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Finally I've transcribed my Cosmopolitan article!


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Hi everyone it’s Christi,

I have been asked what my ‘herpes’ story is a few times now and I thought the best way to share it is to transcribe a copy of my story which was published in an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine a couple of years ago. I am also hoping that those of you have shown interest in writing their story to a magazine in the hope of having it published may be able to use it as a guide or for inspiration. Of course this is my personal story and now in 2004 I am proud to say that the stigma of herpes doesn’t worry me too much any more as I have learnt so much….I will, however, NEVER, waiver in my passion to help others deal with a life with herpes.

Cosmopilitan Magazine titled my story ‘I am YOUNG, attractive, successful…and I have HERPES’

“ Ever heard the joke, ‘What is the difference between love and herpes? Herpes lasts a lifetime!’. A doctor told it to me just after I was diagnosed with herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV2). Unlike the common facial herpes or coldsore that’s socially acceptable, gental herpes has always been dogged by a stigma that renders it repulsive.

I’m a 27-year-old Brisbane (Australia) girl. I’man attractive, intelligent, blue-eyed blonde – and I live with genital herpes.

In March, 1999 I had the world at my feet – I had a job I loved and a boyfriend I’d been seeing for almost a year and with whom I was smitten. Like so many others, I thought I was above having to worry about catching a sexually transmitted infection, but that April, my world changed forever.

I vividly remember the night I first suspected something was wrong. I was at work when I started to feel unwell. It was like the flu was setting in – I felt weak and had a fever, aches and pains. But the outstanding symptom was a strange sensation down the backs of my thighs. I also felt like I was getting an attack of thrush (common yeast infection). Near the end of the shift I went to the toilet, and when I passed urine I felt a sting ‘down below’. That’s when the realisation hit me. Herpes! I had previously worked as a nurse, so had a fair knowledge of STIs. All the symptoms suddenly fell into place.

Tears sprang to my eyes, my heart pounded and I trembled from head to toe. I took deep breaths, brushed the tears away and tried to put on a brave face. After all, I was at work. A myriad of thoughts ran through my mind. I was angrily trying to calm myself with mental statements like, ‘It’s not cancer’, ‘No one has died’, ‘It’s no big deal’. I was angry at myself for being so upset when others in the world were dealing with all sorts of catastrophes and here I was convulsing at the thought that I might have herpes.

As soon as I finished work, I rushed to see my boyfriend and blurted it out. To my surprise, there were no accusations and her was great. He told me not to worry. Even if I did have herpes, he said he’d still love me.

I struggled to sleep that night. First thing the following morning I went to my local sexual health clinic. When a nurse ushered me onto the examination table, I burst into tears again. As I lay with my feet in the stirrups, she gently uttered the words, ‘Oh yes, I can see a little herpes rash there.’ I have never felt so vulnerable, miserable and alone. The nurse was lovely and at no time did she make me feel dirty or bad for what was happening to my body. After the initial examination, where she took swabs for analysis she took some blood to exclude and other nasties such as HIV. You can imagine how awful waiting for that test result felt. After all, I already knew I had herpes. What was stopping me from thinking that I’d been exposed to every STI under the sun?

As I left the clinic I felt reborn in a bad way – I was transformed from a self-assured, happy-go-lucky butterfly into an anxious, grubby little caterpillar! I felt cheated. The very stigma I’d once branded others with now applied to me! The stigma has us believe that only careless, dirty bed hoppers have STIs particularly herpes. But it isn’t herpes that discriminates, it’s people.

I called my boyfriend – I needed his support and was sure he’d be as comforting as he had been the night before. But in five seconds he shattered my illusions. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘how many people have you been sleeping with?’ My head reeled. I loved this man and I had been 100 per cent faithful to him, but he wouldn’t accept it. I asked him to be tested and he refused. He said he was healthy, never got sick and I must’ve caught it from someone else. He then ended our relatioship by saying, ‘I don’t need a girlfriend with problems and I don’t need herpes!’

For the next two weeks, sinus tablets became my best friend. I needed them to help me open my eyes, which had swollen into slits from crying so much. And I needed them to open my nasal passages so I could get enough oxygen to squeeze out the words ‘I’ve got herpes’ over and over again to myself. What a pathetic wreck I was.

But after those two weeks of cying, my brain tired of it and I pulled myself together. It dawned on me that it’s not the disease itself that’s the tragedy – it’s the stigma. I’ve had thrush that’s worse! I’ve searched time and again with a mirror for the herpes sit, but it’s virually invisible. It’s nothing like the mucky crusty mess you imagine it to be and certainly nothing like the photos of severe cases in medical journals! HSV2 is a small inconvenience physically and a major stigmatised drama socially. The first step to removing the stigma is realising how common it is.

