The Truth About Herpes!

– When I first became sexually active, one of the things that scared me the most about having sex was herpes. If only I had known then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have
been quite as terrified. (upbeat music) Oh hi babes, I’m sorry I haven’t
uploaded in a little while, June was a really shitty month, so I thought, what better
way to kick things back off than with herpes? There are actually eight
different types of herpes. That includes Epstein-Barr, aka mono, VZV, aka chicken pox, and of course Herpes
Simplex Virus one and two, the ones that I’m going
to be talking about today. HSV-1 typically appears on your mouth, where as HSV-2 appears on the genitals. A lot more people have type one, which is fortunate because it
tends to be less aggressive than type two. How do you get it? You can get herpes from
literally any sexual contact. Oral sex, you can transmit
it from your mouth to someone’s genitals, vaginal sex, anal sex, even just dry humping, rubbing, All it takes is contact
with an active infection and some friction. The plot twist is that a lot of people don’t know they have an active infection because there aren’t any symptoms. So yes, you can still get herpes, even if you thoroughly visually
inspect someone’s genitals before having sex. Condoms and dental dams
will lower your risk, but there’s no way to completely eliminate the possibility of herpes. You can get tested with
your partner beforehand, but herpes screening is
not usually considered part of normal STI screening, mostly because herpes very rarely causes health complications. Notably, you do not get
herpes from hot tubs, toilet seats, door knobs, I don’t know why you’d
be rubbing your genitals on a door knob, I’m not one to judge. That said, there’s a
little teeny tiny chance that herpes could survive
for a very short amount of time on wet towels, as well as sex toys, FYI. So, what does herpes actually look like? And, this is where sex ed
typically fails everyone, they’ll show you like a
super puss- y, bubbly mess. Yes, some people have bad outbreaks. Outbreaks usually include
a few little blisters that pop up, eventually break, and then take a few weeks to heal. Bad outbreaks can be pretty painful, but for most people, it’s actually relatively mild, maybe a little redness, some bumps, it might
look like an insect bite. Herpes can hang out around the anus, the labia, the penis, but also in places that you can’t see, like inside your pee hole, or the cervix, that’s in the vagina. The first outbreak is usually the worst. Over time, outbreaks will get milder as your immune system
gets accustomed to it. Herpes is a viral STI, which means that there is no cure, but there is treatment. Anti-viral medications are very effective at suppressing the virus, this will help you control outbreaks, and also make sure that
you don’t pass it on to a partner. There are also three vaccines
that are being studied to prevent herpes in the first place. Now, if you’re worried
that you might have herpes, please do not self diagnose. I freaked myself out so many
times when I was younger thinking I had herpes, and it was just, you know, razor burn, stupid shit. You definitely want to go
to a doctor for diagnosis. They might do a physical test, which is actually the least accurate, or a swab test, or a blood test. This will confirm that you have herpes, and which strain it is. What’s the worst part of having herpes? It could be painful and itchy sometimes, but there’s anti-virals for that. If you get pregnant, you’ll have to make sure
that you talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t
transmit it to your baby, but that can be done too. For most people, the worst part of herpes
isn’t any of these things, it’s the social stigma of it. A positive herpes diagnosis
can feel devastating, like it’s the end of the world, your life will never be the same, your relationships will never be the same. The truth is, herpes is not dangerous, it’s completely manageable, and your life will go back to normal. Herpes stigma in society
is the direct result of sexuality being taboo and shameful. Think about it, people think that herpes on your mouth is different than herpes on your genitals, they’re the same exact virus. The only difference is
that one is more explicitly tied to sex than the other. Until fairly recently, people
didn’t really see herpes as a big deal. It wasn’t until anti-virals hit the market that language around herpes became much more negative
and stigmatizing. After all, it sold drugs. I think we all need to do
our part to fight the stigma, because we as a society do more damage to people who have herpes than the actual herpes virus itself, that’s a problem. So, if you get a positive diagnosis, gotta start checking that stigma first. Another thing that’s gonna change, you’ll have to tell new
partners about it first. I’m gonna put some resources down below about how to have that conversation. Long story short, is that yes it might seem
awkward and uncomfortable, particularly at first, but it’s going to get easier, and it’s going to make you a way better communicator about sex. This is stuff people should
be talking about anyway. Another part of life after
herpes is management, so that might mean anti-viral drugs, it might mean keeping
track of your outbreaks, all things to reduce your outbreaks and to reduce transmission. Lastly, it may be helpful
to see a counselor to help you in processing this. Like I said, the mental health effects
are often far worse for people than the physical effects. So, take care of yourself. When you’re going through some strugs, a counselor can be there to remind you this is a part of life, a lot of people go through this, let’s manage this in a healthy way. Okay my dears, that’s the 101. If you have thoughts or stories to share, please post them down below. Love y’all, I’ll see you next time, muah. (upbeat music)