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How is this fair? I'm just a girl with herpes. I'm only 19.

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As I think about my life so far (only being 19 1/2) and the experiences I've had, all the events leading up to this moment, I ask myself the typical question "why me?," I feel ashamed. A deep soul shattering shame that I never thought I would ever experience in my life. And it's not like I gave myself herpes, but I very well could have taken better steps of preventing it. I know the point is I can't blame myself.


But I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and it destroys me as a person to think that getting herpes is the thing that finally got me thinking, got my to reevaluate and focus. I have a lot "what now's" going on in my head. I'm too young and inexperienced with relationships to ever have a chance, well anytime soon to have any kind of relationship. I hate being lonely, and it be one of the reasons I'm in this situation to begin with, getting in relationships just because I'm lonely.


I will never be able to tell any family members that I have herpes, for I will surely be marked with WHORE and not allowed to touch any of my nephews or niece for fear of giving them it too. I have oral and genital. They will definitely never care to know the facts... herpes is sexually transmitted, sex before marriage is bad and therefore I am bad.


I just keep having this image of my 14 year old self (the age of my first kiss) with my big, brown, wounded eyes looking at who I've become. And that song "it was only a kiss how did it end up like this..." replaying in my head making me feel so ashamed and wishing I go back and make so many changes. In only 5 1/2 years I've managed to fuck up any chances of having a normal relationship with any guy. A normal life, of all the stigmas I face everyday now I have another one. Just add it to the pile.


When I told "the guy" today about the situation he was in total denial that it could have been him because he hasn't been with that many woman, but I told him I broke out the day after we had sex and I went over every detail of what happened, he still insist I gave it to him, but I have always gotten tested regularly, and know without a shadow of a doubt it was him. When he left he gave me a hug and said, "You're right though. I would feel like my life is over too if I had herpes."


Well that's the end of my rant I hope someone has some comfort and advice.

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Hi. My name is Ed. Reading your post brought me back to when I had my first outbreak. I've been there. I didn't really care if anyone thought I was dirty, because I knew I was dirty when I got herpes. I had my first outbreak after being in a "normal" relationship for a year and a half. She had never had an outbreak. She still denies that she could have given it to me. Besides that, she's scared of needles and refuses to get tested. She is now my ex. I wonder how many other guys might end up with the same gift I got, after being with her.


I had to learn to accept it. The thing that helped me the most to accepting it was to google the steps of grieving and basically learn how to properly grieve for the part of myself I had felt I lost. Once I came to accept this, I went on to find a social/support group in my area. After finding a bunch of closed doors and realizing that there still had not been any support groups in my area since hurricane Katrina, me and a few people went out and started our own support group.


It was the first time in my life that I realized that there is an entire community of "normal" people living with herpes. People like you and me, out there just hoping to find that special someone. To find acceptance for what society has deemed a filthy mans disease. Finding my group helped me so much. I am kinda happy and proud at this point.


My advice besides what I mentioned above: Don't forget who you are. Don't become herpes. You will always be that person you were before that first outbreak. You're just smarter and wiser. Don't give up on yourself because you think no one will ever love you. Continue to work on yourself and continue to grow as a person. Herpes is not a part of you, it's just a skin condition that some people just don't understand because they are uneducated about it.



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Thanks for all your advice,

I've had a few more days to think and now that my outbreak has gone away I feel a lot better. I feel a lot less dirty now that its gone and things at least appear normal. I'm talking to a counselor who has a lot of experience with people with herpes. My best friend keeps telling me how brave and strong I am and I'm feeling more positive. I feel like this may be my opportunity to be a different person. There is so sexual side to me anymore...that's not an option for me right now, there's no more dating. That frees up at of my time. I can be whatever I want. Even though it's only been a few weeks it's like a light switch... I never thought something like this would happen, and I never realized how much it would change me.

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Oh honey you aren't dirty..but I know that feeling too. And I felt the same with my first outbreak (it lasted, or I had back to back, for 5 months!!!). When H is not showing symptoms you just get on with life and yes...if you aren't dating (me neither) there is so much time to do other stuff, get creative, get fit, meet friends - and not have any emotional drama.


Big things like this do change us, it changed me and its not the first biggy i have had to deal with. You learn more each time and I think it gets easier because you learn that everything passes...an outbreak, feeling dirty, being angry, feeling sad...you think they won't but they do.


I have just had another ob - first in 3 months, well I think it was one and treated it as if it was. But how cool...all the others I KNEW becasue the symptoms were so intrusive. This was an itch, a spot and thats about it. I feel totally differently about it, no big deal and am over it in a couple of days.


