In order to keep yourself inconspicuous, do you show emotion or a reaction when a movie makes fun of herpes or when someone you know or don’t know cracks a joke about it? Does it bother you or do you just chalk it up to ignorance about the condition?
One of the biggest problems that people with STDs, experience, is that of social stigma. A lot of people have to struggle to maintain their dignity and quality of life, despite the fact that they suffer from a disease that they didn’t ask for. The nature of the sexually transmitted diseases is such that the people, who have them, often become the butt of jokes. The insensitivity that people often show, towards STDs and the people who suffer from them, can border on cruelty. Singles with herpes find themselves being shunned out of the dating pool, those who have outbreaks are often ridiculed publicly and a lot of people live in the fear of being found out, to be suffering from the disease. Yet, often a lot of us stop ourselves from protesting against such situations, simply because we want to be part of the majority that makes fun of STDs and STIs. We simply do not want to stand out.
Genital Herpes – Is it a Joke?
Every time you hear genital herpes mentioned on the television or any other popular media, it is usually in the context of a joke or light hearted comedy. Since genital herpes is not fatal, it becomes an easy target for jokes. People who have genital herpes are seen to be sexually promiscuous, stupid or sometimes even considered monsters. People living with herpes are simple not seen as helpless victims. Their pain and discomfort are overlooked to make way for jeering and jibes. Those who do find these kinds of jokes offensive, are silenced because they do not want to be associated with herpes or they simply chalk this kind of behavior up to ignorance. As a result, these jokes and cruelty go unchecked and people suffering from this disease, continue to be joked about, ostracized and tormented. Even those, who have herpes themselves, will usually not say anything when they witness people making jokes about the disease, because they do not want to be exposed as having the condition themselves.
The Reality of Herpes Incidence
According to official statistics, 1 in every 5 Americans suffers from herpes. So, if people suffering from herpes are promiscuous, stupid or cheaters, then that means that one fifth of the American population or 51 million Americans would have to be labeled so. What is the likelihood of so many people being promiscuous, cheaters or stupid? Did they deserve to get this disease which gives them only pain, loneliness and rejection?
Celebrities often lend their name and credibility to raise awareness about several different diseases, but no one comes forward to raise awareness for herpes, because of the stigma attached to it. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why there is so much of misinformation about the disease. The fact is that herpes is just a viral disease, and most of the people who have it unknowingly pass it to others, or they get infected themselves. They are just normal people like you and me and were just unlucky enough to get infected through an infected partner. They may not be promiscuous and may have got it from an infected loyal, loving partner. Some people may just be born with it. So they should be left to live with dignity and if you are someone who has herpes, you should not fear ridicule from the society. Just live your life free of any stress, because there are still a lot of people who understand that herpes is just a disease and not a choice.