We ‘herpes people’ flatter ourselves into believing that now we’ve got herpes it’s the only reason we’ll ever be rejected by a potential sexual partner. But just like anyone else, there are many reasons someone could reject us before we even get to tell them we have herpes! If someone does reject you over herpes, they probably would have rejected you over something else eventually anyway.

A useful fact to know is that using condoms (although a great deterrent to herpes) doesn’t guarantee protection against herpes. Sex, being the slippery exercise that it is, gives herpes a chance to infect a person outside the area covered by a condom.

As for me, I’ve recently reached my third anniversary with herpes. Writing about my experiences isn’t meant to scare anyone! Rather it’s an attempt to explain the tragedy of the stigma that turned what should’ve been a rather insignificant life occurrence into a war against peopl’s attitude to STIs. All we can do is be responsible and careful.

If someone you’ve fallen for shares a secret like, ‘I though you should know that I’ve got herpes’, thank them and be grateful they respect you enough to give you an informed choice before you sleep with them. Revealing this is an indication of the decent person they are. It might slow you down, but don’t let it stop what could lead to true love.

I’m convinced there are enormous numbers of people out there who simply pass their symptoms off as heat rash or thrush and continue to transmit herpes. As for my ex-boyfriend, I believe he was asymptomatic. A sophisticated test can differentiate between a primary attack and an attack which occurs a good time after contracting herpes. I was told I had a primary attack, which leads me to believe my ex must have been carrying it. It is not conlusive, however, and I don’t hold a grudge (there’s no point). I know he’s had other relationships since we were together and I wonder how those girls are.

I’ve had a couple of relationships since, one with a ‘non-herpes guy’ and one with a ‘herpes-guy’. Neither worked out but herpes had nothing to do with either break-up. I do hope to meet my special someone, though, and I’m sure I have just as much chance of doing that as anyone else.

Of course I’d rather live without herpes but it’s taught me so much. I believe I’m a better person for the experience and I’m sorry for being so ignorant as to perpetuate the stigma. Before having herpes, if anyone had trusted me with the revelation that they had it, I would’ve written them off as someone with lower standards than me. How ridiculous, how na?ve, how selfish…”

End of article.

Of course a couple more years has passed and I have learnt so much about herpes and how it really is little more than just a skin condition which can be passed on during sex. I hope my story has been helpful. I really did feel like crap when I found out and now I really am OK….. I hope the fact that I can honestly say there is life after herpes is concrete proof for some who are feeling hopeless right now that the emotional pain can pass and there is HOPE and a VERY GOOD LIFE WITH/AFTER HERPES!!!

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Guest Anonymous

Thankyou Christi! :)

I've just contracted HSV-2 and am still learning about it, and trying to find a way to tell my potential partner that I have an STI.

Thankyou again for sharing your story! :) It has helped me feel a lot better, and not so alone... :)

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Thankyou Christi! :)

I've just contracted HSV-2 and am still learning about it, and trying to find a way to tell my potential partner that I have an STI.

Thankyou again for sharing your story! :) It has helped me feel a lot better, and not so alone... :)

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Now if we can publish that in every magazine, every month, maybe after a few years people will learn....

thanks Christi. You are a great addition to this community - no doubt.


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Thank-you so much for your kind comments. The encouragement keeps me going even when I get tired, and like any amatuer writer, doubt myself!Actually even though my story was published in the Australian edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine I might re write it, up date it and try to get it published in some International Issues. I actually wanted to put a lot more in but my best shot at getting published was to keep it simple.

After two more years I have learnt/gaine so much insight since that article was published which is why I am now writing a book (as per my message YOUR EXPERIENCES PLEASE). I want to cover all the awkward moments that we face because of the stigma.

I re-read what I posted and picked up a lot of typing errors....oops.

All I did was email Cosmo with a rough draft of my story and they published it exactly the way it was. I would like to encourage everyone, as Lasmom says, to have a go at writing your story and emailing it off to editors of every media forum you can, newspapers, magazines, journals and what the hell, sixty minutes! I we all do our bit to inundate the media with requests for stories and copies of our own it all goes to help eradicate the stigma. JUST GIVE IT A GO YOU'LL SURPRISE YOURSELF! (and yes you can still be published anonymously!)

Sexual 'anything' is a very timely issue in this day and age and you'd be surprised re the positive responses you'll get (and a few rejections but don't let that stop you). In fact after I emailed my rough copy off to editors I was inundated with sheepish emails from journalists, editors and magazine personell who simply wanted to tell me that they too had herpes but had never told anyone and suffered in silence.

If anyone wants help to edit, comment or review I'm happy to help and promise to remain objective.

I am blown away, every time I check the forum as to how caring and kind all you forum members are (Lasmom xo), I am not exagerating when I say it makes me feel proud to be 'one of the 'group'.

