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jericho

Anyone here fearful of contracting herpes?

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jericho

Anyone here not have herpes or have it in one location, but not the other, and fearful of contracting it?

I got tested, which is how I found this site, and I don’t have either type of HSV. Dumb luck. I’ve had enough partners that the smart money would be on me having one or both types.

Now that I’ve learned quite a lot about herpes and how contagious it is, I approach dating and sex with much trepidation. I find myself staring at my date’s lips looking for sores. And the casual sex and first, second or third date sex I used to enjoy are history.

Because so few people know their status and b/c most people don’t want to discuss herpes at all, I feel like I don’t have anyone to talk to, except perhaps people who have it and are aware of it. Ironic, isn’t it?

Mods: I understand this is a herpes support forum, so if you feel this thread topic isn’t appropriate, please feel free to delete it.

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MsLucy

One of the worst things about herpes, whether you actually have it or not, is the borderline schizophrenic paranoia that just the word tends to elicit. And, for the life of me, even though I have it, I can't understand it. Unless one suffers continuous, non-stop, painful outbreaks, which is rare, I fail to see the big deal.

Quit being so paranoid. God knows there are enough things in the world worth being paranoid about without LOOKING for things.

Be responsible in your life. Take the precautions that seem prudent, but don't let your fears (whatever they may be) control you. The truth is, what is going to happen will happen, and none of us really have any appreciable control. Control is a myth. Control is what we think we have while our lives are actually being orchestrated by fate, or whimsy, or whatever else you want to call it... "random shit" comes to mind.

Go have fun. Take from life whatever joy you can, and deal with the rest as it happens. It will all work out in the end.

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jericho
I was but i caught it anyway, what can you do

How did you catch it? Had you asked your partner about his/her status prior to engaging in acts that could expose you to the virus?

Well, there are things I can do, like let the fear control my dating/sex life, which is what has been happening since I learned about HSV. I guess I struggle to find the balance of taking sensible precautions, having awkward conversations early on in relationships and wanting to satisfy my sexual desires.

Finding out the damn virus can be transmitted via sharing lip balm, drinking glasses and food, didn't help on the fear front. :(

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alltheabove

you need to relax a bit, and enjoy your life how it is right now. lifes way to short to be wondering about the what ifs, and what could happen. just deal with it as it comes. it isnt very likely that you will get herpes just from drinking off someone unless they have sores or are shedding on their lips. but honestly just chill out a bit. whatever happens...happens.

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ntdc
How did you catch it?

Alcohol was involved

Had you asked your partner about his/her status prior to engaging in acts that could expose you to the virus?

Most of them yes, and I have been tested for HSV between partners since 2001 but I didnt know the specifics of the test (incubation period, sensitivity, etc...). Oddly enough prior to 2001 I never thought much about HSV-1 I assumed I had it due to infected spots on my lips that came up about once a year. Turns out it was just bacterial infections.

Finding out the damn virus can be transmitted via sharing lip balm, drinking glasses and food, didn't help on the fear front. :(

This is interesting because my mom had both type I and II and she warned me for years about this, i've never shared food , silverware, or cups/bottles with anyone. I never took a drag off anyone elses cigarette or anything like that.

So after so many years of being vigilent I end up getting it and I thought ok no big deal its a minor inconvenience. Now that I'm in the 1% or what ever who have it really bad, its frustrating because its like my fear was completely realized. Make sense?

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tinks

Yup i always had this fear of all stds, i've always been particular about condoms and have gone for long periods of my life not being sexually active (and hey i love sex just with the right person). I've always been particular about getting checked out but like a lot of people didn't realise that hsv wasn't part of the standard tests.

Weird thing is about 10 years ago i had a tarot card reading and she just said off the cuff "keep your legs crossed, i see trouble there" I didn't dismiss it but i haven't lived by it (obviously). Fast forward to 2007 and hey looks what i've got?? ha:rolleyes:

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JBnATL

I have no fear of getting it somewhere else

My only concern is passing this along to someone else. So I tell each prospective partner and take suppressive meds. I have had this many years and have never passed it along.

To me this is a meaningless harmless little virus. I live a healthy life and do whatever I want.

And don't buy into the myth that you can get this from sharing lip balm, wine glasses or food. The chances of that happening are probably less than you getting struck by lightning.

Good luck!

JB

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tinks

^^^^^

Ditto i couldn't bear it if i passed it on, even though i have no animosity towards the person who gave me it.

