053: Handling Negativity in Person with Alexandra Harbushka

Being Confronted About Having Herpes

[podcast src="https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5799050/height/360/width/450/theme/standard-mini/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/" height="360" width="450"]


[video_player type="youtube" style="1" dimensions="560x315" width="560" height="315" align="center" margin_top="0" margin_bottom="20" ipad_color="black"]aHR0cHM6Ly95b3V0dS5iZS9vTjhkWlhFN2c1cw==[/video_player]

Life With Herpes Podcast


Does handling negativity in person ever worry you when it comes to conversations about herpes? Today I have a great story to share with you about that very topic. This past weekend I was at an event, called New Media Summit. It was about podcasting and how podcasting can be a huge asset to your business. I am a podcaster and was asked to attend as a speaker, and talk about my podcast and how it's changed my life.

I also spoke with people one on one, and today’s show is about one of those conversations. Join me to hear the details on episode 53 of Life With Herpes!


More About Life With Herpes

At this event there were about 200 of us, and we were asked to give our names and what we do. I said my name is Alexandra Harbushka and I am breaking the stigma of herpes. You should've heard the "ohhhs" in the room! I expected that. It raises eyebrows, and there's a shock factor which is the whole reason we have this herpes stigma! People are scared to talk about it or mention it. They are scared they are going to get it, or people will know they have it. While at this event, I was also asked to speak. After my talk, a gentleman in the audience approached me and asked if I receive any negativity with this podcast. I asked him to explain more about the negativity he was asking about.

He asked if I was exiled in any way, or if people didn't want to be a part of the show and the community. I said no, I'm sure people judge me but people will judge me anyway (how I dress, what I drive, etc). I told him I don't get any negativity; I said I either miss it or don't hear it or see it, or it's just not there.

He then told me he was talking with some other people at the event about this show. He thought it was bold of me to talk about herpes when it's so controversial and it might impact my relationships.

I said that is why I am doing this, it's why I have this podcast, this community, this website. It's why I get up in front of 200 people at a conference that has nothing to do with herpes, and why I talk about it with them. It's the dirty little secret and it doesn't have to be.

He went on to explain that he had been dating a woman and about three weeks in she told him she has herpes. He told me he really liked her but he couldn't get over it, he couldn't get past it and he broke up with her.

I responded by saying I understood the fear, and the unknown, and it's his prerogative to break up with her. I said relationships don't work out for whatever reason, but I didn't question him about how much research he had done. Nor did I suggest maybe he hadn't really liked her that much to begin with if he couldn’t get past herpes.

Again he told me how bold he thought I was for telling people I have herpes. And I asked him why he was scared of getting herpes. He responded by saying he didn't want to die. I said well that's AIDS, this is herpes! They are very different things. No one dies from herpes.

He said really?! I said no, no one dies from herpes unless they commit suicide from the shock, the stigma, or the feelings of shame, despair, loss of dreams, etc. But no one dies from getting and having herpes.


Tweetable:  “No one dies from herpes.” - Alexandra Harbushka

He asked how it impacts my life, having herpes. I said honestly it doesn't really. Yeah I get outbreaks and they don't feel good, they hurt. But does it really impact my life? No.

I also brought up my fiance: I said he does not care one bit that I have it. This gentleman said I don't believe you. I said no, really he doesn't care. It's not a big deal. It doesn't get in the way of our friendship and it doesn't get in the way of our sexual relationship.

The gentleman said I can't believe he doesn't judge you for it, or worry he's going to get it. I said no, he doesn't. I can guarantee it is not an issue for him. It's a matter of having an understanding of what the virus is, and a relationship with the person you are having sex with, and understanding the pros and cons of the virus. We all have viruses we pass to each other (like the common cold). The herpes virus just happens to have a huge stigma attached to it.

What was also interesting, as I continued this conversation with this man, was that he told me he gets cold sores. I said so you have herpes. He said no I get cold sores. I said yeah, that's one form of herpes. He said well, yeah I guess. I said so you mean to tell me you have herpes and someone you were dating and really liked also had herpes. But when she told you she had herpes you broke up with her because you didn't want to come to reality of having herpes yourself.

Now as you're reading these words and/or listening to me talk about this, please understand I'm not trying to alienate you or anyone else. Nor am I trying to make fun of you or anyone else. I'm saying this is an exact example of a lack of education. It never dawned on this man that if he had oral herpes it might be a similar type of virus as genital herpes. He thought he was going to die from genital herpes, yet he already carries the strain of oral herpes.

He got it when I told him the statistics: 2 out of 3 people have HSV-1 (oral herpes) and 1 out of 6 have HSV-2 (genital herpes). When I gave him those numbers I could see him thinking and realizing he didn't understand it. And that's the beauty of talking about herpes - the awareness it brings!

Whether you have herpes or don't, you are here and are learning. Maybe you're listening because you are in the same situation as the gentleman I was talking to at the event, someone you love has herpes and you want to date that person but you don't know much about herpes. Or maybe you have herpes and have had it for a long time but don't know much about it or how to talk to people about it, and you are back in the dating scene again so you have to talk about it.

I'm glad you are here and are listening and are getting the information so you can live your life. Thank you for talking about this, and thank you to the man at the conference for talking to me so I can share the story with all of you. Wherever you are in your journey I can help you, I guarantee it. Get in touch with me about your story and what you need, after you listen to episode 53 of Life With Herpes.

Keep in touch with Alexandra Harbushka

Join the community

If you are ready to join a community of people who are living with herpes also then you will want to join our slack group. It is FREE and it is a great way to find the support and comfort that you are looking for. Click here and join our community. You will receive a slack invitation as soon as you sign up. See you in there.

Ways you can support the Life With Herpes show

And if you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it for you, please give the Life With Herpes show a review. It is a way to pay it forward to fellow friends who are living with herpes. You can Subscribe, Rate and Review the show through your iTunes app or on the desktop. Seriously, it helps out a lot more than it is a hassle for you. You see, iTunes has an algorithm that organically promotes the show, so the more ratings, and reviews the Life With Herpes Show receives then the higher it gets ranked. This is your way of paying it forward and helping someone find the show who really needs it. Oh, and you can totally use a fake name, so don’t worry about a friend finding you on the iTunes review. Talking about herpes needs to be spread as far and wide as possible. You are totally a part of this movement so THANK YOU!  Subscribe, Rate and Review

Episode Resources





There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!