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The Truth Will Set You Free and Save Your Life

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On July 4, 1973 I contracted herpes. You do the math. Yes, I know the exact date. I knew my partner, and yes, it was devastating. It has shaped everything in my life since that happened. I call it "my must SEE event." For those of you who have never studied emotional psychology, SEE stands for a "Significant-Emotional-Event." It happens when some emotional event fundamentally changes your personality and alters your behavior. Contracting herpes does that to you because you have a STD that can have devastating effects on anyone who contracts it.


The good news is that, to my knowledge, I have never passed it on to anyone. I am sure of this because, if I had passed it to someone, I would have been contacted in the small community I was in at the time. The bad news is that I was possibly the very first known case in the medical community that served me. My actual date of diagnosis was not until three months later, when they finally had classified the disease. Yes, they did not even have it classified when I contracted Herpes Type II. I have been lucky. I have had very few outbreaks. Since I was diagnosed I have had less than 20 over the years. I have been outbreak free for almost 11 years now.


So now that this truth is out, I feel relieved. There is also a second part to this story, and this one is the most important part.


I contracted herpes at the height of the "sexual revolution." And when I say height, I mean the epitome! If you could not get laid in 1973 it was because you didn't want to. I had just joined the service and with the end of the Vietnam war, the free love society was raging. Women were liberated because of birth control and wherever you went, everyone was having SEX, SEX, and more SEX! (Remember Studio 54 and Saturday Night Fever) Well, after my SEE I thought the world was over. Little did I know that it just didn't matter. People just wanted to have SEX. Anytime, anyplace, everywhere.


After learning of my condition, I was contentious about informing my partners. Better to get rejected fast and move on to someone who wanted to have sex AND knew of the consequences. Back then, it was considered a speed bump on the road to having sex. Not deadly, just an inconvenience. I will say that even though I had contracted the disease, I showed no external signs anytime. One reason for this is that my doctors surmised that my rare blood type was an unbelievable immune system booster. Whereas other people who contracted the disease, might have frequent, painful outbreaks. I never had a major outbreak for the first five years.


In 1979 I was reassigned to Germany and having a ball. Then in 1980, I met Sue. (Not her real name.) She moved onto the same floor I lived on and we became friends and partied together. Then, one night, I decided it was time to get more intimate. So I told her about my condition. She rejected me outright. It hurt! She said, "I don't want to become a sexual outcast." So, for the next two years I watched in pain as she had sex with everyone except me with wanton abandon. It's funny in retrospect. If I had not told her, we would have been intimate. And I might not be here to finish this story.


When I returned to the states two years later, I met an outstanding woman, my former, who I became attracted to. She got pregnant with our first child in 1984. We were married and settled into blissful married life. She never contracted the disease and gave vaginal delivery to both of our daughters.


About a year later in 1985, I was informed that a former friend had been admitted into the hospital. I went to see this friend ... Sue was close to death. She passed away two months later. She died from pneumocystis carinii. As anyone in this community now knows, pneumocystis carinii is a result of AIDS that has advanced from HIV.


So, it was extremely likely, that when I met Sue, she had already contracted HIV. I think about what might have happened had I not told her about my condition that fateful night. I can only believe that it was because I was truthful about my condition that I am finishing this story today. I know, based on my experience with "Sue" that whatever happens, I'm going to be truthful about my status, whatever the consequences.


Lion Eagle

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What an amazing story...To have such a history with this virus and be able to look back and see how it sent you down a better path than you might have chosen otherwise is awesome. So sad for you former friend Sue..she too may have contracted HIV unknowingly just like many of us with H.


Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have a long history with HPV from my husband and that actually influenced my choice to be with my giver (very special man) some 20 years later. We both had a contractible STI and both took the risk with each other...I was unlucky to contract his H. But I am glad that is all it was...I was tested for HIV when I contracted warts 26 years ago from my then husband, as it turned out his giver had been extremely promiscuous. Its really scary...more so back then when both treatment and prognosis were not so positive as today. Luckily my test was negative.


Your story is such a strong witness to telling your truth and understanding that rejection is not a bad thing, it just sends you down a better path. Its having faith that this is what is happening...then each rejection means you are getting closer to the best right person for you rather than loosing the not so right ones along the way.


Thanks Lion Eagle...I am so happy you found your special person and have a two beautiful daughters :-)

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LionEagle, what an inspiring story! Holy crap! My mouth is agape right now. It's great to hear an actual example of something I tell a lot of my clients: Disclosing that you have herpes opens the door to a frank discussion about THEIR sexual history, too. Too many people think that if they accept me, I'm home free! (And they don't pause to consider what they're in turn accepting.) In other words, disclosing also keeps you from getting anything more than what you already have! Having herpes can be seen as a first line of defense for all the other STDs.


Thank you for sharing your story here, LionEagle! And yes, I'm also so glad you're still with us. Your integrity literally saved your life. What a gift to consider ... Love it.

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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Wow. Just...wow, KittyBird. [that's my special pet name for you... ;)]


Thank you so much for opening your heart and life in such a vulnerable way. Your story is so powerful and your words have left an indelible mark on my heart. Truly.


Because of your willingness to share, I have been blessed with an even greater desire to know and understand my own worth. You can't give someone anything more valuable, in my opinion, so thank you.


much love,


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