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“the gift that keeps on giving”

How the stigma behind herpes is often more damaging than the virus itself

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Herpes often bears the brunt of STI jokes.

Sometimes referred to as “the gift that keeps on giving,” or “the only thing that doesn’t stay in Vegas,” the herpes virus gets a good amount of publicity. But in all seriousness, it’s time that we better understand this virus.

Herpes is a lot more common than you might think. According to the World Health Organization, more than two-thirds of the world’s under-50 population is estimated to be infected with the more prevalent of two herpes viruses.

Herpes can be caused by one of two types of the human herpes simplex virus: herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 most commonly causes blisters around the mouth, including what we all know as “cold sores.” HSV-2, on the other hand, is usually associated with genital sores or lesions.

While each virus has its infectious preference, both types can affect either area, and are becoming increasingly related to one another.

A new study by the UW School of Medicine published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases reveals a blurring line between the two types of human herpes simplex virus.

Researchers found that HSV-1 and HSV-2 are recombining, forming new versions of the herpes virus. This may have negative implications for the development of an HSV vaccine if the live HSV-2 vaccine recombines with already circulating HSV-1 strains.

“The reason that these viruses can recombine is that they are so similar,” Amanda Casto, a researcher in the study and senior fellow in the Division of the Infectious Diseases at the UW School of Medicine, said.

These new findings add a layer of complexity to our discussion about herpes and whether or not your cold sore is something to be worried about.

The best way to advocate for your own sexual health is to get STI tested. Whether you have symptoms or not, it is important that you get tested after every sexual partner. Herpes can be spread asymptomatically, meaning it’s contagious even when there are no visible symptoms.

Even so, many college students choose to forgo STI testing as a result of the stigma associated with such infections. However, when it comes to herpes, the shame that comes with the virus is often more damaging than the physical consequences.

“[Herpes] is limited in its implications,” Patricia Atwater, director of health promotion at Hall Health, said. “We attach so much stigma to what is really just a virus. We need to process [this stigma] socially, individually, and in our relationships to understand its ramifications on our self-esteem and how we live our lives.”

According to Atwater, one of the best ways university students can protect themselves from herpes and other STIs is to have more open, honest conversations with their sexual partners as well as their physicians.

While these conversations may be difficult, they are certainly worthwhile.

If you or your partner have already been diagnosed with herpes, Atwater suggests taking an antiviral suppressant medication. This may decrease viral shedding by 50%, halving your chances of transmission. Secondly, she suggests using a barrier method.

“In general, it is a good idea to use a barrier method when having sex, no matter what kind of sex you may be having,” Atwater said. “That could look like using condoms, dental dams, or finger cots.”

Taking preventative measures to protect yourself from herpes is important. Once you have it, the virus lives in your system forever, showing symptoms intermittently. However, if you have already been diagnosed with herpes, it doesn’t have to stop you from having a healthy sex life.

“There is no reason why someone [diagnosed with herpes] couldn’t lead a very happy, healthy sex life that is enjoyable for them or their partner(s),” Atwater expressed.

Finally, Atwater encourages students to take care of their overall physical and mental health. When you take care of your body, your immune system is stronger, and you may be less likely to contract herpes. This could look like practicing good sleep hygiene, eating often and well, keeping your stress levels down, and other self-care measures.

At the end of the day, herpes isn’t fun, but it’s also not the end of the world.

Reach contributing writer Katie Pattenaude at development@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @KatiePattenaude

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(8) comments

marrisonhansen290

God bless Dr. Okasi for his marvelous work in my life, I was diagnosed of HERPES since 2017 and I was taking my medications, I wasn't satisfied i needed to get the HERPES out of my system, I searched out some possible cure for HERPES i saw a comment about Dr. Okasi, how he cured HERPES,DIABETES,HIV,EX_LOVER BACK and CANCER with his herbal medicine, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked for solutions, he started the remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine I took the medicine as prescribed by him and 14 days later i was cured from HERPES, Dr. Okasi truly you are great, do you need his help also? Why don’t you contact him through his EMAIL: okasiherbalsolution @ outlook. com.

marrisonhansen290

Am Chen Roger by name, i was diagnosed with Herpes 4 years ago i lived in pain with the knowledge that i wasn't going to ever be well again i contacted so many herbal doctors on this issue and wasted a large sum of money but my condition never got better i was determined to get my life back so one day i saw Mr. Morrison Hansen post on how Dr. Okasi saved him from the VIRUS with herbal medicine i contacted Dr. Okasi on his Email: okasiherbalsolution @ outlook. com we spoke on the issue i told him all that i went through and he told me not to worry that everything will be fine again so he prepared the medicine and send it to me and told me how to use it, after 14 days of usage I went to see the doctor for test,then the result was negative, am the happiest Man on earth now thanks to Dr. Okasi God bless you....

