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This is my story... sad, ashamed, depressed... how could I have let this happen...


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This all started my first year in college. I was always popular with the girls as close friends, someone that they could tell their deepest and inner most secrets. I however never really had been romantically involved with anyone up until my first year in college. I was driving home late one night from somewhere, can't remember exactly and had to stop at a Dunkin Donuts to pick up a hot chocolate so I could make it the rest of the way home. I walked inside and there was a rather cute girl working behind the counter who was full of energy and was sweet as could be. We got talking and we sat down at one of the tables since it was 3am and the place was quiet. We instantly hit it off and I picked up her number. I was so excited with the thought of my first real relationship, serious relationship.

I know this sounds pathetic at this point for my end but oh well. So we started meeting up and hanging out and she was a ton of fun. We started going places together and just enjoying each others company. I soon however realized that she wasn't really my type but I wasn't sure. I just enjoyed hanging out. We were sitting on the couch one night watching a movie when she randomly asked if we were technically together or not. I was kind of caught like a deer in the headlights. My first mistake was to say "I dunno, I guess?" I could tell my response made her happy though and that made me happy. I like making people happy.

Let me also say that I was always one that wanted to wait until they were sure the person they were with was the one they wanted to spend their life with. I had waited 19 years to not have sex and didn't plan on anything happening with this new girl either. Well needless to say a few weeks into the "relationship" she told me how she had been raped at a party the year before and had herpes. I was shocked of course but it didn't bother me because I didn't think I was going to let anything happen with this girl anyway. I told her that it didn't bother me and that I was ok with it. Deep down though it did bother me but I liked the companionship and the thought of falling asleep at night with her thinking of me. I am a meticulous, safe, risk free person that researches everything to death before I commit to something... and this is something I didn't. She told me how it's really only spread during an outbreak and that as long as condoms were used, I was safe. I trusted this and on top of my thinking that I wasn't going to let anything happen, I was fine with it. I really didn't think anything was ever going to happen.

About a month into the relationship, we were making out and things got hot and heavy and she was on top of me and asked me if we wanted to do it. In my gut I didn't want to... I wasn't ready. But I blew it off like it was nothing and said "yeah sure, whatever." I blew it off like it was nothing even though I didn't want it to happen. I didn't want to but my head wasn't in the right place. I just didn't want to loose her by saying no... and didn't want her to feel like something was wrong with her. I know now in hindsight that she probably would have been fine with wanting to wait. I was young and stupid though and I fear I paid for my poor decisions. I let it happen over and over again over the next few months before I finally put a stop to it. Always used a condom except once when the condom broke and I instantly pulled out. Somehow later on in the relationship, I found out that she had never been tested for HIV. I was so mad... I asked her early on if she had been tested for everything and she said yes. I felt so betrayed... she simply said that her friend didn't have it so she assumed she didn't. She assumed this since her and her friend were both raped in the same night at the same party by the same guy and both had contracted herpes. Her friend had tested multiple times for HIV and always came back negative. Even so... I got so scared at that point and didn't want to be in the relationship anymore. I realized that I only was in the relationship because I liked having a companion and a girlfriend. I knew months before I broke up with her that I didn't actually want to spend my life with her.

I broke up with her and we remained friends. I however did freak out that I screwed myself and had probably ruined my life. So I waited 6 months and went to my doctor and said I wanted to be tested for STD's. I had HIV, Ghon, Syph, Chlamid... the works done. Everything came back negative. I was so relieved. I however am such a compulsive person, I realized after the fact that Herpes isn't something commonly tested for and you have to specifically request it. At this point, I had found the love of my life who I am still with. I love this girl with all my heart and she loves me and all I wanted was a normal relationship with her where we didn't have to worry about anything like that. She was the type who wanted to wait until marriage anyways. I ended up putting off the Herpes test since I hadn't shown any signs of it and I remember my ex telling me that if you had it, you will show symptoms within a few weeks. I had never shown symptoms so I thought I was safe. Eight months into my new relationship with the love of my life, I saw a red dot on my thigh, about midway down. I freaked out and went back to the doctor and asked for a blood test for Herpes. I didn't research which ones to request at that point, I just simply asked for a blood test. The wait for the results was the hardest thing in my life, I ended up calling up my girlfriend at 3am crying my eyes out saying that my life was over and nobody would want to be with me. That I was going to loose her and I was so stupid. I was so stupid about my past decisions. How I wasn't true to myself and didn't stick up for me. How I put myself in such a risky situation. The blood test came back negative and I was so relieved. I felt like I had been given a new lease life. That I made a mistake multiple times and got away with it. I had learned my lesson about being true to myself and standing up for what I believed in and what I wanted to do.

