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Herpes and the French

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osten

How people view herpes in non-English speaking countries is an interesting topic, and it comes up quite a lot in different discussions here.

It's not often we see any real research on the subject, so this French study is pretty interesting.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12360696

Only 5% of the French people surveyed knew that herpes is a viral infection. Even more interesting, only 7% people surveyed knew that herpes is a sexually transmitted disease.

Of the people with genital herpes, only 34% identified a sexual relationship as a mode of contamination (I assume the "and" should be "an" in the abstract). If that's correct, that means that the majority of people surveyed who have genital herpes didn't know that they got it through sexual activity.

I couldn't find any information on what percentage of French people are seropositive for HSV.

Pretty interesting. Any thoughts? Does anybody hear live in France, who can post a more descriptive account of how the French see herpes?

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Vidhya

Hi there osten.

Few French seem to bother coming to this forum - and Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, etc, even if most people from my generation anywhere in Europe can usually speak good English. It may take a while until a "native" answers. Mcnulty, an American member living in France, wrote extensively about this subject, and I grabbed one of his messages for one of my posts:

http://www.herpes-coldsores.com/messageforum/showthread.php?50011-quot-Herpes-quot-in-the-movie-quot-Fatal-Attraction-quot

"I watched Fatal Attraction yesterday and there is a scene where one of the characters mentions that his cold sores are almost gone (he's talking about his lips). The French translation of this line of dialogue was: "Je n'ai presque plus d'herpes" ("My herpes is almost gone"). By calling cold sores "herpes" here, genital herpes is destigmatized. I was looking at information about herpes on some French-language websites and stumbled upon an article about HSV+ dating sites (which are considered an Anglosphere curiosity). All of the comments left by readers expressed essentially the same thing: shock that such websites could exist...they saw it as an attempt to exclude normal people with a minor skin condition...decidedly, France seems to have different ideas about herpes...also, when I told my (French) girlfriend that I had herpes and that she had probably given it to me, she seemed totally unfazed...and said to me..."Oh...that's just cold sores, right?"

I would say that applies to most countries in Europe, excluding the UK. Regarding infection rates, they are probably low, compared to the US - less than 10 %. I went looking for some information in French regarding "le herpes génital" to satisfy your curiosity, and I ended up in a webpage with pretty awkward language...It looked like a translation from an American website!

Not surprisingly, it was taken from a webpage from some "Association Herpès", an "association" set up by the drug maker Novartis - that makes the antiherpetic medicine Famvir - in the 1990s, to see if they could scare a few poor souls into believing "it's the end of my life! I am dead!". It never worked. I don't think there's been any activity from these people in a decade. It really doesnt help that the word for cold sore and herpes is the same. There's really no way you can scare people into believing that it's the end of their lives... Mcnulty also noted that he couldn't find many "horror stories" of people suffering physically from this, and wondered how much the "stigma" and the phsycological torture inflicted by it was responsible for what you see here.

http://www.doctissimo.fr/html/dossiers/herpes/sa_4801_herpes_genital_02.htm

Something else regarding the French caught my attention in the webpage you mentioned:

"The prevalence and incidence of genital herpes are increasing worldwide. Conversely, the incidence of neonatal herpes shows global discrepancies: very higher numbers of cases are reported in parts of the USA, whereas rates remain low across much of Europe. As illustrated by the French experiences reported here, regionally appropriate management strategies for genital herpes during pregnancy do not alone account for differences in neonatal herpes rates."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15955268

It really is intriguing. Makes you wonder what's going on over there. I could understand such differences between an European and an African country, but not between two of the world's richest Western nations.

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trilingualgirl

I found a French pamphlet that discusses genital herpes, from a legitimate medical online site, and it was pretty interesting to read:

http://www.perinat-france.org/upload/grand-public/prevention/documents/herpes_genital.pdf

I realize many likely can't read French so I'll sum up some general impressions: It's very vague in distinguishing between hsv1 and hsv2. It just refers to hsv in general and mentions that in 30% of new cases of genital herpes is due to oral sex (again no specification of hsv1, it just said "from the mouth").

It advises you not to share towels with your entourage, but I remember reading that this is such an extremely mild risk, almost impossible so I'm a little disappointed to see that on there.

However, my favorite part:"L’herpès génital n’est pas une maladie honteuse" --> direct translation: "Genital herpes is not a shameful disease." The stack of papers my doctor gave me regarding herpes never said anything like that.

