‘Some people disclose ASAP and some disclose months down the road, it’s totally up to you and every personality is different.If you really don’t give a f*** about the outcome then you will most likely tell them early and get that out of the way.The fear of telling someone or the rejection was so strong.Once I got over that hurdle, then I was ready to begin dating. According to the World Health Organisation, two out of three people under the age of 50 are infected. This sounds genuinely scary, but what’s it like if you know you have herpes but you still want to date and find love? The 35-year-old manages a blog called Life With Herpes and is also the spokesperson for MPWH (Meet People With Herpes), the world’s biggest online dating community for people living with the diagnosis. The herpes virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world.Since being diagnosed with genital herpes in 2011, she has dedicated her life to breaking down the stigma around herpes and providing resources for people struggling to come to terms with their condition. We put so much pressure on ourselves and all of our insecurities are pushed to the surface when it comes to dating.
She works every day to break down stigma and give people with herpes a place where they can access clear and easy to understand information about the condition. But does the stigma around sexually transmitted diseases still affect her?
Condom use doesn’t guarantee protection from herpes, as they don’t always cover the entire affected area of the sufferer and there can still be skin to skin contact around the exposed region.
Taking antiviral medication reduces the risk of an outbreak, but also doesn’t guarantee that a partner wouldn’t be exposed to the virus.
It took years of work to get me to the point where I’m now. If I get an outbreak I know how to treat it and help the outbreak heal as fast as possible.
I know that it’s just a skin disease and it doesn’t play any role in my life.’ Herpes is split into the HSV-1 virus, also known as herpes simplex or oral herpes, that causes cold sores and mouth ulcers, and HSV-2, the genital herpes virus characterised by painful red blisters around the genital region. The virus can remain dominant for months or years at a time, and it’s estimated that most people with either condition don’t even know they have it.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are both highly contagious, and even if a sufferer is not experiencing an outbreak, the virus is still present in their body.