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Herpes Myths & the Negative Voice in Our Head

Herpes Myths & The Negative Voice In Our Head

Herpes Myths

It’s common to see newly diagnosed people absolutely freak out about HSV, when in reality there’s nothing terribly wrong in the first place.

Our support team wanted to make this post to bust some of the myths being perpetuated by people who simply do not know what is going on. It’s also going to tackle some of the most negative comments made by people who believe that HSV is a bigger deal than it is.

No virus is preferable, but seriously, let’s get real. It’s not like the sun just exploded and Earth got sucked into a black hole—now that’s a problem.

It’s time to shut that little demon up for good. Not because he’s evil and making you feel bad, but because he’s incorrect. Wrong information doesn’t help anyone.

Giving in to these beliefs is like thinking 2 + 2 = 3. You can honestly believe it all you want—but it’s still not true.

OMG. I’m HSV+. My life is over.

Dead wrong. How exactly is one’s life over after contracting HSV? First step is recognizing that this is pure emotion speaking, and not your logic. HSV is a mostly harmless, asymptomatic virus.

It’s certainly not life threatening. It’s definitely not HIV or cancer. And even if it were one of those two (hypothetically at this point), with the medical advances we have today, there’s still hope.

Life after herpes - visit a herpes support forum for help

Ultimately, life is pretty much the same. You’re just smarter, and hopefully safer now. Don’t lie to yourself and make yourself feel worse at the same time—that’s completely irrational. You’ve dealt with inconveniences before, and HSV is an inconvenience at worst. At best, it’s nothing.

Okay, well, my sex life is over.

Wrong again. With so many people in society being HSV+, do you really think that the small HSV- minority are the only people that will continue having sex?

This statement is almost as ridiculous as the first. In addition, may we add that it’s actually safer to have sex with someone who is aware of their HSV+ status (with proper precautions), rather than with someone whose sexual health you do not know? Standard STI checkups don’t include HSV testing, specifically requested IgG blood tests may not be recent, or they may have missed the virus completely (happens quite a bit).

Plus, you can never trust verbal confirmation, because aside from people lying to avoid rejection, they are oftentimes unaware that they’re positive themselves (most common reason for transmission). See Herpes Simplex Virus 101 for more details.

But… I can’t have sex all the time anymore because of outbreaks.

Outbreaks can generally be prevented with certain measures. Living a healthy lifestyle (which you should be doing anyway) is a major key in outbreak prevention. This includes making healthy food choices, exercising regularly, getting an adequate amount of sleep, and avoiding and/or controlling stress.

On top of that, certain supplements such as Lysineanti-viral herbs and medication can help tremendously.

Herpes outbreaks get less and less

If you want to talk to others about what they use for their outbreaks, try having a chat with the folks over at the Honeycomb Herpes Forums.

Some people never get an outbreak. Some people get one and never get another. And for people that do get them regularly/have gotten them regularly in the past, they often notice that they become less frequent and less severe as time goes by.

In fact, a lot of the time, it’s not uncommon for them to stop completely.

It sucks being “just another statistic.”

Newsflash: you have always been a statistic. Everyone (yes, everyone) is a statistic in many, many different ways. Nothing’s new here, and HSV certainly hasn’t changed anything in this regard.

What are people going to think of me now? I’m all alone in this.

Not really. As provided in the Statistics section of Herpes Simplex Virus 101, it’s actually more common to be HSV+ than it is to be HSV-.

The only thing essentially different about you now is that you’re aware of your status, while most people are still in the dark (for many reasons).

In the end, being HSV+ actually puts you in the majority of the population. And, your medical records are your business regardless.

You are only obligated to disclose your status directly (for ethical reasons at the very least, and legal reasons sometimes) if you are going to put someone else at “risk” (i.e. sexual contact).

Quotes added because this risk can be exponentially decreased to almost nothing with proper precautions.

I feel dirty/damaged/filthy/contaminated/etc.

There’s nothing worse than believing a lie that ends up hurting yourself. HSV is so common that over half of the people on this planet have at least one strain in their body. In addition to that, the virus itself is mostly harmless and asymptomatic.