You will feel good about your sexuality again...it takes time. I have a lover from the past I get to be intimate with sometimes and he has been wonderful, totally accepting me and helping me feel good about my body again. I dont' date at the moment- having a break from the emotional rollercoaster of it. I quite like it - having a great social life and have got out there and make new friends.


Meelygirl and Emandrk...you both sound awesome and it was really good reading your experiences - I can totally relate :-)

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melly, maybe we can connect as buddies through this site and talk one on one. I am 20, got type one but genital herpes when i was 19 and a half... (so just a year ago) we are same age, same kind of story. my giver refuses that it was him and my gyno told me it was 99% him that gave it to me (thru oral sex most likely) and i am still angry and shameful to this day. Today is the one year anniversary of when i found out i was positive. It is extremely hard and it does get easier on certain days, and then certain days it so hard because no one understands. its not something you can talk about with people to really gain support or understanding because our society shuns out people with stds, and doesnt want to talk about it publicly. I know what you are going through and you are not alone. i feel alone too, i have always been a relationship oriented person and have been living in denial this year because i have been giving in to casual flings. I know i cannot have those because i am always trying to protect the other person without disclosing but i am not fully protection myself from getting another std. i feel like what could be worse now, so who cares i can still date. but i am realizing no, i can't. it is not that easy and i can't be in denial of doing what i used to do. my life is different now it has changed and i can see it for the better and focus on myself but i know it is hard when all my friends have boyfriends but me and deep down i know that mine can (seemingly) be more sucept to being ruined. but i know that is not true also. and we need to stay strong. we can get through this if we just keep moving forward and remembering who we were before we got herpes. because we are still that person and each day we have the opportunity to learn lessons and improve ourselves. lets focus on what we CAN change about ourselves because unfortunately there is no cure for herpes yet. BUT, we need to see that there is positive out of this and maybe when we are older we will see it. it is not how many people we sleep with or give oral to, its THE PEOPLE WE CHOOSE, and WE WERE UNLUCKY.

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Lelani, oh my I feel so lucky my outbreak was about a week.


I am hoping that I met new people out of this situation, people that understand and well I guess I am starting too.

And as far as dating goes, the guys that were interested in me are taking my rejection of them kinda hard. but when I say its not you its me, I realllly mean its me.

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inspired32 I would like to talk too,

I didn't think about it as how many I've slept with, just the wrong guy. Because that's all it takes is one guy. I'm trying not to feel shameful, but in a lot of ways I don't wanna be the person I was before and maybe that's part of the reason this is happening to me, so I will wake up and be a better person. I don't wanna become herpes. But I don't want to be like so many of the other females my age in the town I live in. I know this is only the beginning but hopefully this situation helps me protect me heart and I don't end up with a total douche bag ever again. I don't think douche bags sleep with girls with herpes, only loving, understanding guys right? Hopefully anyways...

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OMG melly girl that line is so true - i have used it myself - it's not you it's me...and it really is! I did have giggle about that. Funny thing is I have been with a guy who is HSV2 positive too - I disclosed first and was soooo releived when he said he had it too - but I was doing the it's not you it's me thing with him. The I had an ex lover come back into my life and had to tell him the same...and he totally accpeted me and made me feel beautiful again.


We have all just been unlucky..only takes one person with herpes to get it no matter how many you have had sex with. And sometimes we are celebate, or in a commited relationship or just a bit slutty...it's all normal and I have caught both my STI's (HPV and HSV2) from committed realtionships - one a from a cheater and the other a responsible choice. My short time of trying out sluttyness I didn't catch anything!


As for telling..I always tell and give them an out - they are't rejecting me, just the STI's and I can understand that. I am always prepared to just be friends...was hard at first, but now I have some amazing close friendships with guys and it was because i have said I need that. And yes, herpes is a great way to get rid of douche bag guys!!!


Just over an outbreak that wasn't too bad, not feeling very sexy but that's ok - back into training (lifting weights) and creating art and feeling very productive. I look at my outbreaks as a time to get very nicely selfish now ;-).


Let go fo the shame and do things that make you a better you, and ditch the douche bags ;-)

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You sound so much like me when I first got herpes. I am 19 aswell and I thought I was the unluckiest girl in the world. I know its crazy at the beginning. Your world changes, your thoughts about people change, and you yourself change, ALOT!


I felt every feeling in the world in the first few months. Depression, loneliness, shame, anger and happiness even! But that has all changed over time.


