Did you know that a little over 1 in 6 people in the US between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes? And yet, even with herpes being so common, there is still a huge stigma against it. If you are someone who has herpes, you are probably all too familiar with this stigma after getting STD testing. Likely, it causes you to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable, and it also likely significantly impacts your dating life. If you are about to have sex with someone , you percent, no excuses, need to tell them you have herpes.
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Then I woke up one morning with pain around my vulva and told myself every possible explanation for what it could be—every reason that it couldn't be an STI. I arrived at the urgent-care center with my thoughts racing and heart in my stomach. Deep down, I knew it was something , but I still held onto the hope that maybe it was really just an allergic reaction to that new pair of underwear. But testing confirmed my positive herpes diagnosis—and my newfound identity as a herpes-positive woman. One word and six letters left me questioning my chance at love, acceptance, and a meaningful life. Not all the time, but a lot of the time.
Are you thinking about joining a herpes support group? Are you living with herpes? Are you worried about the physical, emotional, and sexual implications of having herpes?
It took years for Davis, founder of The STD Project , which encourages awareness and acceptance of various sexually transmitted diseases, and spokesperson for Positive Singles , a dating site for people with STDs, to come to terms with the diagnosis she got at age When she was diagnosed with herpes almost three years ago, Whitney Carlson, 29, a social media editor in Chicago, had a similar reaction. The infection, which is caused by the herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2 viruses and passed via skin-to-skin contact, can show up as a cluster of sores on the mouth area or genitals.