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Trying to move on after years of silence and shame

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I am new to this site but not new to a herpes diagnosis. I was diagnosed with genital HSV-1 in 2005 at 19 years old. Though I was in a relationship at that time, we ended up parting ways for unrelated reasons. Since that time, I have struggled with the fear and shame of disclosing to the point of being unable to establish any type of long term relationship. It has been isolating, lonely and I’ve been breaking my own heart. In 2016, I went to the doctor for what looked like a skin tag on my vagina. It turned out to be a wart (caused by low risk HPV). Since then, I have been working with a dermatologist to clear up any symptoms. It seems every time I think I’m “in the clear” with my HPV symptoms, something resurfaces. It’s been a crushing and brutal experience and has taken a serious toll on my self esteem and psychological well-being. There is so much conflicting information among websites and doctors alike that it’s difficult what to believe, how to view this new diagnosis and how to proceed with a new partner should that opportunity present itself - as dating has been off the table for a long time for me.


The kicker: I recently got my annual Pap smear and the PA asked if I’d like blood work. I said sure, why not. Despite being celibate for the last two years. I figured I already knew I had herpes so no big deal. My results came back that I was positive for BOTH HSV-1 and HSV-2. I was floored. I have never had any symptoms outside of my original outbreak in 2005 which was cultured and typed as type 1 when lesions were still present. My index # for HSV-1 was 54.1, my index for type 2 was 3.2 - I scoured the internet for more information to wrap my head around this and found that false positives of HSV-2 were common in individuals who already had HSV-1 and that any index value below 3.5 has up to a 90% probability of being false. I spoke with my doctor about my findings and she agreed. She stated this is true and that without symptoms, there’s no REAL way to know whether I have been exposed to type 2. So with this new, not-actually-information information, my already desperate situation has taken itself to a whole new level.


I have not even worked through the trauma of getting diagnosed 12 years ago and have all this new information to process on top of it. I am now 31, single and desperately wanting to have a relationship, get married and start a family. I feel my time is running out and don’t know how to deal with this in a way that I can make it through to the other side without denying myself all the things I know I deserve. I am an honest person to a fault but I am so incredibly fearful of the thought of ANY type of disclosure - let alone this mixed bag of bullshit - that I don’t know where to go from here. There is virtually no in person support groups locally and I do not have insurance as of the beginning of this month. I feel like I am in crisis and have no one to turn to.


Any supportive advice would be welcomed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there, I am 40 and have had this since I was about 17. I went through my 20's and half my 30's struggling with acceptance of myself and with being able to comfortably disclose. I list my major experiences and the progression of my "talk" abilities in another posting started by optimist called" successful disclosures-female to male" . I suggest you read my list of disclosure experiences, it really shows where the issue was; ME.


And the most important point I try to try home at the end of my comment is PLEASE don't waste years like I did hiding in my guilt and shame, most people accept us with this situation!


As for you dreams of marriage and family this is even more reason to heal and get comfortable with disclosing. Not gonna sugar coat it, if you're wanting a family, finding the right person who is also wanting that becomes more challenging with each passing year. At 31 you don't want to waste years wallowing in this if your goal is to have a family.


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