I’m on a mission to dispel the lie that having herpes is something to ashamed of. I’m committed to helping people who have herpes realize that their lives can be just as normal and awesome as they’ve ever wanted. Instead of trying to change culture, all we have to do is wake people up — one at a time — from illusions and false ideas around what it means to have herpes in the first place. And one of the ways to do that is through education.
The reality of herpes is not what most people think. So we’ve prepared this short video as a basic overview of some important herpes facts and perspectives to set the record straight.
Before we get started, if you or someone you care about is suffering because of herpes. Come visit us at the Herpes Opportunity forums to get the guidance and support that you need to claim the awesome life that you deserve.
Sign up for the newsletter. Download our free e-book and handouts to start your healing journey right now.
So what's the real deal with herpes?
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting herpes. Period. It comes with the territory. As beautiful as sex can be, it’s also risky. It’s important to weigh both of these things together as reality.
It’s a myth that only sexually promiscuous people get herpes: It’s an equal opportunity virus. You can get herpes whether you’ve only slept with 1 person or 1000.
But herpes is nothing to be paranoid about. Yes, the occasional herpes outbreak can be annoying, but the truth is, it’s a totally manageable, simple skin condition.
Look, nobody *wants* to get herpes — it’s not one of those “designer STDs” that everyone’s rushing to collect — but if you do get it, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world — or even big deal. It’s the same virus that causes cold sores and in the same family of viruses that cause chicken pox, shingles and mono.
So let’s really put this whole thing into perspective.
If you HAVE herpes …
- Know that you’re not alone! 16% of Americans ages 14-49 have genital herpes (that’s at least 25 million people!); and that number is growing by 2,000 new diagnoses daily.
- 80% of Americans carry the virus that causes cold sores — genital herpes is just a different strain of the same virus
- If everyone who has genital herpes in the US were to hold hands, that chain of people would reach around the circumference of the Earth; this group of people is also larger than the population of Australia!
If you don’t have herpes …
- Know that 80% of people who have herpes don’t know that they have it. So whoever you happen to be having sex with, ask them if they’ve gotten tested specifically for herpes!
- Why? Clinics don’t include herpes blood tests in the full STD panels by default, so herpes tests have to specifically be requested.
- A lot of people mistake what is actually a herpes outbreak for jock itch or an ingrown hair. Denial can be a strong motivator to stay in the dark.
There are 2 different types of herpes.
The first type of herpes is HSV-1:
- HSV-1 is responsible for both oral herpes (also known as “cold sores”) AND genital herpes
- HSV-1 prefers the cooler, drier climate of the mouth, but can also be found on the genitals
- HSV-1 can also be passed to the genitals via oral sex, so the same virus that causes cold sores on the mouth can also become genital herpes (In fact, 50% of new genital herpes cases these days are from people with cold sores performing oral sex!)
The second type of herpes is HSV-2:
- HSV-2 prefers the warm, moist climate of the genitals and rarely is found on the mouth.
What are the risks of herpes transmission?
- Herpes is spread via direct skin-to-skin contact (not toilet seats, towels, sharing drinks, nothing like that!)
- You can pass herpes even if there are no visible signs or symptoms (called asymptomatic viral shedding)
- Women are about twice as likely to get herpes than men because vaginas have more mucous membrane than penises. The thinner the skin membrane, the more access the virus has to enter the body.
Top 2 most important ways to minimize the spread of herpes:
- If you know you have herpes, disclose to your partners. We have an e-book and handouts at the Herpes Opportunity website that will help you with that.
- Never have any sort of sexual content during an active herpes outbreak!
Overall, there’s a 10% chance of women getting genital herpes, 4% for men.
3 ways to protect from passing herpes:
When no herpes outbreak is present,
- Wearing a condom cuts the risk by 30-50%
- Taking medication (daily suppressive therapy) cuts the risk by another 50%
- Body awareness helps the herpes-positive partner to recognize when a herpes outbreak might be starting to surface (also known as herpes prodrome symptoms); keeping an open line of communication with your partner helps minimize the risk of exposure that much more.
This means that if a condom and daily suppressive herpes medication is used, that cuts the risk of transmission to women down to 2.5% and the risk of passing herpes to men down to 1%. (To put this into perspective, there is a 1.8% chance per year of dying in a car accident.)
When I first got herpes, I thought nobody would ever want me again. I was convinced that anybody who found out would judge me and run away. I thought my dating life was over. I thought that my sex life was over. I believed that all my close relationships would be tainted or ruined. I was convinced that no one would love me and that I was doomed to being alone forever.
What I learned over time is that none of that’s really true. It’s all a lie. What I learned is there’s no reason to be ashamed, to live in fear or live in the shadows. There’s no reason to give up on the relationships or the dreams I always had for myself. There’s no reason to forget about the future and family I always wanted.
Come to the herpes opportunity and see how I — and hundreds of others — have integrated herpes into a perfectly normal, healthy and beautiful life.
Herpes is NOT a reason to give up on your hopes or your dreams or the future you’ve always wanted for yourself. It’s actually a reason to embrace your life and your circumstances more fully and with more awareness and understanding than ever before.
At the herpes opportunity, we’ve collaborated with communication, sex and relationship experts to provide you with the tools, the perspectives and the guidance you need to keep herpes from holding you back.
There’s no reason for you to be alone in this. There’s no need to suffer with this alone, or figure it all out by yourself. Join our community and connect with people from around the world who know what you’re going through.
This is your opportunity right now, not only to clear herpes as an obstacle, but to claim the life that’s more free and authentic than what you may have thought possible … even before herpes.
Sign up for the newsletter and get your free ebook and handouts. We’ll keep you connected to the support and the perspectives you need to integrate this as a perfectly normal part of your awesome life.