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Herpes Activists Networking to Dismantle Stigma (HANDS) envisions a world where people feel comfortable talking about herpes and have access to the information and services needed to support healthy and respectful choices, without facing stigma or discrimination.
The Herpes Activists Network, HANDS, is improving sexual health and well-being by encouraging productive and sustained conversations about living with herpes and promoting high quality herpes information and herpes support. Established on Herpes Awareness Day – October 13th, 2018 – HANDS is managed by The STI Project in conjunction with the Network Leadership Team.
HANDS is making living with herpes a common part of our global discourse by promoting high quality herpes services and resources. In bringing together organizations and individuals who have a stake in advancing herpes awareness, education, and acceptance, HANDS advances the overall sexual health of our world.
We believe that sexual health includes awareness of those who are living with herpes; the ability to enjoy intimate relationships that are fulfilling, despite one’s herpes status; respecting the rights and choices of others as it relates to herpes risk and prevention; knowledge of and access to high quality herpes services and support throughout life; and understanding the family, community, and societal factors that influence herpes stigma.
HANDS members work together to achieve the following goals:
- Promote awareness, education, and acceptance of herpes: understanding that sexual health is a core element of overall health and well-being across the lifespan, yet it does not require one to be free from herpes infection.
- Normalize open dialogue about herpes between partners, parents and children, healthcare providers and patients, and within communities.
- Empower individuals who are living with herpes to protect and enhance their own personal sexual health and well-being, while respecting the health and decisions of others.
- Encourage a wide variety of organizations to embrace positive and effective approaches to herpes awareness, education and acceptance, based on the best available science.
- Enable health care providers and patients to have conversations about herpes and to utilize evidence-based sexual health services.
HANDS members believe that:
- Sexual health is a core element of our overall health and well-being while living with herpes.
- Sexuality is a natural and positive part of our lives, and individuals’ decisions about how to express their sexuality while living with herpes should be respected.
- People should have access to accurate and complete information about herpes that is based on the best available science.
- The needs of various populations living with herpes, which may differ by age, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, education and income levels, personal values, and emotional and physical development should be recognized and is addressed in our work.
Thank you so much for your interest in Herpes Activists Networking to Dismantle Stigma!
Health care providers, consumer and advocacy groups, health organizations, businesses, media, faith-based organizations, educators, and the public health community are invited to participate and to engage in joint action.
We welcome your membership and are happy that you would like to join us to help advance awareness, education, and acceptance for those who are living with herpes. Please see, ‘how to become a HANDS member’ below for additional details along with our membership agreement.