Herpes support groups

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This article is about the social health aspects of the disease. For information about the specific virus, see Herpes simplex virus.

Herpes Support Groups are organized groups, some grass roots and some official nonprofit or medical groups, that provide support and information for people who have been diagnosed with genital herpes. Genital herpes is a viral disease caused by Herpes simplex viruses; both herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV–1) and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV–2) can cause genital herpes.

History of herpes support groups[edit]

Support for people with herpes arose from the work of the American Social Health Association (ASHA). The organization was created in 1914 to in response to the increase in social diseases that had spread during World War 1.[1]

During the 1970s, there was an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. One of the diseases that increased dramatically was genital herpes. In response, ASHA created the National Herpes Resource Center in 1979. The HRC was designed to meet the growing need for education and awareness about the virus. One of the project of The Herpes Resource Center (HRC) was to create a network of local support (HELP) groups. The goal of these HELP groups were to provide a safe, confidential environment where participants can get accurate information and share experiences, fears, and feelings with others who are concerned about herpes.[2][3]

While the HELP groups provided education and emotional support, they had limited offerings in the area of socializing or dating. The advent of the Internet came a grass-roots movement to create online social support and dating.[citation needed] Groups started forming around the country on yahoogroup, meetup and other social networking sites. In addition to these informal, local groups, a number of online social networking and dating sites were created, The first of which was Antopia in 1979.[citation needed] In addition to Antopia, there are a number of other sites that also offer forums to help individuals deal with their condition.

In the UK, the Herpes Association (now the Herpes Viruses Association) was started in 1982, becoming a registered charity with a Dept of Health grant in 1985. The charity started as a string of local group meetings before acquiring an office and a national spread.[4][5]


A major concern for people with genital herpes is the social stigma attached to having the virus, despite the fact it is generally harmless. Some individuals remain single for this reason.[6][7] Among genital herpes patients, 39% said they were troubled by societal stigma about genital herpes.[citation needed] Far more genital herpes patients—75% -- were troubled by bothersome symptoms of genital herpes outbreaks.[citation needed]

In a 2007 study, 1900 people (25% of which had herpes) ranked genital herpes second for social stigma, out of all sexually transmitted diseases (HIV took the top spot for STD stigma).[8]

Genital herpes can be an isolating condition. Get detailed information on genital herpes as well as online and in-person support groups—even a dating community.[9]

The support groups for genital herpes are predominantly targeted toward those who are HSV positive, including dating websites. A few groups exist for discordant partners.

External links[edit]

Herpes Forums on DMOZ


  1. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 19 October 2014. ASHA was founded in 1914 in New York City, formed out of early 20th century social reform movements focused on fighting sexually transmitted infections (known then as venereal disease, or VD) and prostitution. 
  2. ^ "American Social Health Association". 
  3. ^ "The Herpes Resource Center". 
  4. ^ "The Herpes Viruses Association". 
  5. ^ "Top UK Dating Sites Reviews". 
  6. ^ "Herpes And Dating". HSVOutbreak.com. Retrieved 19 October 2014. many people who are diagnosed with herpes end up remaining single or are ashamed of getting into an intimate relationship because of the negative stigma that is associated with the infection. 
  7. ^ Fortenbury, Jon. "The Overblown Stigma of Genital Herpes". The Atlantic. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Stigma Still Strong". 
  9. ^ "genital-herpes-support-resources".