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Now18

People still don't get that cold-sores = herpes

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Now18

So I was talking to my friend today, who is currently shadowing a doctor. Apparently the doctor saw a patient who had small blisters all over her face, and it was herpes.

My friend says to me "It sucks that you have genital herpes. But I would be so upset if I had herpes on my face! I would be mortified."

I say "You do get herpes on your face, you have cold-sores."

She says "Yeah but that's type-1 right? That's not the same thing as herpes?"

And I say "In all likelihood the woman who does have it on her face has type-1. She has the same exact thing you do, but for whatever reason her symptoms are manifesting themselves more severely."

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Lookonthesunnyside

Yes, people REFUSE to believe this! I had a friend who I was talking with about casual sex and I said that even with the use of condoms she has to be weary of stds like herpes or hpv. And she said "yeah, but how common is herpes really?" And had a cold sore on her lip at that very moment. :shock:

The only person I've heard admit that they are the same thing was a guy friend who got a bad oral outbreak during exam time, and was embarrassed to come over to our student house. When he did he told everyone in the room that cold sores are herpes and that its the exact same thing, only on your face. This was before I contracted herpes and looking back I think it was brave and commendable of him to do so. Other people either dont know this or will not admit that they are the same thing.

My ex, who said he was fully "informed" about the virus also told me during our breakup (aka. the conversation leading up to me dumping him), that even though his dad had cold sores it was different, because its a "different" virus. This was his justification for his mom going batshit crazy and not wanting me in their house. So ridiculous and frustrating.

Grrr!

ps. how did your friend react when you pointed that out?

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Now18

She didn't say much after just like "oh, well I don't know."

She annoys me because she's one of those people who's sympathetic by telling me it's fine and I shouldn't worry or get upset about it, but if she got it herself she would think it was the end of the world.

Other part of our convo:

"I really don't think this is going to be a big deal for you. Just date someone, hold off on sex for 6 months, and then after 6 months tell them. By then, they'll know you're worth the risk."

Me: "Do you honestly think some guy isn't going to be weirded out that I have some no sex for six months rule? It would be mean to lead someone on and leave them in the dark about it for that long, even if they did intend to stay around. I fully plan on telling someone within a few weeks, or whenever I would normally have sex with them if I didn't have herpes."

Her: "Well I guess I see what you mean. But, someone's probably not going to sleep with you then. I know herpes isn't a big deal, but no one wants to buy Valtrex for the rest of their life. Are you really going to ask a guy to do that you haven't known that long?"

Why does having sex with me = buying valtrex for the rest of your life?

She doesn't buy Valtrex. Her cold-sores are nothing more than a blemish to her. You can tell that she wants to reassure me that someone will want to be with me, but at the same time she believes that no one would ever be with me unless they're already in love with me and ready to get married. She doesn't tell guys she gives oral sex to that she gets cold-sores. She hasn't even gotten tested for herpes either. slept with 3x as many people as me. I know she means well but it sounds so patronizing.

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jericho
And she said "yeah, but how common is herpes really?" And had a cold sore on her lip at that very moment. :shock:

I would have loved to have seen the look on your face at that moment!

As much as we blame the ignorant for being ignorant, the fact is that the medical community is keeping the public in the dark about herpes. Telling people "it's just a cold sore", not disclosing that cold sores are contagious and can be transmitted to a partner's genitals, being reluctant to diagnose herpes, being even more reluctant to test for herpes, not disclosing to patients who request a full STD panel that HSV testing is not included, etc.

Prior to being diagnosed or going in for a herpes test, how much did any of the people in this forum really know about herpes? On average, probably not much more than any of the clueless folks out there.

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lizabeth

that's awesome that you said something.. people need to hear it.. then maybe the stigma attached with Herpes wouldn't be as bad if we addressed all types as herpes..

huh... cold sores... rubs me the wrong way! but whatever... huh.. (my soap box) i'll get off it now.. hahah..

I noticed in my circle that out of 8 people 5 have herpes and no one talks about it but me... whatever... yeah i got gh.. yes I'm not scared to tell me friends... they have O.H... and they wont show their face in public during their "OB"...

umm...

If i had to pick.. i'm glad mines coverable...

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foxyloxy25

It is shocking, isn't it? No one wants to admit cold sores are herpes - and doctors and advertisers join in on the conspiracy by allowing people to go on thinking they are'just a cold sore'.

As far as your friend's attitude goes, I have come across that so many times.

Even people WITH oral herpes think theirs is 'just a cold sore' and mine must somehow be 'severe' and 'unpleasant' because it is genital herpes. I have genital hsv-1!!

Nobody seems to be able to accept that their cold sore and my genital herpes are the same, they want to distance themselves and think their infection is 'different'

I've also noticed how even when people are your friends and trying to be encouraging, and even when they don't see you as dirty for having herpes, they still view herpes as a dirty virus which is bound to make people not want you. The stigma rules, and people don't seem able to get over it even when you make them aware of the facts. It is like the stigma has more currency than the truth.

