Over the past few months, I’ve spent many afternoons in parks around the city, sitting on a bench and holding a cardboard sign with written exactly that – “can I ask you a question”? The sign was too curious not to arouse people’s curiosity. So with that simple question, over a hundred strangers and I got to talk about genital herpes.

To make the most of the contributions I gathered, I opted for splitting the project in two digestible parts:

  • Part I one will be on people’s perception of the stigma and how they relate to it
  • Part II will be on relationships, on how genital herpes and the stigma can affect people’s behaviors and intentions between herpes + and herpes –

These are the key points I’ve learned from talking to people about their perception of stigma and how they relate to it:

  • The harshest thing about the stigma is not what it is associated to, it’s believing that people believe it
  • Stigma can be a coping mechanism that lets people who perpetuate it feel safer
  • Stigma can scare people more than the actual virus

Check out the podcast to learn more about how I came to these conclusions, featuring participants contributions. Also, look out for the second part of the project, about how genital herpes and the stigma affect intentions and behaviors between herpes negatives and herpes positives .

* None of the conclusions I make in this project should be considered as scientifically proven or as being representative of any target population. This is a qualitative research aimed at uncovering a range of perceptions and insights through face to face interviews.