The Truth About Herpes

It’s no secret that Sex Ed in high school isn’t always super informative or objectively taught. Most of the time, high school Sex Ed is a fearmonger that provides outdated information. So here’s one busted myth: herpes is not as dangerous as it’s made out to be.

While herpes is still an STI that you should stay protected against, it’s actually not that scary. In fact, in 2015 the World Health Organization reported that 67% of people have oral herpes. What's more is that Dr. Anna Wald and expert Lawrence Corey found that 90% of people have some strain of herpes. Herpes is like prejudice; everyone’s encountered it and probably has it whether they know it or not. Most people never know they even have herpes because it can be that subtle. During an appearance on television show Adam Ruins Everything, board-certified OB/GYN Jennifer Lang explained, “Most people don’t even develop symptoms. The truth is, if you’re not immunocompromised or in the late stages of pregnancy, you really don’t have to worry about it.”

Herpes, like all STIs, is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not some scary cosmic punishment for being sexually active. Herpes (and prejudice, too, while we’re at it) just requires open communication and honesty to prevent further spreading and to rid the stigma attached to it. Herpes is one STI that is totally manageable and about as mild as it gets – just make sure to get tested regularly and speak with your doctor about what treatments are necessary.

So go out and talk to your doctor! Talk to your partners! Talk to whomever you think needs to know and feel comfortable with! There’s no need for any huge worry or shame, just remember to stay healthy, informed, and honest.


[Feature Image by Unsplash]