The herpes virus, a sexually transmitted disease has been one of the STIs which many people have a wrong impression. Most American comedies portray the herpes virus as an embarrassing thing that can happen to people who have sex, a stigma that follows you and prevents you from loving and having sex. This view of the herpes has left most patients of herpes ashamed and isolated, people who are free from this virus tend to go far and stay away from these victims. But why can’t we look at herpes from the view of what it is? Of course, there are many reasons that underscore the idea that you shouldn’t hate on the herpes.
Many People Have It. The herpes virus is a super common STI, virtually about two-thirds of the population has the HSV, and this is true according to the information released by the World Health Organization (WHO). Researchers of the WHO has it that about 3-7 billion people under 50 years have this virus. Going by this statistics, a rational person should understand that the herpes is not much a big deal to freak about because many people have it. If you decide to break up your relationship with your partner because of the herpes virus, you may have a family member with this virus, and unknown to you. Laying much emphasis or hating on the herpes virus is not a way forward, as it is common. If you have the virus, be enlightened and play safe, it is clear that you are not alone.
You Can Have a Safe Delivery. Every couple would love to have a healthy kid that will look fresh and fly. Unlike some other STIs that harm the fetus, a woman with the herpes virus can still have a safe vaginal delivery when she doesn’t have an outbreak. An infant delivered via an infected vulva stand the risk of infection and perhaps death, the CDC emphasizes that a pregnant woman should strive not to contract a fresh herpes virus during pregnancy, as the rate of outbreaks reduces with time. You should stop hating on the herpes virus as you can have your kids safe and healthy even when you are a herpes patient.
Preventive Methods Can Reduce your Risk. When a herpes patient is placed under suppressive antiviral medication, its transmission risk is reduced. Contrary to what some people think, you can have sex with your infected partner, and still not contract the virus. When safer sex is practiced, you don’t have to hate on herpes. The use of condoms, abstinence during outbreaks, and therapy helps cut down the risk of contracting this virus. Asymptomatic virus shedding can be prevented using the necessary therapy. There is no gain saying that you can still have a happy, love life while having the virus.
Herpes is Not the End of Your Love and Sex Life. One common thing about people with the herpes virus is the inability or lack of ‘how to’ communicate their health status to their partner or love interest. The idea portrayed by the naïve culture puts herpes patients in a scenario where they struggle to maintain or find a new love. However, having the HSV doesn’t mark the end of your love life; your real lover will not fail to roll with you once you divulge you status to him. Moreover, there are dating sites for people with herpes; there you can see many individuals who have herpes, perhaps you will find your perfect match there. Albeit it might not be very easy at the beginning, your sex and love life is way far from being over.
You Will Be Enlightened. Despite that virtually everyone who is diagnosed with this virus undergoes emotional pain and dejection, you will stand to be enlightened and be aware of so many things about STIs. At the initial stage, herpes victims may want to doubt the fact that herpes is not the end of life, but with time, they come to realize and accept their fate. An ordinary person without the herpes virus may not bother or want to know more about STIs, perhaps herpes, thereby being exposed to high risk of contracting it, but a herpes patient strives to know more on how to play safe, live healthily, as well keep their partners safe.
It is point clear that contracting the virus is not an entirely nice one, but no one gets through life unscathed. There are so many STIs, of which herpes is not the worst, hating on herpes doesn’t showcase what it really means. Herpes patient have the potential to live a life free from stigmatization and isolation, it all lies on us. Stop the marginalization; while you play safe alongside the patients, then we will have a happy world.
The Herpes virus is a sexually transmitted disease that is common with people within the sexually active age, it is a viral diseases and currently has no absolute cure. When you look at the consequences of the Herpes virus, and the doom it spells on a pregnant woman, you will be bent in avoiding every possible means of contacting it during pregnancy. Despite the fact that being pregnant is an exciting and happy thing, pregnant women are faced with the challenge of keeping to all healthy warnings that will ensure they keep fit and healthy. Because of low immunity, pregnant women are more susceptible to be infected including viral and bacterial infections.
The Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus and a member of the Herpes family and people of all ages can have it. It majorly affects pregnancy, as mostly babies are patients to this deadly virus although it may cause flu-like symptoms in the pregnant woman. A mother with the Herpes virus can infect her baby severely with the genital Herpes virus depending on when she contracted it. It could before pregnancy, during the early stage of the pregnancy or even during delivery. The chances of infecting the baby is very low if the mother contracted the virus before the pregnancy, or during the early period of the pregnancy. However, if the mother gets infected during the later part of the pregnancy, there is higher risk of infecting the baby. This is so because women with prolonged or older cases of Herpes infection are known to have developed antibodies against the virus, these antibodies protects the baby from getting infected through the placenta. When an expectant mother is examined before delivery, and a potential outbreak or reactivation is observed, the ceasarean section is considered for the delivery.
The fact remains that the mother might overcome or still live with this Herpes virus if the immune system is strong, but babies are still developing theirs, and this can cause problems. If your baby gets infected with the Herpes virus perhaps acutely, it could lead to shock ( lack of proper and enough blood flow to various organs), if not alleviated, it results in coma and eventually death. The effects of infecting a baby with the Herpes virus during pregnancy or even birth can never be over emphasized, as this also can cause vision problems, brain infections (encephalitis, which mostly leads to death), cerebral palsy, skin infection, mouth and multiple organ infection.
How to avoid the Herpes during pregnancy
There is the need to act and employ all possible means to ensure you stay away from the Herpes virus during pregnancy. If your partner has the Herpes virus, and you have been meticulous not to contract it, your pregnancy calls for more carefulness as even your unborn baby’s health is at risk. Below are some tips that can help you avoid the Herpes infection during pregnancy.
• If your partner envisages or is having an active outbreak, do well to avoid direct skin contact with his mouth or genitals, as this exposes you to the risk of contracting the virus.
• When having sex with your partner, use latex condoms. Although this does not always prevent transmission, it goes a long way in reducing your risk.
• If your partner has an active cold sore, do not allow him to have an oral sex with you, as this can expose you to genital Herpes.
• During the third trimester of your pregnancy, it is most important to avoid the Herpes infection as it poses a very high risk. In this scenario, total abstinence is advised, whether your partner has or has no sore or symptoms.
• If you already have kids who are infected, the virus can easily be transferred from them to you. So there is also the need to avoid intimate contact, association and even looking after them like changing their nappy and using the same eating utensils during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is precious, and should be guided jealously from the fast rising Herpes virus. Consequently, it is important that pregnant women should go for the Herpes test, as well their sex partners, this will go a long way in making the pregnant woman stay safe if they are Herpes-free. Also, having a proper Herpes test will make the woman take precautionary measures to ensure that the baby doesn’t contract the Herpes infection.
Herpes is one of the common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that any sexually active person can contract. Genital Herpes is caused by two closely related viruses, the Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The Herpes is one of the STDs that is on the rise in the United States of America, and the data from CDC shows that America is the fastest Herpes growing country and keeps highest rising one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one out of six people in the United States aged 14 to 49 have genital Herpes caused by the HSV-2.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin, the director of CDC’s national center for HIV/Aids, Viral Hepatitis, “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded.” He said said in a written statement (PDF), “We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services, or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.” However, it is sacrosanct that a level of success has been attained as regards curbing certain STDs. Lately, the cases of syphilis and gonorrhea have steadily dropped over the past couple of decades, this is not so when it comes to genital warts and Herpes. One may wonder why this is so, it is clear that syphilis, gonorrhea, and certain STDs that have their increasing rates reduced, are caused by bacteria, suffice it that they are a bacterial infection and can be addressed with antibiotics. Individuals with these STD’s, when placed on high antibiotics can be alleviated, unlike genital warts and Herpes which are viral diseases (caused by the virus). While there are possibilities of treating the symptoms of a viral disease, there is yet no cure for the illness itself, that is no treatment for the underlying virus.
Who is at most risk?
