Charlotte H Club, a non profit group which supports people infected with herpes and the human papillomavirus, wants to raise awareness about these diseases during STD Awareness Month.
Sara from Charlotte H Club spoke with Creative Loafing.
Because herpes and HPV arent life threatening like HIV, Fraser said that often times the medical community doesnt give people the information they need to treat or avoid the diseases.
What dont people know about herpes and HPV?
Sara: We have a lot of people come into a meeting once they find out they have herpes or HPV and they say I used a condom, how did this happen? People dont realize that herpes isnt transferred through blood and its transferred through skin to skin contact. It infects the whole genital area and sometimes its not just the genital area. People who have had partners with cold sores perform oral sex and they get oral herpes, genitally. If you have it genitally its not as bad as herpes simplex 2, but you still have herpes.
Is the lack of information one of the reasons why it is so important to do outreach?
We want people to know what is going on. No one wants to have herpes or HPV. We want people to prepare and better educate themselves. We also want people to know that its not the end of the world [if you get herpes or HPV] and that were not whores that deserve to get the terrible diseases. Were great people despite this little problem and people dont need to be afraid or be disgusted and they dont need to run away.
How does a persons social life change once they are diagnosed with herpes or HPV?
Some people stop dating all together. They are afraid to have to tell someone. Some people have had what we refer to as the talk and they have had some horrible reactions. People telling them not to touch their things, like touching someones dishes is going to give them herpes and that just doesnt happen. It is really terrible the way people react. A lot of people are anxiety ridden about having to tell someone they care about that they have herpes. The stigma is so great and the assumptions about the people who get herpes are so negative that people isolate themselves. They dont want to be around anyone because they are afraid people will find out. Some members are even afraid they would lose their jobs because of misinformation and the stigma attached to having it.