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What I (21F) have learned post-diagnosis

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Being diagnosed with H is scary. Being diagnosed with H at 19 is extra scary. I wanted to share what I've learned in my nearly 2 years post-diagnosis. I feel like I'm forgetting a lot since I'm so used to it now, but I'll make a part II if I think of anything else.


1. It is 100% okay to stand up for your sexual health. Prior to H, I never felt comfortable standing my ground when a partner would try to pressure me to not use condoms. Now, the quickest way to be kicked out of my bed is to not respect my choices...the FIRST time.


2. No, you will not be #ForeverAlone. This is not the end of your dating or even casual sex life.


3. No, you will not be rejected instantly. For what it's worth, I've disclosed to ~40 men, and 3 have rejected me. I've had a few other rejections where the guys later came around after thinking about it.


4. Figure out your disclosure style. What works for someone else may not work for you. Personally, I disclose very early (hence the large number of disclosures) and take a very matter-of-fact approach. Not gonna lie, I practiced disclosing to people from Tinder first hahaha.


5. If someone's first question after you tell him/her is, "How did you get it?" that's rude, none of of his/her business (unless you choose to share), and typically (in my experience) a veiled attempt at seeing if you sleep around. It CAN be genuine curiosity, but it's still rude for that to be the FIRST question. Proceed with caution.


6. You don't need to feel embarrassed, ashamed, dirty, etc. You are none of those things. You got a little virus from skin-to-skin contact? No big deal! YOU are NOT herpes. Okay, so you know that, but you feel embarrassed picking up your antivirals? Chances are the pharmacist at the register didn't even look at the script - just checked for your name. Even if s/he did, s/he probably sees antiviral scripts at least several times per shift.


7. H can be a confidence boost! You have to have a lot of guts to disclose. You have to have a list of good qualities to remind yourself of when you start feeling down or if you meet rejection. Standing up for your sexual health is also another boost.


8. Letting go of anger and resentment towards your giver will do wonders.


9. Letting go of anger and resentment towards yourself will do even more wonders.


10. Eventually, you will hardly think of H except during the occasional OB or disclosing to a new partner.

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