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Could UU have herpes too?

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To start off, I'll say I'm a Unitarian Universalist, commonly abreviated UU. It's a small, liberal denomonation that has it's roots in protestantism and has less to do with standard Christianity than it does with Humanism. If you want to know more, I'm happy in so many ways to share with you. But that's not what this post is about.

My religion is about finding yourself. I've just found myself... with herpes. After the curses and the anger, the fear and the frustration, I've given myself over to the reality that I will be living with HSV for the rest of my life. Here's where I cue the musical, Rent, "to people, living with-living with-living with, not dying from disease." I'm having ups and downs about where this puts me vis-a-vis my faith. I don't believe in heaven (it could be anywhere, why not here?), I really, really don't believe in hell (what loving, benevolant Creator could make us and then contrive a posibility such as ETERNAL damnation? That's just silly. And sad that people would think so little of their God). So, I'm not worried about my eternal soul. What I'm worried about is how I can see myself as a part of a church where every part of me is supposed to be worthwhile, when a part of me I can't even talk about has no place. I'm not talking about a heart to heart with the minister, I'm talking about sharing my sorrow and my situation with the people who are supposed to be my fellowship.

I'm here to ask this question, I guess: have you found a *community* where you can be accepted, openly with this part of yourself? Did you seek solace in your faith or faith tradition? Does your church promote safe sex or is this something that would have you doubly ousted as a sinner (both for your disease and for having sex)? How should I react to my sex-positive church? How do I be open while still being safe?

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well a sex positive church, or any organization should be well aware of all the reprocustions of having sex.

and having something that comes along w/ sex, shouldnt really be a big issue to them as- since they should know that it happens.

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I'm here to ask this question, I guess: have you found a *community* where you can be accepted, openly with this part of yourself? Did you seek solace in your faith or faith tradition? Does your church promote safe sex or is this something that would have you doubly ousted as a sinner (both for your disease and for having sex)? How should I react to my sex-positive church? How do I be open while still being safe?

Forgive me but can you be more specific? Are you asking if we divulge our HSV status to fellow church members? What is a sex positive church and what do you mean by being "safe"? Why do you feel the need to reveal your HSV status to others? I'm not knocking it, just curious.

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I am a UU too :-)

I have not shared with anyone in my congregation about herpes, but I think I understand what you mean about the "sex-positive" church comment. The community tends to be "open" about sex and not judge lifestyle choices. It could be difficult to approach the topic of sex (or prospect of it) in a community so open, because you may feel that you need to express why you are not so open anymore. Maybe that's what you mean?

Anyway, regarding the faith community supporting you through this difficult time in your life.... If you had any disease, say multiple sclerosis, you would tell your minister, family and friends, and everyone would tend to you and stand by you. But when it's herpes, you are expected to keep it to yourself. However, herpes is a bold diagnosis that isn't received lightly and hurts a lot emotionally (nevermind physically). It's exactly the kind of diagnosis that sends you seeking a community for support.

I think there are two choices in this matter: 1) You could make a difference and educate your religious community by publicizing your private business for the betterment of everyone, or 2) You could get involved in online lists, sharing experiences and challenges with anonymous strangers so that you are not alone but don't have to make waves in your community.

I find it refreshing to read posts about herpes when the rest of my life is spent avoiding the topic. I think *this* is the place to find fellowship in dealing with the disease, and over time you will find that even this part of yourself is worth loving.

Religion is a place where you can explore yourself alongside others of like mind, but it does not provide the answer to everything (especially not UU). Have faith in yourself and you will find the way.

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  • 2 years later...

Hey everyone,

I know this is ages after you posted, but I myself am a UU as well. I am a college students and like many UU's in college have kind of lost my congregation. I was thinking about it a bit and STD's really suck. I mean think about it, if we had a "normal" diagnosis during the Joy's and Sorrow's we could express our intense sorrow and receive some understanding and speak with people who have been affected by similar experiences. However, due to the stigma attached to what I have I feel like if I were to say something that some would understand, but that others would judge, and what's worse is that my boss' boss goes to the same church and that would be especially awkward. Then who knows who else might find out and how much the stigma would follow.

I guess i understand your conundrum. I would like to be able to share and get support and even though we have a sexually liberated congregation I feel that with an STD that some of the same issues will come up. Did you ever end up finding a community at the church?

Side note: one of the counselors at my school is a UU, so I will probably be speaking with her soon. I probably won't divulge anything with the larger (tho still quite small) congregation.

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