Things were great for the next couple of years. Nothing could have brought me down, my relationship with Carolyn, the love of my life, was still going strong. We had truly found true love. Roughly two years into the relationship, we started having sex. I didn't force anything on her, I knew she wanted to wait until marriage but she felt like she had met the man of her dreams and I felt like I had met the woman of mine as well. We used condoms at first but then she told me that it felt so much better without them. She was on birth control and we were very careful. Life was perfect... I had a great relationship both emotional and physical at this point. Fast forward to early October 2010. I was sitting in my statistical analysis class in my senior year of college as a Civil Engineer and I get a text from Carolyn telling me she got the results from her PAP test and it came back abnormal and she has an STD. The STD was HPV apparently. I absolutely flipped out... Carolyn was a virgin before me so it had to come from me. I had no idea what it was and was so scared for her. The thought of me doing anything to hurt this girl absolutely tears me up inside. I left my class early and went back to my room to jump on the laptop and start researching what HPV was exactly. I found that it was transmitted the same way Herpes is, skin to skin contact.

I researched the hell out of HPV, that there is no test for males and that there was nothing I could have done to have known I had it. That made me feel better about that, what didn't make me feel good was the fact I had it even though I used protection with my ex. That and the fact it was transmitted the same was as Herpes. I started freaking out that maybe my test missed it or I didn't have a good test done. I started researching all the different tests there were and I though my doctor probably ordered one of the lesser accurate blood tests. About a week after hearing the news about HPV from my girlfriend, I started having a tingling on the head of my penis and I just shrugged it off as just irritation from chaffing or something. It kept getting worse though, bad enough to the point where it was really uncomfortable to walk. I also had lower back pain for a couple of days when this all started and thought maybe I did it at work. However at this point, I also had researched the hell out of Herpes and my symptoms were matching up. I was so scared... I thought in my head that yup! I got screwed... I screwed myself because I was stupid and didn't listen to myself. I had frequent urination and the discomfort was terrible. This started in early October... the month of my birthday. What a crappy way to start my favorite row of months. I went to the doctors and told him all my symptoms, he took a urine sample and a made a prostate exam and diagnosed me as having prostatitis. He said he didn't really find any bacteria in my urine but put me on Ciprofloxacin for a month. I made it two weeks before I felt like it wasn't helping me. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating. I was so depressed... I was convinced that I had herpes. I was convinced that I was having a mild outbreak without sores. The discomfort and redness lasted well into November. I went back to the doctors and told him that I thought it was Herpes and asked him which blood test I had done. He told me IgG for HSV-1 and HSV-2. I was relieved but at the same time wanted to get the blood test again. He let me go get it and in the meantime, prescribed me some anti fungal cream. I went and had the blood drawn and used the anti fungal cream for the prescribed two weeks. I didn't see much of an improvement if any over that time span. The tests came back negative again. I was just beside myself. I had done a lot of reading on the tests and found that there are a small percentage of people that simply wont be detected on the commonly offered blood tests and that there are a lot of cases of this happening.

I had lost 10 pounds of weight at this point which is alot for me since I am a thin guy to begin with at only 130 pounds and 5'9". I was miserable and also began thinking about HIV again since I had gotten tested for that at 6 months. That some people take longer than that to be detectable. I had what I felt were symptoms because I was very sick feeling. I had headaches, I felt weak which may have been due to not eating, I was very achy. I just felt like things were lining up and that not only did I screw myself with Herpes, I screwed myself with HIV. I also started freaking about HIV. I went and had that test done again and it too came back negative. These negative results weren't making me feel better though since I felt like I was going to be that one guy that just doesn't show up on these tests. Like I said, I read many cases where people show negative on the blood tests but positive on the swab or positive on the western blot. So anyways, it's mid November and I had finished my anti fungal cream but still had irritation. I felt like maybe it was all in my head and that excess perspiration had maybe caused a lot of the irritation even though it didn't explain the pain on the head of my penis. I picked up a dermatologist moisturizing cream and began heavily applying it to my scrotum and penis. It actually seemed to help but in the back of my mind, I felt like maybe it was the end of the outbreak. A couple of days into applying the moisturizing cream, I noticed a bunch of red dots on my inner upper thighs say where my scrotum would rub against my thighs. I remember that I was on the phone with Carolyn when I found them... I instantly reverted back to Herpes and that yup. Here come the sores. She told me that sometimes your skin can react to moisturizer and that I needed to calm down. I tried to but couldn't help it. Either way I immediately stopped applying the moisturizer and the red dots seemed to go away over the next few days. It seemed like the redness on my penis was going away as well. When the red dots started to go away after no moisturizer, I felt like maybe she was right. Maybe the moisturizers dampness along with the chaffing from my legs caused the skin reaction. Fast forward to Thanksgiving morning. I am getting ready to take a shower and notice that the skin on my inner thighs where the red dots were is like flaking, same with my penis head. I thought... moisturizer for sure couldn't cause my skin to dye and then flake off.

