Testing positive to an STD is scary. The thought of getting herpes is even scarier to most people. When most people think of herpes they imagine disturbing genital and mouth sores. That is indeed petrifying. Various surveys across the world show that most millennials, say herpes is the second most STD, they’re afraid about contracting, after HIV/AIDS.
People are more scared of herpes than they are of gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, HPV and hepatitis. Interestingly, herpes is extremely prevalent. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about two out of three people under age 50 have HSV-1 globally. HSV-1 is the type of herpes that causes mouth sores. It can also spread to the genitals if you engage in oral sex causing genital herpes (HSV-2). This type of herpes attacks about one out of six people between the ages of 14 and 49.
Symptoms of Herpes
Symptoms of herpes include genital, mouth or rectum blisters and flu-like symptoms such as fever and fatigue. When the blisters break they cause painful sores. Most people will however, not show any symptoms, or mistake the symptoms for something else.
Fortunately, herpes is in fact nowhere near as dangerous as some other STDs. It’s only highly misunderstood leading to unwarranted dread. This makes people too afraid to talk about it. People are also more scared of the social consequences of contracting the disease more than its physical effects. They are afraid of how people will judge them for having the disease and how it will affect their relationships.
The truth is, that herpes is very easy to manage using medication and only the first outbreak is bad. The frequency and severity of the outbreaks decrease over time reducing chances your of spreading the to your partner by over 50 percent.
Dangerous During Pregnancy
Contracting herpes during pregnancy is however, very dangerous is if you contract it while you’re pregnant, because you are at risk of passing on a potentially fatal strain of herpes (neonatal herpes) to your unborn baby.
There is a lot of stigma behind herpes making it a taboo topic. The media has also participated in making it seem like the most scariest disease of the decade, suggesting that getting it would be a death sentence.
The stigma is also an indication of the fact that sex and intimacy is still a topic that people hardly talk about even though sexual activity is still rampant in the world even among young boys and girls. To fight this kind of stigma, the world needs to accept sex as a natural and good part of life. This makes more sex education even among adults very important.
Remember, testing for STDs regularly is very important even if you are not showing any symptoms. Contracting herpes is not the end of the world. If you get tested regularly and the infection is caught early on, then get started on medication immediately and live a healthy and comfortable life, even with the herpes virus. Do not suffer in isolation.