A rational human would think about who is more exposed to this Herpes. Genital warts and Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease and is bound to infect people within the actual sexual age. Sexually active youths without any sense of protection may be the most possible sufferers. Youths are at high risk of Herpes infection because, it is sacrosanct that youths mindlessly engage in various forms of sexual activities; negative attitude towards condom use, safe sex, and education has a lot to do with young adults becoming infected with sexually transmitted infections. It is appalling that many teenagers and young adults are not concerned about catching Herpes, and this makes them act open to sexual experiments, multiple sexual partners, unhygienic oral sex, and having casual and unprotected sex. These even expose them to higher risks of contracting other sexually transmitted disease because STDs are passed from one person through sexual contact. Your STD risk is all about what you do and not who you are, your attitude towards sexual activities discerns your STD risk.
Studies show that young women’s bodies are biologically more susceptible to STDs, little wonder women have the highest rate of Herpes. African-American women have the highest rate of Herpes infection at 48 percent and are nearly twice as likely as men to be infected.
Although complications are not rampant, the Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause diseases in other parts of the body when it invades it, other than the genital area. These complications are peculiar to the primary genital Herpes and can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), infection of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and inflammation of the lower spinal cord. However, this Herpes can affect the lips (Herpes labialis), they are usually mild but may be treated with antiviral medicines if they become severe. It can also affect the eyes (Herpes keratitis), the hands and fingers (Herpetic whitlow). For people with impaired immune system, the Herpes virus can go as long as affecting their lungs, joints, and liver. In fact, the Herpes virus is a dreadful one, and everyone should strive to avoid it.
What is the hope for the future, with the fast rising cases of Herpes in America?
Studies and researches are seriously going on to find a possible cure to this Herpes virus, many health scientists are up to work, ensuring that they get down on this disease by proffering a possible solution.
Dr. J Sridhar, who is currently researching on the vaccine for Herpes said “Researches are going on in the US regarding the vaccines for HSV and HIV. If successful, it will be a milestone. Similarly, for HSV, we have found out a therapeutic vaccine which may control HSV.”
However, another promising vaccine to treat the Herpes simplex virus type2 (genital Herpes) is currently undergoing tests, the vaccine which is called GEN-003 is currently in phase II trials, where it is rather doing well. Zeena Nawas, MD, a research fellow at the center for clinical studies in Houston said, “GEN-003, is a promising vaccine if it gets approved it would be the just therapeutic vaccine for genital Herpes or any other infectious disease.” It is proposed that the vaccine will unquestionably prevent transmission of the infection since people are the most contagious during an outbreak or while shedding.
MPWH (Meet People with Herpes) community suggests that self-education and getting tested regularly are the most efficient ways to protect from Herpes. Perhaps, people will understand that Herpes patients also enjoy a healthy and love lives through proper enlightenment. MPWH tries to give hope to Herpes patients, as they let them meet fellow Herpes patients, making them feel and live a stigma- free, and nondiscriminatory life. Hopefully, there is light at the end of the tunnel with several types of research aiming at producing a sure cure for the Herpes virus.
An individual always is emotionally bewildered after diagnosed of having sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). And consider himself being a whore or slut. Worsely, many of us feel people living with herpes virus have to be stigmatized. Ella Dawson, who is famous internet for genital herpes, is the representative person of being stigmatized with herpes in public.
Genital herpes is a form of genital infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) which can be contacted by through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. Genital herpes, in most cases, is asymptomatic; as most people with genital herpes may have no symptoms. Sometimes, people with herpes might show mild symptoms that may not be identified as a sign of infection. The symptom of herpes includes painful lesions on the mouth or genitals.
Today, genital herpes infections have raised strong emotional issues among people, which made victims a subject of stigmatization. According to a survey about relationship carried out in 2007, genital herpes is the second STD (after HIV) that is associated with high levels of social stigma. Herpes-related stigma comes in two forms: self stigma and enacted stigma. Self-stigma refers to individuals’ negative perception such as: feeling of shame, depression, embarrassment, self-blame, guilt about themselves, it has often been the reactions of many people with herpes infection in their first few weeks or months after diagnosis. Enacted stigma, on the other hand, includes discrimination, rejection, avoidance, disrespect of the infected people by others. The intense emotional stress created by the infection has frustrated people to disclose their statuses openly. When Ella Dawson twitted “I’m a slut, and I have herpes. I still am a person who deserves respect,” as part of her campaign to remove the “cultural stigma” surrounding sexually transmitted diseases; she receives accolades from many people, especially Hillary Clinton, who described her as being “brave and insightful”. So why should herpes infection generate such emotional disorder? Why should stigma be associated with the herpes virus? Stigma is an obstruction to the prevention and treatment of all forms of STDs, including genital herpes. In fact, it could lead to increase of the incidence of infection as victims refuse to notify partners of the exposure. Therefore, it is necessary to stop giving the victims bad names, as most of them are not bad as you may think. What is important is joining hands together in dealing with this scourge!
