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HPV and Herpes and the Double Stigma

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When I got herpes seven years ago I struggled with my diagnosis. My support system was made up of my friends and sibling who have not tested positive for it. So many times when I would talk about disclosing I would be told things like "He'll probably stop talking to you or you gotta wonder what he has that would make him accept it" these comments were very painful to endure because I was dealing with similar feelings.


I recently noticed that I have symptoms of having HPV. I have been so afraid of telling others because I have finally accepted the herpes in ways I thought I never could. I feel like the roller coaster has started all over again. I ended my new relationship and told my friend that I need to deal with this. Her advice was not to get tested for HPV but I can't keep pretending it does not exist. (she too has the gift of H) and told me that anyone with half a brain would not accept both. Of course I am not ready to date until I can find out more. I have found a couple people who share the experience to talk with. These comments of my friends and family members who care about me keep coming back to me. Don't they reflect the mainstream society and the stigma? Or are my worst fears just being mirrored back to me?


If you can relate to this please share you're thoughts.

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Hey jessi! I hear ya, it could compound the shame or it could be just another thing. Do you know that 80% of people at some point in their lives will contract some version of HPV? It's by far the most prevalent STD. Anyone who knows the reality of sexuality these days will see it for what it is and know that if they never get exposed to HPV, they are in the extreme MINORITY of people.


And hey, stigma is stigma. People will believe what they will believe, but it's up to us to accept ourselves first. Then we disclose from a place of okayness with ourselves and we get to educate our potential partners. That is the only way stigma has a chance of dying in our culture ... if we get okay with ourselves first. It's a grand plan of self-acceptance on the horizon. :)


Our beloved community member @lelani has talked about her "double H" in many of her posts. Look back through hers or contact her directly. (FYI, she's found an amazing man who she disclosed the double H to and they continue to fall deeply in love.)


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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Thank you Adrial. What's sad is I know the statistics. I also feel like this is the next step for this year of acceptance for me, but I can't help feeling frustrated. I am constantly telling people they are going to be accepted but I don't what it's gonna take for me to believe it completely for myself. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of another person who can relate!

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HI Jessi,


i do have hpv and hsv too, there are a lot of people who have both.When i told my doctor in spain they only said everyone have hpv , thats so much in common why you care.All girl i have lived in shared flat had once or more a possitiv test on HPV.What kind of symtoms do you have...why you think you have HPV (you have warts ?)dont listen to your friend sure you will need to get tested.90 percent of HPV clear up itself but 10 percent make cancer so please do regular test on that.I actually got my results today and they have been all fine....i need to say i think its because i changed my diat.For example to eat with coconut oil didnt helped for my herpes but my results for HPV are always good since i eat twice a day with it...maybe you can read a bit of that.Anyway when you meet somebody you will need to disclose both even HPV is not a big deal in that case.Get tested Jessi.Stay strong :)


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Ready for a corny, cliché line that is totally and completely the answer? Love yourself. :) Yep, love yourself. And that process can be as simple or as complicated as we'd like it to be. Once we truly love ourselves, then we can't really be rejected. Rejection cuts deeply when someone else's rejection of us leads us to go along for the ride and in turn reject ourselves. When we accept and love ourselves regardless, then we are immune to the ultimate rejection of self.

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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Hey Jess...like Adrial says...I am a 'two for one' girl too. I got HPV 28 years from my unfaithful husband (what a way to find out aye?!) and then Herpes from a special man who I accepted had it and took the risk. I thought I had cleared the HPV years before this but it reappeared with my first episode of H! Yahoo for me!


I know every emotion you will be feeling with having both. I've been through them all. Let me say the HPV is no big deal...actually any man we women are with who doesn't think they have it potentially has it and doesn't know. And those who haven't had it are the minority. So get tested...dealing with it consciously is very empowering.


