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HSV-2 Which one is it?

By April 29, 2008 - 10:01am
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I have been living with the Herpes Simplex Virus for a year now. I have done extensive reasearch on this. I have heard HSV call a sexually tranmitted infection and a disease. It is listed as a communicable disease, but it is also a virus. So, which one would it be? An infection or a disease?

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HERWriter Guide

Thanks for your question. You are certainly not alone here, this is a very common problem for many people.

How is your new relationship going? Is he open? Approachable? Do you see this relationship as really going places? If you don't plan on having sex, I say don't tell him. If you are just meeting for coffee and talking walks then it's my personal opinion that this isn't something you have to tell every man you go on a date with.

However, if you plan on becoming intimate, you do have a responsibility to tell him your situation, especially if you are contagious (which is the case with STDs or STIs). Some infections can be cleared up pretty easily with antibiotics or penicillin. Others are incurable. So it would depend, really, on what you have.

The conversation isn't going to be easy, one way or the other. You can tell him that there is something he needs to know, because you care about him enough to know that he has the right to this information and you want your relationship to be based on honesty. And tell him you have an infection that will need occasional medication or ongoing medication or one dose before it is cured. (it's hard to say here since I don't know the nature of your virus).

Then the ball is in his court. He may decide to end things or he may (like many men) stay and you both can work through it. And who knows, Diana, he may have the same virus himself. After all, I assume you got it from a man. STDs and STIs are an unfortunate fact of life. He may have issues with them himself and I would hope he'd be honest with you, too.

Please keep us updated. And I think you show what a compassionate person you are, to be worried about this and care about his health and safety, when so many wouldn't care. This man is lucky to have you.

July 16, 2008 - 1:35pm
EmpowHER Guest


I'm petrified. I have the STD virus in my system, but have no idea how to tell the new man in my life.

Any suggestions?

Thanks -

July 16, 2008 - 11:28am
EmpowHER Guest

Alison, you're right on about the difference between the terms STD and STI. I was recently corrected when I used the term STD, and was told that it was outdated, and the more relevant term is STI. The person who corrected me works at Planned Parenthood and they've had to change the language in their brochures and other marketing materials to reflect this industry-wide change.

Kristin Park

April 29, 2008 - 11:01pm

What I learned regarding the difference between between the terminology of STI and STD:

STI (sexually transmitted infection) is the most up-to-date, broader term for conditions that are sexually-transmittable. They are referred to as "infections", because not all of these conditions develop into a disease.

STD (sexually transmitted disease) is an STI that has developed into a disease.

Many STIs are bacterial infections (chlyamdia is one example), and with treatment, may not develop into a full-blown disease.

As for the terms themselves, I know my parents' generation used to call them "VD" (veneral disease). Then came along the term "STD". Now, the term "STI" is being used, but not all organizations have updated their written information to incorporate this change.

As for HSV-2 specifically, I would wait to hear what Tina finds out from their experts. If you don't mind me "thinking out loud", I have learned that there is a continuum of conditions, that includes "infection" and "disease". A "disease" can be caused by an "infection", and "disease" is the broader term.

April 29, 2008 - 2:58pm

Thanks for clarifying. Will look into the STI/STD designations and get back to you. Good question.

April 29, 2008 - 2:33pm

Thanks for your question ... According to the American Social Health Association, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of STD patients, HSV 2 is technically classified as a virus. You can find more information about them, by clicking on this link.

But because we're fond of second opinions here at EmpowHer.com, we have also posed your question to the American Dermatology Association and will let you know what we find out.

In the meantime, here's some more information about Herpes Simplex Virus 2 courtesy of the National Institutes of Health if you haven't already researched this source.

Are you with a support group right now? Or interested in joining one? We may be able to provide you up with resources in that direction too.

April 29, 2008 - 10:55am
(reply to Tina Tran)

ok, i undrstand now! thankyou for all of that! that stuff can get confusing. Im going to med school to become an RN, and then i would like to study micro biology and help find a cure for this. Do you know of any good resources that i can follow up on to get more information? Thankyou for being so helpful.

April 29, 2008 - 8:08pm
(reply to Tina Tran)

I am not currently with a support group. Ive never really been intrested in one either, i have many family members and friends that are my support. I may have put my question up wrong. I am very knowledgable on the subject of HSV, and i know its a virus and that it lies dormant at the base of the spine and everything. Its just that all of the places ive researched it at has either called it a STI or a STD. Which would be the correct term for it? I wrote a five page paper on this for a college class and got an A on it. But it confused me that so many sites said many different things about it.

April 29, 2008 - 2:25pm
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