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Infected with GHSV1 when I already had oral HSV1

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This is a complicated and depressing story, so I apologize in advance for the length and how emotional I am.

I am a 29 year old American woman.  I had my first cold sore OB when I was 9 or 10 years old and have had multiple oral HSV1 outbreaks over the last couple of decades.  I have always been very careful when it comes to my sexual health and in 2018, I became even more neurotic about it.  My last serious relationship ended 3 1/2 years ago.  The guy cheated on me, contracted HSV2, dumped me for the girl he got it from, and then lied to me so he could sleep with me again to try and pass it to me so that he could cast doubt on who he got it from (she confessed everything to me and was almost gloating about it). I’ve gotten the IgG multiple times in the years since and I’ve never had a positive HSV2 result, though I have had a positive HSV1 results. Since I’ve had cold sores since I was a kid, that was not at all surprising nor concerning. 

After the experience with my ex, I did not date, have sex, or even kiss anyone for over 2 1/2 years. Last year, I had a guy who is a superior at work start to pursue me (I work in concert production so the typical HR rules do not apply) and after 6 months, he wore me down and I gave him a chance and slept with him.  About 5 days afterwards, I started to feel flu-like symptoms with a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and groin, body aches, and chills.  Three days after that, I developed what was clearly a herpes lesion on my labia.  As soon as I noticed the sore, I went to an urgent care clinic that visually diagnosed me with HSV2.  The doctor who owns and runs that particular clinic does not run actual STD panels or swab tests and I told the doctor that I have had cold sores most of my life. I told the guy (and flipped out on him as anyone would in that situation), he insisted he doesn’t have HSV2, and ghosted me until I had to see him again at work (the pandemic pretty much shut down our line of work until this past June/ July). 

(Unrelated to my HSV diagnosis but still relevant to the story): the guy in question is a production manager/ lighting designer and video tech. I’m a sound engineer/ tech. We were both working for one company, he left that company earlier this past July, and I left that company not too long after.  I contracted genital herpes in April. At the end of August, I ended up being offered a job at the company he left our old company for and initially wasn’t going to take the job (even though it was with my dream company) because of him.  I ended up having to work with him as a freelancer on a gig at the beginning of September and he cornered me to tell me that he had put in a good word with the company owner for me.  I was still not going to to take the offer, but the freelancing deal wasn’t working out and the company owner called me the following week telling me to be in the warehouse the next day.  I don’t regret taking the job because I love the company and I’m making more money than I ever have before with some really big clients. But having to see the guy and work with him is really hard because most of the time he gives me the silent treatment.

Fast forward to the end of October and I went and got another IgG test for confirmation (that allotted enough time for the antibodies to develop) and I have a negative HSV2 result but a very positive HSV1 result that the doctor said looked like a relatively recent infection based on the viral count.  I am not majorly immunocompromised and I do not have any autoimmune issues.  I was always told that if you have had HSV for over a year (let alone 20 years), the antibodies will protect a different part of your body from contracting the infection.  I know for a fact that the guy in question is positive for HSV1- we talked about it prior to being intimate and he did perform oral sex on me that night.  When I got the results, I sent them to him and apologized for flipping out on him. He did not reply and is still giving me the silent treatment at work for the most part. When we do talk, it’s short and not about anything that I feel needs to be talked about.

I have been struggling with this diagnosis ever since I had the genital OB in April.  I have seen all the posts from various sites online from people who have GHSV and say it’s a minor skin condition and does not reflect on your character, but I have to be honest- I strongly disagree.  I know a lot of people who have GHSV and every single person I have met who has it contracted it by cheating on or with someone.  I was once friends with a girl who told her boyfriend at the time that she contracted it when her ex had cheated on her but then confided in me that she actually got it from cheating on the guy she was seeing at the time and that she didn’t know which guy that she was cheating with that she contracted it from. She was flat out proud of it.  Obviously, I did not continue the friendship because to me, that behavior is disgusting.  I also once worked with a girl who contracted herpes from her boyfriend and then turned around and intentionally gave it to the next guy she was with because in her mind, that was “taking (her) power back”.  Again, I think that’s very sick and messed up.

