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A Journey


Tortuga

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My story about HSV2

I rode my bicycle across the USA recently...I made it from New Hampshire to Denver actually, then drove to Portland, OR where I am now. I left behind a good life and a woman whom I love deeply (and her son, not mine), to take this adventure and sort out my feelings for others, to make sure I knew what I wanted to do. I'll call her Kari for the purpose of this story. Among other options was my acceptance to graduate school in New Zealand, where I'm headed in November to cycle around, an option I turned down to move back East to be with the woman I love.

 

Now, visiting my brother in Portland, there's another woman I've known for four years who was always very sweet to me, whom I'll call Laura. I met Laura a few years before Kari when visiting my brother. When I arrived in Portland she was very affectionate to me and with me. She wanted to explore things with me emotionally and physically. I wanted to explore these things too, as I wanted to make sure Kari was the right one for me, that my feelings (which I did have for Laura) were true. In the first week she and I kissed a lot. She even went down on me once, but I couldn't get it up for her, as my heart was with Laura and her son. Eventually, as I was trying to sort things out, Laura told me that she had HSV2, but wanted it to not be an issue, that she new her body, and that we could be safe. She also told me she wanted to move to New Zealand with me eventually (and for the record, I'm not rich, I saved up for years so I could take this trip and worked my butt off in school to get accepted to a grad school in NZ). I was shocked, and stepped back a lot, even though she reassured me there was no problem.

 

I explained to her it was a problem for me a few days later, that I was happy to kiss her and hang out with her, but that I couldn't and shouldn't go any farther for many reasons, not just the HSV.

 

Then something bad happened. Kari told me one night that she was having sex with multiple partners. She was going through a lot emotionally and tried to tell me that the sex was bringing her some happiness. I was devastated and handled it very poorly. I realized at that moment that she wasn't in love with me the way I was with her, and I needed an escape from my feelings. I went to Laura.

 

Laura, of course, was excited to see me. I wanted to have sex with her, quite honestly. I wanted to stop thinking about Kari having sex with other guys, I wanted to get that image out of my head and was pretty desperate to do so. Laura and I got naked, she went down on me, but once again I just wasn't into it, I couldn't get myself erect nor could she. We ended up on her bed and, because I couldn't get erect I used my hand and fingers on her. I didn't go down on her. Shortly thereafter I saw a tiny red spot that I assumed was an infected hair on her hip, because she hadn't said she had a HSV breakout. After apologizing to her for not being able to have sex with her, I asked her more about HSV, because I really wanted to know, and told her how things like ingrown hairs, etc, are hard to tell, and how does she know when she's had a breakout. She sorta looked down and was like "oh" and explained that she had a breakout the previous week, but that the spot must be the last leftover of one healing up.

 

I was furious that she didn't tell me she had a breakout so soon, furious with myself for trusting she would tell me and not asking before engaging in contact, but kept my cool, went into the bathroom, and thoroughly washed my hands, and then my private parts.

 

I told her my concerns and she was convinced that there was absolutely no way I was infected.

 

Then the either real symptoms or the psychosomatic ones started. I was reading up on HSV since I met her and trying to sort it out. The information out there is contradictory at best from the CDC to medical websites:

 

Some would say you could contract HSV2 from clothes and sheets

Others said you could not contract HSV2 from clothes or inanimate objects like toilet seats.

Some said you needed an open wound for the virus to get in

Some said the virus could get in anywhere if there was contact with a sore or shedding which may not present

Some sites suggested the chance of me getting HSV2 in that situation was very low

Others suggested that it was very high.

Some sites said that washing body parts helped. Other sites contradicted that information.

 

My "symptoms" were problematic. I still don't know if it's in my head or not. I was getting an itching or tingling sensation around my shaft and scrotum about a week after we were together. I said to myself, well, if this is it, I should break out with something shortly. I was feeling incredibly suicidal and depressed because I put the weight on catching this on myself and realized that this could affect everything from graduate school to being with the woman, Kari, that I'm in love with (should she ever want me back). I would just break down crying at times, and tried like hell just to be positive and be around people I love (my brother and his family here).