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jericho
The truth is, what is going to happen will happen, and none of us really have any appreciable control. Control is a myth. Control is what we think we have while our lives are actually being orchestrated by fate, or whimsy, or whatever else you want to call it... "random shit" comes to mind.

it isnt very likely that you will get herpes just from drinking off someone unless they have sores or are shedding on their lips. but honestly just chill out a bit. whatever happens...happens.

I agree with both of you that there is a huge random component to life. But how many of the people here could have avoided herpes if they knew back then what they know now? I’d guess a significant percentage. And yes, it’s unlikely that I’d catch HSV from sharing lip balm or drinking glasses or food unless the other person has a sore, but in the past, I’d never even look for that, and now I would.

Of course, as ntdc’s example shows, alcohol or drugs, and as I’ve experienced, even extreme horniness, can negate the knowledge and awareness, and I’ve certainly done some stupid things under the influence that had me in STD clinics once I’d sobered up. But generally speaking, I feel that I am in a better position to not contract herpes than I was when I barely knew anything about it. The key is finding the balance, and this is where I struggle.

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jericho
Most of them yes, and I have been tested for HSV between partners since 2001 but I didnt know the specifics of the test (incubation period, sensitivity, etc...).

Are there any specifics about the test that would have been helpful to you? I get the incubation point – having a partner test 3 months after potential exposure. As for the sensitivity, I guess you’re referring to the false negatives, particularly the HSV-1 IgG test?

This is interesting because my mom had both type I and II and she warned me for years about this, i've never shared food , silverware, or cups/bottles with anyone. I never took a drag off anyone elses cigarette or anything like that.

So after so many years of being vigilent I end up getting it and I thought ok no big deal its a minor inconvenience. Now that I'm in the 1% or what ever who have it really bad, its frustrating because its like my fear was completely realized. Make sense?

I can understand this. If I were to contract the virus now, I’d certainly be more frustrated (but less panicked) than if I contracted it back when I didn’t know much about it and wasn’t taking any precautions.

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jericho
My only concern is passing this along to someone else.

I can see how that concern easily trumps the concern about catching it another location.

And don't buy into the myth that you can get this from sharing lip balm, wine glasses or food. The chances of that happening are probably less than you getting struck by lightning.

The little evidence there is suggests that this is not a myth - we know that the virus can remain viable on lip balm, glasses, and food, for some variable period of time. And we know that viable virus deposited in the oral region can cause infection.

But there doesn't seem to be any data on the efficacy of this transmission mechanism. I agree that it's not as efficient as vaginal or oral sex, but who can say with any certainty that the odds are less than getting struck by lightning?

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Now18

I have herpes now but was terrified of STDs before I contracted it. I was even terrified of getting cold-sores and was afraid to share drinks with people. I sometimes wonder if I have OCD. I know, that I would have no idea that I had the virus had I not been so paranoid about it. I do regret getting tested.

Given how common it is, I think it's just a reality/risk of sex. And it's not that dangerous of a risk. But for us perfectionistic and/or obsessive people it can be tough.

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Now18
The truth is, what is going to happen will happen, and none of us really have any appreciable control. Control is a myth. Control is what we think we have while our lives are actually being orchestrated by fate, or whimsy, or whatever else you want to call it... "random shit" comes to mind.

Go have fun. Take from life whatever joy you can, and deal with the rest as it happens. It will all work out in the end.

Exactly. You can have safe sex, you can ask your partners to be tested, but beyond that if you're going to be sexually active you cannot eliminate all risks of herpes.

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ntdc
Are there any specifics about the test that would have been helpful to you? I get the incubation point – having a partner test 3 months after potential exposure. As for the sensitivity, I guess you’re referring to the false negatives, particularly the HSV-1 IgG test?

Well it obviously would not have kept me from being infected but it would have been good to know. Basically in 2001 I got folliculitis on my penis about 2 days after having unprotected sex with someone. Of course i assumed i had contracted herpes. I went to the doctor immediately and he said it didn't look like herpes but he would go ahead and do a blood test. I accepted negative the results w/out question. Of course now I realize he administered the test incorrectly, and if i had contracted herpes I woulnd't have got a proper diagnosis. Again some years later I had concern of having contracted an STD and was immediately tested for herpes less than a week later and accepted the negative results as accurate. Why wouldn't I it was being administered by a doctor after all, you just assume they understand how to properly administer the test.

