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purplegal

Trying to stay optimistic but failing...would appreciate words of support & some answers

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So I found out two days ago that I tested positive for HSV 2. I'm shocked, upset, scared, and mostly, I feel very alone. I haven't told anyone yet, not my friends or family, because I don't think they would understand, and am hoping to find some words of support and optimism to make me feel a little better than I do right now.

 

I would also appreciate if someone could clarify a few things for me. Firstly, I understand that herpes spreads through skin-to-skin contact, and that the rate of transmission from a positive woman to a negative man is about 2-4%. But going forward, if I use protection, would that be effective? Or can herpes be transmitted even with condom use? Secondly, and what's really bothering me, is that my index number is 1.87. After reading quite a bit on this, I believe that anything under a 1.1 is negative, above a 3.2 is positive, but that between 1.1 and 3.2 is a grey zone...that tends to lead to false positives. Is this true? I would like to be retested for confirmation, because I do understand that this is quite low. I've also never had an outbreak. But what does this index really mean? Does it mean that I got infected months ago, and a high number would indicate recency of infection? Should I wait a few months before being retested? Chances that it actually is a false positive?

 

As one tends to do when they've been diagnosed, I turned to Google for research. I understand that herpes is not deadly, and that when it comes down to it, it's just a skin condition- and while incurable- it's not really the end of the world. I've never had an outbreak and I'm realistic about the fact that if/when it happens, I'll deal with the pain and discomfort. What I'm really worried about it what this means for my future dating/sex life. I've read a fair share of stories people have shared about disclosing their diagnosis to sexual partners, and I have nothing but respect for those that have said it raises standards for who you date and have sex with, and I truly hope to be there one day. My only caveat is that I'm only 21 years old and I've been having sex for less than a year. I have only had sex with four men so far, and I'm picky about who I have sex with anyway (so disclaimer, it's not like I'm having a huge amount of sex) it's just that I can't help but feel like with this diagnosis, any semblance of casual sex is now off the table for me. The point of casual sex is being casual. I can't imagine telling every person I have sex with going forward that I have herpes; that tends to take the 'casual' right out of it. I'm not ready for a relationship yet, and would like the opportunity to have a bit more fun.

 

Another thing is that I also can't imagine having sex anytime soon without constantly thinking about the fact that I have it (which would kind of ruin the moment/sex for me completely). When I imagine myself having sex with someone right now, I think it's all I would think about. I'm trying really hard to come to terms with this and not overreact, but I can't stop thinking about this. Whenever I am alone it pops into my mind and I get scared about the future and can't help but freak out.

 

My apologies for making this so long; I'm trying very hard to stay positive, especially in lieu of a low index number and the fact that I definitely will be getting retested, but I can't help but think the worst. I would really appreciate if someone could make me feel better and less alone in dealing with all of this, and how to come to terms with it. Regardless, I'm thankful to this community for making me feel a little less alone just by reading some of these posts, so yay for that!

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I know you have a lot happening in your life, and a lot of concerns for the future.

First, the only 100% definite test is a culture swab taken of a blister by a doctor. That will tell them everything about the virus at that site.

Second, if you suspect it may be herpes, go ahead and stop shaving near the sores, and around the out break area for a few months (this is based on my own opinion, as I did have a follow-up out break in a new area either from shaving or from just the virus doing what it does....)

Third, wash your hands especially after you touch an effected area. This simple task almost entirely eliminates chances of spreading accidentally.

Fourth, abstain, or disclose. People who choose to be intimate with you deserve to be given the opportunity to give consent, knowing there may be risk. Even if you take every other precaution, still disclose.

 

Finally but most importantly, know that herpes doesn't change who you are, and it won't change how you date. While herpes may be a deal breaker for some, it is ONLY a deal breaker to someone who hasn't found the one in you. It only means they intend to find someone else. Even still, there are many people who can attest that herpes doesn't stop them from enjoying casual sex, and that there are plenty of people who will consent after disclosure.

I can personally attest that herpes will not be the defining feature of who you are, or your future relationships.

 

You are just as great a person as you have ever been, and you are no better or worse than you were before diagnosis.

You seem to have picked up on that already, and it's really great to find out from your post that you seem to be very aware of your state of mind. Keep looking toward the future, but make it a future where you are happy and accomplished!

You won't continue to dwell on it, unless you choose to. Decide that you are not defined by herpes, and instead defined by your actions and decisions!

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@RegularGuy I appreciate you reading through my list and answering in depth! So my question about getting retested was more about the fact that I’ve never had outbreak...there was so reason to get tested for herpes, as I never suspected I might have it. I just had my annual check up and figured it wouldn’t hurt to get tested for everything. Since I’ve never had sores, would a follow up blood test not be confirmatory? Not actually sure how common false positives are...either way, thank you for your insight! I don’t think H is going to define me, I think I just can’t stop thinking about it right now because the diagnosis is still so new. Hopefully that will go away with time. If anyone has any experience or knowledge about restarting that would be greatly appreciated!

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