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Why Do Herpes Sufferers Say the “Stigma” is Worse Than the Diseases?

5 Mins read
  • 44 percent of people, therefore would end relationships with their STD infected partner.
  • About 40 percent of Americans consider this infection life-threatening.
  • When you are about to tell your partner that you have HSV, you first of all need to be immune to societal stigma.

Herpes is a pandemic infection affecting nearly two in every three people globally. Yet it is the most socially unacceptable ailment around the world. 

People treat Herpes sufferers like they are untouchables and that they don’t deserve respect or to be their friends. This discrimination facilitates the Inferiority complex in herpes patients. 

An online poll suggests that an average American adult ranks HIV/AIDS top stigmatic disease while HSV holds its second place. 

It is also learnable through this poll that Genital Herpes-negative individuals don’t like to be in a relationship with someone who has herpes. They prefer breaking up with them for the very cause. This poll was funded by the Top pharmaceutical company “Novartis.”

A study by Zavamed setting forth a disheartening trend where it claims that almost 44 percent of people, therefore would end relationships with their STD infected partner. While on the flip turn, the relieving treat is that those remaining would stand by their partner no matter what.

The Consequences Explanation | Genital Herpes Stigma

Herpes stigma is ridiculous and is a tangible threat for the Herpes positive individuals. 

People blacklist them from society and also prefer to create a safe distance. They lack social support, but discrimination remains at peak. 

The societal messages of shame and self-inflicted stigma provoke an extreme breakdown of the mind, body, and soul. 

A study was conducted to determine the consequences of HSV stigma by Carney, Bunker, Ross, Mindel, and Ikkos. 91 HSV 2 positives were enrolled for the study. In this study, nearly 62 percent of individuals found amid severe psychological complaints. 

Stigma can force you to be asocial, hostile, and in some cases, one may think of committing suicide. 

The impacts of stigma are not limited to just being psychologically ill. Genital Herpes stigma is detrimental to your physical health as well.

It has been observed that people who suffer extreme social stigma can face the maladaptive situation. They may excessively drink, use narcotics drugs, perform risky sex, and overeat, which may stimulate other illnesses. 

The immune system is vital to prevent herpes’ recurrences, but chronic psychological complaints severely downgrade this defense system’s functionality.

Six months of study by Cohen, Zegans, Kemeny, and Conant found that psychological complaints such as stress cause decay in CD4+ and CD8+ cells. 

Another analysis found that persistent negativity, anxiety, and other negative psychological complaints bring more Herpes outbreaks in persons lives. 

Herpes Stigma gradually takes over your thinking, and you are left with self-inflicted stigma, deep sorrow, negativity, and discrimination.

The consequences of Genital Herpes stigma also put society at risk. 

According to a study published by “London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital” in 2007, stigma is a prime impediment that threatens people not to disclose their Herpes status.

It advances the transmission of the Herpes virus in society. 

Genital Herpes Stigma | Exploring The Root Cause

Why is there an indelible stigma around herpes?

Well, let me explain, folks.

Herpes is thought to be a dirty entity for years. Most people fear contracting herpes; hence they prefer maintaining a safe distance from HSV positives. Though, the reality is, they fear the virus that they might have already owned.

It is often seen that the stigma only associated with the diseases that are either chronic sexually transmitted infection (i.e., HIV And Herpes) or the conditions are life-threatening and transferable. Some illnesses that look dirty are also highly stigmatized. 

Genital Herpes stigma also nurtures in the absence of knowledge. 

The abysmal system of sex education in the USA fueling the stigma around S.T.Is like Herpes and HIV. Least people in the USA have access to sex education. Even if they have access to comprehensive sex education, they are just guided to get tested, but they are usually not taught what to do if they tested positive. 

Another source of Genital Herpes stigma is a stereotype of Pop Culture. When we hear about herpes on Television or in a film, it’s contemplated a sort of insult most of the time. 

Your physician typically does not recommend you to get tested for herpes. There is a common consideration among doctors that you should not get tested if you are not having symptoms. 

How To Tell Someone If You Have Genital Herpes?

Telling someone you have cold sores or you are HSV positive can seem problematic for you. There could be any reason, but the fear of rejection is a prominent one. 

However, if you are dating with Herpes Infection, it is your moral responsibility to tell your partner about your HSV status. 

When you are about to tell your partner that you have HSV, you first of all need to be immune to societal stigma. You need to be confident and be yourself. Wash away the self-created shame and inferiority complex. 

Educate yourself as much as you can about this infection. This will help you answer any question that your partner might ask during your revelation. You can encourage your partner to read about CDC fact Sheets that will better assist you. 

Telling your partner with a positive note by stating that you want to be as honest as you can in this relationship WILL DEFINITELY HELP. You can prefer telling about “cold sore” initially and gradually advance the topic. 

You might encounter difficulty in establishing the conversation, but it is necessary to do it. This will help you prevent being sued by your partner. 

Herpes outbreak is disheartening, especially if you are planning an intimate night. But, avoiding sex during an outbreak is necessary as this is when the transmission chances of HSV could be very high. 

Please ask your partner not to have sex; instead, you can watch movies you & your partner like. Or you can go for a night out.

Story Of Lee

Lee is going to turn 33, and she has a Genital Herpes for 5 years now. She shared her story with Us:

Like most Herpes individuals, getting news of positive herpes diagnosis has jolted lee from inside out. She told us sharing her experience that she was ashamed and depressed for an extended period. 

Then she started finding a suitable treatment for herself. She was prescribed Famvir and Zovirax every day. Valtrex is another medication that worked well on me. I never wanted future outbreaks, so I did everything I could to prevent such occurrences. 

I somehow rebuilt my thinking with the passing time and decided to look forward instead of sticking to Herpes Stigma. 

What I learned during my Herpes journey is that having social support makes a big difference. This helps to overcome Herpes stigma. 

Lee further stated that Dating with Herpes initially was not easy. But One day, I met a nice guy who not only understood my suffering but, from the beginning, he was supportive. 

I confessed before him that I have skin rashes and wounds. I have herpes, to be honest. But I don’t have intentions to frighten you. It will not kill you as it is relatively common in the world. 

Herpes is not a big deal for me, but I want you to know about my sufferings. I know what to do when I receive outbreaks, and I will always keep protecting you. 

I was surprised that I could convince him, and you know what, he wanted to marry me now. 


The stigma around herpes seems indelible until the society steps up for a change. The change does not occur immediately, but with proper sex knowledge and aligning the mind towards acceptance, herpes might help in this regard. 

Give your child a proper set of information about this infection. It would be best to educate them about how it spreads, what precautions they require to implement to avoid the transmission, and not stigmatize it as it is a fairly common disease. 

About 40 percent of Americans consider this infection life-threatening. That’s disastrous for society. However, this notion about herpes is incorrect. It would be best if you educated yourself that this disease is not fatal. 

The abysmal sex education in the United States needs a positive change. Sex education can dramatically pave a path to diminish HSV stigma. 

Stereotype Pop culture should stop looking herpes as stigma.

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US Patent Office Accorded Patent to Ayurvedic Herpes Remedy