For those people living with the virus, and thinking death is only options left, Do keep calm. Herpes do not kill you, but depression kills faster! You should be aware that about 67% of the world population has herpes virus and still living happy and healthy lives. Also, people with genital herpes or oral herpes go on to date, get married, stay married, and of course, have a plethora of sex! Knowing your herpes status and disclosing is as Ella does, is beginning of being confident of yourself and also taking it off your mind.
Sheila Loanzon, who is a doctor, and has written a book called Yes, I Have Herpes, will guide you know deeper about herpes and dating with herpes.
MPWH: Dr Sheila Loanzon, it's our great honor to have this interview with you. Could you tell us about the main theme of this book? Why did you decide to write a book about herpes?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: I decided to write this book because I have the unique perspective of being both an OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist), as well as a patient who has had herpes for 16 years. My story is about learning how to shift perspective about a virus that is considered a curse and to transform the experience of having herpes into a powerful vehicle for emotional growth.
I am passionate about the topic of herpes because it is a common STD and the stigma can cause a strong, confident woman to crumble, even a confident physician like myself. For years I was too scared and ashamed to tell my partners that I had herpes and I didn't know where to get advice on how to even start the conversation to tell my partners. I wanted a book to provide the tools to ease these difficult conversation and to help people realize there there is no need to be ashamed of herpes.
MPWH: Where can buyers find this book?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: The book can be found on Amazon and is available in paperback and kindle.
MPWH: How many buyers have you reached after it was published?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: Within 24 hours of its launch, the book ranked #1 on Amazon in the following categories: Women's Sexual Health,Genitourinary Infections and STDs, and Herpes.
MPWH: Do buyers share their real names when they purchase the book or do they remain anonymous?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: Because the book is sold through Amazon, buyers names are not available to the public.
MPWH: Where do the buyers mostly come from?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: Most of the purchasers of the book come from the United States, but there have also been orders from the UK, India, Mexico, and throughout Europe.
MPWH: Since you are a doctor and have a similar situation as our members, could you share your tips on treatment? Many people with herpes don't know how to take care of their outbreaks, especially for newly diagnosed.
Dr Sheila Loanzon: Once patients are diagnosed with herpes, it's important to take antiviral medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir to decrease the length and severity of their outbreak. (Patients can receive prescriptions for these from their OB-GYN). Reducing stress and taking care of yourself is the first step to healing your body and preventing future occurrence. A healthy diet full of vitamins and antioxidants, and exercise are also very important.
MPWH: Can you tell us how to overcome the stigma? Most of time, our members feel more depressed from the stigma than herpes itself.
Dr Sheila Loanzon: Overcoming the stigma is one of the biggest issues faced by those who are herpes positive. I found comfort in knowing that there are multiple large communities of herpes positive people around us. Depending on where you live, these groups can sometimes be difficult to find, but even if there is not a physical group around, there are many online forums that lend support. Your physician can also be a valuable resource of information so I do encourage building a relationship with him/her. Educating yourself with the appropriate facts on herpes is important to dispel common myths, so I often direct patients to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date, current literature.
I think it is appropriate to feel upset, frustrated, angry, unsure, anxious and depressed when newly diagnosed. This is a medical diagnosis with a full range of emotions, and mourning the life you once had is an important process to go through. Herpes is life changing, and grieving should be allowed. In fact, I encourage it! But once you take that time for yourself, look up and see that there are many people out there just like you who survive and thrive with it. I did and you can too!
Personally, it took me me many years to overcome the stigma and to be honest with my partners. I was in denial and I wanted to look perfect for them. I acknowledge that hindsight is 20/20, and if I could change my past decisions and inform my partners, I would. I struggled with self-love, self-worth, and confidence issues before realizing that if someone didn't want to be with me for being herpes positive, that didn't mean that anything was wrong with me. Once I overcame the stigma of the virus, I met many terrific partners who were interested in getting to know me instead of being discouraged by the virus.
