The effects of stigma on genital herpes care-seeking behaviours

Herpes. 2004 Apr;11(1):8-11.


Stigma affects both herpes-infected and uninfected people. The stigma associated with genital herpes may influence a person's decision to seek care or disclose the infection to others. For uninfected people, the threat of the stigma associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is an integral tool of clinical and public health approaches to genital herpes prevention. This paper reviews concepts of stigma in relation to the prevention and treatment of genital herpes and other STIs, and calls for those involved in STI care to weigh the extent that public health response is altruistic, moral and effective against the substantial, although incomplete, evidence of harm caused by stigma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disclosure
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Herpes Genitalis / psychology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Prejudice
  • Public Health Practice
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Shame
  • Social Perception*
  • Stereotyping*