingly reinforcing the festival's reputation for free lovin' - but a report in Palm Springs newspaper The Desert Sun refutes the TMZ story of a herpes increase.

Planned Parenthood told the newspaper that there wasn't a "measurable increase" in herpes cases in the areas near Coachella, and questioned whether people actually contracted herpes while attending the first two days of the music festival, since symptoms typically occur between two and 20 days after infection.

However genuine the spike in STDs at Coachella 2019 was, the story serves as a reminder of the importance of practicing safe sex.

Herpes is a lifelong infection that can include painful blisters, open sores and ulcers around the affected area - not the types of lasting memories anyone wants to take away from a music festival.