Hi! I'm a 24 year old city girl who was diagnosed with HSV2 (aka genital herpes) almost four years ago but who refuses to give up on the idea of love (and really good sex) despite it. I've only just begun my journey of self-acceptance, self-love and self-discovery. I hope to chronicle my life relating to the virus and social stigma, create a support system and hopefully be there for anyone going through the same thing.According to the CDC, 1 in every 6 sexually active people ages 12 and up, has HSV2. One in every two will contract an STC (sexually transmitted condition) in their lifetime. Get informed, get educated and always use protection!Please check out the FAQs before submitting questions to make sure they haven't already been answered. :)Note: When asking questions, submitting stories, etc, don't use the word "clean" to refer to people without STDs, as it implies that those who do are "dirty". It's offensive and makes me uncomfortable. I won't answer your question if you use that term. For us to change the narrative and get rid of HSV stigma, we first have to change our own narrative and start by noting how we unconsciously propagate it ourselves. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone ever wants to email me. :)
I think the hardest thing for me when I was first diagnosed was calming down and realizing that I didn’t have to deal with everything at once. Receiving a diagnosis can be really overwhelming. It really helped to write down all of my questions, compartmentalize my worries (relationships, sex, parenthood, health, social expectations, etc). Once I was able to tackle each at once, it stopped feeling like I was trying to push a mountain by myself.
50 million people have HSV-2 in the US. HSV-1 is so widespread that pretty much everyone gets it by the time they’re elderly. More than 80% of people with herpes are undiagnosed. [source] 50% of new genital herpes cases are caused by HSV-1. Even though it feels lonely, you’re not alone. Not even a little bit.
Regarding your ex, fuck that guy. Seriously, good riddance. Anyone that would break up with someone, especially someone they’ve been dating for two YEARS, can go fuck themselves. That’s not how you treat a partner. and that’s certainly not love. You don’t just leave because they find out something shitty. You get tested, you’re there for them, you remind them that they are amazing, that you love them, and that you’re not going anywhere. You don’t just leave. That’s a cop-out and you don’t want to be with someone who is as callus as to dump you because you find out that someone went down on you with a coldsore and gave it to you genitally. And youu definitely don’t want to marry them.
Plus, how does he know he wasn’t the one that gave it to you? Urg, stories like these piss me off. Fuck that guy. Seriously, you just dodged a huge bullet.
There are many people who will want to love you, have sex with you, have babies with you (you can still have kids and deliver vaginally as long as you’re not having an OB during delivery), and maybe even marry you. I mean, just look at me. I was single for two years, have had genital herpes for four, and I’ve recently started a relationship with someone who thinks the world of me, accepts me and my condition, and can’t keep his hands off me (or vice-versa!).
The world is still there for the taking, you just have to let yourself heal and work on your self-love first. Let yourself heal from the diagnosis and the breakup, and whatever you do, don’t take this guy back. I don’t care if he shows up next week with a bunch of flowers and a bullshit apology. Use this as a sign from the universe that this guy isn’t the one for you. You deserve better and once the dust clears, you’ll be able to see this too.
It’s tough, lonely, and it feels like your whole world has crashed down on you from one moment to the next. Feeling ashamed is normal when it comes to coping with this. When you’ve spent almost your whole life being told that STDs are THE WORST THING EVER (tm) and that only “whores”, “sluts”, and low-class people get them, it’s tough not to internalize it. And then when you get your own diagnosis, it can feel like you’re suddenly one of those undesirables that no one wants to be with because again, STDs are THE WORST THING EVER (tm).
The good thing is that none of this is true. Herpes, like every other STD, is just something that is passed through sex and it’s just doing what it’s designed to do. You didn’t do anything wrong by having sex and the universe isn’t trying to punish you. Life isn’t fair sometimes and thankfully herpes is pretty benign. It shouldn’t interfere with anything else health-wise, and is really just a skin condition that shows up once in a while and has a bad rep.
The status of your genitals says nothing about your character. You’re still as awesome and beautiful as you were before the diagnosis, and any person will be lucky to be with you.
It took me a while to be okay with my status but it’s helped me be a better person. Every cloud has a silver lining and things will settle down. I know I was still a depressed recluse convinced she had a neon light that said “HERPES” on my forehead a month in.
It takes time, just hang in there buttercup.
