Herpes, One of the Scariest and Unspoken Words #herpes #genitalherpes #herpeszoster #feverblisters #stds
May 11, 2014
I spent many days deliberating if I should write this blog, because of the ramifications that people would think I have herpes. As I don’t live my life by fear, this also became the exact reason I decided to write about it. Herpes needs to be discussed and brought out in the open, so people aren’t so afraid of the ramification, and more importantly, so they don’t feel like lepers.
Two things happened to me recently that pushed me to write this blog. One: I went to visit an old partner. As I went to give him a friendly kiss him goodnight, he turned his face, so that I would kiss him on the cheek. I was mortified, as I thought it meant he no longer felt any closeness to me, as I did him. The next day, I noticed him applying Abreva, a commonly used medication for herpes simplex virus or herpes labialis, around the mouth. It appeared a sore had appeared that wasn’t there the night before. In that moment, I was very glad he had turned away, and finally understood his rash movement away from me. Two: I spoke to a dear friend yesterday who told me that, when he gets a fever blister, he feels like an ugly leper. Both stories gave me the compassion to take a deeper look.
BIG NEWS: 1 out of 6 people have some form of herpes in the United States, Simplex one (oral) or Simplex two (of the sexual organs). So, if you were sitting at a part with about 25 people in a room, 4 of those people would have this disease. How many relevant and prevalent diseases in this country do we NOT talk about? This may be the only one that goes undiagnosed and not discussed.
The often painful and fatigue-causing disease, Herpes, is considered a Sexually Transmitted Disease, so you can get it by kissing, having oral sex, or vaginally, or from anal sex. I have found no evidence that this disease can be spread by sharing something like a telephone or toilet, yet I have heard people tell me they gotten the disease this way. My biggest surprise in researching this disease is that most people who have herpes have very mild symptoms, so they don’t even know they have it. So, imagine how many people are getting the disease without even knowing it. You can also have this disease and show no signs of having it; again, passing it along like bread around the table.
This disease is a virus and has no known cure. In my estimation, it is in pandemic proportions. One place you can definitely discuss this disease is a place called the GYT Campaign. You can also get the facts from the CDC here. There are a few medications that cause the herpes virus to stay hidden in the nerves of the body, where they tend to camp out until you have too much sex activity, have major anxiety, fatigue, or have an illness that depletes the immune system. In any of these ways, the virus may work its way out of the nervous system and cause blisters, rashes, or irritation that can last up to 10 days.
Medications work on three tiers: Initial treatment, Intermittent treatment, and suppressive treatment. Some physicians say that if you catch the virus and use and antiviral in the first two days of getting the disease, you may not ever have an outbreak again, but this is no indication that you still don’t have the virus in your system. The most common treatment for Herpes would be with a drug called Valtrex. There is a generic form, valacyclovir, of this drug that is much cheaper than the brand name. When this drug was first introduced to the public, the cost was in the 250-300 dollar range for a month’s suppressive treatment. Now, the generic is $50 if you have no insurance and is a co-pay for those who have insurance.
The drugs that most people are not using since the dawn of Valtrex are acyclovir, Famvir, and Zovirax. These drugs come in topical forms and salves as well as a systemic drug for the entire system. If you think you have herpes, don’t be afraid to talk about it to the people you love, especially partners and lovers. They need to know that you are treating the disease and take proper precautions themselves. And please, please, please, don’t feel as if you are the only person on this earth who has it. You are safely among billions of people in the world who now carry this disease and will have it, at this point in time, for the rest of their lives.