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Recently diagnosed with genital herpes (HSV-1)

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I was just diagnosed under a month ago with HSV 1 on my vagina. I was devastated to say the least. I spent 2 weeks in bed crying before and after the confirmation came through. I felt like a leper and that my life was over. After reading about the virus and A LOT of these forums I have made “peace” with it as much as I can at the moment.


I had just gotten out of a 4 year relationship about 2-3 months ago. We were not using condoms (I was on the pill) and he never exhibited any symptoms, and neither did I. Now here’s where it gets a bit complicated. I was having a UTI that just didn’t want to go away since about May. I wasn’t however exhibiting any symptoms of one (I have had one before and they are annoying so I would have known). The way I found out was by doing my yearly checkup blood work and urine sample. Now I found out about my alleged “UTI” just before going away for a few months and wasn’t able to take care of it before I left. Stupid on my part yes, but I thought it was just a false result because I was on period when I did my urine test (which I use tampons for but still), I thought maybe some tiny speck got into the sample and messed up the results. Also I was having noooo symptoms. I came back after my trip and things completely fell apart with my ex. We broke it off, I got off the pill and started getting horrible cramping which after doing a bit of reading was possibly being caused by “hormonal withdrawal” from getting off the pill… anyways the cramping got so bad and annoying that I was considering going back on the pill. I went to the doctor and did another urine sample and turned out there was more blood in my urine. I was put on a 2 week course of antibiotics. 3 weeks after the symptoms returned and I went back on a much stronger course of 3 days. It went away finally.. about a week after I had a casual sexual encounter with a friend. We used protection. About 3-4 days after my encounter, actual UTI symptoms (burning and such that I could notice) started to occur BUT I also noticed “sores” on my vagina and started to panic a bit after I did a bit of googling (I’m a googler). I thought it was the UTI back again + a shaving accident. Went to the walk-in.. they did not want to give me any more antibiotics but did give me an antibiotic cream (without a pelvic exam may I add) and what was I supposed to do? Just live with blood in my urine??? I went to the hospital and did proper testing… anyways I was thinking that maybe all these “UTIs” and antibiotics (along with a shaving accident) made my immune system low and just the perfect opportunity for infection.


As soon as I started panicing and got tested. I knew something was wrong. Like I said I was sobbing every day before and after finding out the results. NOW I’m “OKAY” with the results. It is a shame that there is such a horrible stigma behind it. I think it has something to do with the way the virus is spread – there is some kind of stigma that makes you look like a dirty slut that sleeps around. Don’t get me wrong I am no “angel”.. I have had my share of (protected) casual encounters, but I am no slut (and I know I don’t have to explain myself here because from what I gather majority of you on this site fall into this category). And by the way, unfortunately I was one of those people who thought H was the worst thing is the world, and only “dirty sluts” got it.


I couldn’t take the idea that I was losing out on life – or at least that’s how I felt. I couldn’t bare thinking that no one would want to be with me anymore. I broke and told my ex because I wanted to know that someone somewhere might still want me. Now that back fired because I wasn’t thinking straight and was being selfish in my reasoning for telling him. I was also concerned a bit from where I could have possibly got it from (since we were having unprotected sex for years) and angry at the thought that maybe he was a carrier and didn’t know or didn’t tell me. I don’t know. I was going crazy. He accused me of cheating (which I never did) and was devastated that I could move on so quickly (possibly ruining any chances for us to ever reconcile). For me it wasn’t necessarily “quick” to move on… we were having issues for a while and I was getting frustrated. I love him, but am not in love with him anymore… Anyways he got tested, and the other person got tested. So far my ex is negative, and the other person is still waiting on the results but has exhibited no symptoms.


The reason for this long winded post is I needed to get it off my chest. AND also as much as I’m okay with it and get that there will be someone out there who will accept me for me and so on.. I feel cut off from the world of casual encounters. I’m not looking for a relationship right now. I can’t handle one at the moment (it’s been a fucked up month to say the least). But how do I tell someone who I’m thinking about going casual with? Do I tell them before kissing because it is HSV 1 (I wasn’t tested but I think I might have had a few sores in my throat)- the doctor who did the swab of my vagina sad it just looked like a sore throat (then again, he did say the sores on my vagina looked like a shaving accident – because I thought they were since I did have one).