After the relief of finding out that my ex was not successful in his attempt to give me an incurable STD, I vowed that this would never happen to me again because I would be even more crazy vigilant going forward. Contracting genital herpes, even if it’s HSV1, has psychologically destroyed me and my faith in anything worthwhile happening in my life- especially since it happened the one time I let my guard down and gave someone a chance after 2 1/2 years of being completely single and celibate.  And I’m a closet freak- I LOVE sex.  Now I will never get involved with anyone again because I would NEVER forgive myself if I passed it on to someone else. There is absolutely no sure way of knowing when you are or are not asymptomatically shedding and condoms don’t completely protect because it’s passed via skin to skin contact. I shouldn’t have even been able to get HSV1 on my genitalia when he did not have a cold sore outbreak and I’ve had cold sores myself since I was a young child and I do not have an autoimmune disorder or any other issue like that.  The only thing I can think of that could have messed with my immune system to let myself get re-infected with something I’ve had for decades is that I got the COVID vaccine 8 days before I was exposed and contracted it.  I’ve heard some anecdotal stories of people being vaccinated against chickenpox, getting the COVID vaccine, and then getting a nasty shingles outbreak. Since chickenpox/ shingles are types of herpes viruses, that’s the only logical explanation I can come up with, though I can’t even ask questions about the COVID vaccines regarding this without having people shriek at me that I’m a crazy anti-vaxxer and that I’m trying to kill people.

I’ve struggled with self-image, self esteem, and self worth throughout my life due to a lot of trauma and abuse. However, I really turned a corner on those issues towards the end of 2019 and I actually started liking myself and feeling good about myself for the first time ever in my entire life.  I was able to maintain that until I saw the lesion on my labia this past April.  Now all the work that I did on myself was for nothing because I know myself and I’ll never be able to feel good about myself again with this diagnosis.  My own mother won’t even give me a hug anymore because the virus can asymptomatically shed on your lower back and upper legs- not just your genitals and buttocks.  I get where she’s coming from and I don’t resent her for it but it’s just the icing on this awful cake that life has served me.  

I apologize for how long, rambling, emotional, and depressing this post is but I needed to tell my story somewhere.  I tried to kill myself over all this back in August and obviously failed.  I most likely won’t try again because I’m so bad at trying to end my own life that it’s embarrassing, but I still don’t know what I did to deserve this happening to me or how it’s even medically possible when I had oral HSV1 for 20 years prior to getting the GHSV1 infection.



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First of all, I'm sorry for what you went through.  I feel like you tried to take your own life.  Nobody deserves this.

 The betrayal of people with HSV you've met is, yes, a reflection of character.  But if they hadn't contracted, it would still be the same.  So it's not about contracting hsv.  Look at your case, you weren't doing anything wrong and contracted.  It was like that with me too.

 Where did your mother get this information?  You have genital herpes, not leprosy.  You can hug people safely, yes.

 It's really unusual and I've never heard of anyone getting the same virus elsewhere in the body after such a long time.

 Many people with oral and genital viruses have relationships and children.  The woman from "life with herpes" (you can find them on Instagram or YouTube) has both and is happy and her husband never got her virus.

 hsv1 is generally not very problematic on the genitals.  It may never appear again and generally doesn't spill much in that region.  In addition to being unlikely to transmit from genital to genital.

 I know how you feel.  I'm at the same stage.  I also abstained for 2 years to finally be with someone and get it.  Let's suffer from this for a while.  But we cannot give the power to kill ourselves.

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I am so happy that you are alive. I am so so happy to you are here. You deserve to live. I am so happy you are here with us. The world needs you.

If you ever have those overwhelming feelings again, please reach out for help.

You are deserving of support.

Call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or reach out to them online and online chat here: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ 

Thank you for sharing your story. I cannot even imagine how painful this all must be. I am so sorry for the pain you have felt and the experiences you have gone through. 

You are not bad. You are not ugly. You are not worthless. You are good. You are beautiful. You are worthy of love and respect. 

I promise you that your life is not over. In fact, this is the start to a beautiful beginning of self-love, self-acceptance, and a major confidence booster. I know that sounds absurd right now, but I promise, this is the start of something beautiful. 

There are many intersectionalities in your life that may specifically relate to why your diagnosis and outbreaks have been so difficult. I am a white 22 year old female, but I have heard from many others on the site that HSV in the black community has such stigma, it can be crushing. Remember that stigmas are societally constructed. They are NOT  true. They are based on lies and fear. You are in no way, shape, or form defined by judgement and hate.

