How to Teach About Herpes
One in six American adults will get herpes in their lifetime. Therefore, when teaching about herpes, it is important to stress that the disease is both common and manageable. The broad goals of teaching about herpes should include:
- Knowledge about the disease.
- An awareness of risky behaviors
- Prevention skills
- Information about accessing community resources.
If working with adults, the larger goal is to ensure students are informed, know where to get tested and treated, and practice being responsible with their body and their partnerâ€™s. Key messages should also include information on managing herpes and communication skills to have open and empathetic conversations with partners.
Ashley Manta, a sex educator who teaches about living with herpes, stresses the importance of correcting misinformation and destigmatizing the disease from a young age. One way to do this is by using positive, non-stigmatizing language. â€œI tell groups, â€˜When you â€˜Iâ€™m cleanâ€™ when someone asks you about STIs, what you are implying is that people with STIs are â€˜dirty.â€™ This is a big â€˜a-haâ€™ moment for people.â€
 CDC – STD Facts – Genital Herpes. http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/STDFact-herpes.htm
 Adapted from: Future of Sex Education Initiative. (2012). National sexuality education standards: Core content and kkills, K-12 [a special publication of the Journal of School Health]. Retrieved from http://www.futureofsexeducation.org/documents/josh-fose-standards-web.pdf.
 Includes abstinence and condom use.