Have you just been diagnosed with genital herpes or have you had it for ages? How do you feel? Do you think it changes anything, or everything? I’m here to tell you that you might have the wrong idea.
When I was diagnosed, I thought my dating life was over.
I felt shame and guilt. I thought I was a bad person, so bad things had happened to me. I thought nobody would want me. I wasted two years in my thirties… I could not have been more wrong.
You might feel the same way now. If you do, read on and perhaps I will be able to persuade you to look at herpes differently.
Believe me: herpes simplex is way more common than you think. If you’ve been carrying around this deep dark secret for years – or only just caught it – know this: you are not alone!
By age 25, we know that one in ten have type 2. And because of oral sex, many of the 6 in ten with type 1 may have it genitally. In fact, more than half new diagnoses of genital herpes are caused by type 1. [ref 1] [ref. 2]
Over 85% of women between 35-54 have type 1 and lots of the type 1 is genital – and over 18% have type 2. In men the figures are 8% – 10% lower than in women. [Ref. Cunningham]
Most of these people are carriers of herpes and don’t even know they have it and may pass it on when they have very mild, undiagnosed symptoms – an itchy spot or slight rash.
So, it’s time to clear up all the misconceptions about herpes. Read the full website… Herpes doesn’t have to be a life-long problem… It may just fade away.
Don’t allow shame and worry to eat away and sap your self-esteem and self-confidence around potential new partners. Confide in someone you trust – or talk to one of our helpline volunteers who all have it themselves. Speaking about it to others before you get to the point of talking to a new partner is good – it will normalise it for you.
So, what happens when you finally meet that special person? Sooner or later you may want to have to have a conversation about it. You don’t have to, but if you feel as though you should, then you won’t relax until you do. We have a leaflet, “Talking to a New Partner” that is packed with good advice and tips – free to new members.
We have done the research and we can tell you that fewer than one in five partners will be put off. In spite of the hype, most people won’t take herpes nearly as seriously as you do. [Research by HVA found that only 17% of potential partners rejected one of our members when s/he talks about this…]
One way to think about it is to ask yourself how a person would behave if they got occasional facial cold sores. Would they even consider mentioning it at all? Would anyone expect them to?
Lots more is discussed in our event “First Day of the Rest of Your Life” on 28th September.