Being at a young age of 29, and being someone who loves physical intimacy, definitely are adding to this pain. Your life is not over, and neither is your life. Having HSV actually can make intimacy even more fulfilling, and makes relationships more fulfilling, too. Having HSV is like a magical strainer that sorts through the losers and chumps who aren't worthy of us in the first place. Anyone who reacts disrespectful to disclosure is a CHUMP and chumps are not worthy of a smart, independent, beautiful woman like you. You deserve WAY BETTER than a chump! 

I am so sorry that your mother does not want to hug you. The way people react to us is a reflection of them and their fears and problems, and it in no way is a reflection of who we are.  Please know that HSV can shed asymptomatically, but if you've had a symptomatic outbreak, then it is unlikely you would shed without noticing (you'd feel prodrome symptoms). Also, HSV doesn't spread through clothing. It isn't passed by sharing a bed. It isn't passed by doing laundry in the same load. I'm going to assume that your mother kissed you on the face when you were a child growing up, even though you had cold sores, so why would she suddenly stop now just because of GHSV?

Sometimes people need education on HSV. I had to educate my own mom about it, too. When I first told her about my GHSV-1, she immediately said, "WE HAVE TO COVER THE TOOTHBRUSHES AND KEEP EVERYTHING SEPARATE!" and I started laughing. I explained everything to her, and she seemed surprised. People are used to hearing misconceptions about HSV, when in reality... most people have one of the forms of it, and many people don't even know they have it! My own mom, who gets cold sores, didn't know that cold sores were herpes! So, breaking the barriers in our families is definitely possible. I think that if anything, my mom felt like she had failed. She was angry that I didn't tell her sooner... and that I didn't ask her questions about sex before having it. Parents sometimes take everything that happens to their children personally, and we interpret it as rejection or disappointment. You are not a disappointment, and maybe sitting down and talking to mom about everything might help.

Just like how stigmas are fake, so is the idea that herpes reflects your character. Herpes is common. Many people have it and do not know it. The people you met who were disrespectful or 'proud' of their HSV is... peculiar... considering it is often painful. But I guess everyone perceives it differently.

Please do not let those few people represent an entire population of people. Remember, many people with HSV got it from a kiss, even a kiss from a parent! Others may have gotten it from a partner who didn't know they had it until their partner has an outbreak. Some people have it and never know they have it. Some people get it from someone who knowingly has it, and that is a complete violation of the body and our freewill to choose if we want to take that risk and be intimate. 

Herpes definitely impacts our self-esteem... but only if we let it. Of course, it is totally healthy to cry, feel angry, sad, confused, hopeless, etc, and grieve for a little bit. But, the truth is, this small little tiny sassy virus has no power over us unless we allow it to. This truth sets us free 🌻!

I got HSV when I was 19 from a boyfriend who was abusive. He didn't know he had it. My HSV reminds me of that abuse, and for a while it really really impacted me. I had a bad inappropriate experience when I was younger, my father left and didn't speak to me for 10 years when I was young, and I have had anorexia since I was 14, so HSV seemed like a really really big validation of the feelings of dirtiness, ugliness, and unworthiness I had felt since I was a child. I also have really bad OCD, so having H really really is scary. Also, I actually contracted HSV while I was working as a peer sex ed educator on my college campus (oh, the irony) and I felt like such a complete idiot. However, I wasn't. I was someone who just needed healing and someone to tell me that I was okay, that I was still worthy of love, and that it wasn't my fault. 

It has been 3 years since I contracted HSV, and I have had a beautiful happy life filled with love, peace, and self-love. If anything, getting H made me radically love and accept myself; it pushed me to overcome my self-doubts and I hold my head high. I have no problem disclosing; those who react poorly are chumps and I wouldn't want to be with someone so closed-minded anyways!

I got through it by focusing on facts, truth, and reality, and challenging negative thoughts when they occured. Prayer and giving God my worries is my go to, always. Tapping, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has helped so much, too. Check out Tapping with Brad Yates on YouTube! Also, posting on here has helped me heal IMMENSELY! Connecting with others, and being able to empathize with others, is one of the best things that come out of struggles.

Find a positive outlet (or a few!) that help you heal 🌻💛.

