DJ in hot water for calling people with herpes “Dirty”

Herpes stigma

The stigma needs to stop


DJ in Detroit referred to people with herpes as being “Dirty.”  We just heard from members of a local group and  got their permission to post this here.  Here is the original post made:

OK– Just need to VENT– I was listening to 98.7 on my way to an appointment around 3:00 today, and the DJ announces that he just heard that the Detroit area has one of the largest H populations in the country. (Fine– so what?) He goes on to ask the listeners if they’ve run into anyone “dirty” like that in their lives, and gets a female caller on the air to ask her if she’s met any “dirty” men in her dating life. !!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE……?????? Where does it say that H [Having herpes] has ANYTHING to do with personal hygiene??????? I wanted to jump thru my radio speaker and strangle the idiot!!”

Metro Detroit Help,  one of the largest social / support groups in North America for those people that have contracted either the HSV or HPV virus and based in SE Michigan with over 1,000 members, have fired off an email to the staff at 98.7FM.  This radio station is owned by CBS. Others, from around the country are also sending emails to the station.

Here is an email sent in by one person:


Program Director:
Assistant Program Director:
Promotions and Marketing:

Dear Mr. Theodore,

It was brought to my attention today by friend on Facebook that an employee of Detroit radio station 98.7 made a disparging remark concerning those afflicted with HSV(Herpes) virus calling them “dirty” and then asking a person calling in if they had any interaction with these “dirty” people. Her report is as follows: [Quote from above]

In doing some internet research on the Metro Detroit area whose reported year 2000 population was 3,903,377 people, current figures put between 20-25% of the population are inflicted with the HSV(Herpes) virus which translates to between 780,675 and 975,844 people. That is a lot of “dirty” people!!! I was not able to come up with demographics information on your listener base, but safe to say with those kinds of numbers, not only do you have a significant listenership with this condition, but it is also highly likely you have multiple employees with this condition as well.

Cold sores are HSV 1, that’s right…Herpes. Rather than disparage those with this condition, I urge you to support educating your listeners on this VERY common condition by getting tested for all Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STD’s) including HSV, reporting your results to the public and directing them to

I would also like to respectfully request that the on-air personality issue a public apology, and get tested themselves for HSV as well as urge their listeners to do the same.

And while I do not live in the Detroit area, I do visit the area on occasion.  I would like to think this negative experience could be turned to a positive informative opportunity to enhance your organizations image in the Metro Detroit area.

Thank you for your attention to this matter

It’s time to take a stand and begin to tear down the “stigma” we all deal with….


Thank you



We applaud Metro Detroit Help for taking this seriously and bringing attention to this matter. The whole stereotype that people with herpes are somehow “Dirty” is completely false.  This DJ is just feeding into that and it is wrong.  Having herpes really isn’t bad for most.  It’s the stigma associated with it that causes the most harm.  Most of the people we met didn’t ask to have this and got it while in a committed relationship with someone that was not honest about their condition or simply did not know they had it.

Feel free to send the radio station an email and let them know how you feel.  It’s time this stigma was put to rest.


Update: From Metro Detroit Help

I have just finished speaking with Grooves of 98.7 AMP Radio (the assistant Program Director). He did review the tapes from yesterday’s broadcast and now understands the issue. I have requested a transcript and/or recording of this material.

He has assured me that CBS Radio takes this very seriously and is working with the staff on a formal reply.

He is in agreement with me that a positive can and should come out of this experience. He is working with his team to come up with an effective way to get the right message to his listening audience. I will work with trusted knowledgeable voices in the H community to hopefully let a moment of ignorance become a moment that can effect lives.

Update #2: The station set aside time to let a member of  Metro Detroit Help go on the air and talk about herpes!  It was awesome!  She talked about the stigma, how people get herpes and more!  Way to go Metro Detroit Help and 98.7 AMP Radio!

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