I realize this doesn't fully answer the question on how it's viewed culturally, but I'm hoping to open up to a native French friend of mine one day to get his perspective. I consider myself bi-cultural so it'd be very interesting to see how my second culture views me versus my primary one!

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Vidhya
I found a French pamphlet that discusses genital herpes, from a legitimate medical online site, and it was pretty interesting to read:

http://www.perinat-france.org/upload/grand-public/prevention/documents/herpes_genital.pdf

I realize many likely can't read French so I'll sum up some general impressions: It's very vague in distinguishing between hsv1 and hsv2. It just refers to hsv in general and mentions that in 30% of new cases of genital herpes is due to oral sex (again no specification of hsv1, it just said "from the mouth").

It advises you not to share towels with your entourage, but I remember reading that this is such an extremely mild risk, almost impossible so I'm a little disappointed to see that on there.

However, my favorite part:"L’herpès génital n’est pas une maladie honteuse" --> direct translation: "Genital herpes is not a shameful disease." The stack of papers my doctor gave me regarding herpes never said anything like that.

I realize this doesn't fully answer the question on how it's viewed culturally, but I'm hoping to open up to a native French friend of mine one day to get his perspective. I consider myself bi-cultural so it'd be very interesting to see how my second culture views me versus my primary one!

As soon as you said "L'herpes genital n'est pas une maladie honteuse" I realized there was something "fishy" there... The pamphlet is entirely written by "L'Association herpes" I mentioned in the previous post, a group set up by the drug company Novartis to promote this "fear" of the "genital cold sore", make it bigger than it is and promote the use of antivirals. They seem to have disapeared this past decade - their webpage addresses don't work. As these people cannot advertize directly to the public through the TV - as they do with Valtrex in the US ("There is no cure for herpes...") - they can only rely in these pamphlets and some propaganda with a few targeted doctors. It doesn't work, and that's good for us in Europe.

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osten

Thank you both for your input, Vidhya and trilingualgirl. I think it's very helpfulo. Let us know if you can dig up anything more in French (or any other language) about the virus and how it is perceived in different places.

I've been thinking quite a bit about this. Clearly the French are not very educated about herpes, what it is, and how it is transferred.

Normally I would rarely advocate that knowing less about something is better than knowing more about something. Education and knowledge are usually wonderful and powerful. In this case though I'm really just not sure that it is at all a bad thing for the French that they know so little about herpes.

I think most people would agree that the stigma is the principle reason that herpes is so devastating, that the stigma is far worse than the physical effects of the virus itself in almost all cases. It's our perception of the virus as a society that causes more far more harm than the virus itself. We can see that echoed here on this very site. All the time we have a stream of people coming to this site, horrified and devastated that they've been diagnosed with a disease that over 70 percent of the adult population has. We have people making well-meaning but very uncalled for comparisons of HSV to HIV. We have intelligent and dynamic people here who have been reduced to putting their personal lives on hold because of cold sores (in whatever the place). I hate this stigma for that.

The French may not be well-educated on the virus, but in the English-speaking world, we as a society have been educated totally wrong about herpes, and in the end, that has been far more damaging. We've been taught through years of misinformation that herpes is far more ominous and scary than it really is.

In France, they may not widely know that genital herpes is sexually transmitted, but does that really hurt them? Most people in English-speaking countries only have a vague idea of what cold sores are, and how they are transmitted, yet that does us no real harm. It would certainly do us far more damage as a society if everybody with a cold sore on the face were taught to be ashamed of their "condition" and effectively quarantined. Yet, that is what we've done with genital herpes here.

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Vidhya

It seems some information was lost from the forum server due to a technical problem. Osten, do repost some of your messages when you have the time. I found you latest posts quite important. Trilingualgirl, you as well! Hugs for all.

