Deal With Severe Depression After a Herpes Diagnosis

Depression. Dusica Paripovic / Moment / Getty Images

Question: I just got a herpes diagnosis and feel like my life is over. What should I do?

More and more recently, I have been hearing from young men and women experiencing such severe depression after a herpes diagnosis that they are talking about killing themselves. If you are considering suicide after a herpes diagnosis then you need to get help.


Herpes is not a fatal illness. It is an incredibly common virus that affects a huge portion of the population.

In the U.S., scientists estimate that one in four women and one in five men are living with herpes, many of them without even realizing it. If you have herpes than you are not alone.

Many people live long, happy, romantically- and sexually- satisfying lives after a herpes diagnosis. Although hearing that you have herpes can be extremely stressful, because of the stigma associated with the disease, herpes is simply a virus like any other. A herpes diagnosis says nothing about how you live your life. It says nothing about who you are.

Depression after a herpes diagnosis is not uncommon, but it is important to know that things will get better over time. For most people, the first outbreak is the worst, and the frequency and severity of future outbreaks can be reduced with suppressive therapy. Although dating with herpes can seem stressful, most potential partners will take your diagnosis in stride, particularly if you approach the subject with openness, honesty, and information.

If you have severe depression after a herpes diagnosis, please get help. Herpes is not something worth losing your life over.

If you are considering suicide:

It is very important that you talk to someone immediately and let them know you are feeling this way – someone who can talk to you right now. If you are under the care of a psychiatrist or a counselor, he or she is the person to call.

You can also call your doctor or clergy person. A family member or friend is also a good choice.

If these options are not available to you, please call a suicide crisis hotline. In the United States, you can call 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-8255. Here is a web site that lists other hotline numbers in the U.S. and around the world:

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