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"A friend just found out she probably has herpes. What can I do to help her?"

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think listening to her concerns and fears is a great place to start. Chances are there isn’t anything specific you can do, but you CAN be a good friend (and sometimes that’s enough).

I imagine your friend is feeling a whirlwind of emotions right now, ALL OF WHICH she probably just wants you to hear. When she tells you she is scared, she feels embarrassed and stupid, let her know she has every right to be feeling those things and you would feel the exact same way. Remind her that she is not stupid and you will do whatever it takes to make her feel at least a little better.

According to THIS ARTICLE, one in six humans has herpes. Also according to that article the ONLY WAY to not get the herp is to be a straight woman and to make YO MAN wear a condom… so.. -______- If I were in your shoes, I’d want to lighten the mood a little. So… you could always make a list of her favorite celebrities and be like ‘point to one’ and when she does just scream ‘HERPES.’

This is a big deal, it is something she’ll have to be conscious of forever and it is a thing she’ll have to talk about in future relationships. HOWEVER, it is also very common, there is totally a prescription you can get, and it DOES NOT have to dictate the rest of her life.

Kristin Says:

The thing with herpes is that it has this HUGE stigma attached to it… but in reality, like Dannielle said, it is a very VERY common thing and it is completely manageable. The reasons that your friend might be bummed out is because a) it’s confusing and she might not completely understand what it even means, b) she is aware of that stigma and keeps imaging herself having to tell people that she has herpes, and/or c) she feels like she made a dumb decision and she feels like a fool.

So, I think your path of being a friend can just help lift her up in those areas AND I agree with Dannielle AGAIN, I think you can make it a conversation that also includes some lightness. You can honestly be like, “Okay listen, I know this is upsetting you and I am your friend, and that is why I put a call into the mayor to name today FRHERPDAY2013.” She’ll be all, “Fruh-what Day?” and then you can be like, “IT STANDS FOR FRIENDS’ HERPES DAY 2013. IT IS WHEN YOU AND I TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT IS BUGGING YOU AND WE FIGURE IT OUT AND THEN YOU FEEL BETTER AND THEN WE GET FRHERP ICE CREAM. GOD WHY DON’T YOU KNOW ANYTHING.”

Then, on frherp day, you talk to her about how much she knows. You google things with her and do some research and help alleviate those fears. You talk about the fact that you understand why she feels anxious about having to tell other people, and underline the fact that this is a common occurrence and that anyone worth their salt will not judge her – especially if she is informed and able to explain it clearly. You tell her over and over again that she isn’t an idiot or a fool or stupid or anything – she’s just a person and this is a thing that is manageable and handle-able and that the mayor told you that, moving forward, any day could be frherp day and you are ALWAYS there to talk to her.

Also featured in “The Hook-Up” on MTVAct and MTV’s It’s Your Sex Life

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