October 1, 2013

A fake news article posted Sept. 29, 2013 on the satirical website “The National Report” has caused unnecessary concern in Portland, where readers may not realize the contents are a spoof. The article falsely claims a new sexually transmitted disease is sweeping the city.

Multnomah County Health Department officials say that report is untrue. There is no new virus or bacteria. As people re-post the article on social media websites they may lose the context of the website that demonstrates it is a joke. Kim Toevs, STD program manager at the Multnomah County Health Department, said that there is no new sexually transmitted infection reported or identified.

"We have not identified a new virus, or a new bacteria, for that matter,’’ Toevs said. “We do not have any sexually transmitted infections that cause all of the symptoms described.’’

In addition, although Toevs said she appreciated the article is tongue-in-cheek, she was dismayed that it may perpetuate blame and stigma around sexual health.

 Sexuality is a natural part of human experience, and humans live in a world shared by millions of microorganisms. As long as sex involves physical contact, some germs will get transmitted."

But no germs, as described in the online "story," have been discovered.