Feel free to direct message me any time with questions, to vent, or if you just need someone to talk to.

Please know that there is hope ❤️ I am so so happy you are alive. I am so so happy you found this forum, and I am so so happy you shared your story. Thank you for being you, and I really want you to know that you are beautiful and worthy and pure and wonderful. Brighter days are ahead! 

Be kinder to yourself ❤️ 

Sending blessings and prayers your way! 

-- grace


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I’ve seen those videos by that woman on YouTube and since he doesn’t get tested regularly, I wouldn’t hang my hat on the statement that he for sure has not gotten it from her.  He very likely could have and just doesn’t have outbreaks. An estimated 80% of people who have it don’t know that they have it.  Which is a terrifying statistic to me that that many people don’t know their own health status but that’s a different story.  

I understand the nature of genital herpes pretty well and I just don’t agree that any sexual health issue is a minor condition because of all the potential complications.  I will never inflict this on anyone because if I got it on my genitalia when I already had the same infection orally, very clearly I am an outlier and I’m probably likely to transmit it genitally too.  I’m not willing to take that risk.  I have to be true to my own values to be able to sleep at night. 

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Well, of course, each one must choose the best way to live with it. Even if you have hsv1 and if you are an atypical person, it would be no different than someone who has hsv2 and spills a bit more. Anyway, what matters is that if someone CHOSE to be with us in a relationship after we've told, is it because they're okay with the risk and why not take the blame off their backs? 

If you take precautions to keep people as safe as possible (condoms and antivirals and no sex in seizures) and someone is willing to take a 1% risk Because you think you're worth it, why not allow yourself to be loved? You deserve! 

You see, people with cold sores, including you, continue to kiss on the mouth even though it's transmissible. Why would sex be different? We know this is prejudice about how we got it: having sex (taboo). But if you think about it, it's the exact same virus in a different location. 

Anyway, I hope you're okay and can process this better. 

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I would do the same thing if I had HSV2.  I would never be with anyone again and when I thought that I had gotten it three years ago, I mentally prepared myself for that.  Then I got the negative results and was massively relieved only to end up getting it from the next guy.  I’ve known people who have willingly slept with and dated people who had HSV2 and they were all incredibly sketchy too. I know a guy from work who intentionally dates girls with STD’s and other baggage because he has a superiority complex and belittles them and abuses them.  He ended up getting HSV2 from one of them and lies to new girls about his status.  I knew a girl in high school who cheated on her boyfriend (who she had a kid with) with a guy who had herpes, got it from him, dumped her boyfriend for the guy she cheated with, and then started doing meth with him and lost custody of her kid. 

There is also the plain and simple fact that if the roles were reversed and someone that I was talking to disclosed to me, I would kindly and politely end the relationship and move on.  Even with everything that I know about it, I do not think it’s worth the risk and never will.  If I were to be with anyone, I’d be a hypocrite and a bad person with low integrity.  I refuse to be that. I can still be a good person and have an STD.  I just can’t be a hypocrite and be a good person. 

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@ForeverCelibateSounds like you are in a dark place right now. But the sun will shine again, you just need some time. Your suicide attempt was unsuccessful because you were meant To Be Here and Live‼️ 

I do agree that the information on auto innoculation and having antibody protection from being reinfected in other areas, is simply old and out dated. Many people on different forums have reported similar situations. It makes since...its a skin infection and can spread. 

We were simply the unlucky ones. STDs are a symptom of sex. So unless you have every partner tested prior to any sexual activities, you are taking a risk. I agree that I would not knowingly date someone with the virus in knowing what I do now. If you are truly terrified of passing the virus to anyone then perhaps you should look into dating one of the millions of people that are already infected. HSV does change your life but it only changes your character if you let it. I wish you well on your new journey. 💕💕

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Even though you would've said no to someone with HSV previously, that doesn't make you a hypocrite. In that scenario, you didn't have GHSV. In this present reality, you do. So, the past thoughts you had don't apply now. I know you may feel guilty or so worried of giving this to someone. That shows you care. However, if someone knowingly wants to enter a relationship with you regardless of HSV, that is their choice. Even though you would have said no previously... that doesn't matter, because in this present moment, that hypothetical situation is just hypothetical. Don't rob other of the chance to get to know you. You aren't a hypocrite for the thoughts and perspective you have had! Looking back on my younger self, I think I would have said no to someone who told me they had HSV, too, because I was so young and scared of many things, however I don't know for sure, since it never came up. However, now that I have HSV, I see its nothing to be scared or ashamed of. And many people I have been with have been happy I was honest and told them, and it made them have appreciation for my honesty and respect for my honesty as well. We have freewill, and sadly, people rob I of that when they knowingly pass HSV on to us. However, we can help break the cycle by disclosing to others, and educating other about it. 

