Happy Break The Stigma Day
Today is the day! We’ve been hyping it up on all of our social media for STD Awareness Month (it’s also Sexual Assault Awareness Month) and Break the Stigma Day is finally here.
What is Break the Stigma Day? I’m so happy you asked! Given that this is the very first one, I’m going to keep it as simple as possible. Remember Herpes Awareness Day back in October? If you don’t, that’s okay, but this is really complimentary to that. Herpes Awareness Day was about herpes awareness, whereas breaking the stigma is our goal collectively for Break the Stigma Day by inspiring some sort of action not only from those living with the herpes virus, but also those who are not living with HSV as a way to show support for the herpes positive community.
With all the negative and often severe psychological effects that come from the stigma of a positive herpes diagnosis, it’s important that we support those who may be navigating this challenge alone. In my experience, I’ve come in contact with people who have contemplated suicide after a positive diagnosis due to the intense prevalence of the stigma. We hope that those who experience loss of control over their lives and sexuality are able to see the response we hope to receive as a head nod from their support systems that they can feel safe and supported through their challenges of living with herpes.
I look back at past SPFPP interviews with people living with herpes from time to time. One thing that consistently comes up is how acceptance amplifies the intensity of the healing process. Through encouraging acceptance, we encourage and inspire action which bumps us up the scale of emotions. I believe acceptance lays the foundation for awareness and education to have a greater impact.
HANDS’ goal for Break the Stigma Day is to target herpes stigma by focusing on three themes: Awareness, Education and Acceptance.
Listen to learn more about HANDS and Break the Stigma Day on episode 76 of Something Positive for Positive People – HANDS – Break the Stigma Day
How You Can Get Involved in BTSD:
- Interview a member of HANDS for your article, website, podcast, YouTube channel, or show.
- Share your story with a member of HANDS to be featured anonymously with their network on BTSD.
- Share your story or experience publicly using the hashtags #btsd #breakthestigma #whatstigma #herpesstigma
- Follow, like, share, and comment on members’ posts by following our hashtags on social media.
- Use their sample images, social media posts, and prompts to highlight herpes awareness, education, and acceptance resources with your network: https://herpes.education/btsdsocialmediaposts/
Herpes Activists Networking to Dismantle Stigma (HANDS) envisions a world where people feel comfortable talking about herpes and have access to the information and services needed to support healthy and respectful choices, without facing stigma or discrimination.
HANDS activists represent 25 diverse individuals from 7 time zones and 5 different countries – folx across the lifespan, people of color, members of the Hispanic community, as well as varying orientations and gender identities – all coming together for a shared interest: to amplify the voices of those who are stigmatized, ridiculed, and shamed. Members include authors, doctors, YouTube content creators, artists, pod-casters, athletes, bloggers, and sexual health educators, all with one thing in common: they have herpes.