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“And sometimes I have to tell them (I have herpes) before I am ready to because of that.” She reached out to friends and family but said she felt people didn’t really understand what she was going through. Even her doctor brushed off her request for advice, telling her to look on the Internet for information.
Disclaimer: Although both women interviewed for this feature agreed the stigma surrounding herpes should be broken down, both requested to be quoted as anonymous sources as they feared for the repercussions of speaking publicly about their infections.
Still, herpes has a social stigma attached to it that for many sufferers is worse than the actual infection.
According to a 2006 online poll conducted by pharmaceutical company Novartis, the stigma surrounding herpes is second only to HIV.
A lot of people with herpes don’t feel optimistic about dating simply because of their STD.
Although the condition isn’t life-threatening, it often produces serious outbreaks which are very painful.“Many of the people who may be making jokes about herpes may in fact have it themselves and they are unaware of it,” said Mc Kay.“The idea that people who have active genital herpes infections acquired it either through promiscuous sexual behaviour is completely false.” Melanie, whose name has also been changed to protect her privacy, said her ex-boyfriend told her soon after they started dating that he had herpes.In addition, the dreadful nature of the virus makes it very hard to differentiate the disease from other skin problem.Due to this, most people tend not to get it diagnosed.