I Hope You Correct Your Mistakes
name is Colene, and I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. While I did not
see the February 13, 2004 edition of "The View" the comments of several of the
hosts were brought to my attention, and I feel the need to comment to you
I feel the need to comment to you about that show? I like 25 percent
of the population of Canada and the United States have a Genital Herpes
infection. I found that reading Joy Behar's comments left me feeling that
responsible journalism was not practiced here.
First - and this is VERY important - Herpes Simplex Virus (Types 1 or 2) are
carried by over 80% of the population of Canada and the United States. So, in
essence, through not having her facts straight, Ms. Behar just called 80% plus
of your viewers "losers". I do not consider myself to be a loser, despite the
fact that I have HSV-2, and I'd really like to tell you why.
I'm a 34 year old mother of a 12 year old son. I am employed full-time as a
bilingual support analyst for two stockbroker firms. I live alone, pay my own
bills, and I am a person both capable of and deserving of love, acceptance,
and respect. Having Herpes does not define me as a person, and I refuse to
allow anyone to use it to define who I am or whether or not I deserve the same
respect as any other person.
Second, I have actually tried to get Dr. Phil to do a show on HSV, in order to try and dispel the myths and
ignorance that exist - not just within general society but also in the medical
community. In my own life, I have had the experience of being
misdiagnosed, refused the drugs needed to treat my illness, and judged by a
medical professional for having a chronic illness that I neither chose to
become infected with, nor was given the option to refuse being infected with.
Another woman I know with Genital Herpes - someone that Ms. Behar would
classify as a "loser" - got Herpes from being kidnapped, forcibly confined,
and repeatedly sexually assaulted over a two-day period. Not only did
this woman survive her ordeal, but she had the strength to put her rapist
behind bars for the rest of his life, and she has been able to move on with
her life and have relationships with men again. If I had to find a TRUE
definition of COURAGE, this woman I just described to you is it. Sadly, Ms.
Behar considers her a "loser".
While I find myself very angry over the complete ignorance and lack of
education with which you tackled this issue on "The View", I also see an
opportunity. That opportunity is to correct the mistakes made and really
educate the public about HSV. If the CDC statistics are to be believed, by the
year 2025 over 50% of the populations of Canada and the United States will
have contracted Genital Herpes. There is no need for that to happen if
information is made available to doctors and the public. And there is no need
for people with Genital Herpes to hide their illness because the media helps
promote a culture of ignorance and discrimination.
The choice is in your hands right now. You can leave this situation as it is,
and continue to perpetuate the ignorance and discrimination that have hurt in
many ways people like myself, or you can apologize for the mistakes made and
correct the situation by doing a factually accurate and respectful show about
Herpes and the people who have it.