 

The thing is that, as a cyclist, I often get those feelings down there via tight clothes, sweating, scratching, etc. So I don't know if my symptoms were real or imagined. And the tingling wasn't constant. Sometimes it was there, other times it wasn't. I couldn't find any reference to that on other sites.

 

None of that matters however. I'm going to the VA (Veterans Hospital) to get tested. I know that if I haven't had an outbreak I may not test positive. But I know that I have to tell Kari that Laura exposed me (I exposed myself) to this, and that until I've either tested positive after 3 months (what some doctors have told me) or I've been clean for the same amount of time, I may never know and could give it to whomever my future partner ends up being.

 

This just kills me on so many levels. And when I voiced my concerns to Laura, who was absolutely convinced there was no way I could be infected, when I told her I felt like she betrayed my trust and didn't tell me she had a recent outbreak, she got angry and verbally abusive with me, telling me I was like all the other men, etc. etc. so now I don't know what to think and realize that I was with a woman who has HSV2 who was/is emotionally damaged and may have wanted me to get it with her so we could, in her mind, be together.

 

That's my story. Those are my mistakes. I may lose the love of my life over this. Because I handled my emotional pain in an unhealthy way. I may lose my future over this if I can't come to terms, if I am infected. I only have myself to blame as I'm the one who, after washing my hands, washed my shaft and scrotum with the hand(s) that touched her. Or maybe she gave it to me by going down on me (although I hear that is very rare).

 

Not knowing is the worst. But I feel like I must act and accept like I have HSV2 right now so I don't accidentally infect anyone else. The acceptance of that was one of the hardest for me. I know I may have HSV2. I know a lot of people out there live with it and have full lives. But I don't know how I can go on if this is the final straw that breaks the camels back with the woman I love. I'm such a damn idiot. I hope someone learns from my story and I hope people, before having sex again, educate themselves. I can't believe they don't teach this, or rarely teach this in schools. 1 in ever 5 or 6 people has HSV from what I've read. How is it that, until I came into close contact with it, I never heard hardly anything about it!!??

 

The social stigma is astounding and dangerous.

 

That's my story. Thanks for listening. If you have any advice, clarifications on how HSV2 is contracted, or how to deal with the feelings and emotions, please let me know. I've been reading the boards and getting good insight, feeling some comfort being here. Thanks for everyone who shares.

 

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First, welcome to this site. Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings. Second, I would say do not accept something that you do not even know you have yet. You may be fine. You may have it. There is no answer yet. Yes, she should have been up front with you. You would hope people would be upfront. I hoped the person I was with was being up front but the reality as you spoke of is that there is a stigma here. And I'm sure Laura, not telling you probably felt ashamed in some way. She wanted to be "normal" she wanted to be intimate with you. I am not excusing her not disclosing. However, you also mentioned that Kari has been having multiple partners, here is the trippy thing. You may or may not have been exposed to HSV2 by either one if not both partners. Herpes is one of those viruses that you may not ever be able to pinpoint who you received it from. I know how you feel. This is how many of us felt in the early stages. We want to know more, we are scared, confused and feel guilty and anger. There are so many feelings, emotions and thoughts.

 

My first advice, first get your results. Also, be careful online. There is a lot of bogus info out there. A lot of things will scare you. There are handouts here on the blog that can tell you more. And I'm sure Adrial will chime in with great info and advice.

 

I have had HSV2 for one year now and I'm ok. I am living. I am happy. Not to say that it wasn't devastating or that it isn't difficult to figure out how I'm gonna carry out my romantic life now but for me it's not the worst thing that could happen.

 

I hope that you get some answers soon. We're all here to listen and talk.

 

 

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Thanks Domh21. I really appreciate the response. I was welcomed by Adrial who certainly did chime in with great advice. What I wasn't able to fit into my story is that I acquired cold-sores/HSV1 about 3 years ago from a partner. It was an incredibly painful experience both emotionally and physically. I'm trying to keep a positive outlook here, and heeding your advice about getting results and being careful online with all the bogus info out there.

 

The support and information here is incredible. I'll be getting tested this week sometime, but I don't know if it's too early for any test to identify HSV2...so I need to do more research here on that point.

 

I'm happy to hear that you've been managing this and are happy. Being happy in life, no matter the circumstances, is so important. Thanks for listening. Thanks for your wisdom. More to come...

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