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    Welcome to the Herpes Opportunity Support Forum! We are a supportive and positive group to help you discover and live your Opportunity. Together, we can shed the shame and embrace vulnerability and true connection. Because who you are is more important than what you have. Get your free e-book and handouts here: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook

Ashamed about herpes, how is herpes spread, herpes & oral sex, STD jokes?

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Hi everyone, I'm new here, wish that I found this site a lot earlier!!


I've had genital herpes for around 7 years now, I'm 24, female and live in the NJ area.. so I guess you could say that I'm somewhat of a veteran, but I sure don't feel like it! I contracted the disease and also HPV from my first boyfriend (who was also an abusive one to add to the damage) even though he knew it never told me. Since I received the diagnosis, I think that I've accepted it, but obviously the hardest part is sharing the information with others. I have had some experience with that.. got a few different reactions, had a relationship or two since then but still feeling like I'm "damaged goods". Mostly I'm afraid of judgement, much like everyone else on here.


I have yet to tell my family, only some friends know, but I think I'd rather not tell my family.. because it would feel weird and I'd rather not bring "shame" to my family/family name.. if you get what I mean? News travels fast where I live and my mom would not be very helpful to me :/


One thing I would like to know is.. can the disease be spread by touching/scratching a sore and then touching something else, say a doorknob or something. If someone touches it after you, can they also get it?


So far out of my partners that I have had, having protected and also unprotected sex most of the time, nobody has caught it to my knowledge. I have told every partner/ guy that I was interested in and both of the longer-term partners had no problem with it. They even "went down" on me... which I thought was absolutely crazy of them but it was their decision, right?


I would also like to ask everyone what they think about when the STD jokes come out as you are hanging out with your friends. I feel like it comes up more now than ever before! However, I also need to contradict myself because that also happens when you think you may be pregnant. You just happen to see every pregnancy commercial, first response, etc etc. Get my drift? Anyways, back to my point. Whenever someone jokes around about STD's and whatever, I feel so low and so disgusting. I'm afraid to say anything for fear of letting them onto something I don't exactly want them to know.. it really bothers me that the jokes come up so frequently but how do I stop it? If I say anything, I feel like they would know right away. And everyone laughs and makes other jokes too, so it makes me feel like I am the only one with something.. or maybe that's just their cover-up? Any thoughts on this?


Thanks for reading :) Can't wait to hear from you guys!

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Hey livewelldiy!


Welcome! Good to have you here. You sound like a good person. I like that. :)


To respond in chronological order ;) ...


1. You call herpes a "disease" ... How does that feel to you? I know if I use that word to describe this innocent skin rash I have, I start feeling like it's waaaay more than just a simple skin condition (which is all it is). Be aware of the words you use and the effect they have on your experience.



2. It's your decision on whether to tell your family or not. It sounds like you haven't had a good experience of feeling supported by them in the past. And I also have heard of plenty of stories where people were pleasantly surprised by their family's reaction. Follow your gut. Being afraid to tell someone doesn't always mean that you shouldn't. It might just mean that you're so busy judging yourself for being damaged goods that you aren't open to other people loving and supporting you. And again, follow your gut/intuition (the part that's deeper than the initial fear of disclosing about herpes).


3. How can herpes be spread? Doorknobs? Toilet seats? Hugs? High fives? No, no, no and nope! :) Read this blog article I wrote for all the details on how herpes spreads. And then you can move into feeling muuuuch less paranoid. :)



... and here are some handouts for you to read to get clear on all the facts:




4. Good job on telling all your partners that you have herpes! It's not an easy thing to do. I'm proud of you for following your integrity every single time. I appreciate integrity in people. It's one of the most awesome attributes. :)


5. About partners going down on you with genital herpes ... It's not as crazy as you present it. It's soooooo rare (1% rare) to spread genital HSV-2 to the mouth. Even Dr. Leone when he came to talk to our in-person support group said there should be no reason that people with genital herpes shouldn't receive oral sex and enjoy it. Here are some articles about that:




6. Jokes about herpes and how to handle them? This has come up quite a bit on these forums. Here, let me dig up a few of the posts now and post them here (including where I tell my story about when I disclosed I have herpes after a friend made a crude joke about it):


http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/1196/my-friend-and-a-herpes-joke/p1 (this is where I tell my story)



Looking forward to supporting you however we can! Thanks for sharing yourself with us and asking so many questions! Again, welcome. You're going to be just fine. :)

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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