Episode 67: Challenge Your Assumptions With Experience
Showing support to someone opening up about their positive HSV status is a challenge on both ends. The person who chose to disclose to you feels safe doing so. Many times they may not NEED anything from you but to listen. They just may need to say it out loud. The best thing you can do is allow them to say what they have to say. Be present with them. And as someone disclosing, allow the other person to have their feelings about it as well. Herpes disclosures are awkward on all sides because we just don't know how the other person feels about it so we have to gauge emotions in that often awkward silence, and that's okay.
This episode is useful to anyone who may not have had anyone disclose to them yet, or recently someone has disclosed to you and you are seeking guidance to navigate the conversation. The person disclosing fears judgment that their character is now that of the stigma. Assure them they are not the stigma by encouraging them to challenge their beliefs about the stigma to their experience. Destigmatizing herpes starts with the people who have herpes.