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ok here's a question: how do you respond to herpes jokes?

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When youre watching a movie or with friends and a joke about herpes gets cracked... how do you respond?

If im with my bf and were alone I can just be myself and not laugh.. because I honestly dont find it funny anymore and he understands why. But if youre with a group of people.. do you just laugh along?

When inside you really want to defend it and go on a rant. Haha I hate that feeling.. I feel so awkward and like im lying to myself.

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As long as you "go along" with the jokes, you are not being your authentic self ... and will feel "dirty" because you are then going along with the stigma.


I think you can actually come up with something that you can say that won't "out" you but that you can use to educate people with. Something like "Well, when I got back int he dating scene I did some homework to learn about my STD risks and the truth about Herpes is ... " and then explain the reality. You may actually educate someone and they may thank you later. I do that all the time and I've had a number of people either admit to me they had H or that thanked me for making them aware ;)


And if they are hard headed, you can say "Hey, I know a site that had a lot of good info you may want to check out - I'll get you the info later" and then send them the handout links from here. If we could all educate just one person (given we have 30,000+ unique hits/month) imagine how amazingly fast we could get more people educated about h and STD's in general? :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I really like this post and will remember it for the next time.. I do have a broski who is always joking around and I'm not sure if he knows Im hsv2 positive or not because we're so close we hang out in my room and game out quite often nd one day he found my pills nd read the sticker and every time he makes a joke its usually something about herpes. that lasted for a few days nd all I could do was be oh haha.. omg nd like turn around nd watch tv but I always feel myself blush nd can't help but to feel somewhat ashamed because He is my best friend and yet his jokes are offensive even thou im almost positive he doesent mean it and it'd probably stop if he knew.. I know this is something alot of us are facing and will always have to face but hopefully it becomes easier handling these awkward situations.. thank u all for your insight

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So, as I wrote above, as long as you go along with the jokes, you are not being your authentic self. And if he IS your best friend, he wouldn't make those jokes if he knew ... so either he is not who you think he is, or if he IS your best friend, you may want to consider talking to him and letting him know that his comments are hurtful (which means coming out to him ... but if he IS your best friend, it won't matter to him). AND, if he is that close to you, wouldn't you want to help him get educated so he has a better chance of protecting himself from getting ANY STD? You could educate him at the same time, tell him you would hate to see him go through the upset that so many do with diagnosis...


REAL friends don't make jokes at a friend's expense ...especially not about something like this ;)



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  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • This content 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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i am a very private individual, so i keep to myself. when someone cracks a joke I laugh a joke is a joke. If they are serious and are being rude then i give them a general education session about STD,No one assumes anything because even before i was diagnosed I was always like this because I do not like when ppl are being a jerk without any education.

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A bunch of my girlfriends were together this weekend and were pretty open with each other. But they started talking about herpes one day and one girl was saying she had a herpes scare wth an ingrown hair for 9 months and was so scared and had to tell her parents etc. my other friend has shingles and was trying to differ it from general herpes saying she called her boyfriend and they were both crying. I tried to educate them that shingles is in the same family and just in different areas. But I didn't tell them I had herpes or open up. I just got done opening up to my boyfriend ad couldn't do it again yet. I feel like it's a personal intimate thing so friends don't need to know but it made me angry that they were so ignorant even if it's my own fault for not educating. Anyone have advice for how to deal with this stuff?

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As usual with H, there's no "right answer". What you might do is tell them that you did some research when you started your last relationship and you found out x,y,z... and maybe have this website, the handouts, and the CDC website bookmarked on your phone to show them the facts.


My *personal* feelings (being totally "out") is that the more we hide our status, the more we feed the stigma. I'm not saying to come out completely, but even if everyone told their closest 5 friends, AND asked them to educate their 5 closest friends, that could start an avalanche of education and help to stop the ignorance around Herpes and STD's in general.


FYI, to my knowledge I have not lost a single friend over my status. I came out on FB (you can see my story here http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/1754/im-out-of-the-herpes-closet ) and to just about anyone I meet if the discussion is appropriate ... I even sit in diners with my friends discussing STD's and I don't care who hears and neither do they because they understand that it's something we should ALL be discussing ... it's amazing how quickly the stigma disappears when you just have open, ADULT conversations ;)

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Thanks for posting this question. Herpes is hilarious. There I said it. It was hilarious before I had it, and it is still hilarious post my diagnosis. Herpes and everything about it in our society is so damn ridiculous and funny in fact, I laugh at it even more now that I have it. I made jokes about it before, and I still joke about it with friends today. And you know why? Because I am a funny guy, and people around me enjoy my sense of humor. Herpes doesn't get to take that from me. I am a firm believer in the power of laughter. If I couldn't laugh at the stupidity of things like herpes, I couldn't face another day in this world. Laughter has the power to cripple your personal demons like herpes if you let it.


I understand that some people may disagree or feel it is an insensitive viewpoint. That is fine. I dont mean to offend anyone. My attitude about humor is just one way I have chosen to take my life back from this disease and put it where it belongs in my mind. The butt of my jokes.

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