I educated myself very well. I spend a lot of time reading everything about herpes. I just thought it was another STD, but its really not. It's here for life, so it changes your life and theres no denying that. You have to face facts as soon as you can. The sooner you face it and start believing it wont mess with you or your life, the quicker you feel loads better.


You are not DIRT! It literally is just bad luck. People always stereo-type people with herpes as people that sleep around, you don't catch it from having loads of sex though do you? You catch it from 1 person. This is why I have never ever told anybody about it. After all this time I am still keeping it a secret! Because I know how people would react as they are all so narrow minded and judgmental.


The only problem I have after all this time of having herpes is being single and having NO sex at all. This was my choice, some people sleep around still and risk giving it to others, but I certainly don't want a phone call from a guy asking if I have give him herpes! Some people are already in relationships with understanding guys (lucky them!) and some people are like me and stay alone.


Only because I know I cannot tell anybody. People say that guys will understand if they love you, but seriously, where I'm from, people dont understand shit. I'll get branded a slag and every other name under the sun. So I have chosen to concentrate on me as its the only choice I have, keep my head up & carry on as normal, just without sex and guys. Really Isn't a big loss if you are like me and think they're a waste of time anyway! Ha! Of course I have my down days, I get lonely and when I get asked out by boys I have to refuse, but I will never let this get too me. I think it was given too me for a reason and that sounds rather cringey! But I really do, shame it was herpes that made me realise a lot of things but it helps you see the world in a better view sometimes :-) you realise there is lots more to life than sex and relationships.


Just thought I'd share my views as we are the same age and I have a little more information for you and what may come ahead, but I know one thing. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. x

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm 19 as well and when I got it from personwhoshallnotbenamed, I was so angry and devastated. But I've been lucky not to have any outbreak since then (fingers crossed!) and I live my life as normal!


There really is such a bad association with herpes, when tbh it could be so much worse. For a start, out of all the STDs, it's really one of the least damaging! It doesn't affect fertility and it can be controlled, it's just controlling your feelings about it. It isn't your fault that you got it, but it's something that we all have to deal with here! I don't think it means you can never have a relationship or sleep with someone again, I think it just means using protection and taking things more slowly so you can build up a connection of trust there.


I'm sure we all get our ups and downs, but there really is so much worse out there! HSV1 and HSV2 are both Herpes, yet for some reason if someone got a coldsore from oral sex... they don't have any predjudice thrown at them? Seems stupid. Stay positive in your way of thinking and you'll start to feel better, hopefully you have someone to talk to because it makes it so much easier. I didn't tell my family but I have quite a few good friends I can trust :)


Lots of love! xxxx

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  • 4 months later...

Hey guys I'm 21 and got (h) about 5 months ago from an asymptomatic guy. I'm in no way promiscuous and I REALLY cared about this person who'd gotten tested before that year for STD'S but, of course, HSV1 and 2 are not included in most STD tests. It was REALLY bad luck and I'm pretty sure it was during a week that he was pretty sick, with a fever, and we still had sex....and I'm pretty sure once it was unprotected. With such a lowered immunie system, viral shedding is a LOT more common. So just avoid sex if you're feeling under the weather too! the 2 OB's i've gotten have been around my period, so from here on out I plan to avoid sex the days leading to my period in case I have padrome symptoms (50% of viral shedding occurs during padrome). You can totally be safe and have this, especially if you have condoms! With my precautions, in a year of regular sex, there's only a 1% chance (probably much less since I'm taking so many immune system boosting supplements and since my body responds so well to acyclovir) of passing it to a partner with a condom.


I hate the fact that it's labeled as a "disease" because disease has a very negative connotation of being related to being "unhealthy" and "sick".....Uh. Well: because of this, I eat a lot less chocolate, nuts, and fats, I take lysine, olive leaf extract, and my multivitamin EVERYDAY. I try to excercise more too! And besides the outbreaks I had before I started on suppressive therapy (haven't had one since) I am very effing healthy, thank you very much lol. Herpes doesn't do anything to you besides cause a skin condition every once in a while. Imagine if acne was contagious? People in this superficial as hell society would freak the f out too!


Some things to consider are: 25% of women have this in the US and a bit less than 20% of men.

With medicine and condoms you have 1% chance or less of passing it to a man if you're a woman and 2% if you're a man to pass it to a woman.

It's the same virus as the cold sore virus, just with a different host region.

Acyclovir has shown to reduce viral shedding days from 10-20% to a bit over 2% in a year.

The stigma of herpes is only this strong in VERY FEW countries...I think the US, NZ, and Australia, and parts of the UK are some of the FEW. In Latin America, Asia, and many parts of Europe (Italy, Sweden, Spain) this is NOT A BIG DEAL if you avoid sex during outbreaks!! We're just int he wrong fucking country lol.