Aw honey. You need to figure out why you don’t think you’re worthy and work on that. I’m planning on writing a pretty long post on becoming sexual again after an HSV diagnosis but for right now I’ll answer your question specifically.
Now, I’m not much for follower counting. I never have been. Not on my personal blog and not on this one. Anyone that has been following me for longer than a week probably already knows that. Having said that, it really helps me to look at the number of people following this blog. Not because of the number but because of every individual that makes up that number.
As of right now this blog has almost 400 followers. That means that 400 individual people not only care enough about this subject to want to keep up with the blog, but that are accepting, and kind, and are a part of creating this wonderful, intrinsic support system that I am so incredibly proud of. Right off the bat that tells me that at least 400 people care. And that is a really great thing to remember. At least to me, it makes me feel less alone.
So let’s be super conservative and say that at least half of those 400 have herpes (statistically it’d be 320 - 80%, 80 with HSV2 - 20% but I digress). That is 200 people right there that are are going through the same thing, with the same fears, hurdles, and nights worrying about their worth. Do you think those 200 people are unworthy of a relationship? Do you think I am unworthy of a relationship? If you don’t, why wouldn’t you be?
Having an STD doesn’t change your value or your worth, just like having freckles, or eczema, or a 3.0 GPA, or preferring metal to rap doesn’t either. You’re still you. You’re made out of so many different little things and you’re the same person you were before the diagnosis. Maybe you’re a little taller now, or a little chunkier, or skinnier, or more mature, but you’re still you, and you’re still as deserving of love and good sex as you were before. We all are, STA or not.
One thing that really helps me is an exercise my therapist taught me. Imagine you’re babysitting a toddler that’s like the younger you, say about four or five. Now imagine that they came up to you and told you she was scared a boy in her class wouldn’t want to be her friend because she had chickenpox. What would you tell her? Would you say “you’re right, he won’t because you have chickenpox and you are a dirty slut”? Or would you pick her up, hug her, wipe her tears and remind her how absolutely amazing she is and that any boy would be incredibly lucky to be her friend, chickenpox or not? Maybe give her some ice cream and put on a Disney movie to cheer her up?
Sometimes we get so stuck in how we think we should feel that we forget to be kind to ourselves.
If you don’t think you’re ready to date, don’t force it. Work on your self worth and loving yourself again. Realizing you’re worth so much, including being worthy of a relationship, love, and sex, feels so great. It just takes a while to get there sometimes.
Edit: Holy shit I did not expect this to be that long.
Oh honey. Learning about your diagnosis can be traumatizing and terrifying, but you need to stop giving it so much power. Have you researched it and learned more about it? For the most part, unless it’s severe and really affecting your life physically, it’s nothing more than a skin condition. It doesn’t mean you’re dirty, or gross, or worth any less.
About one in every five people has genital herpes, and about 80% of the population has oral herpes (cold sores). More than 90% of the people with herpes don’t know they have it. That’s a LOT of people! Do you think I’m dirty, or gross, or anything else? Would you tell a little kid with chicken pox (which is related to the herpes virus) that they are dirty and whatever else you’ve associated with your herpes?
Give yourself love and compassion. Be kind to yourself. Do things you enjoy. Pick up a hobby that makes you happy. Forget about what anyone else thinks and help yourself heal. The more you love yourself, and the kinder you are to yourself, the easier it gets.
There’s nothing to be ashamed about. You were hurt by a bad person, and then were verbally abused. You didn’t deserve any of that and you need to remember that. You’re worth so much and having a skin condition you didn’t ask for does not diminish that. Not one bit so don’t you dare believe that.
As for the toilet covering, that’s just ignorance. You aren’t going to transmit your herpes via a toilet seat, since you need skin to skin contact, and the virus dies really quickly once it touches the air. It needs a mucous surface for transmitting also, one which a toilet does not have. Print out some information on the virus and read it.
Read it and give it to your sister, and tell the other person that knows to keep their mouth shut. It is noone else’s right to tell other people your personal STD results. I HATE when people do that shit. It’s so rude, inconsiderate and gossipy.
