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Sunny720

Herpes in the Black Community

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Hello H-Fam!!

It's been a hot minute since I posted and was thinking of you all 💖💖

It'll be a year next month since I was first diagnosed HSV2+ and it's been an amazing year!  I haven't had an OB since August or September, dating a wonderful man and finished my first year of grade school with a 3.6 cumulative GPA - woot woot.

I hope for the newly diagnosis, this can bring you a ray of hope and inspiration that life truly does go on post diagnosis. I honestly thought the tag line, "it's not a deal breaker, it's an opportunity" was cheesy AF at first, however, I can honestly say now...I get it. 

I'm sure if you haven't already, one day, you will too 🤗🤗

For the veterans - keep on pushing and showing us younglings how to thrive (yes thrive, screw just surviving).  

Sending you all love and energy!!

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Good evening , I just wanted to say I just recently received a diagnosis of HSV-2 and have been utterly devastated ever since . Coming across this forum has been a major sigh of relief. I aspire to be as brave as you all in the future. Right now I’m just in a really low place of disbelief and shock . 

I was wondering if insurance covers these antiviral prescriptions and/or if you don’t mind answering, how much are these prescriptions monthly ? 

Thank you all for your help. 

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23 minutes ago, Teach28 said:

Good evening , I just wanted to say I just recently received a diagnosis of HSV-2 and have been utterly devastated ever since . Coming across this forum has been a major sigh of relief. I aspire to be as brave as you all in the future. Right now I’m just in a really low place of disbelief and shock . 

I was wondering if insurance covers these antiviral prescriptions and/or if you don’t mind answering, how much are these prescriptions monthly ? 

Thank you all for your help. 

My insurance covers my medications. I only take valtrex during outbreaks. I pay about $12 for a week supply. 

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On 1/30/2019 at 9:45 AM, StacyG said:

Does anyone live in Atlanta? I would love to meet other people who can help be through the stage of acceptance.

I know this is late but I’m in Atlanta! 

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Good afternoon all,

I recently posted this in an individual thread but came across this one and decided to post it here as well in hopes of gaining some clarity and advice on the situation:

First I’d like to echo the sentiment of what many other people have had to say about this website. It’s literally a God send. Reading everyone’s experiences has helped me a lot but I don’t think I’ve come across a topic that speaks directly to my situation so here goes something.

I’m a black male in my early thirties. Me and my current girlfriend have been together for a little over a year now. We met in grad school and started dating shortly thereafter in October of last year. Prior to getting with her, I’d done my share of sleeping around in my twenties but got tired of “playing the game” and with other people’s emotions. I cheated on my exes, and was quite frankly a shitty boyfriend even when I wasn’t. It felt like I would leave a trail of broken hearts anywhere I’d go. I don’t know if it is my girlfriend, or growth/ maturity as a person but I didn’t want that for her. I didn’t want that for us. So I made a conscious decision to make a change. So I did. And it’s been great...until early January of this year.

In January, I noticed what appeared to be a small bump that grew to be a small cut on the shaft of my penis near the head. Initially, I didn’t pay it much attention because it wasn’t causing me any discomfort and just looked bad. After a week or too, the cut healed and I went about my business as usual. Around the end of March/beginning of April of this year, I noticed the same area of my penis began getting irritated again. This time was different though: it was taking more time for the area to heal and was also accompanied by another “bump” near the other one. I began to worry. Around this same time, my girlfriend complained of a yeast infection that she went and got checked out. Knowing that it was rare, but possible for men to get yeast infections too, I decided to go to the doctor. I also attributed it to rough sex. The doc did a physical examination and said four words I’ll never forget: “it looks like herpes.” My heart dropped. I was shocked, confused, and sad. How did this happen? When did this happen? Why now, of all times and when I’m finally “doing things right” does this happen? I’d been regularly tested in the past and always received a clean bill of health. The doctor did the swab test and sent them to the lab for analysis. 

I had to figure out how I was going to tell the woman I love, of my dreams, I have herpes. I still held out hope that I didn’t. I anxiously awaited the results of that test. It felt like the longest two days ever. However, over the course of those two horrible days, I somehow reconciled within myself that I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my girlfriend of my potential diagnosis. I irrationally assured myself that by not knowing if I had hsv was for the best and would allow me to stay with the love of my life. So I made the selfish decision of willful ignorance.

Prior to leaving the doctor’s office, I was prescribed 10 day antivirals and a topical ointment. I used both (the ointment sparingly) and haven’t had any major issues since April. I lied and told my girlfriend I went to the doctor and was told I had a yeast infection too so we didn’t have sex for about a week or so. Other than that, we continued to have sex on a regular basis.

