In the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of celebrities speaking out about living with herpes. Many people have criticized this as irresponsible or ignorant, but I believe it shows courage and honesty on the part of these celebrities that they are willing to speak out, despite knowing that it may damage their careers and personal lives. Read on to find out why I think these people are heroes, and why we should stop shaming them!
It's Something I Have to Live With
You'd probably expect celebrities like Lady Gaga and Mike Tyson to talk openly about herpes. But, then again, you may be surprised how many celebrities are talking about living with genital herpes (HSV-2). From Brad Pitt's relationship with Angelina Jolie, who also has HSV-2, to celebrities like Courtney Love discussing their infection during public speaking engagements; what seems clear is that people are more willing to talk about having genital herpes than ever before. And they should be!
Should You Tell A New Partner?
Though you may not necessarily feel comfortable disclosing your herpes status, you might want to consider it. By sharing with a partner, you’re likely helping them make an informed decision about whether or not they want to continue being sexually active with you, which isn’t fair if they aren’t aware of your health situation in the first place.
I Had an Affair with an Actress
Herpes isn’t limited to just common folk. It doesn’t discriminate on celebrity status or fame. In fact, it’s possible some of your favorite celebrities have been living with herpes for years and haven’t said a word about it. So why do we still view herpes in such a negative light? What causes us, as a society, to shame someone who contracts herpes? And why are so many celebrities shamed into silence? Let’s take a look at what causes herpes shaming and how we can stop it.
Don't Change Yourself Because of the Stigma
As in any other industry, there will always be people who don’t want others to know about their status—and that’s okay. Some people believe it gives them an unfair advantage in dating or business, others are just trying to protect themselves from a bigoted response. Regardless of their reasoning, shaming celebrities for having herpes only furthers misinformation about the virus. And that negativity only pushes those who have it away.
The most important step in living with HSV is being accepting of your diagnosis. When you realize that you’re not alone, it becomes much easier to accept. Whether you know someone personally or have seen them on television, celebrities with herpes can help create an environment of understanding and acceptance. The more people who are willing to stand up and say I have herpes, whether they be a big name or just an average person, will help end herpes stigma.
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