But that doesn't mean that every person is gonna be a douche about it in the US. I'm gonna disclose TODAY to my boyfriend and am pretty confident that he's gonna take it well. I've disclosed to myself, practiced disclosing to him, and am so certain that he's one of the best people I've met in my LIFE that he will take this as me being vulnerable and completely transparent. Of course, I could be totally off; but when you decide that you're ready to be vulnerable with someone, and you find the right person, you will feel comfortable about telling them too! I'm not telling him to come to terms with it myself, I"m telling him because I see him as someone I can be completely honest with and that I want a serious relationship with and feel that he will see me as more than this condition and know that the risks are so small that it's worth it. You have more chances of getting a car crash (or even get riskier things like HPV) than to get this with all the information and precautions we have available because we KNOW we have it!


Whatever C (my guy) says, I'm still gonna wait till at least November to have sex since it'll be a few weeks over the 6 month mark when the viral shedding rates are higher. But even WORST case scenario...if he says no: he's not my KEY to happiness. If it were only that easy! And if you talk to the people that take this condition WELL: they have a MUCH HIGHER (if not 100%) SUCCESS RATE with disclosing and getting into wonderful relationships! I think the formula is:


1. Accept you have it and GET OVER IT. There are much worse things that could happen to you. You could be schizophrenic, you could be a vegetable, you could be missing 3/4 limbs, you could have AIDS or HIV, you could have terminal cancer. Get over yourself! This isn't that freaking awful!

2. Realize how many times society has been wrong in this country (african americans, communits, gays) and realize that this is just one more of those times. Fuck society! You're never gonna be happy if you're trying to fit into it's every mold!

3. SMILE AGAIN. And know that your friends won't leave you for this, it wont affect your chance of employment, it wont affect your chance of being healthy (in ANY WAY), you're gonna have amazing beautiful children, and with someone that was fucking cool enough to ALSO say "fuck society. I want you. Period."

4. Think back to how you got this and imagine -- just from physical symptoms and society aside --- if you thought this was the person you could see yourself with for the next 50 years: would you take the risk? I say: fuck yes. I choose love over herpes. Any day. And I'm not an asshole.

5. Realize that YOUR CHANCES OF FINDING THE ONE are lessened SEVERELY if 1) you don't do steps 1-4, and 5, you don't allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to share this with someone that might take it as a chance to be every bit as transparent, and vulnerable as you and respect you for your integrity and strength. Also realize that sex is an ADDED BONUS to a relationship and when you disclose you shouldn't make it sound like an ultimatum of "you have to have sex with herpes or we're done"...but rather "I wanna be with you, and sex is an option that can be put off as long was we want it to."


These are all the thoughts have have been going through my head as I prepare for today....and I'm ready to disclose to my man and ready to prove society wrong that EVERYONE has this stigma. Updates to come. ;) pm me if you wanna chat more!

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Great post Smiles, thanks. Just be aware condoms do not protect, I got it for sure from someone I used a condom with. It does have the advantage of never having had it internally; still I would use condoms even with a man who had it as I don't want it internally. So while the 1% is true (thank God!), it's important not to perpetuate the myth that condoms protect us from all STDs.

Love your positivity and capacity to put things in a new perspective.

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Jeeze, sounds like that guy was a real catch. I'm sorry your family isn't supportive. I'm really young too and I know how you feel, like your life is over before you even got a chance. But I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful that this might make things different but not worse. This awful feeling of self-loathing can't hang around forever, we can't let it!

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  • 1 year later...

Hello, I have herpes and I feel like you are making a WAY bigger deal about it than it really is. Herpes just has that nasty stigma attached to it. Herpes has made me a better person and is a good thing in my life. You all are putting way, way, WAY too much depression on yourselves for no reason. So long as your honest with a potential partner before your intimate, you are fine. I have not been rejected for herpes yet and I've had the talk. However, I am sure there is going to be a time when I do get rejected. Please don't misunderstand, I am not out there sleeping around. Herpes has made me completely stop all that. I am just in the process of meeting Mr. Right is all I'm saying. You have to take care of yourself and I KNOW that it's hard when you are young, but come on guys, lighten up and stop being so depressed. Remember, 1 in 4 people have herpes. So if you have 1,000 people on your friends list, 400 of them have herpes for sure. Just don't tell anyone you have it , especially friends or family if they are just going to judge you. What's the point of telling them anyway? It's not going to change anything. Chin up and stop beating yourself up. No reason for all that.

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