There’s honestly no logical reason to feel “dirty” about this… especially considering that literally anyone can acquire it, including virgins.

I will never have a boyfriend/girlfriend again.

Once again, not true. Lots of HSV+ people (the large majority) continue to date, have sex, and get married if they choose to. How exactly would an extremely common, mostly harmless virus get in the way of that?

Anyone who turns down anyone solely because of HSV is simply just ignorant of the subject—as most people are—and just need information on it. Herpes Simplex Virus 101 is a great resource to show potential HSV- partners for quick, reliable HSV education.

What’s the biggest herpes myth / misconception you’ve heard about?

This Post Has 22 Comments
  1. I was told Tuesday I have hsv 1 which I assume is in your blood but it showed up in vagina. I came to terms with it is what it is but the want me to take valacyclovir 1000 mg everyday. I fear the part of being sick. I rather take a herbal medicine or anything else Especially taking treatment for seizures. What can I do to avoid this pill? Thank yoy for your time. Nicole

    1. Hi Nicole,

      Not everyone has to take antiviral prescription pills for their herpes. Usually if you are in a relationship and want to fractionally reduce the chance of spreading the virus — from about 4% to 2.6% chance depending on factors — or if you get frequent outbreaks and need relief, then they are a good option to consider.

      There is generally not too many side effects with these pills, sometimes a little bit of nausea and very occasionally alopecia (hair loss) are reported but this is not common. That sounds lovely doesn’t it :-/ But really, most people don’t have much issue at all.

      Nevertheless, taking a prescription medication long term is not desirable and ultimately has to have some effect on the kidneys and other body systems so avoiding them is best if at all possible.

      Improving your health through exercise, reducing stress and eating well is step one. There are also natural antiviral options like Immune Support and Combined Lysine Formula which are supplements that can assist the body’s natural immune processes against HSV.

      Using a standard topical ointment like zinc cream, diluted tea tree oil or honey (manuka if possible) during an outbreak, while supporting the immune system with supplements to help prevent an episode, is a natural approach that some people prefer.

      Maybe something like this would work for you too, depending on your needs and your situation.

  2. If you have relationship sex with a infected person you will get herpes also. !00% No if or and about it to lead people like it’s not going to be both people infected
    is bull. Your infected and life is not the same.
    I thought it dies when out side of the body very quickly but, your saying toilet seats and cloth can transmit herpes well then sex is going to be as I stated only pure luck will keep the none carrier safe but, it not going to take many times laying in bed with someone positive to pass herpes on..

    1. Hi Mike,

      It’s actually unlikely that HSV will pass onto someone if you simply avoid sex during outbreaks or symptoms (we’re talking less than 8% chance).

      You won’t catch herpes from a toilet seat, it’s not spread in this way. It needs friction, delicate skin such as a mucous membrane, heat and moisture to spread. It also dies literally within minutes if it is away from a living host, hence why the chance of catching it from a toilet seat is virtually nil.

    2. I’m sorry but you’re not right mike . My ex girlsfriend and I had unprotected sex a lot and she never got it . I made sure I wasn’t having a outbreak and being careful .

  3. Hello,
    I’ve recently found out I have HSV II and have had it for a while (Results mentioned). Just around 3 weeks ago, I’ve been feeling tingling sensations, it started from my legs and went up to my chest and arms within a few days. Then I started seeing red spots in my legs especially in the upper part. Currently, my neck has been swollen and been seeing little dots developing in my neck. Is this usual with Herpes? Also, will it be for sure that I go through an breakout, even if I eat healthy, exercise, sleep, and take antivirals?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Very unlikely unless he recently contracted the infection in the last few days and therefore has not developed antibodies, or has a highly compromised immune system (such as with AIDS or other seriously debilitating diseases). In normal circumstances his body should have sufficient HSV type 1 antibodies in his system to ward off a new infection.

