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In the years that followed, I got so bold as to include my status in my online dating profile.I had men and women message me just to say, “Thank you for being honest,” or, “It’s so awesome to see you standing up to the stigma of having an STD,” or even, “I have herpes, too!” There is a disproportionate amount of stigma around herpes and other STDs.Even I, after all this time, hesitated to tell my story – but the only way we’re going to change how people think about herpes is to talk about herpes. NCSD provided a safe and supportive environment for me to talk openly about my herpes, and we want to provide the same thing for others.

I’ve advanced in my career, been acknowledged for my contributions to the field of public health, and honored as a queer woman for contributing positively to the LGBTQ community.I did not, however, anticipate how much stigma I would experience when I was diagnosed.It started with the diagnosing provider, who seemed to suggest that I should have known better, that I should have been more responsible given my profession.From that point on, I disclosed my virus to any potential date like it wasn’t a big deal, because it’s not.I would offer to answer questions, but refused to allow anyone to shame me or make me feel less than because I have herpes.

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