Helping Yourself Through Diagnosing Herpes
How you can feel better about yourself after the diagnosis of Herpes?
An estimated 40 million Americans have genital Herpes and another 50 million have oral Herpes. Research data released in 1997 showed that 21.9% of Americans 12 and older are infected with HSV-2 (genital Herpes). Most of these people learn to cope successfully, but the initial diagnosis can be very upsetting and emotional. Many people with a newly diagnosed case of Herpes want to concentrate on when they got the virus and from whom. This is very difficult because the diagnosis of genital Herpes often happens months to years after the person first was infected with the virus.
The first task is to recognize that Herpes does not change who you are. Although some people with Herpes may at first feel depressed, angry or damaged, Herpes does not make you a bad person or reflect upon your inherent self-worth. Herpes IS a treatable skin infection, with a variety of options to help reduce physical pain and emotional stress.
The second task is educating yourself. Almost everyone eventually finds some way to control Herpes or to feel in control. Paying close attention to body signals, recognizing the prodrome of an outbreak and immediately beginning anti-viral treatment, cool baths, pain relievers and stress relief is the start of control. The more you understand yourself and the virus the more in control you will feel. Many people with Herpes find talking with a counselor, finding a supportive friend or support group is very helpful. Ask your medical provider for information. If you have trouble finding a group in your area, check out our groups pages for listings from around the world.