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Young and Afraid:(

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So I found out about 4 months ago, less than a month before my 17th birthday, that I have genital herpes. I had been in a sexual relationship with my first boyfriend for six months before I came down with a really bad "flu" - the nurse sent me home from school because she suspected that I had strep throat. Well...it wasn't the flu as shortly after my swollen lymph nodes was accompanied by a horrible burn and itch in my crotch and a small crop of blisters days later. I told my mom who couldn't hide the look of concern on her face and we went to the gyno days later. The gyno took one look and said

"Yup, you have herpes" - I could feel the blood drain from my face and my heart completely sink - someone like me does not have herpes, I had only slept with one person! I held in my tears the whole appointment until I bawled my eyes out in the car on the way home and the next few days after. I feel so sad and alone about this because I've only slept with one person ever and I feel like I have been robbed of a normal sex life by this one person.


Anyways, I stayed with my-ex for about three months after, mainly because I felt like damaged goods and that no one else would want me. While we were together, I didn't really think much about the herpes but now that we recently broke up and I'm talking to a new boy. I don't know what to do because I really like this boy but he is a virgin and would never understand. I feel like I'm getting that earth shattering diagnosis all over. I mean I'm still in high school and I feel so alone because I doubt anyone else has it (most people in my grade are virgins) and no one is even educated enough about herpes to really understand. I know that this boy will not sleep with me if he finds out and I'm okay with that. I want to tell this boy to get it off my chest. But I know that it would spread so fast at school and people would think I'm dirty and disgusting. I really don't want to feel any worse about myself than I already do. But I know I can't sleep with him without telling him, no matter how low the risks may be with precaution. I would have run for the hills if I knew my ex had herpes before I slept with him, so how can I think anyone my age is any different? Who would risk their entire sex life at my age for someone with herpes? I wouldn't.


I just feel so consumed with resentment and anger that this has happened. I feel so alone because no one in high school will understand. My mom tries to be supportive but her teary eyes whenever the topic comes up are not reassuring. On top of that, my own sister wouldn't even use the same towel as me! Its been a roller coaster of emotions - some days I'm fine and others I feel devastated.


I really just need support. I need to know that things will be okay.

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Hi, @youngh, and welcome. I am glad you found us, because you are most certainly not alone! First of all, there is not a single thing wrong with you. {{hugs}} Just wanted to get that out of the way. :-)


You happen to have a very common virus that is easily spread because it often doesn't have any symptoms or the symptoms are really mild. You are not the first person to get HSV with their first partner. When your peers start having sex, their odds of getting HSV will rise as they age and have more partners. Do you happen to know which type you have? This interactive graphic combines both HSV1 and HSV2, but it'll show you that you're in goood company. It's one of my favorite links: http://projectaccept.org/who-gets-hsv/


Another great link for basic information about HSV is here: https://www.westoverheights.com/herpes/the-updated-herpes-handbook/


You're smart to listen to your instincts about telling this new boy. Someone once told me that when it comes to sharing really vulnerable stuff, the other person needs to have *earned* the right to hear my story. Sometimes the hardest part is trying to tell whether I can really trust someone, or if I like them so much I simply want to believe they are trustworthy. I told a friend once because I just had to get it off my chest. She didn't tell anyone else, but she didn't know how to support me either, and it brought up some anxiety in her about how her brother acquired HIV a few years earlier. So honestly, I didn't feel any better after telling her. Your experience may be different. But just know that not everyone is going to be able to support you in the way that you need, and it will have *nothing* to do with you.


I'm really sorry that your mom and sister haven't been very supportive. That sucks. No matter the age, most people know almost nothing about herpes, and your mom may be at a loss for how to help you. If you click on my username, you'll find the posts I've started. Look for the two-part post called My Herpes Manifesto. I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your mom, but if anything in that post resonates with you, you could print it, maybe highlight a few areas, and give it to your mom. She might be eager to know what this is like for you and how she can help you.


As for your sister, tell her to relax. It's virtually impossible to acquire HSV from sharing a towel. Maybe if it was wet and you rubbed it against open sores and she used it seconds later.....MAYBE.....but honestly, she'd have better chances winning the lottery.


Like you, I didn't really have anyone to talk about this with, and I'm more than twice your age. My mom and sisters are very religious and can be quite judgmental. I also told a couple of friends, but I think they honestly couldn't relate and didn't know how to respond, so they weren't able to be a support to me either.