  4. I just find out last week that I am positive for both hsv 1&2. It’s sad how one mistake can change your lifestyle in a matter of seconds. I am still trying to get used to the idea but it truly is difficult. I had sex with one guy one time and a year later I come to find out I’m positive for this. One freaking mistake was all it took. He keeps denying it but he’s the only person I’ve been intimate so it has to be him. ughh life can play you so wrong sometimes. But this blog has definitely made me feel better!

  5. I found out a month ago that I contracted chlamydia and herpes II. I am not American I live on a small island where the attitude and stigma is on another level. I lost my virginity at 23. It was my first serious relationship and only person I had sex with. The pain and regret is unbearable.

    1. Kaja, you are an amazing human being and the people who live in your community will respect you and honor you if you live with integrity – being affected by a common virus (although it sounds unpleasant) is only one tiny facet of who you are. Surprise people with your resilience and self-compassion, you will be amazed at how people can react when they witness a person handling a difficult situation with poise. Hang in there honey bee x

  6. I’m not newly diagnosed but I am about to get divorced soon. Found out my wife of two and a half years was running around for nearly two years of the marriage. The thought of dating again has me fairly petrified. I’m not at all looking forward to that conversation or the rejection. I’ve been with 4 women my entire life and just happened to fall for one who had herpes… I actually never spread it to my soon to be ex-wife and my symptoms are very mild. I attribute that to living a healthy lifestyle. I’ve had maybe four outbreaks in about 5 years. As for the girl who asked about natural remedies…. Olive Leaf Extract cleared me up as quick as any medication I took. Just get a quality product.

    1. Hi Joeschmoe,
      This is a new, exciting chapter for you. Don’t let herpes put a dent in it! You can use this to your advantage in isolating what is really important for you now at this point in your life. What kind of a person do you want to let in and share the next experiences with? Someone who is capable of being compassionate and understanding of something as ordinary as a virus, that’s for a start. Convey the message with honesty and without fear and you’ll usually get the same sort of response back. It’s only a big deal if we make it one, especially when your symptoms are mild and manageable. Good luck, I wish you the very best.

  7. I was diagnosed with HSV2 WHEN I was 5months pregnant. I would have never known because I do not get the normal outbreak bumps. I get one lil tiny looking scar on the left labia. I have never had a bumpy outbreak, I am blessed to say. Should I get rechecked???

    1. Hi Tina,
      What a delicate time to get the news. If you have had your little baby I hope that everything went wonderfully well for you. If you feel that the testing method may not have been accurate by all means have a chat with your Doctor to help put your mind at ease. Wishing you the best beautiful Momma.

  8. I am 17 years old and a couple days ago I was diagnosed with HSV2. I feel disgusting and nasty. I keep thinking about how this is going to affect my life. I have so many questions. Like, can i have kids one day? Will i ever find a man that loves me and get married? I have this nagging voice in my head saying “you are disgusting and no one will ever love you”. I truly don’t know what to do…

    1. Hi Beth,
      Now is the tipping point – you have the power to rewire your brain by choosing to believe in either the best or worst of this situation. Herpes sucks, but you know what? Think of ten people you know, include your friends and family in this group if you like. Once you have these ten people clearly in your minds’ eye remember this; statistically 8 of these people have HSV (Herpes simplex virus) on their mouth and 6 of them have herpes on their genitals. Oh no, but not my mom, my best friend, my boss, not them? Yep, among the very people you mingle with and the big population out there so many people remain silent because of fear of being judged. Would you tell your family? A lot of people don’t. You are young, a vibrant little star and perfect the way you are, with or without an occasional fever blister. Herpes may make you more cautious at times to give your heart away easily, and there may be a layer to your story that you have to reveal to people you want to explore more, but it certainly won’t affect your ability to have kids, get married when you’ve found a solid catch or be loved. You’re just as awesome, and as loveable, as you ever have been little cutey. It will all be OK. Hang in there x

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Editorial Staff

Herpes is not half as bad as it might seem (promise!) and it would be awesome if folks could realize this. The biggest challenge we all face is Perspective. We are here to help people adopt a more positive outlook toward this very common virus.

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