“CDC estimates that, annually, 776,000 people in the United States get new herpes infections. Genital herpes infection is common in the United States. Nationwide, 16.2%, or about one out of six, people aged 14 to 49 years have genital HSV-2 infection. Over the past decade, the percentage of persons with genital herpes infection in the United States has remained stable.

Transmission from an infected male to his female partner is more likely than from an infected female to her male partner. Because of this, genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of five women aged 14 to 49 years) than in men (about one out of nine men aged 14 to 49 years).

Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected.

A woman with genital herpes may be offered antiviral medication from 36 weeks gestation through delivery to reduce the risk of an outbreak. At the time of delivery a woman with genital herpes should undergo careful examination. If herpes symptoms are present at delivery, a cesarean delivery (also called a ‘C-section’) is usually performed.

It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms, he or she can still infect sex partners. Sex partners of infected persons should be advised that they may become infected and they should use condoms to reduce the risk.”

I would like everyone to take a moment out of their time to read this.

I took a few facts out of an article online at http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm if you’d like to read the entire thing.

This is important.

Over the years, I’ve heard so much slander and hate focused on one word, “herpes.” I hear it on TV, in books, in health class, everywhere. “Only whores have herpes.” “Herpes makes you dirty and skanky.” “If you have herpes, you’re diseased and can never have kids or a partner.” Some where down the line HSV-2 was turned from a virus, into a life altering disease. Let me tell you a little bit about HSV-2.

First, I have HSV-2. I’m female (Miss Anonymous), 20 years old, living with my boyfriend (who will be referred to as simply “B” in all future posts) in a committed, monogamous relationship. Before B and I entered a relationship, I had sexual intercourse with three other men and used protection every time. I am not a whore or a skank. Let me disclose, there are type types of Herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 is oral and HSV-2 is genital. I found out about two months ago after having an outbreak, which is the actual sores on one’s genital area. The outbreak was painful, to say the least and I was terrified. After getting a diagnosis from a nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood, I was give Acyclovir, which is the most common anti-viral used to treat HSV. After about four days, the outbreak was almost completely gone. Both B and I did our research and then went and got blood tests. Both tests came back positive for HSV-2. B had never had any signs before, ever.  Now, B had a lot of sexual partners before me so he blamed himself. However, if you look at my facts, there is really no way to tell who had it first. One is six people aged 14 to 49 have genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission from an infected male to his female partner is more likely. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected. And of course, the blatant fact that condoms don’t prevent it, they only reduce the risk. He didn’t know he had it, until my first break out I didn’t know I had it, there was no way to know who had it first and gave it to the other. So the blame game stopped there.

Second, I take medicine everyday to prevent breakouts. B and I are still in a committed, monogamous relationship. We still have sex. We still eat the same things. B still smokes. I still enjoy chocolate and peanut butter on a regular basis. I watch more how I handle stressful situations but that’s all. That’s the only thing that’s changed.

Third, I can and will have children in the future. As long as I’m careful, and take the necessary precautions, my child won’t be born with HSV.

Next, after reading this, I hope that everyone who is sexually active goes out and gets a blood std test preformed. Without an outbreak, and blood test is the only way to get diagnosed. It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms, he or she can still infect sex partners. Do it for you and your partner(s). HSV-2 will not go away, there is no cure for it currently, and it’s not something that should be ignored or put on the back burner. It won’t change your life dramatically, it will only make your more careful, honest, and aware. 

Lastly, having HSV-2 does not make anyone less of a person. Herpes is not a bad word, it should not have such a strong negative connotation. No, it’s not a good thing, but it doesn’t make someone dirty or bad either. It doesn’t change who I am, how I feel, how I act, it won’t change my morals or goals or relationships. All having herpes does for me is make me a stronger person. Stronger because I can fight it, and I can raise awareness about it. I want to change opinion about the word herpes from “a dirty, life-altering disease that only whores and dirty people have” to “herpes simplex virus, a virus that even the safest people can get that will change how you live your life, but won’t ever change who you are.”

Yours Truly, Miss Anonymous

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