Want to be on "The Bachelor"? There's just one little test you'll need to pass before you enter the world of on-screen romance and brand endorsements: an STI screening.
To take your shot at love, according to a new behind-the-scenes book on the popular dating show, you're required to be totally free of sexually transmitted infections. So would-be contestants have their blood and urine tested for STIs, among other medical and psychological examinations.
"If it turned out the person had an STD, they would be taken out of the running immediately," journalist Amy Kaufman writes in an excerpt from her new book, "Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure." "And, apparently, that's the top reason applicants don't make it onto the show."
The most common STI standing between "Bachelor" hopefuls and love probably won't surprise you: Ben Hatta, former assistant to "The Bachelor" creator and producer Mike Fleiss, is quoted as saying that "as soon as the medical tests came back, you'd see that herpes was the biggest thing."
That sounds about right. More than one in six Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2, or HSV-2. And oral herpes, which is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (or HSV-1), is even more common: About half of the adult population in the U.S. has it, the American Sexual Health Association reports.
Unfortunately, taking anyone with an STI out of the race omits the possibility of representing, for the millions of people who tune in, what a conversation about having an STI might look like. And that would be a pretty big deal for the 50 percent of sexually active Americans who will contract an STI before the age of 25.
And call us saps, but maybe Arie Luyendyk Jr. (this year's leading man) missed his best chance at love because his perfect match was eliminated for having an STI before ever making it on the show.
Audition rules aside, don't wait to get tested, because many people who have STIs don't experience any symptoms. Ask your health care provider or visit a clinic near you for more info. And because not all of us get a prescreened pool of suitors to choose from, here are some ways to prevent yourself from getting an STI in the future.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you agree with the "Bachelor" producers' choice to not include anyone with STIs on the show? Will you be watching this season's finale on Monday? Share in the comments section.