A group of men and women of all ages have revealed what it is really like to live with herpes, in the hopes of showing others who have been diagnosed with the common sexually transmitted disease that they are not alone - nor are their lives over.Jenelle Marie Davis, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an STD expert, and founder of The STD Project, a movement to eradicate the stigma surrounding sexually transmitted diseases.If you're HSV+, I want you to know that you're wonderful just the way you are.
The men and women Jenelle spoke with were asked to name two things they would want others to know about living with herpes, and many of them wanted to make it clear that they are still the same people they were before they were diagnosed.
'I’m exactly the same person that I was before I was diagnosed.
'Sex requires a conversation first now, but I think that’s dramatically improved my sex life and the type of relationships I have,' 23-year-old Ella said, while Christine, 44, said she is 'more stringent' on who she has sex with without protection.
Honest and open: Lance (left), 41, said he is an 'even better person' now that he has been diagnosed, while Anja (right), 51, admitted that she didn't date 'outside of the herpes+ community' for three years'Even though he didn’t break up with me, it became a card he could play every time we had an argument.
If anything, I’m probably a better person, and my HSV [Herpes Simplex Virus] status has nothing to do with who I am,' Lance, 41, explained.
And Britni, 30, noted: 'The people that judge and stigmatize you for it aren't worth having in your life anyway.
She has shared the stories of two men and ten women, including herself, who are herpes positive in an empowering essay for xo
'I want to pitch people's personal stories because I think a lot of the time you get anonymous stories, but then nobody knows that's your neighbor.
That's someone you care about,' the 33-year-old from told Daily Mail Online.