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gotitsowhat
...The stigma rules, and people don't seem able to get over it even when you make them aware of the facts. It is like the stigma has more currency than the truth.

I think that, with most people, social stigmas always have more currency than the truth. And facts have little to do with it. A social stigma is an offer of greater social status for most people at the expense of a few people.

When people see a person who is stigmatized, they can think, "I am automatically superior to that person. I am better!" And then they can bask in their higher social status. They can even have some fun with it and ridicule the stigmatized person.

Or....they can think, "I am the same as that person but that person was a little less lucky than I've been. This could happen to anybody, even me."

Which one is more enjoyable for most people, feeling superior or acknowledging that we are all vulnerable to bad luck at times?

Most people choose the low road because it makes them feel good.

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jericho
When people see a person who is stigmatized, they can think, "I am automatically superior to that person. I am better!" And then they can bask in their higher social status. They can even have some fun with it and ridicule the stigmatized person.

Or....they can think, "I am the same as that person but that person was a little less lucky than I've been. This could happen to anybody, even me."

Which one is more enjoyable for most people, feeling superior or acknowledging that we are all vulnerable to bad luck at times?

Most people choose the low road because it makes them feel good.

I think herpes is too poorly understood by the general public to condemn them for feeling superior - i.e., any feeling of superiority is based on ignorance of how contagious the virus is.

Anyone who doesn't have the virus and is fully aware of how readily communicable it is can only feel lucky.

How many people here knew more than the average person about herpes before they were tested or experienced symptoms?

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Now18

How many people here knew more than the average person about herpes before they were tested or experienced symptoms?

I certainly didn't. But as soon as I learned the 1 in 4 statistic I went to get tested. I just wish every knew how common it was.

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jericho
I certainly didn't. But as soon as I learned the 1 in 4 statistic I went to get tested. I just wish every knew how common it was.

That was a brave thing to do. Many people see that statistic and decide that they are not going to be tested.

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Lookonthesunnyside
That was a brave thing to do. Many people see that statistic and decide that they are not going to be tested.

Agreed! I think in fact its very rare. I believe chooseyourbattles did this as well, its really admirable. NONE of the girls I have told have even thought about getting tested, and pretty much refuse to believe that its that common.

Out of curiosity Now18, were you asymptomatic but then chose to get tested? Or did you have your suspicions?

I think that can also really work in your favor with future partners, to be able to say that you took responsibility, stepped up, and got tested.

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solvingtheproblem
I think that can also really work in your favor with future partners, to be able to say that you took responsibility, stepped up, and got tested.

I really hope you are right. I'm asymptomatic, and when I went in for my annual and a full STD screen, my GYN asked "do you want to be tested for herpes as well?" I remember a sinking sensation -- and asking, "you mean, it's not already INCLUDED in a full screen?" Finding out that, no, it's not was a shocking moment. I distinctly remember almost saying no -- I mean, really: I can count the number of partners I've had on one hand. What would be the chances?

But now that I was aware HSV wasn't included in the screen, I didn't feel I could justify staying "willfully ignorant" -- if it meant I could be putting a future partner at risk.

I do admit: there are days when I wonder what my life would be like now, if I had elected not to have the test. I'm single, and it has definitely affected my dating confidence level. I am hoping I'll get my mojo back soon, and get back out there...

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Now18

Out of curiosity Now18, were you asymptomatic but then chose to get tested? Or did you have your suspicions?

No, I was not asymptomatic, but it was so mild that I would not have noticed it if I hadn't explicitly looked for it . When I started dating my ex, it made me really uncomfortable that he wouldn't use condoms. But he told me that he had never gotten symptoms of any STDs and I felt like a jerk asking him to get tested when he had no health insurance. The only other person had slept with before that was a virgin, so I had never gotten tested for all STDS except for a PAP smear and chlamydia which they make you do in order to get birth control at the health center. (I spent pretty much every night of my 2 year relationship with my first boyfriend, and he's not the cheating type at all, so I'm pretty positive I was clean. However, now I don't trust anyone).

Me knowing that I have HSV is ironically due to the fact that I was so paranoid of getting STDs. After I started sleeping with my new boyfriend, I went online and researched STDs. After learning that 1 in 5 guys had herpes I kind of flipped out. (I have a long history of bad luck with my health so I'm paranoid). But for some odd dumb reason, I assumed that if my exbf had it then I would already have gotten it the first time we had sex. So we continued not to use condoms. I made an appointment with my dr. to get tested due to peace of mind, but they recommended waiting 3 months after having sex to get a blood test. So I was going to wait. I sometimes get ingrown hairs from shaving. So did my ex (which could have actually been an OB). I checked myself with a mirror like a hypochondriac pretty frequently. About 2 weeks after I was having sex with my ex, I had an ingrown hair in a place that you can't see unless you use a mirror. I freaked out and thought it was herpes. (I'm guessing it actually wasn't). I took a mirror to look at it, and while I was messing with it I cut myself with my nail. I then checked it everyday afterwards. In the place of that cut about 4 tiny blisters appeared a few days later after I had sex. Went to the doctor, took a swab, it was HSV-2.

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