Please know that you aren't a hypocrite, because "if the tables were turned" is a hypothetical... in reality, these tables can't be turned; you have GHSV-1. And that is okay. You aren't a bad person. You are deserving of love and happiness. 

If it helps, you can start dating or meeting people who also have GHSV-1. It is a great way to build up confidence and get over emotional hurdles. Then, you can totally get back out there into the large dating pool. 

If you wanted to schedule a meeting with the sites founder, Adrial, you can! He is so kind and can help with processing emotions, change, and help focus on hope, healing, and progress 💛.

I hope this helps! I am praying for you and am sending you blessings and joy 🌈☀️


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I’ve been in this “dark place” since I had the OB and it’s getting worse; not better.  The sun may shine but that doesn’t mean that I’m happy and okay with this and I never will be.  

STD’s are not a symptom a sex.  They are a symptom of being irresponsible or amoral. I know where you got that saying and I’m honestly repulsed by that girl’s Ted Talk. She’s literally encouraging people to have a blasé view on their health and futures.  That’s not okay in my book.  

Scientists still do not have any idea what HSV does to you neurologically over time.  HSV1 causes Alzheimer’s and GHSV1 causes herpes encephalitis in infants way more than HSV2.  I’ve got the infection twice- who knows what that’s going to do to me down the line? Or what it would do to anyone that I pass it to if I dated again.  That’s not a risk I’m willing to take and anyone that says that they would be “okay with the risk” doesn’t actually know the risk. People say a lot of things in the heat of passion and then when they actually have to face the consequences, they regret the decision because diseases and health issues are not love. I’m not going to be someone’s cause for regret or the cause of their health and life being ruined.  

After the first scare I had back in 2018, I told every guy that expressed the slightest interest in me that I expected a full STD panel that included a HSV1 and HSV2 IgG.  Most wouldn’t do that because you have to pay out of pocket and it’s a few hundred bucks for the tests without insurance.  So I didn’t sleep with them.  I thought the guy that gave it to me had lied to me about the last time he’d been with someone and that he had HSV2 and got tested before the antibodies developed.  And it’s possible that he did, but I didn’t get HSV2. I got GHSV1 when I’d already had it orally for decades.  If your body has the antibodies, this shouldn’t happen.  My body is clearly wrong and failed me and I’m going to be the unlucky one that has the neurological problems from this horrible disease down the road. 

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Please know that friends on the forum are trying to be supportive and kind. Although everyone has different perspectives, please know that we nonetheless are here to support everyone however it's needed. No matter what, know You are not alone 💛

If someone understands the risks of HSV and still chooses to be with you, that is their freewill. The have the right to choose, too. We may be scared or think "why would this person want to be with me?" but that person is a consenting adult, and if they know risks and choose to be with you, that's wonderful. 

If a person is pregnant and is going to give birth soon but has an active outbreak or suspected outbreak, a birth can be preformed via a cesarian surgery to protect the baby. Not every woman who has HSV passes it to their baby, and with the medical techniques of today, it is much easier to help prevent transmission of HSV from mother to baby. 

The human body is very complex. Yes, if we have antibodies, than we shouldn't be able to reinfect ourselves with HSV. however, it is possible, just highly unlikely, or more likely if we are immunocompromised. It's not your fault, and I isn't your body's fault. Your body is on your side, working to help you heal and stay well. You are whole and strong, and you deserve love and kindness from other and yourself. 

Sending prayers and blessings of happiness and healing your way ☀️



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Whew....way to unload‼️ It seems like you just need to vent- and thats okay. I don't think you are really open to hearing anything other than the narrative that you put in your head at the moment. Maybe you should consider therapy may  to work through all the negative self reflection/image/worth  talk. Despite this virus you are valued and deserve love and kindness in your life. I really do hope you find healing and wish you well🙏🏾💕



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