About two weeks ago, my girlfriend complained of not wanting to be intimate (highly unusual for her). I asked if everything was ok and she lost it. She told me she had herpes. Everything came full circle. I had those same feelings of shock, confusion and sadness all over again. I asked a lot of questions. She told me she got it in undergrad and has been living with it for several years now. She’s only had one outbreak (this being the second) since we’ve been together and I wasn’t aware of the first one because she went and visited her family for the holidays. She’s only disclosed to two other partners besides me: the guy she was dealing with and an old ex. Other than that she said she didn’t feel the need to disclose to other sexual partners or curtail her sexual exploits because she’d be sure not to be sexually active when she was experiencing an outbreak. To her knowledge, she’s never given hsv to anyone.

 I told her I’m “pretty sure” she gave it to me and understood the fine line between wanting to protect your sexual autonomy and disclosing. I also told her I wanna work through this.

Here’s where several conflicts arise. I know EXACTLY how she feels in terms of not wanting to disclose. I literally did the same thing and (at the time) put her health at risk for selfish reasons. I also don’t know if I’m more willing to work through this because I feel genuinely stuck or I truly feel like she’s the one for me. If we’re not supposed to be together, I don’t know how/what my dating life would look like. I think I took more of an issue with her causal dating style after her diagnosis than the actual diagnosis itself. I don’t think I’d be able to do that and it honestly made me view her in a different light. I’ve been asking myself is this my penance for my past transgressions? Do I tell her what really happened at my doctor’s appointment? Does it even matter at this point? I also feel like a hypocrite even being upset in the slightest about all of this, but I feel like I should be more mad at her...but I’m not. I still love her. I guess I’m just, conflicted. 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  

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@Moving4ward first off, welcome to the thread.  I hope you can find the support you need to work through your initial diagnosis.  

love and anger are not mutually exclusive.  Couples get angry at their partners all the time and still love them.  Personally, I would tell the truth about the doctor's office.  If you really feel that this is love of your life, go to counseling and work through the dishonesty and why you each felt the need to put the other person knowingly at risk.   From what you said, those sound like to the two main things you're concerned about.   You were both irresponsible and dishonest to each other about your status and that's a difficult road to come from regardless, of what truth was hidden, on your own.  You could of easily been carrying the virus for years and never had outbreaks.  She may not have been the source. 

It's feels sketchy you're feelings would flip so quickly about someone you say is the love of your life.  If she such , none of her past, or yours, would matter.   We've all done shit in our past - that's what the past is for.  Maybe your own guilt ?  Maybe unconscious biases regarding the stigma creeping in?  

I would also take the opportunity to have real, honest, open, dialogue with each other.  This is an opportunity to come together...or be pulled apart...it's all about how you address it.  Be honest. Be open. Be vulnerable.  

Best of luck.

 

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@SeraLyn thank you for your response. I appreciate you taking the time to hear me out. I’d agree that the dishonesty is probably my biggest concern. However, again, I feel hypocritical even bringing that up given the circumstances. I know it’s a conversation we’ll have to have if we want this to work in addition to seeing the help and advice of a professional. I’ve also considered the virus may have been dormant and she may not be the source as well... I’m not sure I would characterize my feelings as flipping per se, but they’re definitely mixed when it comes to her past. I understand everyone has a past and I love her regardless of hers, unconditionally. I think my mixed feelings are better defined as more empathetic towards past partners of hers who had no idea of what they were being exposed to and her almost flippant attitude about it...idk maybe it was her delivery but it just left a bad taste in my mouth. But again, it’s easy to play the “well if it were me I would ___” game. It’s a completely different story when you’re actually confronted with a real-world situation with real stakes so I get it, I just don’t necessarily agree with it. 

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@Moving4ward I think @SeraLyn made some very valid points, so I don't want to repeat. In regards to judging someone's past behavior, I've had the virus for 7 months now and when I first contracted it I had all these ideas about what could and couldn't happen, what people should and should not do, but then you begin to actually live with it, meet others who live with it, etc. and ideas change. Just because your partner had other sexual partners before, however casual, does not mean they were putting these individuals at risk. I do believe that to not disclose before sex without a barrier method is wrong (but that doesn't mean I'm for not disclosing if you do use a barrier method. I'm saying non-disclosure exists, sex is risky, and social stigma is like the number 1 reason people never say anything--the way we treat sex/sexual health in western culture needs to change--but I'll get off my soap box now).