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AmericaninParis

Recently diagnosed in France

Hi all,

I am an American living abroad in France at the moment. I was recently diagnosed with herpes after sleeping with a friend who was completely unaware that he had the virus. Contracting herpes was always one of my biggest fears. My best friend has had herpes since high school and it was heartbreaking to watch the stigma she faced. Deep down, I knew how silly the stigma was- afterall its only a skin irritation! Being diagnosed with herpes abroad, away from my friends and family, has been one of the hardest challenges that I have ever had to face. Interestingly enough, my French doctor did not seem to be concerned at all. She hardly made the distinction between oral and genital herpes. She also thought it was silly when I asked if her if I should be tested for type I or II. Furthermore, she didnt even think it necessary for me to even mention my condition or at least she implied this by stating, " the only time you need to mention this is when you are 8 months pregnant. At which point you should tell your doctor that you have in your life come into contact with genital herpes." She could not understand why I was crying or why I thought I would never be able to date again or why I would have to tell people. She said that it was ridiculous and that we (the French) are much more cool here. She concluded by saying that she was relieved that I had herpes and not HPV which can cause cervical cancer. Why should I be stressed over a skin irritation?

Telling my friend that he gave me the virus was almost equally as hard as receiving the diagnosis. When I told him that he gave me an STD and that it was herpes, he exclaimed with relief. He said, "herpes, you mean the thing you get on your mouth?!" He seemed confused. He wasn't aware that he had the virus on his genitals (only oral) and knew nothing about how it was transmitted or that it stayed with you for life. After reading up on it for 2 hours, he was upset to find out that there was no cure and that is was permanent. However, he seemed to take it far better than I did and didn't even think of blaming me.

Long story short, my limited personal experience with herpes tells me that its not a very stigmatized disease in France. In fact, it seems that people wouldn't even consider sharing their experiences since its not given any importance. Perhaps, I should consider staying here?

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Acesheart

I have had ghsv2 for 25 years and I tell each new doctor (I've had 16) that i have the h. How they can say you don't need to tell till that far along in pregnancy is beyond my comprehensions. It is very important for your doctors , gyno's included, to know all of your medical history and past history. If you love in Paris , please make sure you get educated too. www.westoverheights.com this is a wonderful site for a book on the h. Please read all you can about the h. Take care and enjoy the Spring Time in Paris. Hugs, Truly Ace :)

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osten
Hi all,

I am an American living abroad in France at the moment. I was recently diagnosed with herpes after sleeping with a friend who was completely unaware that he had the virus. Contracting herpes was always one of my biggest fears. My best friend has had herpes since high school and it was heartbreaking to watch the stigma she faced. Deep down, I knew how silly the stigma was- afterall its only a skin irritation! Being diagnosed with herpes abroad, away from my friends and family, has been one of the hardest challenges that I have ever had to face. Interestingly enough, my French doctor did not seem to be concerned at all. She hardly made the distinction between oral and genital herpes. She also thought it was silly when I asked if her if I should be tested for type I or II. Furthermore, she didnt even think it necessary for me to even mention my condition or at least she implied this by stating, " the only time you need to mention this is when you are 8 months pregnant. At which point you should tell your doctor that you have in your life come into contact with genital herpes." She could not understand why I was crying or why I thought I would never be able to date again or why I would have to tell people. She said that it was ridiculous and that we (the French) are much more cool here. She concluded by saying that she was relieved that I had herpes and not HPV which can cause cervical cancer. Why should I be stressed over a skin irritation?

Telling my friend that he gave me the virus was almost equally as hard as receiving the diagnosis. When I told him that he gave me an STD and that it was herpes, he exclaimed with relief. He said, "herpes, you mean the thing you get on your mouth?!" He seemed confused. He wasn't aware that he had the virus on his genitals (only oral) and knew nothing about how it was transmitted or that it stayed with you for life. After reading up on it for 2 hours, he was upset to find out that there was no cure and that is was permanent. However, he seemed to take it far better than I did and didn't even think of blaming me.

Long story short, my limited personal experience with herpes tells me that its not a very stigmatized disease in France. In fact, it seems that people wouldn't even consider sharing their experiences since its not given any importance. Perhaps, I should consider staying here?

What an interesting and enlightening post, AmericanInParis.

Your doctor sounds wonderful. She basically told you exactly what every doctor or health-care professional should be telling their patients.

She's absolutely right. You should be relieved that you only have a infection as insignificant as herpes, and not a serious disease. She's also right in that there is little practically different between oral and genital herpes (they are clinically the same) and that for the most part, there is little reason to know what type you have. The only time I think it really might matter is if your partner has herpes and you would like to know what type you each have. Even then, whether it is important mostly just depends on you.

Just remember that, despite the horrid stigma that exists in the United States and other English-speaking countries, all you have is cold sores. As you have seen in France, and as people here like Vidhya will attest to, the stigma is much weaker in the non-English speaking world.

