Scarlet Letter writes in:
I recently developed a rash and went to see my doctor who diagnosed as a fungal issue and put me on meds. After some time of the rash not going away, I decided to see another doctor at the urgent care, who diagnosed herpes. I almost immediately noticed my head swimming with questions like “will I be able to find someone?” and “will I ever have sex again?” The doctor also said “are you going to wear your scarlet letter proudly? I was stunned at the time and now am outraged! Should I be?
Dear Scarlet Letter:
First things first. Good for you for seeking a second opinion. Way to be proactive with your own well being! Next, ABSOLUTELY you are right to be outraged. No medical professional should be so casual and flip with a patient. Ever! Even if they know they will be running into you at the Liebowitz’s’ dinner party or on the links. They have a job to do and it does not involve stand up. This would be a little like my manicurist telling me that yellow looks ugly on me (true story). But I digress. When a comment cut of left field and not solicited it will often fall directly to the floor and just lie there like a smelly rotten tomato. Save your opinions and judgement to yourself doc! In this world of ever expanding ways by which to communicate, I fear we are losing something. That something is decorum. So many are now in such a rush to say what’s on their mind, afraid to be the last tweet out of the pen, that they’ve lost their ability to censure their thoughts. This has led us down a road of informality and discourse that I find downright uncomfortable. If I could just get everyone to slow down and think about what they about to say before they say it, half of the world’s problems may begin to fade. As for you. Be outraged! That person got paid good money to just tell you they thought you were an adulterer or having an affair. In truth, herpes is quite common in sexually active adults and the CDC estimates that more than one in five men and women in the United States have herpes and many do not know they are infected.
You are not alone, you are not a bad person. You do have an opportunity to learn all you can and to educate others about how to slow if not stop the spread of herpes. My biggest piece of advice is to keep on living and enjoying your life. Your ability to be open about your condition will be welcomed by some and shunned by others. But in the end, your honesty and care for yourself and others is what makes you a worthy companion (sexually or otherwise). It may be helpful to know that there is an online community focused on Dating With Herpes as well as a toll free National number.
I hope I helped.