Every day, millions of people around the world are infected with terrible diseases that permanently change their lives, occasionally bringing them to a sudden end. But sometimes those diseases carry amazing benefits, like when John Travolta got that cancer that gave him superpowers in Phenomenon.
#5. Syphilis Can Get You High
Imagine waking up in bed next to a lingerie-clad bag of flies wielding either a vagina pockmarked with red sores that look like nests for the worms from Tremors or a hate-gnarled penis with a name tag reading "Dr. Syphallus."
Not only do you have syphilis, but you also feel fantastic. This is because syphilis makes you high, duplicating many of cocaine's blessings in exchange for boiling your genitalia. It's like a giant mug of plague-coated coffee. So get up and go, you lucky so-and-so!
#4. Tuberculosis Can Protect You from Asthma
Let's say you're a little kid who has always dreamed of running the 100-meter sprint in the Olympics, because your parents never bought you video games and therefore do not love you. Sadly, your parents also have crippling asthma that brings them to their knees every time they so much as walk briskly to the toilet. You haven't shown symptoms yet, though, so your dream is still within reach.
Then you catch tuberculosis, because fate is feeling particularly zany.
The good news is that you might still find yourself at the games, because people who are exposed to tuberculosis have a reduced risk of developing asthma. After all, your lungs can't be asthmatic if you're coughing them up an ounce at a time. Go for the gold!
#3. Secondary Polycythemia Increases Your Stamina
If you're prone to bronchitis (for some reason) or live at a high altitude (for some reason), you run the risk of developing secondary polycythemia, which is when your body overproduces red blood cells because of the lack of oxygen in your bloodstream. This leads to your blood thickening, which can cause clots in your brain and give you a massive stroke, either killing you or freezing your face into a droopy Halloween mask that children avoid.
However, the increase of oxygen in your Ragu-thick blood is basically a form of doping, making your stamina unbelievably high. So even though you might stroke the hell out at any moment, you could do it while running coast to coast like Forrest Gump.
#2. Hookworms Can Eradicate Allergies
Let's say you're one of those kids who wear a fanny pack to school with all sorts of different anti-allergy medicines in it, along with 12 EpiPens, just in case somebody mentions peanut butter. Naturally, after school some big kids shove you into a sewage pond and make you drink the water, because that'll teach you.
You come home with hookworms, and the little parasites turn your life around. This is because hookworms have been shown to dramatically dampen or eliminate allergies in their hosts. You could eat a PB&J laced with wasp stings and poison ivy if you wanted to and only be subjected to the emotional horror show that would follow.
#1. Herpes Protects You from the Bubonic Plague
You're walking down to the Costco one day when the world suddenly decides to pin up its Outbreak poster and people start shitting themselves inside out with the black plague. Children are dying in the street, and everything is coated in the green stench of malaise.
Except for you, Scrooge McLuck, because you're rich with herpes! While this would normally result in a few depressing phone calls, you chose the right Tuesday to sleep with that 7-Eleven clerk, because herpes has been shown to defend against the bubonic plague. This is probably a holdover from the time of bold knights and fair maidens, when people caught both diseases with astonishing regularity. The herp hates competition.