013: Checking The Herpes Box with Alexandra Harbushka

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The Moment When You Have To Tell The Truth


Welcome to Life With Herpes, thanks for joining me! Today we’re talking about what happens when you visit the doctor, the dentist or the chiropractor, and you have to check the box for herpes.


I’ll be sharing my personal experiences doing so, what it was like for me emotionally and mentally the first few times I checked that box and why it’s important to do so. Join me to hear all about it on episode 13 of Life With Herpes.

More About Life With Herpes


Do you remember the first time you had to check the box on medical forms saying you have herpes? I remember mine. After my diagnosis and all that went along with it (from the shock to the anger to the worry), I didn't think I'd have to tell anyone else aside from past partners and my current partner.

Then I was in a fender bender, a minor accident. I went to the chiropractor after to get adjusted and recover faster. As I filled out the paperwork asking about medical conditions I saw herpes on the form. I kept thinking: do I check it? Do I not check it? My doctor is a friend so I was worried about him finding out, and whether he'd tell anyone. Even though doctors are sworn to confidentiality I still worried he would tell someone else.

However, I'm a big believer in honesty so even though I considered not checking the box, I ultimately checked it. I was raised to be honest and I believe in telling the truth because it always comes out anyway. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a difficult decision!

The next time I had to check the herpes box was when I went to the dentist. My dentist always asks what medication I am on and if there have been any health changes since my last visit. Obviously, I had both: I was on an anti-viral to stop outbreaks and I had a new medical condition of herpes.

But this is the dentist I have been going to since I was 7 so I remember having the same ping-pong match in my head that I had had at the chiropractor: Do I tell my dentist? Do I not tell them? How will it affect them if I don’t?


Tweetable:  “The truth will always come out.”- Alexandra Harbushka

Ultimately I knew I had to tell them. You have to tell your health professionals about medications you are on so they can make sure you are safe, and it's important for them to know how to protect themselves and how to properly protect you from anything that might interfere with your medications or your well-being.

Now when I went to the optometrist it was my third time being asked so I was fine with checking that box. I had done it before and it was okay.

But I'm sharing all of this with you to let you know yes it's completely scary for you to tell people you have herpes! And doing so will bring up a lot of stories and emotions again - all because you are marking a little box. So remember that box is there for your protection and for the people who are caring for you.


Medical professionals are educated to assume everyone has herpes and or some other STD so don't worry about the judgment factor from them; just remember that question and that box is there for your benefit. Be sure to check the box!


I’d love to hear from you about your first time checking the herpes box: did you have the same thoughts and worries I had? How many times did you have to go through the experience before you stopped fretting over it? Let me know after you listen to episode 13 of Life With Herpes - and be sure to join our secret invitation-only Facebook group!

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