When I finally did contract herpes, of course I went to the doctor, was immediately tested, and the tests came back negative. If I had not been on antibiotics (zithromax) at the time for an ear infection I probably would have accepted the results as accurate (because I didnt have sores or anything) and gone on with my life but this time I knew it HAD to be herpes because I did not possibly have a bacterial infection. So from there I started looking into the test accuracy and discovered I had 3 doctors administer the test improperly. I found a new doctor who told me to come back when it had been 6 weeks to take the test. Because he understood proper procedures I am more willing to accept he knows what hes talking about with regard to other issues.

I can understand this. If I were to contract the virus now, I’d certainly be more frustrated (but less panicked) than if I contracted it back when I didn’t know much about it and wasn’t taking any precautions.

Of course, as ntdc’s example shows, alcohol or drugs, and as I’ve experienced, even extreme horniness, can negate the knowledge and awareness, and I’ve certainly done some stupid things under the influence that had me in STD clinics once I’d sobered up.

The difference is you have had a wake-up call. I have engaged in many dangerous/risky behaviors (less regarding sex but other things) and after many years of nothing bad happening to me when really i should be dead many times over I guess i kind of subconciously felt the odds of having anything really bad happen to me were low.

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jericho
Exactly. You can have safe sex, you can ask your partners to be tested, but beyond that if you're going to be sexually active you cannot eliminate all risks of herpes.

I agree. I guess the question I have to answer for myself is how I trade off an active sex life with multiple partners against the risk of infection.

For example, to really lower the risk, I could ask prospective partners to get tested before even kissing them. But that's not realistic. I think I have to find a balance that both I and potential partners can live with.

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jericho
When I finally did contract herpes, of course I went to the doctor, was immediately tested, and the tests came back negative. If I had not been on antibiotics (zithromax) at the time for an ear infection I probably would have accepted the results as accurate (because I didnt have sores or anything) and gone on with my life but this time I knew it HAD to be herpes because I did not possibly have a bacterial infection.

If you didn't have symptoms, how did you know that you had any type of viral infection?

The difference is you have had a wake-up call.

Exactly. And I feel very fortunate. The frustrating part is that this new knowledge doesn't do me much good if I don't curtail my sexual activity. And cutting back on sexual activity sucks! :(

And because I now know so much about HSV, I'm not likely to live in blissful ignorance if I were to contract it.

I have engaged in many dangerous/risky behaviors (less regarding sex but other things) and after many years of nothing bad happening to me when really i should be dead many times over I guess i kind of subconciously felt the odds of having anything really bad happen to me were low.

I forget the name for this phenomenon, but it is a nearly universal bias in humans. We tend to underestimate the odds of bad things happening to us, even though we are aware of the probabilities of these sorts of things happening generally. For example, the divorce rate is ~50%, but almost nobody who gets married thinks the odds *their* marriage will fail is 1 in 2.

Same thing with herpes - we can cite stats concerning prevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 to people who don't know anything about HSV until we are blue in the face, but even those who believe the figures will rationalize that the risks for them are much lower. I've discussed HSV with a few people - I don't think any of them are inclined to take any extra precautions despite learning more about HSV prevalence and infectiousness.

This applies to me as well. After I got tested and learned a lot about HSV, I was seeing a woman, and while we usually used condoms, one morning, I entered her without one because I was just so horny and wanted to feel her without the latex barrier (side note: she felt amazing!). Afterwards, logic/fear/paranoia returned, and I jumped into the shower (I know, there's no evidence that showering does anything, but it was the only thing I could do at that point).

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ntdc

If you didn't have symptoms, how did you know that you had any type of viral infection?

I didn't say I have no symptoms I just said no lesion. I had severe pain, urge to urinate constantly, discharge. A lot of STD symptoms just no lesion and no possibility of bacterial infection.

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talesofagirl

I admit I'm concerned about catching ghsv-2. I have some other female pain issues in that area, unrelated to herpes, and I just could not deal with one more thing. I won't have sex with anyone who hasn't been tested.

Of course, even with that there's a risk. Maybe he didn't wait long enough to be tested. Maybe he lied to me about when he's had sex with someone else. Maybe he's cheating on me.

But I'm going to do my best not to catch it. Thankfully, that's not something I have to worry about every day. I don't have to fear being kissed by an overzealous aunt, or sharing a drink with someone.

ntdc, have you ever thought of seeing a neurologist for your pain? Or a pain management physician (usually an anesthesiologist)?

