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Have had herpes for a while and now have issues dealing.

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So, a little history. Positive HSV1 & HSV2. My wife and I both got tested about five years ago, after she had an outbreak downstairs. Unsure as to when it was actually contracted. We spent a year separated about 10 years ago, and ultimately reconciled. We both did things during that time that were regrettable. So, we assume that one of us caught it at that time and passed it to the other at some point. Our relationship is okay regarding it. We don't harbour any ill will towards each other about it.  I also have two children, that were in their mid teens when my wife and I were diagnosed.

I don't know 100% where the virus resides in me. I don't take medication and I have never had an outbreak in either location. My wife on the other hand gets HSV2 outbreaks in the genital region. She has never had an outbreak on her face, so who knows where the HSV1 is at. 

So, I have two things that I worry about, and they both have started consuming my thoughts at all times now, almost out of nowhere.

I deal with guilt. I know that we don't know for sure which one of us it came from, but I presume I feel guilty because I have always been asymptomatic and my wife has had a completely different experience.

My other issue, which is plaguing me even more, I have started living in fear for my kids. They are both young adults now, but are still living in our house, which I like, because with the rising costs of everything, they are full time college students and I want them to stay full time and graduate without having to worry about bills and such.

I have never seen a cold sore on either of them, and they have never complained about issues in other places. But, I'm extremely paranoid. I've started taking to excessive hand washing, wiping things down all the time, and constantly obsessing over everything. Like, were my hands clean enough when I did that, did I do a sloppy job washing, did they accidentally grab the wrong razor, what if one of them accidentally uses my loofa, and we'll, you get the idea.  I obsess in my memories and wonder if the time that we were camping, and had no water around, the time a big storm came through, and water was shut off for three days that one time, that one time years ago when I had sex with my wife and really needed water after and grabbed a cup before taking a shower, and well, I think you get the idea.  

I'm sure that my thoughts are irrational, but they are always with me. They didn't always do that to me, but it seems to be doing it to me these days. 

If they were to catch this from me, I would be devastated.  I want them to be healthy, when dating, getting married, having children. 

I know that most of this is probably irrational, but I can't help it. I am hoping that someone can talk some sense into me.  

Thanks for listening. 


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Hey there @Mark007

Thanks for opening up and having the courage to share your thoughts and feelings. It's completely normal to have worries and thoughts that consume your mind, especially when it comes to the well-being of your loved ones. I want to assure you that you're not alone, and we're here to provide support and offer some perspective.

Firstly, let's address the guilt you mentioned with your wife. It's understandable to feel a sense of responsibility, even though you can't pinpoint the exact source of the infection. However, it's important to remember that herpes can be sexually transmitted even when no symptoms are present (asymptomatic viral shedding), and it's often challenging to determine the exact timing and source of infection. The most important thing is that you and your wife have been able to navigate your relationship with understanding and without harboring ill will towards each other. This shows the strength and resilience of your connection. And bravo for that!

Now, let's focus on your concerns about your children. It's commendable that you want to provide them with a worry-free environment as they pursue their education, but ironically, you're the one taking on all of the worry! And the good news is that it's mostly unnecessary: The risk of transmitting herpes through casual contact or shared items is extreeeeemely low. Herpes is primarily transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact with the infected area during periods of viral shedding or when visible symptoms are present. As you mentioned, you don't experience outbreaks and have never had symptoms, and the amount of virus that is shed without any outbreaks is too small to get passed to others via non-sexual ways.

While it's important to practice good hygiene and considerate behavior, excessive handwashing and obsessing over every possible scenario isn't doing you much good. You can find a balance by maintaining regular hygiene practices, such as handwashing and ensuring personal items are not shared in intimate ways. However, casual contact or incidental exposure to objects is highly unlikely to lead to transmission. Why? Because the herpes virus doesn't survive very long at all in open air: It needs warm, moist environment to survive. Open air is its enemy. Hence why it's known as a sexual/intimate virus. 

It's understandable that your thoughts may feel irrational and overwhelming, but it's crucial to challenge them with factual information. Meeting paranoia with facts is the antidote. The common misconception that herpes is highly contagious and easily spread can perpetuate unnecessary anxiety. By understanding the actual modes of transmission and the low risk involved in your situation, you can find a sense of relief and peace of mind. Here's an article for more on that: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/how-can-you-get-herpes

If these thoughts continue to consume your mind and impact your daily life, it might be helpful to consider seeking one-on-one support, either from a therapist or I also provide coaching (more details on herpes resiliency coaching). You can get guidance and strategies to help manage anxiety and find ways to navigate these concerns effectively. And remember, the facts are your friend. Then practicing believing those facts is the next step. 😉 

Remember, you're doing the best you can as a parent and a partner. By staying informed, maintaining open communication, and focusing on creating a supportive and loving environment for your family, you're already taking important steps to ensure their well-being.

Take care, and remember that we're here for you whenever you need support or have any more questions.

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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  • mr_hopp changed the title to Have had herpes for a while and now have issues dealing.

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