The Herpes Stigma

By February 13, 2020 February 18th, 2020 OFF THE GRID


While working at Ro ( – I learned more about the herpes condition. Herpes’ worst symptom is not the outbreak – but it’s  impact on the sufferer’s mental health due to social stigma.

Who’s to blame? In my opinion, health government officials around the world.

Currently, there isn’t any way to prevent getting herpes. People need to understand that herpes is not something people get because they have been promiscuous. Just because you haven’t had an outbreak doesn’t mean you don’t the have herpes virus. Last, ~70% of humans have the herpes virus – therefore, again there is a high chance of most of us have it without knowing it.

I saw that herpes is a luck game because not everyone that has the herpes virus gets outbreaks. Therefore, most people who have the virus are not even aware that they have it. And, might be spreading it without having the symptoms, – it’s called asymptomatic shedding of the virus.

Health government officials “disregard” the topic to avoid psychological “trauma” as people will not die from herpes, the government also doesn’t require cities to report herpes cases so there also isn’t much relevant data (you won’t know outbreak stats in your local area), and they don’t encourage testing because the current testing solutions are not reliable, accurate, and cannot verify without an outbreak, etc.

By not allocating resources to solve this problem with education and testing and prevention of spread with better technology – they are stigmatizing the virus. They do not realize that this approach allows for misconceptions, misinformation, and secrecy which impacts the sufferers’ mental health.

In conclusion, people are uninformed about the statistics and high prevalence rate,  do not understand or are informed about the condition which creates myths around it (asymptomatic shedding, high incidence rate, etc), there aren’t prevention tactics an individual can deploy to protect themselves from getting the virus.

An uneducated public creates stigma.

Photo Credits: BBC, Refinery 29

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