Life After Herpes: “Herpes Is Not the End of Life”

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Grab your attention? The post isn't an attempt to trivialize the STD instead it is an attempt to minimize judgement.

judgements

Photo: Wetsun

No Judgements Allowed

While attending a refreshingly uncivilized and brutally honest session of Q&A with Dan Savage, I found myself surprised by the frank tone applied to the usually shy conversations of sex. From the discussion of anal sex to anti-abstinence, the question and answer that stood out to me the most dealt with herpes.

Dan Savage read the question aloud, “I have herpes…and my boyfriend and I are still having sex…” Before he could finish the question, the entire mood of the audience had changed. This was the first time throughout the rather graphic Q&A session that the audience was blatantly uncomfortable: squirming in the seat, moans of sympathy and gasps of astonishment circulated through the entire auditorium. In reaction to the audience, Savage lifted his head from the Q&A card, and spoke clearly in the microphone “herpes is not the end of life…”

IT’s NoT The End
From the time that many of us hear about “herpes”, it is always in a tone usually accompanied with demise. I can picture my high school pro-abstinent sex educator as she slowly mouthed the words “heeerrrrrppppppeeeeeeesss”, passing the picture around.  This was often followed by her statement that “if you have sex  you will either have three of the following consequences: pregnancy, herrppeess, or AIDDDSS.” Note that her sentence never referenced safe sex versus unsafe. Coincidentally, the class reacted quite similarly to how the audience reacted at the Q&A, including myself.

With 16.2% (1 out of 6 people) of the US living with herpes it is obvious that it is not the end. It is permanent but it is not end.The question is, where does someone go from there?

To learn more about living with herpes, simply click here.

Stop The Madness
As with anything, education is key. The squirming in the seat, gasps of astonishment, and moans of sympathy due to the mention of the mere word is futile No one wants herpes. This article is not suggesting that measures to prevent STDs shouldn’t be taken; safe sex should always be practiced. But mistakes may happen, and when it happens, life goes on. This is not to trivialize STDs, but it is my attempt to put into perspective what Dan Savage put into perspective for me, …”it is not the end of life.” That doesn’t mean it is an easy road either, but groans and moans don’t help the travel.

Adriane Jefferson

is a senior at Indiana University, majoring in Journalism. Her interest is in discussing sex and relationships; focusing on every-day conversations, experiences, and encounters.
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