I continued to have penis head discomfort until recently actually. It's early December and I am finally feeling somewhat normal again. I don't have the pain or discomfort when walking. I am however convinced that it was a herpes outbreak and I screwed myself and possibly my girlfriend. I have done everything any sane person could at detecting any STD but I feel like it just makes sense to be it. My ex girlfriend HAD it... and I showed symptoms of a mild outbreak. That it can be triggered by stress which I had lots of when it all started. I have an appointment with an infectious disease specialist two days before Christmas... oh brother. I plan on requesting the Western blot test done for both Herpes and HIV and hopefully this will put the issue to bed. I just am so sure that I screwed myself. All the evidence makes sense in my head yet everyone keeps telling me that I am fine. If I am fine... why did nothing work to make me feel better. I am so scared that I did indeed screw myself. I don't want to deal with this for the rest of my life and I should have made wiser choices in my past. I should have realized the gravity of the situation and the risk I was putting myself into. I just felt like it would never happen to me.

The main thing that is killing me is that I felt like I had put this all behind me once before. That I had taken all the tests... they came back negative and I thought I was fine! That was years ago... I had put all my ill feelings towards myself deep down and realized that I had gotten away with it. Now years later... I have to deal with all of this AGAIN! I feel like I am getting screwed here. I never should have let those things happen. I was so young and stupid. I knew what I wanted and knew I wanted to wait. I let all those things happen anyway so many times because she liked doing that.

I have talked to Carolyn many times about it... and she has been so supportive of me. I love this girl with all my heart. She tells me how she fell in love with me as a whole and that it wouldn't change how she feels about me. I am so happy she is there for me... I just never wanted anything like this to be a part of our relationship. I don't want to have to worry about spreading it to her, if I haven't already god forbid. I feel like never having sex again... that I don't deserve her. I feel like if it comes back that I do indeed have Herpes on the Western blot and she doesn't... that I should let her go and find someone that she won't have to worry about that with. I wish I had just found Carolyn first... she is so perfect for me. We are perfect for each other... we were truly meant to be together. I hate that I brought all this worry and stress into the relationship because I couldn't keep it in my pants. One girl... one girl I had let things happen with before I realized that it wasn't for me. I am sure I have this... I hate not knowing for one... I hate the thought of taking suppressive therapy for the rest of my life... and I hate the thought of never knowing when I am going to wake up and have blisters on my penis. I am so scared.

I hate the whole situation... I was so stupid. I just felt like I needed to share this with you. My family has been very supportive of me. My girlfriend has been very supportive. I wish I just took the decision to have sex with that last girl more seriously. I wish I weighed the long term consequences more seriously... and I didn't. I always think things through before I do them... and that I didn't. I think that I made a mistake that is going to follow me for the rest of my life. I really am trying to think positive but it is so hard for me. I really have had some bad days lately.

I guess I have a few questions for you guys.

If my first outbreak took three years to show up... and was mild. What are the chances that I won't have another for years and will it probably be mild as well?

I am so scared... I hate the uncertainty. I hate the thought that I might have hurt Carolyn. I love this girl... I only want what's best for her.

Thanks for listening. Sorry this was so long.


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Wow, that's deep. My story (which I will create a thread for later) is somewhat similar.

Question for you:

All the information available on herpes shows that high stress is one of the major causes of an outbreak. Were you experiencing an unusually large amount of stress prior to your first outbreak? (before you noticed you were breaking out)

Was anything exceedingly stressful going on in your life at the time?