Stop giving this more power than it should have (none at all) and please consider seeing a therapist. Mine has really helped me. /squeeze
You’re beautiful, wonderful, and so worthy of love. Now you just have to believe it. :)
I’ve gotten ill because of it
I’ve really felt the need to go
It is so so painful
I do have discharge from it which is very uncomfortable
Yes anon, you should go to the doctor. You should find out if you actually do have herpes, or if it’s something else. If you do:
It’s really nothing to be scared of and seeing a doctor will be a great help. They’ll most likely prescribe you some Acyclovir or Valtrex which should help the outbreak/expression disappear quicker. As for a quick fix, you can do some home remedies like putting coconut oil, tree oil, or a baking soda/water mixture on the sores but I’m warning you, the last one is going to HURT. It should do the trick though.You can also take lysine tablets and avoid foods like chocolate and coffee, at least until it’s gone.
For the pain, take some ibuprofen or other OTC pain medication. Try to either not wear underwear or wear cotton underwear. You need to let your bits breathe. If you have a vulva/vagina, try not to use pads to stop the discharge since the chemicals might make it worse.
It’s really important to keep the area as dry as possible since humidity/moisture is just going to lengthen it. Usually herpes expressions go away in a few days, especially if you take an antiviral prescribed by a doctor.
Also for the pain, take a warm bath. You can add epson salt to it if you want. This also really helps if you have pain during urination. Just get in the tub and fill the bathtub until your urethra is covered (if you don’t want to bathe) and pee. If it does hurt to pee, drink lots of water and try not to drink or intake as much acidic things since the acid in the urine hitting the expression is what makes it hurt.
Followers, did I miss anything?
Oh and :)
I’m sorry that happened to you, but it doesn’t mean life is over. At first it’s tough. I’m not going to lie. You might feel like your whole world is crumbling around you, like you’re drowning in a glass of water with no way to stop it. Learning to accept the condition, as well as learning to love yourself, rid yourself of any guilt or resentment there might be, and moving on takes time. It does get better though, it gets easier.
It’s important to focus on yourself right now. I recommend going to your doctor and asking about medication, if that appeals to you. Personally I started a daily Acyclovir regiment from the moment I was diagnosed and it helped keep outbreaks under control, especially for the first few months. It’s easier to cope with the STA (sexually transmitted affliction) when it’s not visible. Seeing a sore would have made it harder for me to move past it. There are also other, natural ways to prevent outbreaks. Keeping your stress levels down, getting enough sleep and eating healthy are big ones. The healthier you feel, the better your body will work in general. Work on your self-esteem/self-love/self-worth. Surround yourself with people who love you. Grab a hobby that will get your mind off of things. Learn more about the condition and notice how it affects you physically. Having a better grip on the situation definitely helps me be more level-headed.
This is just a bump on the road. An inconvenience. There are a million things worse that could have happened. I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true. Genital herpes is basically just a skin condition that sometimes pops up and then goes away again. Depending on your symptoms, it can be as mild as just a little bump that goes away in a few days. Do you freak out every time you have a pimple? It’s basically the same thing. Medically it’s really not that serious and super common. HSV shouldn’t affect your overall health except for a decreased immune system but you can just eat healthy and maybe take some vitamins to remedy that. The only reason why HSV is seen as such a big deal is because it’s sexually transmitted. There’s a lot of ignorance and false-information concerning STAs. Don’t let yourself get too caught up in the negativity. It doesn’t help anything.
I wrote an entry about moving past the diagnosis a little while back. You can find it here but basically it says that moving past it is a work in progress. You need to focus on yourself and remember that you’re still beautiful, interesting, sexy and wonderful. You still deserve as much love, intimacy and affection as you did before. Be kind to yourself. You’re not a bad person because of this, nor are you “dirty”, or any other negative thing you might associate with STAs.
There are hundreds of thousands in people in the US alone that have HSV2. One out of five people, in fact. That’s a lot of freaking people! You’re definitely not alone. There are forums and chatrooms out there, as well as a wonderful little STA community here on Tumblr full of amazing, compassionate individuals who are going through the same thing. Even if it feels like it, the last thing you are is alone. As for relationships, there are plenty of people out there who are understanding and who will love you no matter what. I was diagnosed last year and I’ve never had so many suitors! Haha. There are plenty of people who have gotten married and had a family after their diagnosis. Love is still as reachable as it was before.
If you ever need to chat/vent/etc, I’m around. TheSexUneducated.tumblr.com is also a wonderful, wonderful STA positive blog run by an incredibly brilliant, compassionate individual who always has the kindest words for anyone going through a rough time. Being diagnosed with HSV is tough but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
Don’t let this get in the way of you being happy. It doesn’t have to.