Blue Waffle Disease: Exposing a Hoax on the Internet

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Blue Waffle Disease is an internet prank released in 2010 to warn about a fictional sexually transmitted disease (STD) that causes the vagina to turn blue. It made headlines in national newspapers when a New Jersey councilor called the rally a new and imminent threat to a woman's health.

The fact that the joke sowed so much panic and discontent shows how easy it is to spread misinformation, jeopardizing not only a person's peace of mind, but also their understanding of the nature and risks of real STDs.

Blue waffle disease is a fictional STD. The disease does not exist and was invented by internet pranksters in 2010. This is an example of scams on the Internet designed to mislead readers into spreading misinformation, phishing, selling quack products, soliciting charitable donations, or simply being malicious.

Bhoopy / Getty Images

How the deception started

The myth of the blue waffle disease started as a bait and a surrogate meme. By posting an image of a blue waffle, the pranksters challenged users with the text, "Bet you can't find me in a Google image search." Those who took the bait were surprised to find a photo of seemingly sore blue lips. The name comes from the slang term "waffle", which means "vagina".

The disease, which the pranksters claimed to be sexually transmitted, causes vaginal lesions, itching, burning, and unpleasant discharge – all the symptoms one would expect from an STD, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia .

While it is possible that the blue vagina image was false, it is more likely that the vagina was stained with gentian violet. (Gentian violet is a blue antiseptic dye that is sometimes used to treat yeast infections .)

The medical evidence to disprove this myth has done little to quell the growing panic on social media. Some people have even argued that blue waffle disease could eventually turn a person's body blue if left unchecked.

The blue waffle myth gained traction in 2013 when New Jersey Councilwoman Katie McBride was tricked into proposing measures to address a fictitious health threat.

Intentions and consequences

As silly or harmless as this joke may seem, its ultimate goal was to spread panic and suffering, and in that sense, it was crowned with success. One of the consequences of these hoaxes is that they fuel a phenomenon known as "Munchausen over the Internet", in which people deliberately create diseases in order to troll or attract attention.

The fact that so many people have been deceived also reflects the widespread belief that sexually active women are "abnormal" and that they will ultimately reap the consequences of their sexual behavior. After all, blue waffle disease is an STD that only affects women, not men.

Ironically, boys and men often brag about having blue balls when they are upset about not having enough sex. The narrative is based on the fact that men are destined to have sex, and in large numbers, or suffer the consequences of blue balls.

It is a reflection of a culture that still measures a man's worth for his sexuality and attacks and humiliates a woman for it.

Real sexually transmitted diseases

One of the reasons blue waffle disease has fooled so many is because pranksters described symptoms that were easily associated with STDs in women, many of which overlap. This includes symptoms associated with:

  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV) : vaginal redness and swelling, vaginal itching, vaginal discharge, fishy smell, burning sensation when urinating, bleeding during intercourse.
  • Chlamydia : Redness and swelling of the vagina, vaginal itching, vaginal discharge, painful urination, pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis, pain during intercourse, bleeding during intercourse, bleeding between periods.
  • Gonorrhea : Redness and swelling of the vagina, vaginal itching, vaginal discharge, painful urination, pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis, pain during intercourse, bleeding during intercourse, bleeding between periods.
  • Genital herpes : Redness and swelling of the vagina, itching or burning in the vagina, blisters and painful sores in the vagina, vaginal discharge, painful urination.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) : painless warts, vaginal itching.

STD testing

In most cases, STDs are asymptomatic. Having no symptoms does not mean that you are "clean" if you have sex without a condom or if you have other risk factors for STDs .

If you think you are at risk for infection, whether or not you have symptoms, see your doctor. After all, the only way to know if you have an STD is to get tested. Your healthcare professional can not only advise you on what tests are needed, but also tell you when to do them so that you don't do them during the 'window period' when you may get false negative results.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published the following STD screening guidelines for women in the United States:

  • Sexually active women under the age of 25 : Annual screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia is recommended.
  • Sexually active women 25 years and older with risk factors : An annual screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia is also recommended.
  • Pregnant women : Screening for syphilis , HIV , and hepatitis B is recommended early in pregnancy, and screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia is recommended for those with risk factors.
  • Everyone 13-64 : It is recommended that you get tested for HIV at least once as part of your regular doctor visit.

Frequently asked questions

What is blue cookie disease?

Blue Waffle is a fictitious sexually transmitted disease that is said to stain and disfigure the vagina blue. The myth first emerged in 2010 and then went viral when a New Jersey councilor called the online rally a threat to women's health.

How can you get blue waffle disease?

You cannot get blue waffle disease as it is a fictitious STD. Still, there are things you can do to protect yourself from true sexually transmitted infections, including using condoms consistently and reducing the number of sexual partners.

What does blue waffle disease look like?

Blue cookie disease does not exist. This does not mean that you should ignore changes in the color, sensitivity, or odor of the vagina. A red, irritated vagina with itching, burning, and smelly discharge can be a sign of a very real condition called vaginitis , which is commonly associated with sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis .

Get the word of drug information

Blue cookie disease does not exist. This is not a sexually transmitted disease and your genitals will not turn blue if you have a lot of sex.

However, if you notice changes to your genitals, such as bumps, sores, or discharge, contact your doctor, a women's clinic, or a free STD clinic . Symptoms like these can indicate an STD that needs treatment .

It is equally important to get an education not only to detect the signs of STDs, but also to learn how to avoid them. Always seek information from reliable sources such as the CDC to avoid being a victim of online pranks.

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