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Sadly misinformed...full of guilt, panic, and stress

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Hello, I have been reading the forum for about a month. I decided to share because I feel like I'm going to crack mentally and emotionally. I'll try not to be long but I wanted to share my experience. Gay male here and I was given herpes somewhere between 5-10 years ago by an ex at some point in our relationship. We were together for about 5 years and we used protection for the first two years. We had one of our multiple STD talks at this point and after testing decided to stop using protection. I knew I tested clean and I took him at his word when he told me the doctor said all clear. I trusted him because I had no reason not to at that point. Fast forward some years later to our last month together, he had just returned from a business trip (he traveled a lot for his job and would be gone for a couple of days here and there up to two weeks at a time). So we were unpacking and a pill bottle fell to my feet. I picked it up and it said Valtrex on it. Immediately I asked why are you taking Valtrex? All I could get for an answer was "I have herpes." After a couple of hours of arguing I finally got the truth. "Up here and down there." In less than a month he took a job transfer and he disappeared. After picking myself up and finally convincing myself that I want, need to know my status I went and got tested. I tested positive for both 1 and 2.


So I tested at Planned Parenthood in 2009. After talking to the nurse, we had to do the blood test because I didn't have an outbreak. To this day I have no idea what an outbreak feels like. I haven't had a cold sore on my mouth or any blisters, rash, burning, tingling down there or anywhere. I don't know where I have what and it stresses me out. Should I stress about that? Anyway, Planned Parenthood....they took my blood and told me I would get my results in the mail. That was it. No information, no pamphlet, nothing. I knew it was a once you get it, you got it for life type deal and I thought it was spread if you had sores and blisters. Once I got my results and stopped crying and vomiting I decided I just won't have sex. So I didn't. Years go by and I still haven't had any symptoms, outbreaks, nothing. I thought what if Planned Parenthood messed up. So four months ago I went to my doctor and was retested. We got to talking about having sex and I told my doctor I haven't had sex with anyone in over five years. Trust me that I want to have sex voice in my head is screaming. She said once I get your results and if you're positive I will write you a script for Valtrex to take daily and you can start having sex again. Music to my ears. I can have sex again. Nothing was ever said to me about the phases of herpes or shedding. My naivety, is that how you spell that, got the better of me. I'm beating myself up now for not educating myself.


So about a month ago, before I found this website and all the knowledge and insight, I went down on a guy. It happened so fast and in the moment. I, we didn't discuss STD's. Sadly, the thought of finally having sex derailed me mentally. I don't know if he had anything and I didn't share with him that I have herpes. I was stupid and oblivious. My knowledge was I don't have an outbreak or cold sore, I'm good to go. So as I was laying in bed that night I realized exactly what I mentioned. There was no talk. So my mind starts racing, I begin to stress and I couldn't fall asleep. I got up and started reading and the more I read, the sicker I felt. It brought back everything I felt when I got my results. But this time, I could add to all that emotion I put someone else at risk. So for the past few weeks I have felt sick with guilt and panic because of my lack of knowledge and the fact I could be responsible for making someone feel what I felt if I gave them herpes. This truly is anguishing. I don't know who I should be more pissed at, the doctor for giving me a script and "freeing" me sexually or myself for being so stupid. I just pray to God he doesn't get it. I don't find comfort in the fact that he hasn't had any symptoms because I never had symptoms. So celibate and sexually disgruntled, here I come.

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Dear @CWS00,

I feel your pain and angst and I'm sending you a big hug! The situation you are in is totally not your fault, and be kind to yourself. The feeling of betrayal from your ex is extremely painful. I think when we find out we often think the only option is celibacy unless we somehow find someone who accepts us. But after doing a lot of reading for two years, I know now that this is not a big deal, and there are sooo many people out there with the same situation! I'm sure you've read the statistics.


I also don't know what an outbreak feels like, I'm asymptomatic. The only reason I found out was because I randomly got tested, like my usual annual tests, and this time the doctor included herpes for no reason at all. So all of a sudden, I had this information that was a large burden in my life. Should you be worried? No, if you're asymptomatic, that's great, and hopefully it stays that way. There may be other very mild symptoms you've felt but never actually realized it had anything to do with herpes (itching, etc).


Not knowing about viral shedding is totally common. Unless you're looking into understanding herpes, the truth is you don't come across this information in daily life! If you're still seeing the guy, you could try to talk to him and say that you've been doing some research and realized that you learned about shedding, and that you just wanted to let him know. The part about the doctor not warning you was not responsible, and again, not something that you really had control over. The doctor who diagnosed me insinuated that I didn't have to disclose because he didn't see it as a big deal. However, I can't really do that for any sort of peace of mind or sense of morality.


You're a great person, you have a big heart, and you don't want others to get hurt. So sending you a big hug, and know that there are so many of us going through the same anxiety.






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It's 1am - I need to get to bed but I wanted to quickly welcome you and let you know we will help you to gain understanding and peace with Herpes ...


I want to address a couple things quickly and I'll come back with more later....


I don't know where I have what and it stresses me out. Should I stress about that?


First - your Doctor did you a huge dis-service ... it burns me up how often they give out incorrect/incomplete information. You are not alone in being told that you have no need to tell a partner or whatever ...


Well, HSV2 generally dislikes the mouth (only 1% of all Oral Herpes is HSV2) so the odds are very good that you don't have that one on the mouth, (ie, it will be on the Genitals)


HSV1 is the Cold Sore virus that 80% of the population has ... it could be in either place .... if it's on your genitals it doesn't shed as much there anyway. If it's on your mouth you are with the majority ;) . 80% of the people who have Oral Herpes don't know they have it so you are ahead of the game there!


Now, given that you have not had OB's and you are on the anti-virals, your risk of transmission is reasonably low ... probably about 2-3%. Risk of getting pregnant (for us gals) on BC is about 1-2% ... so that gives you a little comparison for a reality check. The HSV1 virsus on the mouth sheds a little less so the risk of transmission in your encounter was probably around 1% ....


Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have disclosed. But given you are on the antivirals, and you haven't had OB's ... well .... you are on the lower end of the risk scale. If you can reach out to the person and let them know, that would be optimal. If it was a random hook-up, then just be sure to be more aware and honest in future relationships/hook-ups.


I have to crawl in to bed... I'll return later, but I wanted to start with this info so that you have some kind of answer....



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