Healing Herpes With Self-Love
When I was a boy we lived in the Ghettoes of Toronto, Canada. We had just immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago. My mother struggled to raise four of us on a waitress’ salary. There was chaos and self-destruction all around us. Many of my playmates are no longer among the living. But none of this touched us- we were living a different life.
My mother was a church-lady. She was strong and resilient and strict. All of us grew up in the church. The church kept us insulated from most of the horrors of poverty. The church still has it’s influence on me.
I feel it and walk it everyday and I am happy for it. I learned about love in the church. Not the love you see on TV and in the movies- a bigger love, a deeper love. That’s the one sermon from our Jamaican female pastor that I remember the most. When I was 13 she spoke about love. Jesus was all about love, he was love, he is love. Bryan Ferry from Roxy music sings “Love is the drug that I need to score”. I disagree, I don’t believe that love is a drug- an intoxicant. That sounds more like infatuation to me. I believe that love is a medicine.
The Medicine. For those of us in the sixty percent or more of the population with the herpes simplex virus Love is the most powerful healing tool. Sarah Mclachlan who went to my alma mater-The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, sings “Your love is better than ice cream, better than anything I’ve ever had”. I would sing instead that “My love is better than valtrex, better than famvir or anything I’ve ever had”. Don Miguel Ruiz writes that “healing requires the truth, forgiveness and self-love. With these three points the whole world will heal”. I will write about all three in this brief piece. First the truth. Sixty percent or more of the population has herpes. It’s not the 20 or 25% figure thrown out by many who wish to downplay the true impact of the herpes pandemic.
In a way it’s a cynical attempt to divide the herpes nation between those who get sores on their mouth and face from those who get sores on their genitals. It provides a flimsy excuse for people with cold sores to pretend it’s not herpes, to not get treatment and not to try and prevent others from being infected. Herpes is herpes- it’s one of the few things scientists and us in the holistic healing community agree on. Figures very widely but it cannot be disputed that between 50 and 80% of the population has herpes simplex 1 and between 20 and 25% of the population has herpes simplex 2, so if you factor in the number of people who have both types, the minimum number of people who have herpes simplex has to be at least 60% and is likely more. This is important because the message needs to get out to people with herpes that they are not part of some marginalized minority. If you have herpes you are part of a herpes nation that is a majority of the population. It is common and normal to have herpes. It is becoming uncommon not to have herpes. It is long past time for people with herpes to come out of the closet and speak up about herpes to help educate the people who don’t have herpes and to put a human face on this disease. The stigma only exists because of the shame people with herpes have agreed to carry.
There is no need for this, no reason for this. Shame is not a product of love. It makes no sense to me to be ashamed of getting a virus from an act of lovemaking or kissing rather than getting a disease from self-abuse or catching an air-borne virus from riding on a subway train. Some people do not love sex and therefore wish to denigrate anything that has to do with sex especially sexually transmitted infections. I learned a long time ago in church that true love is accepting and forgiving and inclusive. People with herpes are not lepers and need not allow themselves to be treated like lepers. The truth is also that there is no cure for herpes and one isn’t likely in our lifetime. So herpes is a lifelong viral infection. The truth is that most people who have herpes don’t know it because they have never had a type-specific blood test for herpes either out of fear or lack of awareness.
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