I think a very good place to start, and perhaps to finish, if you are looking for a level-headed introduction to what herpes is, is here:

http://www.herpes.org.uk/

If you are curious why herpes is so stigmatized in the US, but not in places like France, read this:

http://www.spiked-online.com/site/printable/11041/

40 years ago, herpes was as insignificant an issue in the United States as it is in France and most of the rest of the world now.

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osten
I have had ghsv2 for 25 years and I tell each new doctor (I've had 16) that i have the h. How they can say you don't need to tell till that far along in pregnancy is beyond my comprehensions. It is very important for your doctors , gyno's included, to know all of your medical history and past history. If you love in Paris , please make sure you get educated too.

I'm a bit curious, why would she need to tell any doctor that she has herpes before 8 months into her pregnancy? Genital herpes cannot affect the baby until delivery.

Even at that time, unless the mother very recently acquired herpes, it is very unlikely that the baby will be infected, as it will have the mother's antibodies (though it's probably a good idea to tell the doctor who is delivering your baby anyway). I've read that neo-natal herpes is primarily a risk for mothers who are infected late in the pregnancy.

You certainly wouldn't have to inform your doctor that you have oral herpes.

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Acesheart
I'm a bit curious, why would she need to tell any doctor that she has herpes before 8 months into her pregnancy? Genital herpes cannot affect the baby until delivery.

Even at that time, unless the mother very recently acquired herpes, it is very unlikely that the baby will be infected, as it will have the mother's antibodies (though it's probably a good idea to tell the doctor who is delivering your baby anyway). I've read that neo-natal herpes is primarily a risk for mothers who are infected late in the pregnancy.

You certainly wouldn't have to inform your doctor that you have oral herpes.

Hey osten when I was pregnant, my test didn't show my H. I had told my doctors (I had two due to endo) I have genital herpes. They were rather shocked . But when you first get that "Your gonna have a baby diagnosis" they usually run blood test and all sorts of test. The reasoning being that you may have been taking certain things , ie like supplements or medications (over the counter) that can harm the unborn fetus. Also I was a drinker , like I could drink any man , including my husband under the table, this can cause fetal alcohol poisons.

The doctors usually ask what is your prior history concerning health. It is best to let them know up front. The hormones change when you are pregnant. The body sees being pregnant as a foreign object and trys to rid the body of this. It is why woman have , most do , such awful nausea. I just learned that too over a few years ago.

It is always best to be upfront simply because they , the doctors , will expect you to take prenatal vitamins and avoid certain things , like OTC medications , aspirin and foods. I can't really answer why it is important , I think it is always best to err on the side of cautions.

I had many problems being I was told I couldn't have children. I get herps and bamm I get pregnant after I married new husband :dontknow: but I had tested negative for herpes , that is if that initial test they gave me when I found out I was preggers included a herps test at all ;) .

It is just what I would do having herps. Plain and simple. Hugs, Ace :)

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gnaf119
Hi all,

I am an American living abroad in France at the moment. I was recently diagnosed with herpes after sleeping with a friend who was completely unaware that he had the virus. Contracting herpes was always one of my biggest fears. My best friend has had herpes since high school and it was heartbreaking to watch the stigma she faced. Deep down, I knew how silly the stigma was- afterall its only a skin irritation! Being diagnosed with herpes abroad, away from my friends and family, has been one of the hardest challenges that I have ever had to face. Interestingly enough, my French doctor did not seem to be concerned at all. She hardly made the distinction between oral and genital herpes. She also thought it was silly when I asked if her if I should be tested for type I or II. Furthermore, she didnt even think it necessary for me to even mention my condition or at least she implied this by stating, " the only time you need to mention this is when you are 8 months pregnant. At which point you should tell your doctor that you have in your life come into contact with genital herpes." She could not understand why I was crying or why I thought I would never be able to date again or why I would have to tell people. She said that it was ridiculous and that we (the French) are much more cool here. She concluded by saying that she was relieved that I had herpes and not HPV which can cause cervical cancer. Why should I be stressed over a skin irritation?

Telling my friend that he gave me the virus was almost equally as hard as receiving the diagnosis. When I told him that he gave me an STD and that it was herpes, he exclaimed with relief. He said, "herpes, you mean the thing you get on your mouth?!" He seemed confused. He wasn't aware that he had the virus on his genitals (only oral) and knew nothing about how it was transmitted or that it stayed with you for life. After reading up on it for 2 hours, he was upset to find out that there was no cure and that is was permanent. However, he seemed to take it far better than I did and didn't even think of blaming me.

