Abreva Cream- The Ins and Outs
By Contributing author Stephanie
Abreva cream is a topical ointment used to treat cold sores; at least that is how it is marketed. Customer reviews on numerous websites show success for the medicine. People who have used Abreva report that the time it takes for the cold sores to heal decreases, the severity of the sore or sores decreases, and there are even reports that it can be used to prevent a sore from ever actually showing up. Overall, people seem to have great success with Abreva. After diving into the use of it a bit more I found that it targets sores caused by HSV-1 (as opposed to HSV-2), which we know can also appear genitally.
I searched to see if the cream could be used for genital lesions as well, and after finding out that it certainly can be (as long as those legions are caused by HSV-1) I began to deconstruct why the company might market the product in the way that it does. The stigma associated with oral herpes is very different than that associated with genital herpes, and unfortunately a company is smart to steer clear from the later. In one of my earlier blogs, “The Social Construction of Genital Herpes,” I touch on why the stigma of genital herpes is the way it is. Because oral herpes is not as closely associated with sex, the stigma is not the same. There is also something to be said about the inability to conceal our herpes when it appears orally.
If we only experience genital lesions, disclosure is our personal choice; but when cold sores appear orally, disclosure of our herpes happens automatically. The stigmas of each type (oral and genital) as well as the ways we manage the stigmas of each type are very different from each other. Because of that difference, it is important to place them into different social categories. It is unfortunate that in order to avoid the associated stigma Abreva must also avoid marketing their product to those living with HSV-1 genitally, but then again there is a chance that products for the automatically disclosed stigma are just in higher demand. Despite these circumstances, reviews on the product would steer me towards using it so long as my diagnosis is HSV-1.
I hope this information benefits those of you who are looking for a treatment like this. I also hope this helps you to think critically about your situation and all the nooks and crannies that seem to have simple explanations but in reality are much more complex. Don’t disregard the social definitions of your diagnosis and the way you treat it, they will help you more than you might think!
Hi Everyone! My name is Stephanie. I was diagnosed with HSV-2 in April of 2014 when I was 22 years old. Right now, almost three years later, I am a doctoral student in the sociology department at Purdue University. I recently completed my MA in sociology at the University of Northern Colorado where I explored the role of stigma in the process of disclosing a genital herpes diagnosis. With that said, if anyone is interested in reading what I discovered in my project, I am happy to share that with you! I plan to continue advocating for our community, as well as studying the social factors that influence sexual health in order to understand how we can create a world that is easier for people diagnosed with STIs. I really enjoy writing for the Pink Tent community and am excited to be able to share some of my experiences and thoughts about living with genital herpes with you all.