It’s Time To Slay The Stigma Of Herpes
My name is Pam. I’m 52, divorced (amicably!), and I have 2 beautiful grown daughters and a wonderfully mischievous granddaughter. I’m also a Massage Therapist, and a West Coast Swing Dancer. I love hiking, travel, and will try my hand at almost anything. Life is good!
I’m also a Herpes carrier. In fact, I hit the jackpot and got both HSV1 (at around 3 years, likely by sharing drinks with another kid or maybe from a doting Aunt who didn’t know that she shouldn’t kiss me when she had a cold sore… I’ll never know) and HSV2 (from my first sexual encounter at around 17 yrs).
Suffice it to say I’ve pretty much seen and heard it all … from not even knowing Herpes existed for the most part in the 70’s, to the promise of a cure in the 80’s (that got squashed by the HIV epidemic, because all funding went to research for AIDS), to a lot of conflicting info in the 90’s, and an increasing stigma all the way through the decades thanks to some pretty crappy marketing by the makers of the first (and only) family of anti-virals that made Herpes look like the “New Leprosy”. The resulting back-lash from those ads, combined with the CDC’s recommendation that people only be tested if they have symptoms or are at high risk (resulting in many people incorrectly believing they have been tested when they go for their STD test) has caused a great deal of misinformation and stigmatizing a virus that, in all reality, is just a nuisance skin condition in a really inconvenient place. Yes, initial outbreaks can be painful and scary, but take it from a veteran who has dealt with ongoing back issues, irritable bowel, and who survived an ectopic pregnancy, there are FAR worse things that can happen to you in the long run.
Support Truth & Dialog (STD for short) is my attempt to share my experience, my knowledge, and my support for other Herpes carriers and their friends, family, and partners. This is a place to come if you are looking for a “positive” perspective to being positive. Because in reality, there ARE a lot of positive things that can come from Herpes. Sounds crazy, I know. But stay tuned, check back, subscribe to my blog, and before too long you may see that really, life goes on and Herpes is just another speed bump in your timeline….
We Herpes carriers have allowed others to create an unjust world for us…one where their ignorance is dictating how we should feel about ourselves. It’s time to make a change. One person. One conversation. One blog at a time.
I’m excited to start this part of my journey. I hope you will join me, and bring your friends along. The more people who understand the truth of Herpes, the faster the stigma will be reduced and eventually slayed all together. And THAT would be a beautiful thing.