Long story short, my limited personal experience with herpes tells me that its not a very stigmatized disease in France. In fact, it seems that people wouldn't even consider sharing their experiences since its not given any importance. Perhaps, I should consider staying here?

Awesome post that does much to shed light on the whole disclosure debate.

What we see here is that in countries that are not brainwashed by stigma, the virus is treated with little sense of importance, like cold sores, and thus doctors do not advise disclosure.

It's amazing to me that there is such a stronghold of compulsive-disclosure supporters on this forum when this French doctor, the UK herpes website, and the American CDC all treat herpes with little importance, discourage disclosure and imply that widespread testing may do more harm than good.

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Vidhya
Hi all,

I am an American living abroad in France at the moment. I was recently diagnosed with herpes after sleeping with a friend who was completely unaware that he had the virus. Contracting herpes was always one of my biggest fears. My best friend has had herpes since high school and it was heartbreaking to watch the stigma she faced. Deep down, I knew how silly the stigma was- afterall its only a skin irritation! Being diagnosed with herpes abroad, away from my friends and family, has been one of the hardest challenges that I have ever had to face. Interestingly enough, my French doctor did not seem to be concerned at all. She hardly made the distinction between oral and genital herpes. She also thought it was silly when I asked if her if I should be tested for type I or II. Furthermore, she didnt even think it necessary for me to even mention my condition or at least she implied this by stating, " the only time you need to mention this is when you are 8 months pregnant. At which point you should tell your doctor that you have in your life come into contact with genital herpes." She could not understand why I was crying or why I thought I would never be able to date again or why I would have to tell people. She said that it was ridiculous and that we (the French) are much more cool here. She concluded by saying that she was relieved that I had herpes and not HPV which can cause cervical cancer. Why should I be stressed over a skin irritation?

Telling my friend that he gave me the virus was almost equally as hard as receiving the diagnosis. When I told him that he gave me an STD and that it was herpes, he exclaimed with relief. He said, "herpes, you mean the thing you get on your mouth?!" He seemed confused. He wasn't aware that he had the virus on his genitals (only oral) and knew nothing about how it was transmitted or that it stayed with you for life. After reading up on it for 2 hours, he was upset to find out that there was no cure and that is was permanent. However, he seemed to take it far better than I did and didn't even think of blaming me.

Long story short, my limited personal experience with herpes tells me that its not a very stigmatized disease in France. In fact, it seems that people wouldn't even consider sharing their experiences since its not given any importance. Perhaps, I should consider staying here?

Lovely to read this. Thank you for sharing. Makes me wonder for the 1000th time how could such crap have been imposed on you in the US, and what kind of people would allow such crap to be imposed on them like this for generations. It's maddening and it's criminal.

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Vidhya
Awesome post that does much to shed light on the whole disclosure debate.

What we see here is that in countries that are not brainwashed by stigma, the virus is treated with little sense of importance, like cold sores, and thus doctors do not advise disclosure.

It's amazing to me that there is such a stronghold of compulsive-disclosure supporters on this forum when this French doctor, the UK herpes website, and the American CDC all treat herpes with little importance, discourage disclosure and imply that widespread testing may do more harm than good.

Gnaf, I could give you hundreds of other examples that I never mention here (in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, from Brazil and other places) because of the language barrier. The French example often comes here because there are many Americans living there and are willing to share their experience with us (which is usually the same - almost complete absence of stigma and people very puzzled about what are the Americans talking and crying about).

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Acesheart

I am Spanish/American and we are crying or have cryed because some butthole doctor did not tell that person they needed to disclose and now many many many many more Americans & users from all over the world have herps and can't quite figure out why? Hummm.... Just my thoughts. Truly, Ace :)

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Vidhya
I am Spanish/American and we are crying or have cryed because some butthole doctor did not tell that person they needed to disclose and now many many many many more Americans & users from all over the world have herps and can't quite figure out why? Hummm.... Just my thoughts. Truly, Ace :)

Ace, ténias que hacer como nosotros por aqui y ignorarlo todo :) I think you had a harder time than most because, instead of getting HSV1 as a kid - which would have basically immunized you against herpes symptoms or made them much milder or non-existent - you went straight for HSV2 as an adult and had all that trouble. People in such conditions - who get their first Simplex in the form of HSV2 - are quite a novelty in the history of Mankind, are the ones with more acute symptoms, and I wonder how much would that explain what's going on over here.

