021: What Are People Googling About STDs? with Alexandra Harbushka

STD’s, Google and Herpes


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Welcome to Life With Herpes, thanks for joining me on episode 21! Since most of the shows are serious I thought we'd have a little fun today and explore what people are searching for about herpes and other STDs on the Internet.


I’m hoping our talk today will be a little bit lighter, and maybe we can even laugh together! It's okay to go through the phases of feeling down, feeling afraid and even angry about having herpes, but let's also remember we can still laugh, love and have fun.

Life is meant to be enjoyed and that's what we're going to do on episode 21 of Life With Herpes.


More About Life With Herpes


Let's dive right in and talk Google: what are we Googling about herpes? Personally, the second thing I did after finding out how I have herpes was to turn to Google (the first thing I did was call my best friend).

And I was horrified at what I saw! The pictures terrified me. So then I got into the facts, which wasn't so scary but it was sterile and very inhuman. It was like reading about science experiments, rather than actual human beings with emotions, thoughts and real-life experiences.


To save you from the same fate I want to talk about what we're all asking google about herpes. The #1 most searched for STD in the U.S. is herpes! Now here’s another surprising statistic: the least searched is HIV. This surprised me and was interesting to me because as a teen in the 1990s HIV was the scariest thing ever.

Let’s look at which states are searching the most for herpes and other STDs. The state that searches for STDs the most is Mississippi, the runner up is Louisiana and the third state (or district) is Washington D.C. were the top query is HIV.


What are people asking in their searches? That’s the next logical question, and the answer is the #1 search in the US and UK is “can you get herpes from kissing?”. The #2 search in those same countries is “can you get herpes from oral sex?” and the third most searched question is “can you get herpes from a toilet seat?”

Tweetable:  “We Google herpes more than any other STD!” Alexandra Harbushka

To address the first two searches the short answer is yes. If you missed our discussion on the details of how you can get herpes from oral sex and from kissing check out episode 12, episode 14, episode 16, and episode 17. I break down how exactly this is possible, something I'm not going to do on today's show.

And to answer the last question, can you get herpes from a toilet seat? The answer is no because there is no skin to skin contact. If your partner tells you they got it from public toilets they are lying to you, they got it from skin to skin contact and/or bodily fluid exchange with a person who has herpes.


In the UK the #1 Googled STD is chlamydia, while genital warts and herpes had the same number of searches. Worldwide the #1 searched STD is HIV/AIDS, right behind it is herpes. Everything else has a fraction of the searches, including HPV which is 3rd.


In the European nations the countries with the top STD searches are as follows:

  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • Belarus
  • Albania
  • Ukraine
  • Hungary
  • Croatia
  • Switzerland
  • Austria
  • Montenegro

Let's find out what they are searching for in each country next. Finland searches for chlamydia the most. Russia's top search, along with Belarus’, is gonorrhea. In Albania, and the Ukraine they are on Google for info about HIV/AIDS. In Croatia and Hungary, the #1 search is HPV. The Swiss and the Austrians are looking into syphilis while the top European nation googling herpes is Norway, the runner up being Montenegro.


Now let’s get back to the States and look at which states are going to Google the most for STDs and which STDs they are looking for.


The #1 state for HIV/AIDS is Washington, D.C., closely followed by Maryland, which makes sense because they are so close geographically.

Syphilis is the #1 in Mississippi followed by Louisiana. Chlamydia is #1 in Mississippi followed by Louisiana, as is gonorrhea. New York and Texas are searching for HPV the most and finally, Georgia and New York are searching for herpes the most


When you tune into episode 21 you’ll also hear the top 5 US and top 5 UK cities that are googling herpes, and the top European countries and top US states for Viagara and Cialis searches. I thought it would be fun to throw those last two stats in there!


Now today's episode isn't to make fun of herpes or other STDs, I hate the stigma attached to herpes which is one of the reasons I created Life With Herpes. So remember you aren't alone in having herpes; I'm here with you to bring you the top information from credible sources and help you in any way possible! That’s my mission for every episode of Life With Herpes.

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