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I'm a 23 year old female, and fairly new to this website.


First off, thank you for even opening this thread and caring to read about my new experience with genital herpes. In April, I went to my doc for a routine check up and she suggested I get a pap done. STIs weren't really something on my radar despite the fact that I had contracted HPV previously from an ex. I was certain that I didn't have anything new but since I had slept with a few people since ending things with said ex (found out they had been cheating) I wanted a clean bill of health. About two weeks later I got a call back saying I tested positive for Herpes. I will never forget that day; it forever changed me. I was months ago and I swear it still feels like I found out yesterday.


I can't begin to describe all of the different emotions that I felt (and still feel every day), and the range in which I felt them, but for months I was sure that I was stuck in my own personal hell. I'm not one to sleep around, but I am a sexual person, so the news not only made me feel as if sex was over for me, but also like I would never be found sexy again. I still feel that way a lot. For the first few weeks I would try to do research to educate myself and move forward, but after a few minutes of reading I would have to put my phone/laptop down because I would be on the verge of a panic attack/breakdown. I was in denial and full of depression.


My first (and only) outbreak came soon after learning that I had herpes. Looking back now, I'm sure it was the stress and shock of learning the news that triggered it. I thankfully had very mild symptoms (a sore that looked more like a bug bite that lasted about a week) and a BIG side of depression. I read though that the first outbreak is often the worst, and mine was about 3 months ago now, so that's been comforting. I have a pretty healthy immune system.


This last week - even the last few days - have been huge for me in facing this diagnosis. After reading a lot on here and educating myself, I've realized that really this is mostly emotional. I've realized I'm not alone and I'm not the damaged goods that I thought I was. I have hope again. Today, for the first time, I felt okay with my herpes and not defined by it. I finally got the courage to tell an old friend today and write about it on here. Two things I thought I'd never do (as of a week ago I was prepared to die with this secret- dramatic right?)


I'm still emotionally drained and full of questions though. Specially about what this will look like when I find someone that I'm serious about, or if there are certain things I should be taking. I also have so many questions about having sex with people and not passing it to them. There's a lot on my mind and really, I'd just like someone to talk to. I've pushed people away because of my herpes, and I'd like to no longer lose possible relationships because I'm scared of how they may react. But at the same time I don't even know if I'm emotionally ready, when I feel like I'm trying to find self love and confidence for myself all over again? I'd like to not feel as alone and like it will all be okay, so any comforting words would mean the world to me.

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@wednesday I can relate to much of what you've said. I remember feeling like I would never feel sexy again and worrying about what it would be like having sex after diagnosis. I remember learning about how common it really is and then realizing the biggest psychological hurdle is coming to terms with the stigma. And I remember suddenly realizing I felt much better. After that, I'd have a bad day every once in a while, but those bad days keep getting farther apart.


As for what you should be taking, there is no should, and it also depends on your goal. Do you mean in case you get symptoms again? Or to ward off symptoms? Or do you mean to reduce transmission risk when you have a new partner? Also, it depends on the type of HSV you contracted. Hopefully you know which type you contracted. I've read that GHSV1 poses very, very little risk of genital to genital transmission, at least after the first few months or so. While HSV2 poses a fairly small risk of transmission, female to male, when avoiding outbreaks, there is more asymptomatic shedding than with GHSV1 and therefore a little more risk of transmission, so some people do choose to take antivirals for that reason, even if they don't have troublesome symptoms.


I am effectively *over* worrying about how prospective partners will react. This is because my disclosure experiences have been overwhelming positive and I've experienced having a healthy sexual relationship with someone who is unconcerned about my status. I've also experienced letting someone go who was *not* okay with my status and that was empowering in the sense that I was ultimately able to chalk it up to an incompatibility, not take it personally, and then practice putting myself out there yet again, resulting in more successful outcomes with new prospective partners.


You're welcome to PM me if you'd like to chat in detail.

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@optimist thank you for talking to me privately again!!


Anyone else available to talk or give me a little motivation right now? I don't know if I'm just being paranoid but I've been having some tingling/cramps in my feet and I'm so scared I'm about to have an outbreak. Is there something I can do to help stop it if I am?

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HI Wednesday I'm new here also and recently diagnosed, like one week ago. I'm dealing with some of the same emotions you talked about above myself. My first outbreak was fairly "mild" and I recovered very quickly. My doctor was please, so I guess I should be also.


I'm worried about my future, and as you I don't sleep around but at 51 I feel like I'd just got my second wind back, feeling very sexy, outgoing and ready to live my life. Now I feel like that part of my life is over and I'll be alone for the rest of my life.


I keep asking myself, "how did I let this happen"?

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@ladybug5 I'm close to your age so want to share something that helped me put this in perspective. Did you know that roughly half of single women our age are infected with HSV2? It's a startling but true statistic. An additional unknown percentage are infected with GHSV1. So please know you are far from alone, it's just that you are in the minority who are aware of your positive status.


Also, you mentioned not having had many partners. I can't say the same, but you may be interested to know that 20% of women who have had only 2-4 lifetime partners are infected with HSV2.


Finally, I'd like you to know I experienced those feelings you're feeling now and had the same fears. Several months later, I'm like a disclosing machine, have been met with more acceptance than I could have imagined, and have resumed a healthy and satisfying sex life. :)


Hang in there! It will get better! HUGS!!

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@ladybug5 your "how did I let this happen"? comment really hit home. I've felt like I really let my body and self down. Like I should have prevented this somehow. And I can certainly also relate to the damper it puts on the sex life. I want to be intimate with others but I also don't want to disclose about my condition. I just feel like I'm not going to find someone that will actually want me once they find out.


I'm trying to be positive and I've found that it helps a lot. So much of this really just is in the mind, and from what I've read around on here people have had pretty positive experiences when it came to dating. Think about - so many people have herpes, it would be impossible for all of them to be single. There'd be no one to date.

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