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Is the stigma worse than the disease itself?

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As I continue to learn about genital herpes I keep coming across a theme. That is that the psychological and social effects of contracting herpes are much more painful than the disease itself.  Please keep in mind I am not downplaying the discomfort of the sores or the intense symptoms some people experience. 

When I talk to people about the condition the things that seems to be of much more concern are the social isolation, stigma, difficulty dating and fear of never finding a partner. These same people have described outbreaks as more of an annoyance and discomfort than a debilitating disease.  Has this been anyone’s experience? The more candid you are the better. Thanks so much. 

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In my personal experience I'd say yes the stigma is 10000x worse then the actual disease at least for me. I've only had one outbreak since I was diagnosed 2 and a half years ago, but it's still a real bruise on my ego even though it's currently not a huge negative impact on my life thankfully as of now. It's just the whole stigma and myths that are created around it that make it worse then the disease itself. For most people it doesn't even affect their daily lives

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  • mr_hopp changed the title to Is the stigma worse than the disease itself?


Yes, stigma is very crushing. It really hurts so much. 

Honestly after I got herpes, I started to realize how often pop culture mocks herpes! Family Guy, late night hosts, and other shows make fun of it, and every time they do I wince a little or squirm in my chair. I mean, I poke fun at myself, but it's different when someone else does it, of course 😢.

If anything, overcoming the stigma and fear is one of the hardest parts about having herpes. However, self love and acceptance really carries you far ❤️.

Every time I start to say negative things to myself, I challenge those thoughts with positive, truthful thoughts: "I am worthy of love. I am clean. It's no my fault I have herpes. Etc..."

The amazing thing is this forum acts as a positive way to shake off the shame and guilt and obtain self love and happiness. And we help lift each other up, which helps us all heal!! ☀️🌻




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