Anyways besides all my casual sex questions, I just feel the need for a bit of support and just a “don’t worry it’s not that bad”. Also I can’t stand the idea that I practically have to put my life on hold for a year or 2 to see how I react and how many times I break out. I am a bit more aware of my vagina now and pay more attention to sharp pains or sensitivity and tingling. I check myself twice a day… and.. (yes excessive) wash my vagina wearing gloves now because I don’t want to spread anything to my hands, face or anywhere else by accident since I have read that spreading it to other parts of your body is possible.


I feel like this whole thing is one big guessing game where I’ll just have to wait and see.. and that’s annoying me.. and again, what do I do about casual encounters now? I can’t stand the thought of being rejected. (and at the same time I really am turned off from sex altogether – but the time will come where I will need a little lovin’).


Thanks xo

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Wow dhpink, you said it all! I read your entire post, thats basically my exact same story. I know what you mean about casual encounters,(I still haven't figured them out either). I haven't officially disclosed to any potential relationship interest yet, aside from my ex to see if she had it, and a close friend. Aside from that the outbreaks become less severe, I've had it about 2 years now, and I'm dying to get laid lol, but now I know how my body works, I take a lysine supplement everyday and a pro-biotic for immune health and they help a lot, plus they're cheap! Look anyway, I know you'll hear this a million times but its just a skin condition, and before you disclose you'll know if you want that person to be in your life or not, I guess it more or less makes you in control of how things play out.


Oh and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

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Since your symptoms showed up 3-4 days after your casual encounter, I would look to that as being the likely source.


I was diagnosed with genital HSV1 on the 21st. I have been in a monogamous sexual relationship for a year and a half. After spending a week at the beach with NO sun protection, my partner (with VERY SUNBURNED LIPS) went down on me. Three days later I started feeling the initial symptoms (like many, thought it was a yeast infection or an ingrown hair from shaving). As soon as I felt the swollen lymph node on my groin, though, I knew something was seriously up. I also had a fever and felt pretty terrible.


We had an idea of what had happened even before the swab test came back HSV1. I had asked him if he ever had a cold sore, and he said yes, but not for a very very long time (like most people...you are exposed to it usually as a child, and by the time you're an adult, it is relatively dormant if you are a healthy person with a normal immune system). But one of the triggers for reactivating the virus...is sunburn. And he was terribly sunburned.


And it turns out that I, obviously, have never had HSV1, making me somewhat of an outlier. So because my partner was too 'cool' to wear sunblock, I now have herpes. Seems pretty unfair, right? I'm 37, and I can count the number of sexual partners I've had on one hand still.


So, just take the word 'slut' out of your vocabulary.


Many people are carriers and either haven't had an outbreak in a long time, or never ever had one. It sounds hollow, but if you have an OB, at least you know and you can protect yourself and others.


HSV1 prefers to 'live' in the nerves behind our ears. HSV2 prefers to 'live' in the base of our spine. Our chances or recurring OB are much less with genital HSV1 than genital HSV2. And remember, you can 'reinfect' someone who already has HSV1. I know that in any future disclosing (because our relationship was already on the rocks before this, and now it is even looking bleaker...he's having a very hard time with the guilt, but he also hasn't educated himself about it, and there's only so much I can do) I am going to make the point that most people have HSV1 already, and if they don't know if they do or not, I will suggest they get tested to find out.


I feel similar to you in the 'wait and see' game. But in the meantime I'm taking suppressive therapy and really watching my diet and trying to get lots of sleep (I'm in nursing school so that last one is always a challenge!).


I was also in the great position of having my best friend to talk to...she got HSV2 when dating her then-boyfriend (now husband and father of her two children). He had disclosed and she knew, and while she was upset after her first OB, she said it really has been inconsequential since then (8 years ago). Again, she lives a healthy lifestyle, eats well, and exercises regularly. Though, she was already in committed relationship, so it doesn't include the uncertainty that many of us will face in new relationships...but she was also the 'new' person, and accepted his status and took the risk of HSV while they were still dating. It gives me hope at least!

