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  1. A little over six months ago I had what seemed like an initial genital herpes outbreak. It started with swelling, redness, itching and burning that felt like a bad yeast infection, I used a single dose anti-fungal cream which increased the itching and burning to a nearly intolerable level. Within the next 48 hours small round blisters appeared and then opened leaving shallow, round lesions that matched uncomfortably well with the results of my google image search for herpes sores. The pain dissipated after several days though the lesions were still present and I took myself to planned parenthood. The clinician who examined me diagnosed me with herpes based on visual evidence, but the culture from the swab we took came back negative, though I was told this was most likely because the sample had been taken after the lesions had been open for a few days, and were less likely to be releasing fluid containing the virus. Last week I took the IgG blood test for hsv 1 and 2 as well as the IgM, and received a call today that the results were negative. However, the symptoms I had six months ago still have me worried, I have looked into the possibility of the anti-fungal cream (Tioconazole) I took causing the lesions, and there seems to be an extremely low, but not entirely convincing correlation. I have also been noticing very small, circular lesions on the inside of my lip (oral) in the last several months that sometimes are mildly uncomfortable but don't tingle or appear to have a blister stage (that I have caught, anyway). When I write the symptoms out like this, I think I am probably being paranoid, but I have never had cold sores before and the shape reminds me of the lesions I found on my labia 6 months ago (do these sound at all like cold sores, anyone?). I have not had anything resembling a second outbreak genitally. Anyhow, while I realize I am, perhaps being somewhat paranoid now, this is something I want to move on from, and I'm already leaning towards letting go on further testing unless I have another episode- while disclosing that it's possible I have herpes to future sex partners, and having my current boyfriend get tested again as his last test was only a little over a month after my potential exposure. However, the Western Blott is in the back of my mind.... Does anyone have any advice? Is the negative blood test reasonably solid (not 100% but in the mid-high 90's) evidence that I probably am not carrying the virus, or would it be in my boyfriend and potential future lovers' best interests for me to continue testing?
  2. Also while light exercise is extremely good for the immune system (and for relieving stress), heavy exercise can put stress on the body and compromise the immune system, so if you recently started working out again, and you're pushing your body harder than it is used to, it's possible that may have contributed to that blister showing up now of all times. Which certainly isn't to say you should never push yourself physically, just pay attention to your body, and when it shows signs of stress, adjust your exercise plan accordingly.
  3. Thanks so much LionEagle, that was exactly the information I was looking for!
  4. Mab is queen of the fairys :) more info on her, and Mercutio's monologue (from which the excerpt above was taken) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Mab in the "Queen Mab" Wikipedia article. The article even says that the blisters mentioned are "thought [to be] a reference to the plague or to herpes simplex."
  5. This http://www.racoon.com/herpes/WB_test.htm makes it look like the western blot can be a little tricky and expensive to obtain. Is the lab at the University of Washington really the only one that performs this test? healing, is your healthcare provider taking care of the blood work for you, or do you have to ship it to the lab yourself? Interesting information, thanks H_Opp, and let me know if you find anything more!
  6. 1) I don't believe that committing to disclosure, even if your desired lifestyle requires you disclose often and to many different people, has to make you miserable. If anything, it looks to me like a really good opportunity to break down the stigma surrounding herpes and to educate people about it- so that increasingly, the people around you can assess the risk of being involved with you, and other herpes positive people realistically and look beyond it to how awesome you are. 2) I reject the idea that morality can be measured by the number of sexual partners a person has had or plans to have, by their choice to be monogamous or not or whether they chose to have sex outside of a long term, committed relationship, and therefore reject the idea that "rising about the temptation of lust and casual sex" inherently makes one a better person. Instead, I see informed consent and compassion for one's partners and their partners' partners (if any) as the foundation for an ethical and fulfilling sex life. For me, disclosure is key in upholding both these things. 3) I believe that responsible sluthood (if it's what makes you feel good, not just in the short term but in the long term, and I absolutely believe this is possible — this caveat is not for you so much as it is for others, sluthood is not for everyone) can actually help you heal faster and grow as a human being. By opening yourself up to more people, you can accelerate your growth. Yes, you'll be risking rejection, but how else are you going to find the people who accept you exactly as you are, herpes included? Those people are out there, I promise you. And imagine how much practice you will get with disclosing, you'll have it down to a science. Disclosure doesn't have to be shameful, and it shouldn't be, but only you can stop yourself from feeling ashamed. Yes, there will most likely be people who will reject you, but do you really want to have, even casual sex with someone who has such an adverse (and most likely irrational) take on something you cannot change about yourself?