Stay strong, we can do it! (trust me, I'll keep fighting for us until I die of old age!!)


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Guest Anonymous



Your essay was so wonderful. I've been suffering silently for eight months now, and this site has really helped.

I'm also jealous--I'm a published writer, but the thought of sharing my story with any major magazine or media outlet scares me to death! I so respect your courage and honesty.

Thank You

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Wow, Christi,

What a powerful article. I am in the same boat as you. My same thoughts about this virus are there with you. You can stand in line with me and Lasmom when the cure comes out, Ok?

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Why thank-you! and :lol: please change your name to 'survivor' or 'warrior' as victim is certainly how we feel but I'm sure that you to are going to eventually feel a certain sort of pride in yourself for coming through an ordeal like herpes! (or hopefully you already do) :D

One of the best things that has happened to me in my 'herpes career', is stumbling across this site and all the wonderful people who contribute!


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  • 3 weeks later...

Manage herpes


May I ask how you manage your herpes? I am on 1G valtrex daily for 3.5 years now. It really works well, however, I will admit I had a terrible outbreak starting on or around 3/20 that is still going on. I also had sex with someone 3/18 who I pray to God does not get this. My immune system was down from a sinus infection..........oh, when they find a cure for herpes, they will find a cure for that!

No, i cannot change my name from Victim until they either first, find a cure or second change the herpes name iteself to something else. How much more disgusting of a name can you get than herpes. Acne on the vagina and anus. Painful, but acne.

How long do you feel a cure away is? Do you know what other countries in this world may offer than the US? We here are so very conservative, you know. I am willing to try anything else and fly off to where ever. i would too.

I don't want to die. I hate the thought of that. But, what else is there with herpes. Not much of a sex life, especially if you pass it on to a friend, you know. It's been 15 days now and I just don't know if he has it or not. At least as of yesterday he did not.

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Just hold on!


My heart just broke when I read your post. I was planning on just having a quick browse and catching up with replies and stuff later but now that I've read your post I'm going to take a minute to write to you.

What you are feeling is so very normal....I have been there over and over again in the last five years. I can promise you though, that you will feel better, you just need to hang in there...even if it's by a thread.

As far as managing my herpes it has been a struggle! During the first two years I had an attack every month...which meant I was only free of it for a week or two at a time before another one started! Every time we get an attack it tends to resurface even just a couple of the negative feelings that we thought we'd dealt with. During these first couple of years of relentless outbreaks I was in a relationship with a guy who didn't have herpes and even though I was nearly always 'contagious' he never contracted it! So please gain some hope from that. I think your friend will be fine...I truly do!

I was put onto Valtrex, four times per day and it didn't work! I felt like I was a freak resistant case who was destined for a life of outbreaks! I then went on Famvir and I have been fine ever since! I still get the occasional half hearted outbreak but otherwise I'm fine. My current boyfriend has been away on duty with the Australian Army for the last three months so I stopped taking the Famvir while he is gone...and today I have woken up with the first outbreak in ages....on my tail bone grrrrrrrr why!!! Seriously though I'm fine. I've started back on the Famvir as of today though and my boyfriend is due back in three days....typical!!! :? (The other thing that I have done is eliminated nuts from my diet. I'm convinced this has made a huge difference. I used to eat peanut butter every day. I had some nuts and peanut butter about three days ago as a treat and hey presto! I have an outbreak!)

Ok, back to you! I am committed to eliminating the words 'sexually transmitted disease' in the book that I am writing and replacing them with 'skin condition that can possibly be passed on during sex' and I don't want to use the words 'sores', 'blisters', 'rash' etc and will be replacing them with the word 'blemish'. The point that herpes is an ugly word is a very valid one with me. Perhaps we could make a point of all contributing ideas for a new, more, ahem, 'attractive' name!

I hope my rambling on hasn't made you feel as though I've missed how sad and desperate you sound in your post, I haven't. Unfortunately I cannot offer any advice as to alternative treatments in other nations. All I can do is offer to you and to anyone else who feels the same way is the fact that there is someone, (me, christi), who is sitting in the kitchen of her rented house in Brisbane Australia, in pig print pjamas, with a herpes outbreak on their tailbone, who really does care about what you are going through. Every time I see a post or reply on this site I don't think of it as an anonymous piece of typing I see each of you as a person just like me!

I'm not sure of the viability of a cure in the near future...there's still no cure for the common cold, shingles, chicken pox BUT as they now have a vaccination for chicken pox I do think that it won't be long before there is a vaccination available for herpes...the next best thing!

