The Herpes Hangout: Something Positive for Positive People
I had the honor of collaborating with Sex Positive St. Louis to co-host a “Herpes Hangout” at our local sex positive coffee shop, Shameless Grounds Cafe. The collaboration was really just a gathering of people who had questions about herpes and wanted to be able to ask credible people in a safe setting. Dr. Claire Jensen shared her expertise from the medical field while I shared experiences that have been shared with me on the Something Positive for Positive People podcast.
There was a mixed crowd of people who are HSV+ and HSV negative – which was super cool. We had a discordant (one person is positive and one person is negative) couple ask an almost unanswerable question, “We’re polyamorous, I’ve recently tested negative for HSV, but my wife here is positive for HSV. When I have new partners, do I tell them I’m seeing someone who’s positive for HSV?”
These are the kinds of questions that can only be answered by those with similar experiences. This person understands that while they may have tested negative last week, they could acquire HSV prior to their next test and just unknowingly pass it on to another partner before they know they have it. As Dr. Evelin Dacker stated in episode 99 of Something Positive for Positive People, herpes is just a tricky virus. I’m a little disconnected from having to have the disclosure conversations because I have the privilege of being open about my status and pursue this passion project.
My goal in recording and releasing an hour of this is really to open up people to the idea of being able to put these kinds of events together. It’s my goal that in 2020, I’m able to travel to these kinds of events and create space for people living with herpes to be comfortable stepping into sex positive spaces to exchange experiences and hopefully get accustomed to talking about their experiences without the shame that comes with it.
I’m a firm believer that community is the closest thing we’ll have to a cure for herpes in the near future. It’s important to me that people see the power in exchanging experiences with one another as a means of support. The SPFPP podcast provides a safe place for people to the awareness that we aren’t the only ones with this virus, but there’s nothing like human presence. For 2020 I want to make that a focal point for those struggling to connect with people because of their diagnosis. This opportunity with Sex Positive St. Louis at Shameless Grounds Cafe really expanded my perspective to begin to understand what more efficient ways we can all begin to support one another as a community.
Here’s a little taste of community on episode 112 of Something Positive for Positive People. Enjoy and stay sex positive over the holidays!