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Newly Diagnosed: my story


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As I write this I'm still in disbelief. How is it that my life was flipped upside down during such a wonderful weekend? I may never understand what events led me to where I am today but I'm constantly going over my life to find some answers and possibly some comfort.

I was going to ski for the first time in my life and stay at my boyfriends cabin. We've been growing closer over the course of our now 8 mo relationship and I saw this as another milestone. A weekend away with my boyfriend at his cabin. Skiing was difficult but he encouraged me and stayed with me all day. I had taken many falls and was pretty banged up. I even recall taking the ski release to my situation a few times. By the end of the day I was taking a nice warm shower and he wandered into the bathroom with more words of encouragement, making me feel accomplished on my first day of skiing. On day two my body was spent and I decided the bar was the best place for me to park it. I enjoyed a few cocktails to ease my sore body and before I knew it we were back at the cabin. My boyfriend showered and I laid on the bed relaxing. When he finished and entered the room i was excited at the prospect of having sex with him. I had my monthly visit and it was coming to an end so i figured why not? We had sex and I thought the lack of moisture was due to my period ending. I wasn't feeling 100% in that area but we had sex, including oral, a few more times over the weekend. By Monday I was in too much pain to have sex, even though we tried. I chopped it up to the bad fall on my ski release and irritation from sex without enough lube. That night it hurt when I peed. I went into work on Tuesday and was in serious pain. I went home grabbed a mirror and checked for anything unusual. I saw some tearing near my urethra and assumed it was again caused by not enough lube. To be safe I made an appt with my ob gyn for the next day. By wed I wanted to scream when I peed. I went to the doctor for my exam and it was by far the most painful experience of my entire life. The doctor noticed a few red bumps, which I hadn't prior, and said it could be herpes. My heart sank. I had been with my boyfriend for nearly 8 months faithfully. I couldn't believe my ears. I went home after the appointment awaiting the results on pins and needles. I couldn't stop going over it in my head. By Thursday I had informed two friends of the possibility and turned to them for reassurance and comfort. While discussing I checked my email and had new lab results back from my doctor. My heart was racing. When I saw the results I couldn't breathe: HSV -1 isolated. How? Who? When? Before my current boyfriend I had only been with two guys in the last two years. The last guy and I had slept together a few months before I met my boyfriend and we were good friends before and after we initially slept together a year plus before. He's never had any issues. The other guy is a friend of a friend and I would've heard something. After I get over the initial shock I begin to focus on my current relationship and how everything that was so promising just a few days before could now be lost forever. I wanted to punch myself for finally allowing myself to feel something real for him after the train wreck of a relationship I had 3 years prior that i was just recovering from. How could I tell him I was hsv1 positive?*

You go through so many emotions with something like a positive herpes diagnosis. I still have trouble saying it out loud. The stigma you face is unlike anything I've experienced in my life. And the self loathing, regret and shame is astonishing. I kept feeling like I did something wrong even though I never slept around or had any previous positive STD tests. my friends who were there to comfort me had to remind me not to take on the blame, that in fact my boyfriend could be just as responsible and when it comes down to it don't cast blame, just deal with it. I tried to let that thought absorb into my useless brain but I still felt terrible. I would never want to do anything to hurt my boyfriend and the mere fact that if he wasn't the cause he was more than likely already infected since we had sex without protection in the past (since it was exclusive) and specifically the weekend of my first outbreak.*

