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Good morning! Really, really, REALLY long post. Please bear with me as it's the first time I've got all my worries off my chest.


I'm a 23 year old gay man from London, England. Exactly one week ago I was diagnosed with genital HSV-1. I *think* it was my first breakout, but it only happened following something that I know a lot of people say causes breakouts - a prolonged "session" with a partner. (Sorry if TMI - just wanted some perspective from someone else!). There is a very small chance that I've actually had this for a few years, as when I was about 20 I had what I thought was an extremely mild breakout, so little that the doctors didn't want to test it, but they gave me acyclovir and told me it really didn't look like a breakout and were only giving me meds to ease my mind. A little bit uneducated there... so in reality this recent breakout could potentially have only been a reaction to stimulation in the area. I'll never know.


About 6 weeks ago I ended a relationship with the love of my life. I cried and cried when breaking up with him, and told him that I genuinely loved him from the bottom of my heart, and that I needed space to grow (he is 12 years older) and when I have matured there may be a chance to pick things up where they left off. There's a few things in my life that need sorting, I want to put my career on the right path, I want to learn how to drive and move out of my parents house, and I felt I needed space and freedom to do these things. I now feel that I was totally wrong to break up with this man, and that I will never find love. I cannot describe how much he loved me and how much I was cared for. It broke my heart to end the relationship, and now it breaks my heart to think I will A) never be able to go back to him because of my H diagnosis (he is extremely paranoid about any type of illness due to his own health complications in the past) and B) nobody ELSE will ever want to date me because of this skin condition. I broke up with the love of my life to find some perspective and grow into my own skin - the first person I sleep with has given me an incurable STD. I feel like this is learning the very, very hard way. I feel like that is unfair, and that I deserve it. It makes me want to cry... I wish I had a time machine.


I don't know what H has in store for me. I don't know if it will be something that comes back regularly or if I will never see it again. It's the not knowing that makes me sad the most. The only thing I know for sure is that it will be with me for the rest of my life, and nothing I can do or say now will change that, and I now have the responsibility to inform every future partner - which realistically will sometimes end in tears, and sometimes end in smiles or, maybe one day, love. Just writing the word "Love" reminds me of my ex at the moment and makes me feel physically sick.


So my best friend has genital HSV too, and she was the first and only person I've told so far. She has had it for years, and has been really supportive. We're the kind of friends who talk about problems but always end up laughing about them. We've discussed moving in together and said now it can be called the "H House" and it's a strict membership only club! It's so stupid, but I am such a cheerful and happy man that I have to laugh otherwise I don't know how I'll cope with it. I guess we all have our mechanisms. She is currently travelling the world so I don't have anybody close at hand who I can talk to, and I'm really looking forward to her coming back (for many reasons) and also so we can talk this over!


I have no idea what the future holds. I am very good at keeping myself busy and happy, and have always taken a steady and practical approach to helping myself overcome problems and solving issues for myself, and I love that quality in myself. (See, it is possible to love yourself with H!). However, now i Have something that cannot be cured and will 100% be with me forever. Yes, in terms of illnesses it's actually one of the "better" ones you'd want on your side if you were given a list of things that are going to afflict you for life. I just have to learn how to embrace it. And I've never had to deal with something that I couldn't change somehow so this is going to be a huge learning curve. I only hope that the curve is upwards from here so I can grow and learn to love again.


I once dated a guy who was HIV positive. It ended because he loved to argue with me, all the time! Our relationship did not end because he was HIV positive. I have never had another STD except HSV-1. This gives me hope. If I, before being diagnosed with HSV, was willing to meet somebody in the middle with a health problem like this, I'm pretty sure there is someone out there who will do the same for me. Little did I know that actions in the past would one day possibly help my future. I'm not going through the "I'm dirty" phase etc, I don't think that will ever happen because I'm trying to be well educated about herpes, and I know it's not disgusting, it's just something that requires knowledge to deal with and patience to understand. I know it's nothing to do with dirt or shame. The secret is finding other people with this understanding. It's just a shame that it will inevitably create barriers for some people. I kind of want to tell EVERYONE about this and let everyone know just so I can get over it as soon as possible, and I don't feel it'll be a big deal. The bit I'm kind of struggling with is ever finding love again. I know it'll happen but it's so daunting. It's quite scary right now


So guys. Where do I go from here? Thanks in advance for anyone that has taken the time to read this and share some thoughts :)




LFTH xxx

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