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In my story, I pointed to when I found out about my girlfriends PAP smear test for HPV. That stressed me out beyond belief and is when I started having my issues down below the belt. The only thing stressful in my life was finding out about HPV and that I had it and gave it to the love of my life.


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I'm really not convinced that you have either HSV 1 or HSV 2. Your IGg tests have come back negative twice within the last three years, and these are very definitive tests. As for you girlfriend's HPV, please know that while it is upsetting to have (and think that you might have given it to her), it is also very common in the general population. If she has a good immune system, she will most likely clear the virus in 1-2 years. Dan, please don't be hard on yourself. You have done nothing wrong. The girl you described in your first relationship was someone you obviously cared about, and you took all the precautions you thought were necessary to prevent you from getting HSV. Though condoms don't necessarily prevent the spread of the virus, they help decrease the likeliehood that it will be spread. Also, I don't mean for this to sound condescending, but your recent girlfriend is an adult who made her own informed decision to become sexually active with you. You sound as if you are totally blaming yourself for everything, but don't forget that there are two of you in this relationship that are making informed decisions. I applaud your honesty, and also your willingness to accept your first girlfriend for who she was as a sweet, warm person, despite the fact that she had herpes. You are going to be okay! :)

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I did give it to her... there is no question. She was not sexually active before me and we have been together for three years. The doctors think she is going to be ok from it and that it will clear up on it's own. It's the simple fact that I have HPV which is spread the same way that HSV is spread. Couple that with the fact my symptoms can match up for what appears to be HSV and nothing else seems to be panning out for an explanation. I am blaming myself for everything... I try not to. I just always said to myself in health classes that I was never gonna be one to put myself in that situation of ever getting an std. I told myself that it just was never gonna happen to me. I also wanted to wait longer into a relationship until I was sure it was right... and I should have done that even more so with a girl that I knew had HSV. I just... feel so foolish that I am going to possibly have to live with horrible blisters and pain on the thing that gives me alot of my self confidence about myself. I have lately been trying to think really positive and that I can't let it define who I am, that there are plenty of reasons I am a good person and plenty of reasons why Carolyn loves me. I just never wanted this to be a part of my life or relationship. I just... kick myself so hard for letting this happen... that I will always have to worry if tomorrow is gonna be another outbreak. I am a person that thinking like that will be horrible for me but I won't be able to help it. I just wish I could go back in time and tell my ex... no I wasn't comfortable with that yet. I would never have to deal with this. I just wish I stuck to my guns of waiting until I really knew I found someone special. Instead I threw it away like it was no big deal and then on top of that... possibly contracted H. I'm so disappointed in myself... and I am just scared for Carolyn... I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to her. And I fear the damage may already have been done. Everyone is telling me I don't have it... that the tests tell me I don't... and I would believe it... like I did the first time when I first got tested if I never had any major symptoms. However I have had many of the symptoms of mild outbreak. Maybe some of the symptoms were in my head... but a painful penis head that is red, with a red scrotum that is wet, raw, and sweaty with something... was almost like goopy. Those symptoms aren't in my head and can't be caused by me over thinking about things. People are saying it's almost like I want H... I really don't... I just feel like that's what it is. I just want a definitive answer... knowing there are people that don't show up on the blood tests makes me nervous. I am going to demand to get a Western Blot done and that should hopefully settle it one way or the other. I just want closure. I had closure before... and then this all came right back up again years later. I just... don't even know what to do anymore. I am trying so hard to stay positive about life... I just wanted a normal one that wouldn't involve bad things happening on my genitals. I should have taken the decision to have sex so much more seriously. I didn't though... and I feel like I am paying for it now.