The following day my bead was spinning and I still had to confront my boyfriend with the news. I can recall getting into a cab and my heart was racing. I didn't cry, although I was verging on tears when he buzzed me into his apartment. I walked up two flights of stairs to his door holding back tears, trying to self soothe, telling myself I wouldn't cry when I told him. I opened the door to his unlocked apartment and my eyes watered. He could see I was in a bad place and pulled me to the sofa for a heart to heart. I needed a moment to calm myself and then told him that i have a rash caused by a virus, I have herpes. The words were shocking even for me to hear. He looked at me and I could feel his heart racing. He asked me if I had cheated, which i hadn't, and there was silence. I explained to him the type I had usually presents in the mouth but was located in my lady area. That the virus can stay doormat in your body for months or years before presenting itself. He told me that his family has had a history of cold sores but he hadn't had one in over a year and had STD testing before we slept together and was clear but assumed maybe it could've been him that passed it to me. From there he needed a moment, and I was hanging on to my sanity by thread waiting to see how he would react to being with me knowing i had the virus. He went to his fridge, opened a beer and sat on his balcony. I left him be for a while and when he returned i asked him if he wanted to speak to my doctor, if he had questions for me and how he felt about me. He told me not to worry about us, that he was just confused and *wanted to speak with his doctor. He's since been to his doctor and awaiting test results.

At this point I have mini breakdowns because I want to be with him physically and he wants to be with me but I'm not sure when it will be safe again. I also don't know since he has type 1 orally if I can give it to him genitally. I'm now nearing two weeks since the first outbreak and I feel better physically but my mental health has been impacted greatly. I broke down in tears last night because he wanted to have sex, even if we had to use condoms, but I had to tell him I wasn't sure the outbreak has passed and that even with a condom and no infection I could pass it. He said e didn't care but I told him he has to be comfortable with the fact that at some point I could give it to him and it would be for life. I'm just so worried about losing him and I love him dearly. Ugh! Just looking for words of encouragement and guidance. I have a call into my doctor for more info. My mind is racing...

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If your boyfriend has had cold sores in the past you most likely has HSV 1 and can transfer it even when no symptoms are present. Also 25% of people have HSV2 and only 25-50% even know. Wait for those test results...that will help. It is quite possible he did have a full STD screening before you started dating but this type of screening very seldom includes a test for herpes...unfortunately. Herpes can also lay dormant for a long time...so you could have had this for awhile without showing symptoms...so your tests will help you know what you have.

If you have type 1 genitally firstly, it is by its location a weaker virus...it is outside its preferred home and generally less virulent and sheds less without symptoms. Secondly if he has oral hsv 1 he already has antibodies...these will give him 50% protection from HSV 2 and a much higher level from hsv 1--he could possible catch it genitally but those two reasons make it very, very unlikely. Condoms also decrease the risk of transference by between 40-50% and males get herpes from woman less frequently than the other way around and are more often asymptomatic (sucks being a woman sometimes!). So to start with the risk is between 8-10%...condoms are taking that down to 4%...but that is for hsv 2 in its preferred location...so all those other things are also going to decrease that risk. Even if he does get it he will have a high chance of not showing symptoms.

All of that info is useful...but the one crucial fact is...he has spoken to his dr...he know what the risk is and he has said he doesn't care. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be--he wants you, he knows what you have...the next step in resuming your relationship is for you to accept that and stop worrying and enjoy your man!

Don't let the herpes stigma get you down...that is for small minded people. This is just a virus...it has no right to ruin you life, or your relationship.

Good luck, stay strong :-)

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      Hello "NerdP423"..... well, you've certainly covered all your bases as it relates to testing for herpes.  And without question, the answer is clearly "No" you do not have HSV2.  Two Western blots and multiple swabs and IgG tests are all telling you the same thing... you don't have HSV2.  Also, almost all your symptoms are not remotely related to herpes.  I have not heard of anyone taking over a year, in spite of multiple testing, before they finally come up positive.... it makes no sense. I fear you may be obsessing on this virus and have somehow convinced yourself you have it.... despite your myriad of testing that says otherwise.  You need to try and calm your mind down as it relates to this virus.  If the symptoms you listed are still of concern, you should pursue answers from a doctor but, pushing for an HSV2 answer makes no sense at this point..... I hope you get some clarification on your symptoms but, again, you clearly already have your answer as it relates to HSV2.   Best of luck.
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