  7. This http://www.herpes.com/hsv1-2.html, which compares HSV1 to HSV2 in terms of transmission says the same thing, that cases of HSV2 are... pretty much undocumented. Personally, I'm for disclosing. For me having someone come forward and say, "I have this and this is what you need to know" (in this case, the complete lack of any reported cases of oral infection with HSV2 & statistics on how low the risk is, stated succinctly and comprehensively)-- is a sign that I can trust them, and I'm not just saying that now that I've joined the ranks of the infected. I know there are plenty of people out there who don't think like this, and I still think they have a right to know what they could be exposing themselves to, even if it is an infinitesimal risk. For those people, and why not for everyone, I would add a sentence on the prevalence of oral HSV1 and people who do not know (or don't share) that they have GHSV, and the likelihood of contracting the disease that way.
  8. Eh, you may not. The odds are higher in favor of your having it, but even if you do, there's virtually no stigma... which we all find rather frustrating over here since the genital version is pretty much (and in the case of GHSV1) exactly the same thing except on the genitals, but since is "down there" our puritanical culture perceives it as oh-so-dirty and frightening. Ultimately, only you'll know what to do. It seems like you're thinking awfully hard about this. Perhaps you'll find the answer more in feeling than thinking? Give it a little more time and if you're feeling like you really like her tell her you do. Don't make it too complicated. Say you really enjoy being her friend and wouldn't want to lose that, but if she'd be down, you'd like to take her on a date and just take it slow. Don't worry about all the relationship stuff yet, or about sex. Just see how she responds to you asking her out, and if she says yes, see how dating her feels. See how kissing her feels. Wait to have intercourse of oral sex. You can pull back if you're not feeling it, if it's not working, one date, or even three don't bind you to a person forever, just be as (respectfully) honest and communicative with her as possible. I can't promise you won't lose your friendship if you do this, but hopefully if you are kind, honest and open, you won't. And know- all this stuff gets easier with more experience. When you're younger, your emotions can screw you around a bit. I've had incredibly strong feelings toward people who were ultimately absolutely horrible for me, that I held onto because the feeling was right (well, when they weren't making me feel like hell), and wonderful people I only had luke warm feelings for initially (though they grew to be something much more). You learn to recognize the red flags and the signs of a healthy attraction better and better each time you encounter them. P.S. Saving people is tricky business and it's not just guys who do it. The problem generally lies in the responsibility of the person being "saved" because the problem, or residue of it, is most often within them and only they can change that.
  9. Right? It's rather silly really, when the risk of contracting oral herpes from going down on someone with GHSV1 is less than it would be from kissing the 80% of the population with oral HSV1, and genital sex is less risky than having than receiving oral sex from that same 80%. In short, there is a serious shortage of proper sex education regarding HSV in the US, at the very least, I'm sure abstinence only sex ed doesn't help any, but I've made a hobby of educating myself on sex and there were still A LOT of relevant things I didn't know about herpes until I contracted it.
  10. "I'm not entirely sure whether I just want her to be in a good relationship or if I really just want to be the one who gives her that relationship because I have feelings for her." This seems a far more important question than this girl's herpes status. Are you trying to save this girl from herself, or do you see her as a worthy partner, someone you want to date because she lights you up inside? Perhaps you misrepresent the situation, but when I read your first post, I saw very little there to support your belief that it could be a rewarding relationship for both of you. It seems like she's had a lot of trouble with relationships, perhaps partially out of shame surrounding her status as GHSV positive and, I gather from choosing the wrong people. It is clear that you care about her, but you won't be doing her any favors if you date her for any other reason than that you want to be with her, or think you might be. From everything you've said it sounds like she's got a lot of work to do on her self, particularly regarding romantic and sexual relationships and if you get into a relationship with her, you will run up against them. That's not to say she isn't worth it. Just get really clear on why you want to date her, and if it's for any other reason besides "I really want to be with her" don't do it. If she's really someone you want to be with (and she really wants to be with you) the herpes should be something you can both deal. Yeah, there will always be the slightest risk you will get it, no matter what you do, but you'll be safer with her, knowing that she has it and what to do to prevent, it than with the rest of the population who may have it but not know it http://herpeslife.com/herpes-statistics/. And having herpes, really doesn't have to be that bad if you stay healthy physically and emotionally. Also... don't be so sure you don't have HSV just because you're a virgin. About 80% of the population has oral HSV-1 (cold sores), and it's often contracted during childhood. If you do have it, you will have a higher immunity against HSV-2 as the two strains are similar enough that antibodies for one strain help protect you from the other... on the downside, you'd also be capable of passing it on to partners via oral sex. Here's an interesting article about such things: http://www.herpes.com/hsv1-2.html . Good luck!
  11. *meant to say plenty of people WOULD call me a slut, rather than WHO... actually I'm not sure I've ever been called a slut to my face, as a serious insult.
