There's enormous stigma against STIs. Rather than view them like a cold, flu, or other infections we recognize as capable of happening to anyone, we too often view them as results of some moral shortcoming. This leads to a lot of myths about herpes and other STIs. Sheila Loanzon, MD, has encountered these myths both as an OB/GYN and as someone who has herpes herself. Despite the stigma she faced, she chose to talk about her STI and write about it in her book Yes, I Have Herpes.
"I realized that for me to attain what I really wanted in life, it would be best for me to accept, love, and confidently embrace my diagnosis. I discovered that once I acknowledged and accepted this part of me, the rest of my life fell into place, particularly with my career, friendships, and partner," Loanzon tells Bustle. "I thought of my young patients who I diagnose in the office, and having someone they can relate to is so reassuring to them. Thirdly, I wanted to put a face to the virus so that the next time herpes becomes a punch line in a joke, perhaps for my friends and family, it is no longer a nebulous virus out there, but one that is tangible and present."