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Acesheart
Ace, ténias que hacer como nosotros por aqui y ignorarlo todo :) I think you had a harder time than most because, instead of getting HSV1 as a kid - which would have basically immunized you against herpes symptoms or made them much milder or non-existent - you went straight for HSV2 as an adult and had all that trouble. People in such conditions - who get their first Simplex in the form of HSV2 - are quite a novelty in the history of Mankind, are the ones with more acute symptoms, and I wonder how much would that explain what's going on over here.

Hey Vidhya. I think.it had a lot to do with the rat bastard who didn't tell me.he was sleeping with every girl under the sun and a big fat liar too! Hell, what.do I know. I've since been exposed.by husbands family members who we've seen with cold sore on the lips, I am still just ghsv2. So maybe life is just life. ;) Good.to see you again :) . Having a non h husband for 22 years, knowing he has kissed his families cheeks, now that's a noveltie. Lol. Hugs, Ace

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osten

Vidhya, you are a man of many languages!

I really don't think that doctor in France (or any doctor anywhere) should be telling people whether or not they should disclose. We wouldn't expect a doctor to tell people newly diagnosed with cold sores that they must forever now disclose their "incurable disease". I can't imagine why we would we expect a doctor to say the same thing about cold sores that happen to be in another location. The very act of telling that to a patient makes herpes seem much worse than what it really is. I just wish all doctors in America were more like that French doctor.

In France, they don't disclose. They don't talk or care about herpes any more than we do about cold sores, and herpes is far less of a problem than it is here. There are far fewer tears. Obviously in France they are doing something right when it comes to herpes, and I think that ultimately, that's the moral of this thread.

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Vidhya
Vidhya, you are a man of many languages!

Doesn't look like a big deal to me, osten. Italian and Spanish are quite similar to Portuguese and most of us understand these languages (they barely understand each other and don't understand us at all!). English and French are compulsory in my country from an early age. Most Europeans are multilingual, seems something very natural to us.

Regarding the rest of your post... agreed... It still troubles me how something that simple can be that hard to understand in your country. Perhaps if you all spoke more languages and could see how other people around the world deal with this. But there's no excuse now: all of us have been doing a very good work in providing here a body of evidence for future reference regarding this matter.

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cupcakes12
Ace, ténias que hacer como nosotros por aqui y ignorarlo todo :) I think you had a harder time than most because, instead of getting HSV1 as a kid - which would have basically immunized you against herpes symptoms or made them much milder or non-existent - you went straight for HSV2 as an adult and had all that trouble. People in such conditions - who get their first Simplex in the form of HSV2 - are quite a novelty in the history of Mankind, are the ones with more acute symptoms, and I wonder how much would that explain what's going on over here.

I have had hsv1 since I was a kid and had to go to the hospital when I contracted ghsv2. I till have obs and chronic infections even though I am on suppressives. Hsv1 is similar to hsv2 but they are not the same. Catching the cold virus will not make things easier for you when you catch the flu virus. Not everyone's ordeal with herpes is because of a mental stigma but because people are actually suffering from this..

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osten
I have had hsv1 since I was a kid and had to go to the hospital when I contracted ghsv2. I till have obs and chronic infections even though I am on suppressives. Hsv1 is similar to hsv2 but they are not the same. Catching the cold virus will not make things easier for you when you catch the flu virus.

I'm not sure how much of an effect in terms of severity having a prior infection with HSV-1 has on a subsequent HSV-2 infection. I can say that using yourself as an example does not refute the idea that such an effect exists. In other words, just because your case was different doesn't mean that generally speaking, having HSV-1 might make later HSV-2 infections milder. Of course we have to recognize that exceptions exist.

I'm also not sure about the cold and flu example comparison. HSV-1 and 2 are much more similar than cold viruses are to influenza viruses.

Not everyone's ordeal with herpes is because of a mental stigma but because people are actually suffering from this..

Nobody ever said that everyone's ordeal with herpes is because of the mental stigma alone. We do know that some people suffer physically from it. We also know that those people are in a small minority of people who have the virus. Those unfortunate people have to deal with both the mental stigma and the physical effects they experience. The majority just have to deal with the mental side of it (if they are unlucky enough to even know they have it).

