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Friday, August 06, 2010

Living with Herpes in a Small Town

I have spoken with and read where many people who live in a small town, struggle with their herpes diagnosis. They feel as though they need to move from their surroundings, that they will never be accepted. I used to feel this way too, early on in my herpes journey, but I've progressed to the point, where I could care a less who knows anymore. My job is secure; my co-workers know and don't really care, it doesn't impact them.

It's the people that keep quiet or don't speak out because of fear of rejection and fear of negative backlash to having herpes that perpetuate the negative stigma associated with this std.
There is a time and a place to talk about herpes. People should talk about it when they feel the need to and when it's comfortable for them to do so. AND sometimes talking about herpes when the timing is not perfect CAN and does make a difference in squashing the negative stigma associated with this std.

If you aren't willing to talk about it then you can't very well complain about the negative stigma associated with herpes - now can you?

We - the people that have herpes - have NOTHING to be ashamed of. I refuse to live in fear because of it... to me... that IS the only way to make a difference.

So, if you're concerned, you simply pick and choose who you tell. You might want to think twice about telling people that you don't know all that well. In the 23 years that I've had herpes, I've run into many forms of ignorance and prejudice aimed not only at myself, but also I've been told by a good number of people via the internet and in person as well. They range from rejection (common) to death threats - my own personal experience.

I have read stories of others who claim they have lost their job due to telling someone that they had herpes. I also know of at least one person that was black balled from her church after word got out that she had herpes. Another lady had a very negative experience after telling a man that she was interested in that she had herpes. No physical violence but the verbal abuse was rather nasty from what I recall. Yes, it can get ugly, but it sure helps to show people's true colors when they have the full deck of cards laid out in front of them.

I am all for being upfront and honest at an appropriate time but a small measure of common sense and caution are in order if you want to avoid paying the price for having something that isn't your fault in the first place.

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