In Hulu’s new show, Future Man (produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg), a present day janitor with a video-game obsession is thrust into a science fiction adventure involving time travel, advanced technology and the future of the human race being wiped out by the herpes virus. Starring Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) as the main protagonist, Josh Futterman, this show offers comedy at the expense of science. That is to say, there isn’t much truth about the herpes virus in Future Man.
The plot of Future Man revolves around an ordinary guy living in today’s world who works as a janitor for a pharmaceutical company while spending his nights in his parent’s basement playing a futuristic video game. When the main character becomes the first person ever to finish this video game, two warriors arrive from the future to recruit him into a mission to stop a certain scientist from unleashing a mutated herpes virus upon the world. Taking place in the past, present and future, the herpes virus serves as more of a joke than a plausible apocalyptic threat.
Like a lot of science fiction, Future Man depicts a world different from our own that has been threatened by one of society’s biggest fears. Truly, finding out that you may have contracted herpes can cause a lot of fear but it isn’t actually the end of the world. Current treatments and medicines can help people manage symptoms and live normal, healthy lives even with the virus.
First, we need to understand the herpes virus. Herpes is an STD caused by two types of viruses, herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that in the United States, about one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years already has genital herpes. The numbers are much higher for oral herpes. Herpes is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. The fluid contained within a herpes sore carries the virus and coming into contact with those fluids can cause you to become infected. It is also possible to be infected with the virus from a partner who does not have a visible sore present because the virus can be released through the skin.
So, in order to prevent science fiction from becoming science reality, we just need to mindful of our own sexual health. This can help to deter the spread of herpes and other STDs. The use of latex condoms during sexual activity can help limit skin-to-skin contact. Open discussions with your partner about your sexual health can be beneficial as well. Most importantly, you should know the current status of your sexual health. The best way to do that is to have STD testing performed. Since not everyone will show obvious symptoms of an infection, this can often be the only way to know if you are currently infected.
While you wait for your results, don’t take the circumstances of Future Man too seriously. It is a comedy series after all.