And don't listen to your friend...there are people who have a whole brain and choose the person over the virus _ I was one and my gorgeous man now is one. I accepted someone else and he accepted me. Having these viruses weeds out people we don't need in our lives and helps us to grow stronger and more loving.


Yes your own thoughts are being mirrored back to you through others. Give up your self rejection and other will be inspired, supportive and educated. I'm sending you a huge hug Jess...its not an easy journey but so worth it. The H's can make you shine in the best possible way, with compassion, kindness, openess, courage, love and connnection. It's one step at a time and be kind to yourself along the way :-) xxxx


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Reading these posts was really hard. HPV is confusing and hard to talk about because there are different kinds. The most frustrating part is I think I've had it for several years and never realized it wasn't related to the Herpes until I really started to educate myself on it. He symptoms I have are warts and that's really hard for me to accept. I feel betrayed by doctors who may have noticed and said nothing and by myself.

I want to love myself and I felt closer than ever after the H Opp but it's not a skill I understand very well. I'm totally accepting of herpes and all the things you are saying Leilani are how I've felt. My last disclosure talk was so strong and confident. I even had a bf who said he was accepting of it but he didn't understand and wanted me to give him a,guarantee we would stay together if he put himself at risk. That was too much pressure for me.



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I keep thinking about telling my sister and it fills me with dread because when I first brought up my suspicions of having HPV she reacted with fear and pity. It's like I feel like other people can't handle it. If the people who love me the most and are closest to me react like that the doubt starts to creep in. I want to be able to talk about it with these people without having to protect myself from their reactions.



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why your sister react with fear if 90 percent contract with hpv till they are 50...maybe she have it too but she dont show any symtoms because it cleared up itself...or maybe her boyfriebd have it (if she have one), there is no regular test for man.Seriously only make sure that you get tested regular and that they freeze your warts if you find some.If you do the test you at least know whats going on.I know so much girls who never go to gynecologist, i know its not very nice thing to do but its important to know whats going on down there.I had HPV before herpes and i told couple of guy i never got rejected for that, they have read about it and they knew that nearly everyone have it .It dont scare me to tell guys i have hpv ,it scares me a bit because it can make cancer....doctor still dont know much about it because there are hundreds of diffrent typs but the chance to get cancer is still low.

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Hi again Jess...I'm sending you a bigger hug. I know those feelings of doubt and worrying about how other people will handle your disclosure. They come from our own doubt and fear and not accepting ourselves...other people's reactions are are mirror. When you are stronger within yourself the way you disclose changes and their reaction is less important. And to get stronger you have to practice stuff - every time you tell someone you get stronger. I look at it now that I am educating people and reducing the stigma when I tell someone - it makes me feel stronger in myself that I am helping someone, and in turn I am helping myself. People who don't have HPV are the minority. And most people don't know they have it. That's what I tell people - unless women have been tested there is NO way to know and unless men have sypmtoms they will never know. And it is worth getting tested...a small number of HPV strains are cancer causing. I had one and have always got tested regularly. I had many years of abnormal cervical smears from having HPV...potentially this could have turned into cancer but I was able to monitor it with my doctor.

I told my kids which was hard ( I was quite sick with my first Herpes episode -and the HPV resurfaced with it after about 12 years of being dormant). They each had different reactions and judgments. But then one of their partners was diagnosed with HPV they came to me for support and advice. My disclosure helped them down the track - I'm glad I had the courage initially to tell them.

These viruses don't define you but they can redefine you...giving you more courage and compassion, help you make stronger connections with people and they push you to live with honesty and integrity. These are really gifts that the H's give...we just have to unwrap ourselves to find them. Be strong and be kind to yourself jess. I continue to send you good thoughts. xxx



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  • 4 weeks later...

So I finally went to the doctor and was told I do not have genital warts. I have been exposed to HPV but it's not at all like I thought. I'm feeling much better.


For the Herpes I am on the suppressive therapy and it's working wonders, so I am glad that as of right now things are going better.

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