Either way, the mental stigma causes so much needless suffering.

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DuChamp

American in France

I'm an American living in France and I just went to the doctor today who told me I probably have herpes (not sure if 1 or 2 yet) on my genitals :(

When I started freaking out she told me, "Seriously, don't worry... it happens once in a while and it comes and goes. It's just a skin condition, in fact, it's basically nothing." I told her in America it's a big deal and when I said I would always have to inform any potential partners and wear a condom in committed relationships she laughed and said "Oh, no no - just avoid sex during outbreaks when you're contagious". She did not mention the possibility of spreading it outside of outbreaks.

I don't know how to feel about this. Obviously it is stupid it's so stigmatized in the states that we have to feel like lepers for what is usually a minor inconvenience that affects most people eventually. Then again, I would certainly have been more careful if my partner had told me and I probably could have avoided all of this.

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DuChamp

Also, how long do I have to wait before taking a blood test will show antibodies?

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devastatingnews

I think its really irresponsible to suggest that it would be great if American Doctors were more like the French and advised people disclosure is not an issue.

It would be great if it didn't carry a social stigma here, but it DOES. It might be a cultural non-issue somewhere else, but it sounds like just plain head in the sand denial to suggest medical professionals here (US) should act like the French public when clearly the Ideas of the French public have exactly ZERO impact on my sex life while herpes has brought it to an almost complete standstill. It is preposterous. I am struggling with this diagnosis, even though I don't struggle with symptoms, and it has seriously affected what had been an otherwise healthy relationship.

In America genital herpes IS a major social stigma and as such our doctors should be cognoscent of it - as all of us are- and advise people to act responsibly. I don't know why its an issue in some places and not in others- but the idea of not disclosing in a place where clearly it can be devastating emotionally is reprehensible to me. Its reprehensible to me that I was never told that condoms- widely touted to protect from STDs aren't required to disclose on the label they do not protect against herpes and that health care workers don't think its important enough to highlight. I think our medical providers are already too lax about the disease given the social environment and should be MORE insistent, not less.

I would love it if it weren't a big deal in the minds of the public- but it is. Most medical professionals who deal with life threatening disease already take it too casually IME. I don't know how you change the publics perception on the virus, but hoping doctors will be more flippant is not the answer

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DuChamp

How do you figure I suggested that? Read the last paragraph of my post.

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  • The Hive is Thriving!

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      No I’m sorry the only person that needs to be reported is you. Your posts are unacceptable by societal standards, that’s plain to all readers. Your damage to people with HSV is reprehensible. The only person bashing is you, until your attitude changes and you grow up, there is no place for you on this website.
    • Jessie67
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    • f*ckedOver
      @WilsoInAus 

      The truth of the matter is that you have no idea what you're talking about.  You seriously have issues trying to tell someone about how they suffer, what their test results are.  You apparently suffer from HSV-1 oral based on your profile and you're here for who knows why...sure you must suffer a lot or possibly none at all.  Either way most of the population is okay with someone have HSV-1 orally.  HSV-2 Genital & Oral is a different ballgame for obvious reasons. 

      You think that by my symptoms which include 5 oral lesions since exposure and test results aren't good enough.  I don't need to post my results online to let the world see.  In fact I am done explaining myself. 

      THIS IS A SUPPORT COMMUNITY NOT A BASH COMMUNITY. YOU THINK IT'S OKAY TO BASH PEOPLE FOR LORD KNOW WHAT REASON.  You attempt to manipulate my character with your slander of my character.  The only person proving them self of poor character here is yourself.  

      I have reported you. You have no reason to be here, you are the classical keyboard warrior-troll. I have every right to be pissed off and trust me if I could. I would beat the shit out of you, bc you need lessons learned.  You're alien trying to tell another human being his/her symptoms and feelings.  FUCK OFF. I will never reply to you again. I don't care how much you try to stir the pot. You have lost all credibility and you have nothing better to do than try to demoralize other people. You're a shitty human being. 
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      @Tone123 could of points. A person with genital herpes is already infected through their entire genital area as marked out roughly by a pair of boxer shorts. Once your immune system is in full swing (a few months from infection) then further infection of the same type, regardless of any sub strains, is of negligible chance.
    • ManagingIllness
      You can have HIV for many years without developing AIDs, if that is what you're asking.
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