Herpes can be considered one of the biggest epidemics in the world. You probably have one form of it or another. But we never talk about herpes, and the stigma against it is huge. So here’s why you probably have Herpe and it’s not a big deal.
First of all, the Herpes Simplex Virus comes in two types.t Type 1 HSV-1 and type 2 HSV-2. Around the world, between 65%-90% of the adult population has one of these. Type 1 can show symptoms on your face and around your mouth and is known as oral herpes. Type 2 shows symptoms around your groin area and is called genital herpes.
What does herpes do? For most people infect with it, they will not develop any symptoms, or if they do, it will be so mild they won’t even notice. Only a small percentage of those who are infected show symptoms such as cold sores. Cold sores look like small, red blisters and can be sore. Treatments such as creams are available to tackle the symptoms.
Type 2 herpes is the one people think of when they hear herpes. It’s the STD and it’s got a huge social stigma against it. In fact, some believe the stigma against herpes in on par with the stigma against HIV.
That’s a pretty extreme reaction for a disease most of the population have a strain of. Some historians believe the stigma wasn’t actually introduced until the mid-90s as part of a marketing campaign for the drug used to tackle cold sores.
The fact is, even though it’s an STD, we don’t test for it in STD tests. Even if you go in and ask for a full STD test, a herpes check won’t be included unless you specifically ask for one.
Unless you are someone who actually shows symptoms, there’s very little reason for you to be worried about it. Even if you do show symptoms, there are lots of ways to deal with it, and symptoms aren’t around 24/7 but rather flare up occasionally.
Prevention and what to do if you have it
The problem with herpes is that it’s very easy to transmit. Unlike a lot of STDs, herpes can be transferred simply by skin contact. Wearing a condom will help reduce the risk of transmitting the disease, but not completely.
Not having sex, not having your genitals touch someone else’s genitals whilst they are actively showing symptoms is probably the best way to prevent it. Of course, since most people with the virus don’t show symptoms, you may even get it and not realise it.
The only way to be 100% sure you won’t get it is to make sure you’ve been tested and your partner has been tested and you’ve both come out negative. The likely hood of that is low though and I don’t recommend it.
If you show signs of cold-sores around your genitals, the first thing you should do is to confirm with your doctor. Then, since you know you have it, you should be open about having it with any partners you have in future.
Yes, herpes isn’t a big deal. Except for the social stigma against it is still huge. But if you have an STD, no matter which one, you should always be open and upfront about it with your partner.