Listen to the rest on Audible:Herpes Not So Confidential
Okay, you can laugh, but this is no ordinary confession. HSV and HPF vie for being the most popular STD in the world. There’s more people with herpes than all the other viral STDs combined.
In fact, after the common cold, herpes is THE most common virus a human being can have.
You'd think a fact like this would make people treat it like a public health concern instead of some dreadful sexual secret.
But oh no!— there's so much profit and fear to be gained by keeping everyone in turmoil.
The fact is, herpes, like the common cold, can be passed through sexual contact, but that's the "sexual" extent of it! Sexual shame has demonized this virus beyond all scientific recognition.
I decided to devote my In Bed audio show to herpes this week, because I'm blown away by the number of my own friends, who I thought "knew better," have been suffering deeply with chronic outbreaks.
Herpes is not life threatening, it's as common as dirt— but it sure is a drag if you don’t know what you’re dealing with.
Last week I talked to two old friends who broke down crying because their relationships have in part, fallen apart over this issue. I’m going to share with you what I told them:
Get Educated— and get treated. These two steps are going to remove virtually all of your herpes-related problems and your're going to kick yourself for having wasted ONE minute before you got wise.
My story today, is mostly for people who already know they have herpes, 'cause they've had the outward symptoms.
However, for those of you who are puzzled by all the fuss, here's the deal:
You can carry the virus for years and years without having an outbreak. You can be "shedding" it, that is to say, contagious, without noticing symptoms, because you either don't know what the sensations are, or you've never had an "attack" that aroused your suspicions.
Since we're all going to the doctor for one thing or another these days, ask your doctor for the specific herpes antibodies test. Then you'll know, and you can make a HUGE difference with that knowledge. If you haven’t been tested for the herpes virus, you don’t know if you have the antibodies or not. So don’t be smug. If you are sexually active, (i.e, not life-long celibate) find out.
If you participate in sports with a lot of sweaty body contact, you're another likely candidate. Herpes is a big issue in the wrestling world-- and every playing field where athletes have frequent skin contact.
Notice, that the puritanical shame that envelops "sexy" herpes discussions does not infiltrate the sports arena! No one says, "How dare you didn't tell me you were a wrestler the first day we met. You slut!" The Olympics continue without being accused of depravity.
I suppose the biggest myth about herpes, which I believed most of my life, was that getting a "cold sore" on my mouth was just some childhood nuisance, but "herpes" was something you got from sex.
Nope. Herpes is an equal-opportunist. It spreads fairly easily; it's not like HIV.
There is no substantial difference between mouth and genital herpes, it’s the same family virus.
Some conservative in the medical PR Dept. gave lay people different names for the virus above the waist (Herpes Simplex 1) and below the waist (Herpes Simplex 2). But in terms of the scientific documentation, herpes is herpes. In fact, it's part of the same family of virus as chicken pox and shingles. You can get herpes anywhere on your body, not just on your genitals or face.
Once you have the virus, it's a touchy little thing. Stress of all kinds can initiate painful and distressing herpes symptoms.
Sunburn can give you an outbreak.
Having a cold or any other illness.
An emotional upset.
More women than men have it. It's worse for women because our periods trigger it. You’re not dreaming, sweetheart, that HSV attacks like clockwork once a month!
The other nonsense about herpes, which everyone knows who's had more than a couple outbreaks, is that the whole thing is nothing but a skin lesion.
No Way! Some of the worst herpes symptoms are the flu-like symptoms. You ache all over, especially in your joints. Your glands swell up. You have a headache that's killing you. Your skin just "hurts." This is all before the famous "sore" even turns up.
You may have had intimate relations of any kind to be exposed to herpes, (just like a flu) but after that, herpes will be triggered by all manner of things.
PAY ATTN: There is NOTHING that universally stops the outbreaks, except one specific viral-suppressant drug, acyclovir, that is available only by prescription.
It makes me mad that con artists give people hope that snake oil will cure the virus, because it won't.
The ONLY drugs that, without fail, foil herpes attacks are Famvir and Valtrex. Period. They're both forms of "acyclovir," the generic name. They don't eliminate the virus, but they stop it from getting into motion. They keep it dormant.
That may sound like a disappointment, but it isn't.
By foiling the virus's action, you will feel herpes-free, for all practical purposes.
With generic acyclovir, you have to take it a couple times a day, and it's cheap. Valtrex is once a day and more expensive. They both should be over the counter, and free to anyone who needs them!
I used to take my pills every day because I din't want to ever have another outbreak. Ever. Again. The prophylactic effect was exactly what I wanted.
Nowadays, I know my symptoms so well that the moment my arm or leg feels sore, if I'm out in the sun too long, if I get ONE sniffle, one scratchy throat moment, if I've stressed my body in any special way: BOOM. I take a pill. Virus is squelched!
If you haven't tried these drugs, you are going to be floored when you do. They work the same on everyone, and are tolerated well by everyone.
You, too, will be like the happy people in the Valtrex ad, dancing all around as if they didn't have a care in the world. You are going to stop feeling like you are sick with the flu all the time.
Do you have a responsibility to tell your sex partners you have herpes? This is a red herring question. It implies sexual guilt and confession— that you're harboring a secret because of your promiscuous past.
Start from this point instead: Assume everyone already has herpes. Assume that it could have been contracted any number of ways. You will be far closer to the truth than thinking you're something special.
If you're like most herpes sufferers, you're in a regular relationship, and your partner has it too. Welcome to the world of HSV statistics. Married couples pass it back and forth, driving each other nuts until they discover they both need to be treated.
The question is, what have you done about it? What ARE you going to do about it? Does your lover know what's up with herpes and their own self-care?
I use condoms/safe sex precautions with new lovers whose health histories I'm not familiar with. Duh!
I'm use acyclovir regularly, and I have not had an outbreak since I started the drug.
When I feel the slightest of flu symptoms, I stop kissing people and start washing my hands.
These actions are more critical than anything I could "say."
With my behavioral precautions, it's virtually impossible that I could "give" someone herpes— it's been reduced to a theoretical rather than actual possibility.
So no, I don't "talk" about herpes the moment I get asked out on a date. It's more important to do the right thing than to wring your hands and "confess."
As you get to know a new lover, of course your history is going to come up— a variety of issues. Treat it as commonly and calmly as you would anything else. I know, easier said than done. Print out this story and start leafleting.
This shouldn't be a one-man, one-woman, campaign. It's a political scandal that a PANDEMIC is treated like an individual failing.
Herpes info and treatment should be free.
Acyclovir should be OTC— you can't get high from it! LOL!
Doctors across the board should have up-to-date info on the virus. Herpes is still being treated like some nasty nymphomaniac disease that we’re all supposed to be shocked to discover. What baloney. The more people start speaking openly about it, the sooner we’ll have public health policy that addresses it with sanity. We need a vaccine, not an abstinence lecture.
I want to reach out to any of you who have herpes, or who have a lover/family member with herpes... don't keep suffering. Dry your tears! Listen to my broadcast, check out my links above, get an appointment with a STD clinic or sex-positive doctor. Get your 'script and start the happy dance.
Note: Many links I've provided above are connected to HerpesDoctor.com, which I think has fantastic, comprehensive information for the layperson.
However, they also run "Google Adsense" ads on their site from all the phony herpes cure providers, which directly contradict the solid medical information they present! Ignore them.