I think right now, because it is so new and you are dealing with a lot of emotions, it's very easy to look at this person/their actions differently--I'm willing to go far enough that this could even be challenging whatever latent ideas you have regarding women's sexuality in terms of them being your "partner" or "love of your life," please don't take that as any sort of jab, I just know how men can get in regards to women and their sexuality, so it may be worth taking sometime with yourself, or a professional, to work through your own individual thoughts/feelings. The main thing I think worth investigating is why you were unwilling to know the results, even if the doctor said it looked like herpes, what if it was worse (because, truly, after living with this for the while it's like on the lowest of worst things you could have, from a medical standpoint, I will not deny that it can't be frustrating when you're going through an OB depending on symptoms.) 

And because the virus is so common, because you don't know where it came from, because you both were complicit with withholding information from one another, I do think that a conversation is worth having--if you want to stay together. I think there is a lot the two of you can learn from one another. I know a lot of people who think that as long as you don't have sex during an OB you're protecting your partner, we don't know what her education is around the virus, what her views are regarding it--I mean no one talks about it, health professionals just tell you to wear a condom, etc. So there's a lot of factors that may have shaped her ideas around it and how to live with it/protect herself from spreading it. 

I contracted it while in a relationship and my partner was not aware that they had it (it's very easy to mistake it for something else depending on your symptoms and testing for it is difficult at least where I live because they won't test you unless there's a lesion to swab). We are no longer together, but it isn't because of that. We were very supportive of one another, we went and got tested for everything you could get tested for, and the experience really brought us closer--we still have a lot of love for each other (I wish we never broke up tbh, but that's irrelevant). I'm saying all of that to say, it's not a life-threatening disease, you two will continue to live healthy lives with the virus and I think once you take time to process your emotions you will definitely understand that stigma plays a big role in disclosure (look at how you both responded to your statuses). If this is someone you want to be with, I agree, again, with @SeraLyn open, honest, judgement free, dialogue is worth having. 

I wish you both all of the best. 

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Thanks @PhoenixRising_009. I agree that opinions change over time as you gather facts and become more knowledgeable about things, particularly something as stigmatizing as hsv and ESPECIALLY in the black community. And you're right. I think a part of the challenges do come from my male worldview (a bias I'm actively working on checking by unlearning bad habits and behaviors). I keep asking myself if I would feel the same way if roles were reversed and that's when the "what if" game starts up in my head...I think I didn't want to know out of pure selfishness and fear. Prior to any of this, I had resolved in my mind that this is the woman I want to spend my life with and I wasn't sure if that sentiment would be returned if my results came back positive. I didn't bet on myself. I didn't bet on us...at that point in time, herpes was the worst possible outcome, "the one you can't get rid of." And again, even in the infancy of my walk and life living with hsv, I now know better, but hindsight, right?

I realize now that the conversation is not only definitely worth having, but pretty much mandated at this point. I didn't consider how much she does (or doesn't) know about the virus could've factored in to how she lives with the virus. It's my hope that we can both grow and become more knowledgeable about it and ultimately be better because of it. Although you aren't currently with your partner, hearing how you all supported one another and grew closer gives me hope. Thank you.

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On 7/8/2019 at 12:54 PM, Moving4ward said:

Good afternoon all,

I recently posted this in an individual thread but came across this one and decided to post it here as well in hopes of gaining some clarity and advice on the situation:

First I’d like to echo the sentiment of what many other people have had to say about this website. It’s literally a God send. Reading everyone’s experiences has helped me a lot but I don’t think I’ve come across a topic that speaks directly to my situation so here goes something.

I’m a black male in my early thirties. Me and my current girlfriend have been together for a little over a year now. We met in grad school and started dating shortly thereafter in October of last year. Prior to getting with her, I’d done my share of sleeping around in my twenties but got tired of “playing the game” and with other people’s emotions. I cheated on my exes, and was quite frankly a shitty boyfriend even when I wasn’t. It felt like I would leave a trail of broken hearts anywhere I’d go. I don’t know if it is my girlfriend, or growth/ maturity as a person but I didn’t want that for her. I didn’t want that for us. So I made a conscious decision to make a change. So I did. And it’s been great...until early January of this year.

In January, I noticed what appeared to be a small bump that grew to be a small cut on the shaft of my penis near the head. Initially, I didn’t pay it much attention because it wasn’t causing me any discomfort and just looked bad. After a week or too, the cut healed and I went about my business as usual. Around the end of March/beginning of April of this year, I noticed the same area of my penis began getting irritated again. This time was different though: it was taking more time for the area to heal and was also accompanied by another “bump” near the other one. I began to worry. Around this same time, my girlfriend complained of a yeast infection that she went and got checked out. Knowing that it was rare, but possible for men to get yeast infections too, I decided to go to the doctor. I also attributed it to rough sex. The doc did a physical examination and said four words I’ll never forget: “it looks like herpes.” My heart dropped. I was shocked, confused, and sad. How did this happen? When did this happen? Why now, of all times and when I’m finally “doing things right” does this happen? I’d been regularly tested in the past and always received a clean bill of health. The doctor did the swab test and sent them to the lab for analysis. 