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  • 1 year later...

Hi dhpink.


This is my first time writing on a forum, but I was diagnosed with genital HSV 1 about 5 months ago while I was in a serious, monogamous relationship. I feel the need to tell my story and hopefully it will show you that you shouldn't let the fear of rejection hinder your dating life. Herpes does not define who we are, it is simply something we have. Here I go:


I was in a serious relationship when I found out I had HSV 1. I was visiting my parent's house with my boyfriend (my now ex) and we went into the hot tub. I had a scratch down there, but did not think twice about it. We didn't do anything until we got back to my bedroom where we had sex. I was trying to fall asleep that night, but I was experiencing extreme itchiness and pain. I woke up and was completely swollen and sick. We drove home and I could hardly sit still. He had a rash on his penis as well, so we both start freaking out but I start developing sores. I knew deep down that this was not a good thing and my ex was freaking out. At that moment, I hoped that I was the one who had something wrong b/c I knew he wouldn't be able to handle it. Well, I guess I got my "wish". Turns out that I had a bacterial infection and HSV 1. My ex only had an infection and test negatively for herpes. I couldn't believe it. I have always been careful and sooo paranoid about getting a STD and now to find out that I somehow contracted it. I beat myself and thought I was "dirty". I was lucky that my ex was supportive and did not let it change our sex life, so I pushed it aside and knew that I had to find the silver lining to all of this. I wasn't going to let this ruin my life or make me think poorly of myself. My ex and I broke up. He ended up using it against me and said that he loves me unconditionally and that not a lot of other guys would deal with what I have. It hurt that he was trying to make me feel trapped. I muster up the courage and broke up with him. Then the realization sunk it that I would finally have to confront things and prepare myself for entering the dating world. I knew that I would ALWAYS disclose my situation to anyone I may be intimate with and I will get rejected because of it. However, I figured that this will help me weed out the guys that are only looking for a hook up. I didn't expect to find someone so soon, but I did. I prepared this long speech and knew that I needed to find a perfect time to tell, yet when is there a good time to tell someone you have an incurable STD.


I let things flow naturally and we started getting to know each other. We had such a deep connection that I knew I had to tell him sooner rather than later. I did not want to make him feel trapped. We were making out on my couch one night and I knew I had to tell him. I laid it all out there and answered all of this questions. I took a risk and was at my most vulnerable, which is very hard for me to do. He was SOOO sweet and sympathetic. He thanked me for being so open and in return he opened up to me. I knew he was being sweet in that moment, but I still did not know if he would run. I even told him that I understand if he wants to, that it wouldn't hurt my feelings and I hope we can still keep in touch. We are still talking and the other night we were fooling around when he stopped me and said he was not ready to have sex yet. It was hard not to feel rejected and like a leper in that moment. I understood where he was coming from and didn't want to pressure him, but I still felt exposed/unwanted. However, that night he cuddled me (which was big since he is not a very affectionate guy) and we did other things. We are still talking and have not had sex yet, but I think he will come around. I know that this is not the normal reaction I should expect with guys I date in the future. I know some will run, but there are decent guys out there that will see you for you, see beyond what you have and focus on who you are. Just like anyone in the dating world, you have to to kiss a few frogs before you get your prince. In our case, we may have to kiss a few more frogs than most but the silver lining is that when we do meet that prince we will know that he is in it for the right reasons. I rather trade that for one night stands any day. Having herpes has made me a strong and better person. It has forced me to face my fear of rejection straight on and I am more confident person because of it. I can only be myself and if someone can accept that then they don't deserve me.


I know the fear of rejection can be crippling, but take a risk and grow from it. You can do it and you will find someone that will want to be with you regardless. I hope sharing my story will help you find the strength and courage to put yourself out there.

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Hello and Welcome!


Thank you for sharing your experience. All these shares help the new folks to realize that while there may be some struggles, life goes on.


Just a quick note... your ex-bf may well have given H to YOU - through oral sex. Odds are he doesn't know he has it - and it would explain why he didnt get it when you were having the OB. So I hope you have not let his "shame and blame" campaign to stay with you.....


Welcome aboard!



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