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Home Personal Perspectives Personal Perspectives "No one wants to suffer from the stigma, and it's the stigma we need to fight."

"No one wants to suffer from the stigma, and it's the stigma we need to fight."

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I have had HSV-1 since I was a kid and HSV-2 since I was 19. I am 40 now. After all these years, I have this to share with anyone who's been newly diagnosed with genital herpes: Do not be ashamed of yourself for having on your genitals what most people have on their mouths! It just doesn't make sense. Most people have this virus on their mouths, and yet we don't shame them, make them self-disclose before each kiss, think they are dirty, or get scared of kissing them between outbreaks!

If I had a magic wand I would get rid of herpes stigma. I would do this even before I'd use the magic wand to create a herpes cure. This infection rarely causes me any trouble. I've had flea bites that hurt worse than an outbreak. What I suffer from is people's judgment and ignorance. And I've been very lucky -- in 20 years of having this virus, few people have rejected me, and were polite when they did. I've heard terrible horror stories about the kind of rejection others have gotten. And it's simply not fair, not logical, and doesn't follow medical facts.

I used to get angry by the rejection. It's a very small risk at an infection that causes mild symptoms! But what they really risk is catching something that stigmatizes them. They don't want to catch the stigma. No one wants to suffer from the stigma, and it's the stigma we need to fight.

Don't be ashamed! You're still as good and worthy and beautiful as you were before!

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