I had to figure out how I was going to tell the woman I love, of my dreams, I have herpes. I still held out hope that I didn’t. I anxiously awaited the results of that test. It felt like the longest two days ever. However, over the course of those two horrible days, I somehow reconciled within myself that I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my girlfriend of my potential diagnosis. I irrationally assured myself that by not knowing if I had hsv was for the best and would allow me to stay with the love of my life. So I made the selfish decision of willful ignorance.

Prior to leaving the doctor’s office, I was prescribed 10 day antivirals and a topical ointment. I used both (the ointment sparingly) and haven’t had any major issues since April. I lied and told my girlfriend I went to the doctor and was told I had a yeast infection too so we didn’t have sex for about a week or so. Other than that, we continued to have sex on a regular basis.

About two weeks ago, my girlfriend complained of not wanting to be intimate (highly unusual for her). I asked if everything was ok and she lost it. She told me she had herpes. Everything came full circle. I had those same feelings of shock, confusion and sadness all over again. I asked a lot of questions. She told me she got it in undergrad and has been living with it for several years now. She’s only had one outbreak (this being the second) since we’ve been together and I wasn’t aware of the first one because she went and visited her family for the holidays. She’s only disclosed to two other partners besides me: the guy she was dealing with and an old ex. Other than that she said she didn’t feel the need to disclose to other sexual partners or curtail her sexual exploits because she’d be sure not to be sexually active when she was experiencing an outbreak. To her knowledge, she’s never given hsv to anyone.

 I told her I’m “pretty sure” she gave it to me and understood the fine line between wanting to protect your sexual autonomy and disclosing. I also told her I wanna work through this.

Here’s where several conflicts arise. I know EXACTLY how she feels in terms of not wanting to disclose. I literally did the same thing and (at the time) put her health at risk for selfish reasons. I also don’t know if I’m more willing to work through this because I feel genuinely stuck or I truly feel like she’s the one for me. If we’re not supposed to be together, I don’t know how/what my dating life would look like. I think I took more of an issue with her causal dating style after her diagnosis than the actual diagnosis itself. I don’t think I’d be able to do that and it honestly made me view her in a different light. I’ve been asking myself is this my penance for my past transgressions? Do I tell her what really happened at my doctor’s appointment? Does it even matter at this point? I also feel like a hypocrite even being upset in the slightest about all of this, but I feel like I should be more mad at her...but I’m not. I still love her. I guess I’m just, conflicted. 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  

Did they tell you if it was recent or dormant? I think the fact she has it & confessed, would be much easier for you to confess.  It removes the shame & if your tests show it is a recent infection, then by telling her she’ll know that she did possibly infect others. They probably was too loose or ignorant to realize it was from her. I do understand why you would be upset since she didn’t disclose to you, but since you all are in a seemingly serious relationship, go through the motions then be like whatever. Don’t let it become an unnecessary stress between you two. I was diagnosed Spring 2018 from a 50 yr old man, literally 3 weeks after sex w/ him. I didn’t find out from him until 5-6 months later that the whole time he was having secret outbreaks. I had to pry the truth out of him but he refused to get tested & just blamed me & still until this day I blame him. 

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On 4/15/2019 at 6:29 PM, Lstgryl said:

I need help! I don’t know if I’m having an outbreak. Around Apr 1st, I started to feel a lot of tingling in my vagina. So I called my dr and requested a refill of valtrex and she called in a 7 day supply. I took about the medicine for about 5 days and no further symptoms arrived. I got a Brazilian was on Saturday. It was my first since December. I was diagnosed in January. So after the wax, I felt some irritation. I had sex that night. (He knows of my status).  It’s monday and I have two big large bumps and a small area of irritation. I don’t know if it’s an outbreak or inflammation from the wax. I feel horrible. I could’ve spread this to another person 😩. Each of my outbreaks has been different so I don’t know what’s going on. Pleas advise. 

Yeah, my first diagnosis triggered an outbreak and i had sex also against the rules lol and was diagnosed 5 days later. I havent had a Brazilian since because id rather be hairy than hurting. I also believed it was the Brazilian because she did hurt me in the same area i get the infections (perineum). 

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