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Not a Big Deal?

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I've come across many people and post that say "Herpes isn't a big deal". Is it really? I mean my life has changed forever. Is this something that can really be brushed off as not a big deal? It's not that I'm beating myself or anyone else up about it but I see it as being pretty rude when saying it isn't a big deal. Maybe its just my mindset and how I was raised to see it. Honestly I see it as being on the same level as HIV with a few differences.

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You've stumbled upon the conundrum that comes up a lot here, lee. The stigma and shame that tends to come with herpes tells us it's a VERY big deal. But it's important to separate the psychological/mental perspective from the medical/physical symptoms. For the vast majority of people, it's not a big deal at all as far as physical symptoms go (especially after the first 6 months to a year).


But on the flipside, for the majority of people, it tends to bring up a lot of sexual shame and baggage that I believe is at the root of our culture. It's like we've been raised to be ashamed of being sexual creatures, when it's actually the most natural thing in the world.


And isn't it interesting how herpes (a glorified shamed skin rash) can feel like it's on the same level as HIV (something that is deadly without proper meds). What do you see as the things that put them both on the same level? And what are the few differences to you?

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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@lee104 May I ask, is your infection oral (cold sores) or genital? If genital, I wonder if it might help you to think of it in the same way you might think about cold sores. There's no cure for cold sores and they can be passed on through intimate contact (and up to half of genital herpes cases are contracted this way, in fact), but most people don't feel tremendous shame or a need to limit their life choices after contracting oral herpes (cold sores). At most, they abstain from contact during an outbreak of cold sores. And I suppose those with particularly bad cold sore outbreaks may take sick days here and there. But it is rarely life altering in the way many people fear a diagnosis of genital herpes will be.


When I was first diagnosed, whenever I found myself struggling with the stigma, I tried substituting the idea of oral herpes for genital herpes to determine what was really bothering me, the reality or the stigma. The answer was always the stigma. Over time, this really helped me to come to terms with it.

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It's not a big deal for the majority of people who have it. It's so not a big deal that they don't know they have it. On this forum, you will probably find one of the highest concentrations of people for whom it is a big deal. A rare group. A lot of people here are getting strong symptoms and seek out knowledge about it. In that sense, this place is not a reflection of what herpes is like for the general population outside of here. This is not a knock on this community, but just something to keep in mind if you browse the threads and see a lot of people here dealing with bad symptoms.

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I totally get your point! For most people it is not a big deal, but for some (like me) who gets outbreaks quite often it is a big deal. And it's okay to feel that way. Accepting this virus is a process and a part of the process is to feel that this is a BIG deal!!

That said, it's all a matter of perspective. Eventually you have to accept this and make it become a minor annoyance that pops up once in a while. You're going to be okay! Having herpes is okay. Knowledge is power :-)

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Hi, @lee104. I was 9 months into my diagnosis the first time I heard Adrial say "it's not about herpes--herpes just brings your shit to the surface." It was a pretty big lightbulb moment. I've never had symptoms of HSV1 and my HSV2 symptoms are very mild. However, the diagnosis was a huge deal to me, because it was like pouring salt on some existing emotional wounds which I thought had scabbed over. Combined with the societal stigma, the adjustment has definitely been a process. The good news is the future looks a lot brighter with some time, education, and personal exploration.

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