What *has* really helped me is this message board and also talking to a counselor. You would be amazed at how awesome it feels to have someone truly listen to your concerns and validate your feelings. They're also really good at being objective and helping you to see the big picture. I promise you this: if you try to ignore your feelings of resentment, anger and fear, or stuff them away deep inside, they WILL resurface later on at the worst possible time. There is something magical about letting them out with a person who won't judge you.


Finally, I leave you with good news....you WILL be okay and your sex life is definitely not over. :-) Tons and tons of people with HSV meet others who are fine with it, and you will too when the time is right and you meet the right person.


{{more hugs!!}}


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Hey @youngh, I'm here to assure you that everything will be OK. I found out I had gotten HSV2 from my second sex partner a month after I turned 20 and at that time it was really hard to deal with. But it got easier and I'm sure it will get easier for you too! More people than you know have either HSV 1 or/and HSV2 so you're not alone... At first I felt like I would be undesirable and no one would want me after finding out I have H but I was wrong. I'm 22 now and I have an active sex life.


Disclosing is not easy because you never know how the other person will respond but just know that if they respond negatively you are too good for them anyway! You are the prize regardless and having herpes does not make you damaged goods. You will meet really beautiful people who will see the beauty in you ( inside and out) and herpes will not stop them from wanting to love you!


Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad about yourself because you have HSV, just take it one day at a time and educate the people in your life that know so that they can better understand this part of you.



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Thank you both, @HikingGirl and @livelifegolden, so much for the response. I really didn't know what would come out of posting on here but I feel so grateful for you support. It means so much to here from someone who has HSV themselves. Also, @HikingGirl , I believe I have HSV-2 as I know its not from oral sex, however I don't know what strain my partner has - My gyno was really remiss about talking about my swab results maybe because he didn't want to make me upset, he basically just said that I had genital herpes.


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Hi @youngh, and welcome! I am so sorry that you're in this situation. Finding out that you have herpes is never something that someone *wants* to go through. I found out that I had it a month and a half after getting engaged to the love of my life, and was so shocked and confused as to HOW I could have it as we've been together for two years and I've never had a sign or symptom! Then I started doing research and found out that the *majority* of people with the virus don't show any symptoms at all or symptoms so mild they're assumed to be something else. Thankfully my fiance has been supportive but I still struggle daily to accept the diagnosis. Some days more than others. He has never had a cold sore and hasn't been tested yet (its hard to get men to go to the doctor :)) so I'm not sure if it came from him or a past relationship.


I would try to push for the results of the swab. There are two strains: HSV1 and HSV2. Both cause the same symptoms but there are some differences in shedding rates and outbreak frequency *typically*, but this is different for every person. Your partner could have had type 1 genitally as well although that strain transmits genital to genital less than type 2. I have type 1 per the swab and confirmed with a blood test. It made me wish I had gotten cold sores when I was younger like the vast majority of the population as this provides *some* protection from contracting the same type in another region. But, I did not, and thus here I am. If your doctor truly won't give you the results, seek out blood testing at Planned Parenthood, they can do a type specific blood test.


This support forum is fantastic! I've scoured the old posts for hours at a time and have posted myself. I'm very new to this diagnosis but I'm trying to also use my knowledge of the virus, from researching like crazy and being in the medical field, to help others and use my limited personal experience to chime in as well.


The link that @HikingGirl provided is phenomenal in showing just how many people carry the viruses! It's insane how common they are, and people just don't know. One reason is that every one refers to oral herpes as "just a cold sore". Most don't realize that it can be transmitted to the genitals or that it is herpes at all! I knew that it could be transmitted to the genitals, yet I *did not know* that it could be transmitted even in the absence of cold sores, I thought that they would have to have a sore to transmit it. And I'm a nurse! It goes to show that there is not enough education on these viruses to the general public and even medical professionals. Here's a statistic that helps me when I'm down: according to WHO *2/3* of the worlds population carries HSV1, the type I have. TWO THIRDS!! Insane.


You may also like Ella Dawson, google her name and find her blog. She is an amazing young woman who contracted genital herpes from having *only* protected sex who has come out to the world about it to help decrease stigma. I think I've read almost every entry on her blog. Her words helped me tremendously.


You *can* and *will* get through this! And lead a perfectly normal life! Read some of the posts in the veterans and success story categories and you'll see that many people do :)

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@youngh, You can just call your doctor's office and ask for the nurse or medical assistant to the doctor you saw. You might have to leave a voice mail if they're with a patient. Just give them your name, date of birth, and explain you'd like them to pull your chart and confirm what type of test was done during the month of X and which type of HSV (1 or 2) you tested positive for. That's very easy for them to do.

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