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Sharon's Letter to Barbara Walters

Although I missed the "Valentine's" edition of "The View" that aired on Feb 13, I was very disheartened to hear of the ignorant comments made by host Joy Behar.

I contracted HSV in the 80's from my ex-husband. He states that he didn't know he had it and I believe it considering that many people who have it do not know it. At any rate, when I thought I might have it, I went to the Dr and asked to be tested for it. My tests came back negative. He attributed the "sore" that I had to possible lack of lubrication during intercourse. So, I went on with my life and did not realize that I had it until years later after my divorce when I infected the man that I was in a long term relationship with. Had I received an accurate diagnosis, this could have been prevented. So, here I am almost 20 years later and guess what? It is nothing more than a minor irritation that, personally, is less bothersome to me than catching the common cold. It has not changed my life, who I am nor what defines me as a person. I dealt with it and moved on as millions of others do. However, we are the fortunate ones.  There are many people who struggle on a daily basis with this truth and it is not because of any physical pain or discomfort brought on by an outbreak, it is due to the negative stigma out there that your host helped to perpetuate with her insensitivity and apparent lack of knowledge. What basis and values do we use to measure our respect and admiration for others. Surely not a disease that nobody asked for. At least I don't and neither does my fiancé, who is HSV negative.

I am attractive, healthy, witty, intelligent, caring, loyal and successful in my career. These are the qualities that he sees in me. The fact that I have herpes is a non-issue for him.

All of my friends and family and even several co-workers know that I have HERPES. They know because I told them. I told them because I am not ashamed and have no reason to hide. Once I realized that I was, in fact, infected, I never dated anyone without telling them up front. Even though it really isn't a big deal to me, I realize that it may be to someone else and it's only fair that they are aware of it ahead of time. Only through honesty, can they take the steps to learn more about it and then make an EDUCATED decision on whether it is a "deal breaker". For those who wont take the time to become educated - shame on them. It is my hope that the more people that know people with HSV,  the more it will help to erase that negative stigma. They will come to realize that it is people just like themselves, even people whom they admire,  that have it.

I'm not requesting that you stand up and be a cheerleader for Herpes. I would, however, ask that you show a little more responsibility in the manner in which topics are discussed and aired. You have the ability to reach far more people than any one of us do. Amends should be made.


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