Alexandra Harbushka tested positive for genital herpes, leading her to create a community of like-minded people learning how to manage the condition and thriving together online. I believe stigma, disconnection, and loneliness are possibly the most devastating parts of many STIs for many people in the industrialised world where treatments are readily available and they can afford them. As a side note, there are always medical exceptions where any infection can be particularly severe or painful. While these are the exception and not the rule, it’s important we don’t erase the real suffering that some herpes sufferers experience even though they’re not common. There are also treatments now like valcyclovir for those with frequent outbreaks to reduce outbreaks, pain, and risk of transmission.