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    • sgt98
      Hey @WilsoInAus ok thank you, I will do my best to move on and stop trawling forums haha. 
    • WilsoInAus
      Hey @sgt98 but there is no feasible infection or outbreak to suppress and antivirals do not suppress an initial outbreak in any event 
    • sgt98
      Thanks @WilsoInAus I understand apologies for this but the only other thing I am worried about is that I did take a course of Famvir on day 1 as I felt like I was having an outbreak of cold sores and am worried that has suppressed the initial outbreak genitally 
    • WilsoInAus
      Hi @sgt98 it is not feasible to obtain a HSV-2 infection from receiving oral sex - only HSV-1 is feasible but you've already got that and immunity from any further infection with HSV-1. You do not need any further tests for HSV. You're feeling regret, try to forgive yourself and calm down, let the rational take over. You know the answer here and it won't be long until you believe it too.
    • WilsoInAus
      Hi @NerdP423 and welcome to the website. You raise a lot of points and I think the best way to address your concerns is add some comments at each key point. I've copied your note again below and added these comments in square brackets. I appreciate any insight (even speculation) as to what has been going on with me. I'm a 37y/o M. I last was intimate with a new partner on 2/11/2022, and a few days later started having a huge amount of discomfort in my face. [The first thing that happens though is that herpes causes lesions or at least some skin based disruption. Other symptoms are then related to the actions of the immune system responding to the virus. Without lesions, it is highly questionable that the ailment is related to herpes, yet testing is useful if you have concerns as you have done so.] About a month after that [herpes causes issues within days, if the first 'symptoms' are a month later - its extremely unlikely they are related to herpes], significant discomfort downstairs, however every test I have ever taken for HSV 1 and 2 has been negative. Here are the details: Face: Previously, some significant tingling and itching on the right side of my mouth, lips and chin (still there, but milder) [herpes does not cause general tingling and itching, it can cause a reasonably concentrated feeling of itch/throb from which a herpes lesion appears within hours]. Occasional hot flashes near my right eye, cheek and ear [herpes does not do this, it may be a immune response to something, or stress]. Sometimes it will feel like the skin is crawling on the right side of my face [herpes does not cause a general crawling sensation]. Never seen anything that looked like a traditional cold sore [that's extremely telling, even people with associated atypical symptoms will have experienced herpes lesions]. Occasionally, the left side of my face will have a momentary feeling of skin crawling, but it's so mild that I am not really worried about it. Downstairs: Thankfully, most of these are now milder than they were before. Occasional momentary pinch of pain at the base of my genitals. [herpes does not cause a general pinch feeling.] Aching pain in my boxer area (groin, leg folds) [nor this] Occasional feeling of cold in my boxer area, butt, or lower back. ( also in my shins and occasionally even my arms) [nor this] On 4/30/2022, I had been in discomfort for almost two months. I scratched an itch, noticed it hurt, and then checked - I did have an open ulcer down there. Took myself to the ER to get swabbed, came back negative. [If this was a PCR then this will be very conclusive.] Practitioner said it may come back negative because it was already open. However the lab report noted that it definitely didn't look like what you'd expect a typical first herpes outbreak to look like [how would the lab know??]. All blood tests negative so far. I had two western blots, the second one was nine months after exposure. [Two negative Westernblots!!! Many that's real convincing]. All other swabs also negative. I went to urgent care, because I know the timeliness of when the Swab is taken matters. One time, a swab was not done, because practitioner said it was folliculitis and wouldn't swab it (It was at my belt line). [Belt line is highly unlikely to relate to herpes.]   A blood test revealed I had low-ish B12 (technically in range, but at the very low end, especially for a man of my size). I had a series of B12 injections, and I am taking a B12 supplement. I am not taking any lysine or arginine at the moment. I was taking the Arganine to see if I could induce an outbreak. [This is irrelevant, there is no known linkage between herpes outbreaks and arginine/lysine intake - its a myth - and B12 infers nothing.] I think what I am asking is - has anyone here ever repeatedly tested negative over and over again over long period of time, before getting a definitive answer, be a positive test, or something else? [The answer to this is: Extremely few people with a HSV-1 infection and even more rarely HSV-2 test repeatedly negative on Westernblot and actually carry the virus. Of the cases that I know of that had delayed detection by a swab and negative blood tests in the meantime (and that's only 3-4 cases), they had some form of lesions within days of infection but did not obtain a swab for various reasons and then obtained a positive swab of a subsequent lesion with the record being 11 months later. A couple of the cases did have some 'background' symptoms they thought might be related to herpes but that isn't ascertained and some did not have any unusual symptoms at all apart from the lesions. Hence as you did not have lesions around your mouth or lips within days of the last sexual encounter as is exceptionally common for a primary oral HSV-1 infection, that pretty much rules out herpes orally as it is. The fact that you had no genital symptoms for a month also rules out genital herpes. I am not aware of anyone at all who has genuinely gone on to test positive by swab or blood in your specific circumstances. There are hundreds if not more than a thousand experiences on this website alone that are similar to yours that are truly negative for herpes I'm one of them!]  
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