It was very hard to tell a guy I liked that I had herpes, hoping that they would still want to date me.’ Alexandra also admits that she has used the ‘herpes card’ to her advantage if there was someone she didn’t want to have sex with.
On the day she received a call from her doctor with the results of her test: ‘I was mad, crushed, confused, angry, depressed and it goes on and on.
‘If it was someone I wanted to have a serious relationship with then I waited until I knew we were both on the same page.
Sometimes it would be three-to-four months before disclosing.
‘After my diagnosis, I stayed in a relationship for much longer than I should have because I was too scared to go out and date.
Someone like Alexandra is very public about the fact that she lives with an incurable STI.
She works every day to break down stigma and give people with herpes a place where they can access clear and easy to understand information about the condition. But does the stigma around sexually transmitted diseases still affect her?
‘We ran a survey of our members asking how many potential partners they had talked to about this – and how often they were rejected.
There was an 83% acceptance rate for both men and women, meaning that fewer than 1 in 5 partners wanted to discontinue the relationship.’ However, the risk of transmitting the disease is always present.