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Sunny720

Herpes in the Black Community

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Hello everyone, 

  A little about me I’m in my late twenties and an African American female. I was diagnosed with genital hsv1 about 10 years ago while I was a senior in high school. I was so devastated and embarrassed to learn that I had this disease, especially because of the stigma and ignorance behind it especially in my community and with black people in general. Exploring this forum makes me feel a lot better knowing that I’m not alone and it’s more common that people care to admit. I remember when I was first diagnosed, I sat in the doctors office with lord knows how many painful blisters in my vagina and all the way to my anus. I felt so bad because the doctor made it seem as though almost all black women and men had this disease and hinted towards the fact that I must’ve been promiscuous although i had been with the same guy since 9th grade. I left the doctors office with a prescription and an invisible Scarlett letter on my chest that day, I was so torn and had such low self asteem I stayed with the guy who gave it to me and we soon had a child. Fast forward to 2015 I finally broke things off but have been dealing with the fear of dating because I dread the disclosure talk as well as possibly transmitting this to someone else. I’ve read all the statistics regarding genital hsv1 and I try not to stress as much to prevent having an outbreak. The physical part of having herpes is no where near as bad as the emotional part, I think I’ve had about 7 outbreaks in 10 years and it’s always one small blister in the same spot between my vagina and anus and they usually go away within 4 Days. I recently began taking antivirals although I don’t know if it’s all that helpful with ghsv1 and because I met a new guy that I really like and if we become sexually active I would like to reduce the transmission as much as possible. I’m not sure if we’ll get to that point yet because of my fear of being rejected or telling someone and they go around telling everyone you have herpes. It’s crazy because when I try to bring up herpes with my family and friends I just get shrugs and everyone acts like I’m a leper, it baffles me how statistics shows that herpes is common in the African American community but no one will admit it and acts like it doesn’t affect them. Anyway I feel like I’m rambling lol but I just wanted to share my story and I’d love to hear from anyone who can relate or wants to share anything.

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@Sunny720

I'm black and I admit it 😁😁 

I was shocked by our numbers too.. I'm the only one I KNOW of that had the H, go figure. 

You're not alone

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Lol, yes ma'am... I'm two months old on team HSV 2, 38, - TONS of loving ( and living) to do 😊.

I don't even know what it woulda been like 10 years ago for you..I'm sorry you didn't have the support you deserved at first, but got plenty now! 

 

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That’s what I’m talking about!! I’m cheering you on. Thank you for sending good vibes and positive energy my way I appreciate it. 

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it's called denial. Unfortunately it's apparently more predominant on MEN and that's how a LOT of us got this. By guys thinking "it's just a rash". You are not alone and you being able to accept you have this and educating people about the facts will make a difference. Don't be afraid of making the right choices and telling the guy about your status. Opening up about it dignifies you and shows your true character! Good luck. 

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@Sunny720 thank you for starting this thread. I was diagnosed with HSV2 in Dec. 2017. I thought dating as a black woman before my diagnosis was difficult enough; now I feel like it's almost impossible. Can't bring myself to respond to men showing an interest because I know that I will have to disclose. In addition to fearing their reactions, I worry that they will gossip about my status to others. I can't deal with the judgment that comes along with being open about my status.

I read an article published in 2010 that said according to the CDC, 50% of black women have herpes. 50%. That number sounds ridiculous, but men don't seem go to the doctor as frequently as women and this is especially true for black men. I think a history of racial bias in the medical community, apathy, mens' tendency to go to the doctor only when something is obviously wrong, and financial barriers to healthcare are big factors. That coupled with the fact that we are the demographic that is least likely to date outside our race means we are catching hell because of it. I do not believe that black women and men are any more promiscuous than any other group. We just tend to have the worst health outcomes and the problem is compounded when you are in an insular community.

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On 8/21/2018 at 6:37 PM, Sunny720 said:

Hello everyone, 

  A little about me I’m in my late twenties and an African American female. I was diagnosed with genital hsv1 about 10 years ago while I was a senior in high school. I was so devastated and embarrassed to learn that I had this disease, especially because of the stigma and ignorance behind it especially in my community and with black people in general. Exploring this forum makes me feel a lot better knowing that I’m not alone and it’s more common that people care to admit. I remember when I was first diagnosed, I sat in the doctors office with lord knows how many painful blisters in my vagina and all the way to my anus. I felt so bad because the doctor made it seem as though almost all black women and men had this disease and hinted towards the fact that I must’ve been promiscuous although i had been with the same guy since 9th grade. I left the doctors office with a prescription and an invisible Scarlett letter on my chest that day, I was so torn and had such low self asteem I stayed with the guy who gave it to me and we soon had a child. Fast forward to 2015 I finally broke things off but have been dealing with the fear of dating because I dread the disclosure talk as well as possibly transmitting this to someone else. I’ve read all the statistics regarding genital hsv1 and I try not to stress as much to prevent having an outbreak. The physical part of having herpes is no where near as bad as the emotional part, I think I’ve had about 7 outbreaks in 10 years and it’s always one small blister in the same spot between my vagina and anus and they usually go away within 4 Days. I recently began taking antivirals although I don’t know if it’s all that helpful with ghsv1 and because I met a new guy that I really like and if we become sexually active I would like to reduce the transmission as much as possible. I’m not sure if we’ll get to that point yet because of my fear of being rejected or telling someone and they go around telling everyone you have herpes. It’s crazy because when I try to bring up herpes with my family and friends I just get shrugs and everyone acts like I’m a leper, it baffles me how statistics shows that herpes is common in the African American community but no one will admit it and acts like it doesn’t affect them. Anyway I feel like I’m rambling lol but I just wanted to share my story and I’d love to hear from anyone who can relate or wants to share anything.