In the meantime, please take some time to read over some of the previous posts and replies, (you'll find some of my responses too) and I'm sure it will help even just a little. When I write, over and over that I truly am OK with herpes now and I have found a way to let it help me with decisions in relationships I am not exaggerating! I've even thought of a tentative title for my book 'HERPES - the best thing to ever happen to your relationship!' Having herpes truly has made me a better person and a better judge of character, especially when it comes to relationships and it is an excellent tool in helping you decide where a relationship you are in or contemplating is headed.

So, Victim, I'm not sure that anything I have said here is really going to help lift the dark cloud that is hovering over you at the moment BUT like I said in the beginning, hang in there and we are here to help, all you need to do for the time being is hold on to whatever hope you have and I promise the cloud with start to lift on its own. Herpes is NOT WORTH DYING FOR but hope is certainly worth living for.

Please stay in touch with us all,


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Wow! What a great post! I agree we with herpes need to try and educate the general public. So they are as educated as we are. Thanks to this site I'm getting closer to being ok with it. I have been rejected twice this year because of it. But today I have come to the conclusion I deserve someone better. I am a good person who deserves the best.

Take care and God Bless!

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Great article Christi...


What a moving article...you certainly have a talent, and it is even more of a gift that you've choosen to use it to educate people who've remained in the Dark Ages. Bravo!

Also summertime...Anybody who would reject you because of something like this, well...youi've got the right attitude when you say that you need to move on, cuz you DO deserve somebody better! You're a good person! Never settle. There is somebody for all of us, whether we have HSV or something else...We are loveable as we are.

Talk with ya all later,


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  • 3 weeks later...

This is definitely a helpful thread! And even though the article was from years ago, it was still encouraging to read. Especially having you here to discuss how you've dealt with H and how you are doing now.

I was just told I have GH and it's been so hard. I haven't had sex with my boyfriend in about 3 weeks, compared to daily prior this. I found what I thought was a tiny cut on my labia. Looked at it further and for some odd reason I had a very bad feeling I had herpes. (I had done some research and had the usual symptoms along with misdiagnos...aches, pains, headaches, discharge written off as bacteria/yeast infections, severe depression, swollen glands.

I think the hardest part of it has been the fact I'm in a serious relationship with a man who I want to spend my life with. I adore him deeply. We've both had ups and downs since this, especially when reality finally set in knowing that this will not go away. We either have to accept it as a couple or go our seperate ways. He's been very supportive. As of right now we are assuming he doesn't have it. (I hope he doesn't...I love him very much) But honestly, I feel he probably does. What are the chances we were having unprotected sex for almost 6 months and he doesn't have it? I've never had an OB until now and my body reacts to EVERYTHING.

I could ramble on forever. But what I'm trying to say is it's very helpful reading how others deal with this and how they feel. I'm happy to know I'm not alone.

Before this, I was like you Christi. I'm sad to say that I (like many others) assumed this wouldn't happen to me and I was too carefree. I was naive. I assumed that when I was in a relationship that my partner was also being careful and faithful. Fact is, we never truly know what the other person is doing.

It's sad that there isn't more information and education regarding sex and the outcome, good and bad. I am determined to take my experience and use it to help others. I never would have thought.

Believe me, I wish this could go away...that it's all a bad dream. But I've come to the realization that this isn't a dream and it will never go away. This is something I have to live with. It has taught me to be a better person. Which is strange. I had considered myself a pretty genuine and caring person before this, always wanting to help others.

I do believe everything happens for a reason. As much as we'd like to turn back time.

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  • 4 months later...

being an open, honest and active member in this fight against the herpes stigma is something you are and i hope other people to be, at first i knew no one that had herpes and although the doctor was telling me that 1 in 8 people had it i thought only people that had many casual sex partners and since i had two casual sex experiences i felt like a slut but after hearing about many different situations i realised that i wasn't a bad person and it can happen to people that are try to be safe like me, bye

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  • 6 years later...

Update after 7 years

Old thread I know but I thought maybe someone might remember this and wonder what happened to me. Of course, I still have herpes! It's late at night and I'm off to bed so this will be quick but 7 years on and herpes has not changed my life for the worst AT ALL. Yes I still get the occaisional outbreak and at times they are nasty but I still get the occaisional cold, flu and headache too. Herpes is really not much more than that for me now!! AND I'm married. To a man I confessed my herpes dilemna to two weeks after we met. I used my 'do you get coldsores, I do, just not on my face' speech and he said OH! Is that all I thought you were going to tell me something terrible! Six months later we were married. My husband does not have herpes and has never caught it from me. I don't know how because after all this time we have taken some risks! We have two little girls and our marriage is going strong. The herpes is nothing but a minor inconvenience...no more than that time of the month. I am living proof that the right person for you will see through the 'clutter' of life and love you for you. If they reject you because of herpes it means they had doubts about their feelings for you in the first place so you have lost nothing but gained the opportunity to move on and find the right person. I hope everyone is well, Christi.

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