This isn't so much a question but a huge thank you for your very refreshing opinion on herpes. I believe I contracted the virus when I was around 18 and 25 years later, I still usually feel absolutely disgusting, guilty, and shameful about it.
I had a hard time getting any doctor to conclusively diagnose me because my breakouts were so minimal and I didn't test positive for the antibody in my blood until very recently. I also never passed it on to my partners because like you I was always extremely careful not to have sex when bumps or blisters were present.
Unfortunately the test that finally came back positive was done by my family doctor who up until that point had always seemed very cool and compassionate to me. I will never forget the way she looked at me...a hint of revulsion...informing me that my results would need to be reported to the Department of Health. Now when last weekend I called her after hours line for the med that speeds up the healing time of the breakout, I haven't heard back from her for several days. Not really sure what to make of that.
The other problem is the horrible attitude of pretty much everyone else in our culture towards herpes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the "one in four people have it" number we hear a lot is way off base because that is probably based on a survey of people who admit to having it, and I don't think everyone will tell the truth because there is so much shame. Just take a look at any message board and you will find terrified people who think that if they are diagnosed, their lives will be forever ruined. When I read that stuff I am so afraid there are fragile teenage girls who could very well take their own lives because of this virus, which is basically harmless.
The sad thing is that when I go through the most awful part of being herpes positive, telling a new partner and risking losing them (which hasn't happened yet but we'll see), I find myself devastated all over again. I can't get away from how traumatized I was 25 years ago, and many times since. Each time I have a breakout I just fall apart. But I'm fine, I'm strong, no big deal.
So all I wanted to say was thank you for being the amazing individual you are, that would state what is sort of obvious to those who have it, but that no one else wants to come out and say. I think you may be saving lives, Dr. Betty. For real! <3
Thank you for sharing your story with me. If people would only get that Herpes is all about creating FEAR to control people's enjoyment of sex. . . limit our sexual pleasure or at least make us suffer for enjoying it. I know many couples where one person has Herpes and the other one has never contacted it. Imagine, a cold sore on a person's mouth keeping them from ever kissing friends and lovers. It's all just a distraction to keep us off base and to enrich the bottom line of the big pharmaceutical companies.
Let's start a club for Happy Herpes People. We could wear T shirts that celebrate Herpes Pride!