Thanks for sharing this I'm also a black women. 

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Hello! I am new to this forum and have been reading though many of the threads which have been so very helpful!! This particular thread definitely caught my eye because it speaks to me directly. I was recently diagnosed but it is not a new transmission as I have not been with anyone in a year and suddenly had an outbreak. I'm still at a loss and have no idea how to move forward. To your point, this diagnosis holds one of the BIGGEST stigmas on our community that it makes me want to just crawl into a shell forever.

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On 1/15/2019 at 5:29 PM, Whymewhynow said:

Hello! I am new to this forum and have been reading though many of the threads which have been so very helpful!! This particular thread definitely caught my eye because it speaks to me directly. I was recently diagnosed but it is not a new transmission as I have not been with anyone in a year and suddenly had an outbreak. I'm still at a loss and have no idea how to move forward. To your point, this diagnosis holds one of the BIGGEST stigmas on our community that it makes me want to just crawl into a shell forever.

Girllllll tell me about it I can just cry😢

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So glad I found this thread.. So I've known for a few months and I was just getting over the hump when my child's father found out. I'm almost certain a relative of. His who works at my doctors office told him. Now I'm ashamed and embarrassed all over again. The crazy part is I know he hasn't been tested for it and has no idea how likely it is that he has it or how it's even transmitted. Because of the stigma I feel so dirty and unworthy even though I know that it's really just one of those things. 

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Have any of you ladies had any positive experiences disclosing or found ways to work through this? I am a 38 year old single mother with 2 kids. I am currently not dating which is giving me time to cope with this myself before I could ever even think about disclosing this to anyone. I feel like the men in my age group might be the worst at accepting my situation.

@Newme I am so sorry to hear about how this was involuntarily disclosed without your consent. That is a such a huge violation. 

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@Whymewhynow every disclosure I've had has been positive, or at least what was expected.  I told my friends, my mom & sister, and both guys I hooked up with, one of which I'm still dating.  I had a hard time at first with the diagnosis for about two weeks before I said fuck it, and moved on.  I just really didn't have time to focus on this as  being a primary derailer to my life.  I was starting graduate school, recently received a promotion at work - I was feeling good.  How as I gonna let this virus - unbeknownst to me - make me feel less than?  I decided it wasn't.  Now, I haven't gone around yelling from the streets I'm team GSHV-2, but the more people I tell, the less a big deal it really is.  The more you accept it as part of yourself, the less a controlling factor it becomes and just a part of you..a part..not your whole.  I have a post about my disclosure stories if u want more details.

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34 minutes ago, SeraLyn said:

@Whymewhynow every disclosure I've had has been positive, or at least what was expected.  I told my friends, my mom & sister, and both guys I hooked up with, one of which I'm still dating.  I had a hard time at first with the diagnosis for about two weeks before I said fuck it, and moved on.  I just really didn't have time to focus on this as  being a primary derailer to my life.  I was starting graduate school, recently received a promotion at work - I was feeling good.  How as I gonna let this virus - unbeknownst to me - make me feel less than?  I decided it wasn't.  Now, I haven't gone around yelling from the streets I'm team GSHV-2, but the more people I tell, the less a big deal it really is.  The more you accept it as part of yourself, the less a controlling factor it becomes and just a part of you..a part..not your whole.  I have a post about my disclosure stories if u want more details.

You my dear are brave🙂

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Hello, I just wanted to add to the forum. I am a single black 26 year old female who was just diagnosed about a month ago with genital herpes. I have been doing so much research and am so glad to have found this thread with other black women. I am doing fine, for the most part, aside from slightly obsessively reading and researching but I hope to help bring support and encouraging words to this space. My biggest goal is to continue holding firmly on to the Love I have for myself and understanding that this does not make me any less of who I was/am. I look forward to staying in touch with, and hopefully working to help uplift, all in this thread. ❤️

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Can I ask about childbirth with herpes? I was diagnosed a week ago with genital HSV-1 and the one thing I keep thinking about is how they say having a baby can cause herpes to get in the babies eyes or mouth. Is it true that you HAVE to have a C-section if you have genital herpes? Knowing I have this disease forever has been hard enough, let alone thinking about it affecting me having kids. Btw this forum is great isn’t it... really helps us not feel alone.

