Meet Herbert Herpes. Otherwise known as Herb the Herp.
You may catch site of him at Atlanta events. If you do, take a selfie with him and use the hashtag #endSTIstigma.
This project is all about reducing the horrible stigma that exist around Sexually Transmitted Infections. Often the worst part about contracting an STI is not the physical symptoms, but the social stigma attached. We paint people who have STIs as slutty, dirty, or irresponsible. This stigma keeps people from getting tested regularly and stops many people from ever disclosing their status, for fear they will be shunned.
The truth is, STIs can be caught by anyone. Sometimes from non-sexual contact such as kissing. Sometimes with barrier protection. Many STIs go away with antibiotics. And the ones that don't are very manageable. Having an STI does not make you dirty or damaged goods or a slut. It makes you fairly normal, actually.
We need to have more honest conversations about STIs. We need conversations free of scare tactics or shaming or overblown statistics. And it can start with a selfie.