MPWH: People with genital herpes is often called "dirty" people, but most of them are innocent. Can you give them some advice on how to deal with it?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: The myth that herpes positive people are dirty and promiscuous is false! Herpes can be contracted from contact with ONE partner who is herpes positive. I was a virgin when I contracted herpes from oral sex. Often the beliefs about herpes are ill-founded and not scientifically based. Closed-minded people without a lot of knowledge perpetuate myths about herpes and while it can be difficult to ignore those who have their own opinions, please be aware that you are wonderful as you are. You join the ranks of 1 in 6 people who have herpes - and that is a lot!
MPWH: Dating with herpes is very difficult for herpes singles. They lose confidence yet hope to find love again. What advice do you give on dating?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: About two years ago I began dating through a popular (non-Herpes based) online dating site. I would tell partners that I was herpes positive when I felt the relationship was becoming more intimate. At first it was scary to feel so vulnerable in front of someone and worry that I wasn't good enough or lovable enough. I reached a point in my dating where I realized that if this guy doesn't like me then there will be PLENTY of other men who will. I found that their disinterest in continuing the relationship had nothing to do with me, they just did not like the idea of the virus.
I was initially surprised when I found partners who were not phased by my honesty and wanted to get to know me better. My book covers various dates I went through and my partners' reactions, which ran the whole gamut from anger to understanding.
In the end, being open about herpes attracted a new kind of partner to me: ones that were open, honest, and genuine. My current partner is phenomenal and everything I could have hoped to have as my partner in life. He did not blink an eye when I told him I was herpes positive. He quickly replied, "Don't a lot of people have it? Does it matter? Do you have an outbreak right now? Nope, then let's go for it!"
MPWH: Disclosing herpes is a difficult part while dating. When is the best time to disclose this situation to your partner? How?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: I would recommend sharing that you're herpes positive when you feel like the relationship is becoming intimate. Telling someone on the first date may be premature because you may not know them well enough yet. I've always felt that my personal medical history isn't anyone's business unless it could potentially affect them.
It's always helpful to tell your partner in person. At the beginning, I told my partners that I had herpes over the phone, which was difficult because I couldn't gauge their body language and facial expressions. My first step when I tell a partner that I have herpes is remembering to BREATHE! Taking a deep breath can calm you and set the stage for speaking. Having the proper facts and giving your partner time to digest the news is important. Give them time to evaluate the information, perhaps do their own independent research, and come back to you without pressure. The more you date, the easier it'll become to disclose that you have herpes.The first few times I told my partners I mumbled, looked down, and steamrolled through my confession. I gradually felt more comfortable and was able to speak freely in front of my partners and to be frank. No one turned me away!
MPWH: Many people with herpes didn't know they had herpes before and many don't show symptoms. This is one main reason that many people have herpes. Do you have any ideas for people on how to protect themselves?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: While sexual abstinence is one way to avoid contracting herpes, it's unrealistic. Condoms can help protect you from viral shedding 96% of the time, but they don't cover all the skin areas that may be exposed during sexual activity. Taking antiviral suppression can decrease viral shedding by 50%. Studies have shown that when a herpes positive person is open with their partners, it can decrease the likelihood of transmission.
MPWH: To conclude this interview, would you give some advice to those people with and without herpes?
Dr Sheila Loanzon: Herpes does not have to be a curse and we can choose to grow instead of crumble from the experience. I am working diligently to increase awareness and education regarding the stigma surrounding herpes. Breast cancer used to be a taboo issue until recently, and herpes can follow suit.
For those readers who do not have herpes, thank you for learning how to support those of us who do. We are all human, with a basic need for love, support, and belonging. After reading my book, my godmother informed me, "I wish I had herpes so I know exactly what you were going through!"
When I told my colleagues, friends, and family that I had herpes, they did not shut me out as I thought they would, but gave me even more love and support. Don't underestimate the people around you. They would like to support you through this journey. My motto is: "We have herpes and we are not alone." Yes, I Have Herpes will help people overcome the challenges of having this stigmatized STD.