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38 minutes ago, eastcoastgirl said:

Can I ask about childbirth with herpes? 

From what I've read, herpes is only an issue if you are having an active outbreak during childbirth or have a lot of outbreaks during pregnancy. If there is no sign of an outbreak, you can deliver vaginally. Just make sure you tell your doctor about the HSV so they can monitor you throughout the pregnancy. 

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I’m a 3O year old black female recently diagnosed. I’ve only been with one man in the past six years. Thankfully, he tested negative. He no longer wants to continue a sexual relationship, but he says he wants to be there for me. We’ve been friends for 15 years. I guess this is the first rejection. If a person who knows me better than anyone doesn’t it accept it, how can I expect a person who doesn’t know me at all to accept it. The African American community isn’t accepting. I don’t have the will to do anything. I can barely make it to work. I have crazy headaches at the end of the day from pretending to be ok throughout the day. I immediately come home and go to bed. I dread talking to my friends bc they are only going to ask about my dating life and I don’t know what to say. I honestly and truly wish I were dead. 

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1 hour ago, Lstgryl said:

I’m a 3O year old black female recently diagnosed. I’ve only been with one man in the past six years. Thankfully, he tested negative. He no longer wants to continue a sexual relationship, but he says he wants to be there for me. We’ve been friends for 15 years. I guess this is the first rejection. If a person who knows me better than anyone doesn’t it accept it, how can I expect a person who doesn’t know me at all to accept it. The African American community isn’t accepting. I don’t have the will to do anything. I can barely make it to work. I have crazy headaches at the end of the day from pretending to be ok throughout the day. I immediately come home and go to bed. I dread talking to my friends bc they are only going to ask about my dating life and I don’t know what to say. I honestly and truly wish I were dead. 

I wish you did not have to go through what you are currently experiencing emotionally. I myself struggled in the beginning days/weeks and still struggle a bit emotionally, but I think it’s now mainly due to the fact that I am experiencing a change I wasn’t expecting. 

I can’t speak on your partner’s decisions, but I can say that my biggest goal at least as I go through this first year is self-acceptance. I believe that if you can get to a place of accepting yourself, of understanding that this is a relatively benign and extremely common condition that does not negatively impact your physical health, then how you discuss it with others—should you choose—will not be from a place of shame or sadness. It is going to be a journey, I’ve accepted that and I’m grateful for spaces like this that exist where we can lift each other up and share knowledge. 

Please know that you are a valuable human being worthy of love and kindness and respect. If the social stigma and lack of education around this condition were not what they are I truly believe we’d all be in a better place. 

Feel all your emotions, but know that there is no need to be ashamed or feel unworthy. I am sending you many prayers and uplifting energy. Though I’m only a month in, I know things will get better. ❤️ 

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1 hour ago, Lstgryl said:

I’m a 3O year old black female recently diagnosed. I’ve only been with one man in the past six years. Thankfully, he tested negative. He no longer wants to continue a sexual relationship, but he says he wants to be there for me. We’ve been friends for 15 years. I guess this is the first rejection. If a person who knows me better than anyone doesn’t it accept it, how can I expect a person who doesn’t know me at all to accept it. The African American community isn’t accepting. I don’t have the will to do anything. I can barely make it to work. I have crazy headaches at the end of the day from pretending to be ok throughout the day. I immediately come home and go to bed. I dread talking to my friends bc they are only going to ask about my dating life and I don’t know what to say. I honestly and truly wish I were dead. 

It's going to be ok... I feel the same way but you know what everyday I wake up I thank God for a new day... I never know now I'm go ma feel until I wake up... Suicidal thoughts, brain fog but quest what? I'm here.... Hope's this makes you feel a little better

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God knew exactly what we all needed in this time, to not feel alone and isolated. I am so thankful for everything you ladies are sharing because until you have gotten to the place of acceptance as @PhoenixRising_009 and @Star28 mentioned it is definitely a daily struggle. Also, thank you for the reference, I will check Belize Spivey out today.

@SeraLyn if you wouldn't mind sharing your post on your disclosures, I'm sure that a few of us on here will find it helpful.

@Lstgryl please know that I feel your pain, but it has to get better. There is a ying and yang to everything in life. For every guy that is not willing to accept our journey there is one that will. I have to believe that because otherwise I just don't know.

I am looking into going to talk to a therapist to try and work through this. I personally feel like I need all of the support that makes me comfortable at this point. I have not shared this with anyone yet so I just need to maybe say it out loud to someone at least once. I'm just not ready to do that with anyone that knows me personally.

My struggle is a little daunting. I was diagnosed with HSV1 & 2 but the HSV1 is what is giving me the blues physically. I have what feels like a never-ending outbreak around my mouth that is going to drive me to a mental asylum.

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