Guys, it’s time to talk about herpes. Why? Because herpes is the most common STI out there, and the majority of you probably have herpes – you just might not realize that you do.
I know that sounds super scary, but that’s because herpes has a horrible stigma attached to it that makes people feel ashamed for having it. So, you need to calm down. Herpes is incredibly common – 70 percent of American ages 14 to 49 have the herpes virus (according to this report), and I think it’s safe to say those 70 percent are doing pretty okay out there.
Herpes has a bad stigma attached to it because, despite how common it is, most people still don’t fully understand it. There are a lot of myths out there about the infection that you need to stop believing. Since this is something that so many people have, or will probably get as they get older, it’s really important to know the facts so that you can know what to look out for, or how to react if you happen to have it. Here are 12 myths about herpes that are totally not true:
You'll Know If You Have HerpesI hate to break it to you, but chances are, you will not know if you have herpes. 80 percent of people with the virus have no idea they have it. Scary, I know. You can have the herpes virus in your system for years without any noticeable side effects popping up. Otherwise, know this stuff: the odds of getting herpes increases with age, which makes sense, because you're exposed to more people as you get older. Single people are more likely to have herpes, which again makes sense. But really, anyone can get herpes, so just know that it could be dormant for a while before you realize it. Source: ShutterStock
You Should Be Really Embarrassed About Having HerpesUm, no, you shouldn't. Guys, 70 percent of of Americans (ages 14 to 49) have herpes THAT WE KNOW OF. That doesn't account for the 80 percent of people who have no idea they even have herpes and so can't report it as a condition. That basically means that the majority of people in this world have herpes. That being said, why is this something people are so ashamed of? It's just a virus - it's not a condition you need to be embarrassed about. No one is saying you need to shout it from the rooftops, but please don't feel like there's something wrong with you for having herpes. Source: ShutterStock
You Can Only Get Herpes By Having Unprotected SexSorry to be the bearer of bad news (again), but no: sex and kissing is not the only way to spread the herpes virus. As one doctor points out, there are many other ways to contract herpes, including sharing a drink, lipstick, toothbrushes, razors, eating utensils, and cigarettes. Basically, almost anything that comes in contact with your mouth can transfer herpes type 1. Is it any surprise that the virus is so common? Source: ShutterStock
If Your Partner Gets Herpes Out Of Nowhere That Means They CheatedGood news, finally! Say your partner shows up one day with a cold sore out of nowhere. Naturally, you would probably assume that he/she cheated on you, considering they had never shown signs of herpes before. But that's probably not the case. As I said before, you can unknowingly have the herpes virus for years before any visible symptoms show up. It is entirely possible that your partner had it in their body before they even knew you. The bad side to this is that you may now have it also. Source: ShutterStock
Condoms Will Always Protect Against HerpesNope. While condoms are the only method of birth control that can prevent and protect against STDs and STIs, they are not 100 percent effective in protecting against genital herpes. In some cases, condoms can't cover the entire infected area, so you may end up still being exposed to the virus. That absolutely does not mean you shouldn't use them, though - condoms can still reduce your risk of contracting herpes, and they also do other great things, like protect against other, more dangerous STDs and STIs and also pregnancy. Source: ShutterStock
There Is Absolutely Nothing You Can Do About HerpesUnfortunately, there is still no cure for herpes out there. So, yes, once you have herpes, you will have it for the rest of your life. However, that doesn't mean there aren't medications you can take that will help with the side effects and symptoms of herpes. It is definitely a manageable condition! There are medications that can stop genital herpes viruses from multiplying and also shorten the period of outbreaks. There are also medications to relieve oral herpes cold sores. Source: ShutterStock
You Can Only Get Herpes From Someone If They Have A Visible SoreA lot of people think this, but it's not true. In fact, this is exactly why herpes is so common - because there are so many ways to spread it that people don't even realize! Yes, it's super easy to spread the virus when you have a visible sore, but the herpes virus can also be shed from your skin without any sores present. Once you have herpes, it's very, very difficult to not spread it. Source: ShutterStock
Oral and Genital Herpes Are The Same ThingThere are two types of the herpes simplex virus, and while they are similar, they are not the same thing. There is HSV Type 1, which causes cold sores around your mouth. HSV Type 1 can also cause genital sores, but is more likely to cause mouth sores. Then there is HSV Type 2, which is called genital herpes and causes sores in your genital area. HSV Type 2 can cause mouth sores, but is more likely to cause genital ones. Source: ShutterStock
A Doctor Will Advise You To Get Tested If NeededAccording to this Source: ShutterStock
All Sores Are Created EqualA few weeks ago, a friend of mine developed a sore in her mouth and immediately started freaking out, assuming she had oral herpes. As it turns out, she just had a canker sore - but this is a common mistake. All mouth sores are not created equal! Here's the difference so you know: canker sores are inside of your mouth and, while painful and red, do not scab over. Cold sores, on the other hand, are outside of your mouth around your lip area (NOT inside), and are filled with pus and will eventually scab over. Source: ShutterStock
If You Have Oral Herpes You Can Give Yourself Genital HerpesIt's really rare to have HSV Type 1 and give yourself HSV Type 2. Your body develops antibodies to prevent that from happening. So, yeah, it's possible, but it's very rare. Like I said before - HSV Type 1 can cause genital sores, and HSV Type 2 can cause mouth sores, but that doesn't mean if you touch your mouth sore then touch your genitals, you're transferring the virus. Make sense? Source: ShutterStock
Having Herpes Means You're A SlutNo. No. No. Never mind the fact that it only takes one sexual experience to contract herpes (or any STD or STI). You can get the herpes virus simply through sharing a drink or a chap stick with someone! You don't even have to have sex to get herpes, so how exactly does having herpes make you a slut? It doesn't.
Which of these myths did you think was true? Do you have herpes? What were you most surprised about? Tell me in the comments.