Herpes Facts You Need to Know when Living with Herpes
There are a ton of myths and misinformation out there when it comes to herpes and actually living with herpes. We all have had our preconceived notions and ideas of what someone with herpes looks like, acts like and how he or she got herpes. We all made jokes at it and believed that it would never happen to us.
Well… let’s fast forward to the majority of the population having herpes. 2 out of 3 have HSV 1 - that’s 3.7 billion people and 1 out of 6 have HSV 2. It’s so unbelievably common and it’s sad that there is such a huge stigma around this. (source)
Anyways, let’s get to what you need to know when living with herpes
1. Most people have herpes and don’t know it
Yep, it’s true. 1 out of 6 people have HSV 2 and 90% of them don’t know they have it. 90% is a huge number for people not knowing they have herpes. The reason why is because most people don’t get regular outbreaks and many are asymptomatic. So they might have had a mild outbreak in the past and never gotten an other one. Or maybe it wasn’t on their genitals but under their belly button. We can get bumps and rashes from time to time and shrug them off. (source)
2. Your outbreak will go away but it is still in your body
One of the common myths is that once you have herpes you have a constant outbreak. Like it never goes away and it is always there. Well that’s not true. It does clear up in about a week. But when it goes away the virus is still in you body and you can still get outbreaks for the rest of your life. Very different from a bacterial infection where you can take an antibiotic to clear up the infection.
3. You may have had this for years before your first outbreak
The most common incubation period for herpes transmission is about 2-14 days. So typically within two weeks most people have their first outbreak. However, it’s common for people to have been infected with herpes weeks, months and even years before they have their first outbreak. I can’t tell you how many people I've spoken to who have been in monogamous relationships or have been celibate for years and all of a sudden have gotten their first outbreak.
4. Herpes is not included in the STI panel
This is one of the biggest shockers. When we go for a STD/STI check up and ask to get tested for everything herpes is not on it. You specifically have to ask for the herpes test. Why is this you ask? Well, herpes is not life threatening nor does it really cause any other health conditions. What it does do is cause mental aftermath. The medical community feels that if you are not having outbreaks then there is no reason to get tested.
5. People living with herpes have normal lives including sex lives
This is the most important in my opinion. I know I thought that my life was over when I was diagnosed with herpes back in 2011. I didn’t think that I’d be able to accomplish my goals and most importantly that I’d have to settle and marry someone I wasn’t in love with. Having herpes is normal, like I mentioned earlier the majority of the population has it. You can have the life you want and of course that includes sex. Don’t hold back or feel like you’re not an equal.
Like I said earlier, having herpes and living with herpes is normal. You’re going to be just fine and you will get through this. One of the most important things you can do is know what herpes is and what herpes is not. The worst thing you can do is turn to Google. Don't do that - the pictures are terrifying. Eek! Anyway, that’s why I created the Herpes Outbreak Toolkit. It has videos that talk you through herpes 101, ways to prevent outbreaks and even touching on how to disclose to a partner. I wish I had this when i was first diagnoses instead of a trifold pamphlet.
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