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ntdc

Where I live the term "pain management clinic" is basically synonymous with drug pusher. There are none that I have ever heard of which are covered by insurance. Almost all of them prescribe hard core opiates or opiate analogs. Some even require you purchase them in the in-house pharmacy or they won't prescribe (ofc at highly inflated prices, none accept insurance). You have to have frequent visits which are costly and out-of-pocket. The most telling thing is almost universally these places also offer opiate detox services.

Neurologist is a good idea though no one ive talked to with similar problems has had much luck either the neurologist wont believe them (like my current doc) or they look for other causes like compressed nerve , TMJ or so forth. I grind my teeth and have been for as long as I can remember I have never had the slightest jaw pain until I contracted herpes. I know 2 friends who have been told them have TMJ (jaw pain) from grinding their teeth. Both of them get cold sores. 1 of the 2 only gets cold sores on one side of the face, and only experiences pain on that side of the face. No doctor will admit this could be caused by herpes.

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jericho
I grind my teeth and have been for as long as I can remember I have never had the slightest jaw pain until I contracted herpes. I know 2 friends who have been told them have TMJ (jaw pain) from grinding their teeth. Both of them get cold sores. 1 of the 2 only gets cold sores on one side of the face, and only experiences pain on that side of the face. No doctor will admit this could be caused by herpes.

This is why I am skeptical when people say that herpes is just a minor skin condition. While it may be just that for many, for some, like you, it is a considerably more severe condition. And as your experience suggests, there is much about the virus and herpes that medical science does not yet understand.

I wonder how the public will react if HSV is ever conclusively linked to Alzheimer's.

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ntdc
This is why I am skeptical when people say that herpes is just a minor skin condition. While it may be just that for many, for some, like you, it is a considerably more severe condition. And as your experience suggests, there is much about the virus and herpes that medical science does not yet understand.

Very true but its not much to worry about. TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia are pretty unusual conditions. If they are related to herpes, the odds of developing this kind of compliaction are low. Conversely the odds of dying in a transportation accident are 1/77. Should you never leave the house? Its just nto worth worry about such minor edge-cases. Also remember this board and others are likely to have a dispropritionate number of people who are severely impacted.

I wonder how the public will react if HSV is ever conclusively linked to Alzheimer's.

The link is probably as conclusive as it will ever be. Right now they know that certain genetic factors strongly determine your likelyhood to get alzheimer's. HSV-1 infection in combination with the so-called Alzheimer's gene (APOe4) is considered to be a significantly raised risk of it. However some of those with the genetic factor who are HSV-1 negative go on to develop the disease, as well the the obvious observation that many who have HSV-1 without the alzheimers gene do not develop alzheimers. It probably plays a role and may aggrivate the condition but there is far from a smoking gun. It is likely that there simply may be other variables at play including other genetic factors or HSV-1 strain variants, who knows. To me it is more likely they will find a treatment for the disease before a link is found.

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Now18
For example, to really lower the risk, I could ask prospective partners to get tested before even kissing them. But that's not realistic. I think I have to find a balance that both I and potential partners can live with.

True. I think that asking to test partners before you kiss them and then additionally excluding anyone who has either HSV1 and HSV2, your dating life would be a lot more difficult than if you did have genital herpes.

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jericho
True. I think that asking to test partners before you kiss them and then additionally excluding anyone who has either HSV1 and HSV2, your dating life would be a lot more difficult than if you did have genital herpes.

:lol:

Yeah, that's unreasonable. I think I have to bite the bullet on kissing, at least on the first or second date. Maybe after the first couple of dates, I can ask about cold sores. And then request testing before engaging in sex. But even that's going to be tough - if things get hot and heavy, and we are in the mood, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to resist sex. But I can certainly resist receiving or giving oral the first couple of times.

I don't know, just trying to map out a game plan.

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anthony123

From my own experience, I've yet seen the classic herpes outbreak

(thankful for that) but I've been experiencing those podrome symptoms

as far back as 4-5 years ago. Of course I've only started keeping

track of these strange sensations in the last 12 months after getting

my results from a blood test. To date, I still don't know where my

site of infection is but I am assuming both since I have both type I

and II.

My suggestion? Go get tested and then you can trully move on. Herpes

is no big deal really but you can only start believing in that after

you know you have it, not before. Good luck!

Regards,

anthony

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