The Herpes Stigma
Dr. Anna Wald, a professor at the University of Washington, talked about herpes and said; herpes has become a stigma in our society. Even, it doesn’t include HIV but still perceived as the social evil by many of us. People with stigma usually don’t disclose the fact because it’s shameful and considered as personality damaging fact.
Genital herpes is not something serious like HIV/Aids and doesn’t incur any complications for a fatal illness. Usually, people with the genital herpes are not considering of victims, but rather they are known as stupid, lepers or sluts.
People with genital herpes are often ridiculed for having the symptoms. Most of the individuals with genital herpes try to avoid the public and don’t want people to know about their condition.
Approximately, one among the six people has genital herpes in the United States. A vast population of Americans is suffering from genital herpes, and it is one of the major illnesses in the Western culture. It harms the people mentally and socially. People with genital herpes associate themselves with the monster, so such individuals with genital herpes are perceived as dangerous and predators in the community.
It is the perception among the people that someone with HSV is considered as dirty while someone who has simpler herpes is perceived as clean. Though, it is clear that herpes arises due to bacteria or virus rather than clean or dirty metaphor. Many people see dirtiness in the sexual connotation, so that is why herpes has become a metaphor for the people associated with herpes.
Dealing with the herpes
Individuals with the stigma think negative about themselves and it quite frustrating to believe it to true and it is a bitter experience. People with genital herpes believe that the world for them has ended with the stigma, and it’s annoying.
However, dismal news about the virus comes from the majority of those people who only love to share stories. The narratives of people who infected from the virus are entirely different. They boldly reject the stigmas associated with the virus and struggle hard to live a normal life. It sounds more complicated to deal with the stigma and shame associated with the disease rather than treat the illness itself.
How to Overcome Stigma
- Think of the people with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and supports them with the hearts. Appreciate their struggle for the efforts they are doing for recovering from the infection.
- Stop ridiculing people with herpes and come forward to defend them if someone hurts them and make fun of them.
- Pay attention to the words that have become metaphor like monster, dirty, leper or clean. Try to bring awareness to the people and start educating people around you.
- Reject the stereotypes and avoid humiliating the people with herpes. Don’t blame people for the virus and accommodate them to live in the society peacefully.
- Share your story if you are infected with herpes, don’t share it publically but use the internet to share your experience with the people and help others to overcome the complications of herpes. Let the people know that you are not alone in this world and herpes doesn’t end your world.
- Help the people to protect from herpes virus and infection, bring awareness as much as you can in the society to change the stereotype world.
- Helping the infected and brining awareness into the community about the disease is the only way to end the epidemic and promoting healthy culture in the society.