I hope I can find some helpers from across North America to help form a committee with me. This is an optimistic venture, but I'm up for the challenge!
If you share my goal and want to go in this direction, then please join the campaign. Any suggestions of any sort are very very welcome. This is a team effort. I can't do it alone.
BY ALL ACCOUNTS the Herpes virus is being passed on almost always by those who DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE IT!!! And there is a very good reason they do not know they have it...besides the mistaken mild symptoms!
As is so often the case, a person might think that maybe they have something, not sure what it is, and then think OMG maybe its Horrible Herpes! So they don't go to the doctor or get tested out of FEAR!
(And as an aside - let me add that when someone accuses someone of passing on something they probably didn't even know they had at all, and calls them a liar, I am not sure that it helps matters?) Thats what I did 15 years ago. Today, with new info about asymtomatic carriers being the vast majority, I am sure eating my words!!!
It is us who can alleviate that fear and anxiety that surrounds the herpes myth, so that perhaps more and more people will stop being afraid of a herpes diagnosis. In my view this is the best way to combat the spread because we few who know we have it are just a teeny weeny minority - only about 2.5%! (10% of the 25% who have GH) and because of course many OH folks don't know the facts yet.
There is simply no funding for mandatory testing, so if we want as many of the 80% who have this virus to get tested so that they can be more careful, then we need to make them feel safe! They are all in denial that they could have Herpes. And ofcourse they are. I would be too!!! Its human nature. "It would never happen to me" But really, the biggest fear is fear itself, and thats what they need to be hearing from us. If anyone has any other ideas about how to get the other 75-80% of the North American population to step up and feel OK about herpes, then please, I want to hear it. I'm all ears. (And please, I am talking about realistic, attainable goals here).
So - here I am trying to organise an awareness run/walk/blood testing drive in all the major cities. But I can tell you that it won't be about disclosing anger, and victimization and blame and telling people how tough herpes is. It will be POSITIVE!! It will be about making people realise that they ALSO have it. That they are just like one of us. That we are normal people...LOL! And if they don't have it then they are actually the minority.
Maybe then, eventually, when the overwhelmingly vast majority of people realise that perhaps they do have it, and perhaps they do need to readjust their attitude, because hey, they are the same person they were the day before, not some 3 headed monster! Then, and only then, do I think we have a shot at making some real inroads in public awareness, which is the first step to a more responsible society.
I have no interest in being a martyr just because I am one of the very very few who has been diagnosed with symptomatic Herpes. I think we all have a right to want EVERYONE to take rightful ownership of this. Its not just about wanting others to PAY - its about once and for all putting this virus in its correct perspective. We are the sacrificial lambs (in fact ASHA told me they tell cold sore patients they do not have to disclose)! And yet we are the ones left to deal with "stopping the spread". Well...NO MORE!
I am willing to actually get out there and say and do something about it. I am waiting for everyone to join me - a few have and thank you for that - albeit it anonymously (which I understand completely but it saddens me so much).
Waiting around for someone else like govt or schools or health boards to do something really major is pointless. They have moved funding and the majority of their efforts on to diseases that are far more dangerous (and quite rightly so - people are dying of lots of other ilnesses folks)! We're not!
But it sure is easy to tell us to stop the spread when those that are spreadng it most are in the dark and in denial. Lets shed some light on the subject!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Let's talk about it!
The biggest fear is fear itself!! If we believe it, then maybe they will too. As far as this virus goes, physically, that really is the case for most. (And I can say that even though I had a bad case of it!!)
I may take a moderate approach when it comes to blame. I prefer not to go there. I prefer to try and think that maybe, just maybe, if societies attitude was different, then this wouldn't have happened to me...and not blame an individual. This virus affects all of us - the whole population - in a very negative way, and I do try and remain cognisant of that. Always!
Maybe some of you think compassion and a more moderate approach is wrong, maybe some of you who are having a really tough time physically think I am undermining the effects of this virus - but you know - if that is what its gonna take to get the job done, and make people feel OK to stand in solidarity with us and take their place among us, get educated with us...THEN I DO NOT CARE!!! Its for the greater good of you, me, and society.
I for one am taking the approach that herpes as a VERY MANAGEABLE VIRUS. Because it is!!! (And that is the medical approach, as well as ASHA's).
We do still need to act responsibly, disclose to our partners, get tested, and get educated. BUT WE NEED TO KEEP SOME PERSPECTIVE TOO!
WHO WANTS TO JOIN THE AWARENESS BRIGADE AND HELP ME? ITS GONNA BE WILD!
LOL LOL LOL!!