denalucia01

I want to give a testimony on how I got cured from Herpes Virus. Few months back I was having some symptoms . I went to see a doctor and many blood tests was done on me, later on I was told I had Herpes. My doctor told me that there's no cure for Herpes I felt bad, I went online searching for a possible cure for Herpes virus, I saw a post of Dr. Okasi a herbal doctor that's helping people get cured from HIV, HEPATITIS B, CANCER e.t.c. I contacted him and I told him how I'm feeling he said his herbal medicine can cure me. He sent me the medicine and I received the medicine some days after he sent it, i took the medicine as prescribed by him. Before the completion of the medication the symptoms stopped. I went to the doctor and carried out another blood test, surprisingly I was negative. I haven't had any symptoms anymore. Dr. Okasi is great, and his herbal medicine has no side effects. You can reach him on his Email: okasiherbalsolution @ outlook. com.

denalucia01

I want to give a testimony on how I got cured from Herpes Virus. Few months back I was having some symptoms . I went to see a doctor and many blood tests was done on me, later on I was told I had Herpes. My doctor told me that there's no cure for Herpes I felt bad, I went online searching for a possible cure for Herpes virus, I saw a post of Dr. Okasi a herbal doctor that's helping people get cured from HIV, HEPATITIS B, CANCER e.t.c. I contacted him and I told him how I'm feeling he said his herbal medicine can cure me. He sent me the medicine and I received the medicine some days after he sent it, i took the medicine as prescribed by him. Before the completion of the medication the symptoms stopped. I went to the doctor and carried out another blood test, surprisingly I was negative. I haven't had any symptoms anymore. Dr. Okasi is great, and his herbal medicine has no side effects. You can reach him on his Email: okasiherbalsolution @ outlook. com..

DREREDIAWA

AM HERBALIST DR EREDIAWA, I Cure Different Types Of Human Infections And Diseases Using Natural Roots And Herbs. I’m also a professional spell caster and my major areas of concentration are Sexually transmitted infections (STI), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STD) e.g; herpes 1&2, HPV, diabetes 1&2, Hepatitis B, HIV,Halitosis also referred to as Bad Breath, and venereal diseases (VD)” contact me on my website drerediawaherblahome.wordpress.com or email me: drerediawaherbs@gmail.com

Naiahmed

Getting cured from HSV 1 using herbal medicine was a dream come through after 6 year's of been diagnosed. I got contact on an article and made talks with Doc via his Whatsapp channel +2348110708828 .i also checked on his website. Today I huge you to write to him just like me and be cured . qqw

DREREDIAWA

AM HERBALIST DR EREDIAWA, I Cure Different Types Of Human Infections And Diseases Using Natural Roots And Herbs. I’m also a professional spell caster and my major areas of concentration are Sexually transmitted infections (STI), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STD) e.g; herpes 1&2, diabetes 1&2, Hepatitis B, HIV, Bad Breath, HPV and venereal diseases (VD)” contact me on my website drerediawaherblahome.wordpress.com or email me: drerediawaherbs@gmail.com

ericaswift

Hello, everyone! I'm here to educate you and express my gratitude to God for leading me to the wonderful and most safe cure for HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS (HSV).

I was positive to the deadly virus called HERPES and I lost hope because I was rejected even by my closet friends and family members

I searched online to know about cure for HERPES and I read a testimony on how a lady was cured of HSV-2, so I decided to contact the same herbalist because I know that nature has the power to heal everything.

I contacted him to know how he can help me and he told me not to worry that he will help me with the natural herbs from God.

He prescribed his special herbal remedy which he called cleanser and I used the med as he instructed me (MORNING and EVENING) for a month and some days by so doing I was cured.

It's really like a dream but I'm so happy.

That's the reason i decided to also add more comment of Him so that more can be save just like me.

And if you need his help, you can email him on oseweagbonifo@gmail.com. or check on them on their website: herpesredemption.com And please when you get cured do not hesitate to tell people about this so that more can be saved.

Mind you, i was never asked to do this but i put it upon myself to do this advert because i believe in life saving and that God is in support of it that's why He created the herbs the herbalist are using to help mankind.

Again my gratitude goes to Dr O/IK may God bless you.

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