  12. Probably because the more partners you have the greater your risk of contracting herpes, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases-- though it's entirely possible to contract during the most wholesome sex imaginable. Considering I was engaging in what would typically be considered rather slutty behavior when I contracted herpes this stereotype has been on my mind a fair amount. Previously I had made friends with "slut" by reclaiming it for myself- Rush Limbaugh calls every woman who uses birth control a slut? I'm happy to fit into his definition of a slut because what he considers pure and good for women is surely something I have no desire of being. Plenty of people who call me a slut for wearing sexy clothing and enjoying sex- even having sex with more than one person at once, but these are all things I've chosen for myself, that fulfill me- that feel, so long as I stay in touch with myself and don't take the behavior in a direction that feels unhealthy or unsafe to me- good and healthy, and if conservative bigots want to tell me that makes me a slut, by all means, I'll take that title for myself. But with the virus, with the stigma that it is dirty, that I am now unclean- not directly because of something I chose to do but because the wrong person unknowingly put his or her mouth to my vulva at the wrong time- that judgement is a little harder to take. It's a little harder for me now to think of being called a slut and standing up to that person and saying right back- Yes, I am. And I'm proud to be-- but I do hope to get back to that place. Essentially, for me, what has always helped me stay confident and unfazed in the face of being labeled a slut or a whore, has been to remember that 1) I am so much more than my sexual choices. 2) I make sexual choices that feel good and are healthy for me (even if I now have herpes- one can be very smart and careful and still get herpes, it doesn't mean you fail at making healthy decisions for yourself). 3) Even though I now have herpes I can still have a healthy sex life in which my partners have very little chance of contracting the virus-- my sex partners are likely safer with me than with other people who could be carrying herpes without sharing or knowing, and therefor not taking the precautions necessary to keep others safe. Now if that's considered slutty, I'm happy to be it.
  13. It started with six naked people on a twin bed. My boyfriend and I, another couple and a girl we had met previously on and off an online dating website who shared our interest in nonmonogamy and a seemingly random guy I'd been dancing with before being dragged into the glob of gyrating bodies that would soon find its self in a naked tangle on far too small a bed. I am somewhat wary about telling just how I came to contract herpes as the situation is likely to put the words "slut" and "herpes" and probably "dumb" and quite possibly "she got what she deserved" together for many in our society and I'm against fueling such stereotypes, but this is how it happened. My boyfriend and I had been talking about having an open relationship for nearly two years. It was my idea and he was somewhat reticent, so I was letting him take the lead and we were going really slow (which is to say we'd been completely monogamous until we ended up on that bed. I was not drunk, nor was the male half of the other couple. Everyone else was. Still, there was a moment when my boyfriend stopped everyone and said "Hey? What about protection?" And someone brought out a bag of condoms to use in the event of penetration and both my boyfriend and I thought to ourselves that it could easily not be enough and yet we didn't say anything. When we got home that night we agreed, we'd never be so careless again, even then I felt like I'd exposed myself to more than I should have, that I could have had just as much, if not more fun if I'd laid down a few ground rules and paid more attention to who was doing what with my vulva. Within the week I developed what I hoped was a terrible yeast infection, but turned out of course to be herpes... I'm waiting on the swab results to see if it's type I or II but I suspect type I as quite a few mouths, but no genitals touched mine that night and my initial breakout was relatively unsevere. So I got to tell 5 people I had herpes, and that they had likely been exposed to it too in one day. I feel rather practiced now, though it will be a somewhat different conversation with someone new. Everyone took it ok, except maybe the male half of the other couple who is socially awkward in general, and was hopefully only being his usually awkward self, and hopefully relayed the information in a positive way to his girlfriend who I could not get on the phone... he did used to work at planned parenthood, so here's to hoping, and if we lose them, good riddance, because we all took the same risk that night. In any case my boyfriend has been wonderfully supportive and sweet and I am thankful a million times over. I am mostly OK. The Savage Love podcast by Dan Savage had long ago disabused me of any bigotry I may have had towards herpes, I am already very comfortable in my sexuality and my body and with talking about sex. My emotions are readjusting around this change, I have had bouts of feeling dirty and unrealistically infectious and like no one will want me- or that I won't be able to have normal sex again for a long time... but I am mostly aware that all of these thoughts are irrational. I've found the internet a little challenging to sort through for accurate information... never mind the bullshit advice I've found like "you should just be abstinent until you find that special someone" or "you should avoid hot tubs because it is an environment rife with skin to skin contact and you're likely to pass the virus along." For now, I'm rather furious about the idiocy and stigma especially regarding the double standard between oral and genital herpes. I am very glad I've found these forums and the whole H Opp website, I really appreciate the positive, calm, intelligent perspective fostered in the forum and the site. I look forward to breaking down the stigma and fear of herpes in our society, little by little as I continue to have the relationships and sex life I choose and deserve. My boyfriend and I are not closing our relationship, but we will be far more careful than we were before (extremely careful if we play with others at all until I get a better idea of my prodrome symptoms and how my body will react to the virus, especially as my immune system is strengthening toward it) and set a certain level of safety as the norm with those we chose to play with. I am sure there will be people who will chose not to play with us, either because we will insist on a level of safety they don't want to adhere to or because of my herpes status, but I'm sure I'll find some really good people who don't have a problem with it too.
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