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First herpes outbreak at 24. Need support from people who understand.


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Hello everyone. I just found out officially that I have HSV-2, but have heavily suspected/known I've had herpes in general for about a month now. Within a few days of the outbreak, I went to Planned Parenthood and saw a doctor. Just from doing an examination and listening to my symptoms, she could tell that's what I had. I have told my friends, my dad, and my therapist, but have resisted joining a forum because I thought I was dealing with it pretty well by not dwelling on it too often. Honestly, I'm not. It comes and goes in waves, but when I do feel bad about it, it's unbearable, and when I start to cry about it, I feel like I'll never stop.

Although I know the virus can be in your system for years before an outbreak, I am fairly sure that I got it from a stranger I met while out drinking one night. We used protection, but I read that most of the time the symptoms will appear in a week or two, and it was almost exactly a week later. This is the only time I have ever done anything like that and I regret it so much. I can't help but feel angry with him for giving it to me even if it was due to his own ignorance. To me, that's no excuse because I don't think anyone should be sexually active if they aren't getting tested. I have been very conscious of my own sexual health and have been getting tested semi regularly so I'm devastated that even while being careful I still caught something so serious.

My outbreak was only a couple weeks, but the first few days were agonizing. I was in so much pain that everything hurt-moving, sitting, peeing, etc. It kept me up at night and it was hard to enjoy myself (I was visiting friends out of state at the time). I tried to get through it with optimism and humor, but it only goes so far. I've been feeling hopeless, unlovable, unworthy, inadequate, self loathing, and depressed. When I told my ex (we're still close even though we broke up over a year ago), he told me it was a deal breaker for ever being together again and said tonight that finding out I had herpes made me unattractive to him. It made me feel terrible about myself, like I'm disgusting and anything about me that was worthy before suddenly doesn't matter or count and will never be enough for anybody to want me, love me, or want to be with me again. The funny thing is, I'm kind of involved with somebody else who loves me and I feel the same about. He knows about it, and it doesn't bother him, yet I still find myself worrying that he's going to change his mind. I feel like he deserves better because I feel like I am less than I was before. Granted, even before this happened, I already had abandonment and trust issues from past traumas, but I feel like this has only increased them and my insecurities tenfold, especially after someone I was involved with for 3 years reacting the way he did. Don't get me wrong, he's been supportive overall as a friend, but it's complicated. He's trying to move on, but I still have feelings for him so my emotions are still deeply intertwined with things that go on with him (which is probably another issue in itself).

I just feel like nobody truly understands how it is and it makes me feel so lonely and isolated. Talking to people I know only helps so much because they don't really know what to say. It's all an abstract concept for them, but for me, it's reality. My new life. I feel like nothing can be casual for me anymore-not my health, not my sex life, not my relationships. I feel okay about it most of the time because without the outbreaks, it doesn't really effect my life, but just knowing about it is enough to rock my world. I'm already prone to depression and anxiety as it is and this has only fueled it. I had low self esteem for a LONG time and finally felt like I overcame it until this happened. Now I feel like I'm back to square one. I am finally feeling sexual again which is great because at the time of my outbreak I felt like I never would again, but I still have a lot of fear surrounding when I finally do have sex again because I'm afraid of passing it on and it effecting my sex life in general.

Please give me advice or reassurance. I don't want to feel like this forever. Sorry this was really long and all over the place, but I'm obviously still trying to process everything. 

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Hi there, you have come to right place.  The people here are the best.

There is nothing wrong with having herpes, no matter where you have it.  Anyone who has ever had mono has herpes.  Anyone who has ever had chicken pox has herpes.  Anyone who has had a cold sore has herpes.  90% of all adults carry this virus in one form or another.  How can a virus that almost everyone lives with be "so serious"?

Can you be responsible for someone else's ignorance about this?  Your ex who said it was a 'deal breaker' obviously knows nothing about it, and probably has the virus himself.  

I have been on this website daily for over 6 years and have chatted with thousands of Herpsters and many of them have told me that getting genital herpes changed their lives for the better.  Learn all you can about what you have and you will realize it isn't a big deal.  Be thankful that he did not give you the flu virus.  That sucker kills 30,000 a year so next to that this is nothing.

Good luck!




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Hey there,

Maybe this will help you to seek help for your depression,anxiety and low self esteem? i believe seeking help for those issues will help reduce the uneasiness of having herpes.There are millions of people who have HIV, and many other diseases and they all have partners. If someone only wants to interact with you based on what they can do to you physically, then thats pretty sad and that relationship wont last very long. You want to be with someone who can offer you things others cant.Anyway can give you sex etc. A guy who adores you for you, your personality, will find a way around this issue. You can still have sex, just not during outbreaks, take your medication, reduce stress ( aka stay away from the ex), and learn to look after yourself. Take care. 

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Thanks for the support.

I have been getting help for my depression and anxiety as well as other issues, but they always take a turn for the worse during stressful life events i.e. right now. 

You're totally right though. He's obviously not the right person for me and it is pretty shallow..especially when there are ways around it.

Still feeling anxious and depressed about it though. :c And now I'm worried I'm having my first recurrent outbreak even though it's only been a couple weeks since my last one. Is that even possible? I only think so because I found one 'lesion' on my lip and I'm not feeling well. It doesn't really look anything like the sores from last time, more like a pimple, ingrown hair, or scrape, but I heard that can happen. Also just finished my period and I heard menstruation can trigger an outbreak. Am I just being paranoid? And if it is one does this mean that I'm going to have outbreaks all the time? I know stress isn't going to help but the idea of that makes me stress out a lot ugh.

Edited by moondust
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Well hopefully what you have now isn't an outbreak, but if you did just acquire the virus then your immune system is busy creating antibodies to fight the virus and that can take a few months.  So until you have the antibodies built up, you can have back to back outbreaks.  Some women do complain they get outbreaks during their monthly periods, but I believe they are in a minority.  Can you to a doctor to get a professional medical opinion on if this is another outbreak?  Typically subsequent outbreaks do look like the first but are not a severe and they are shorter in duration.  It would help you to find out that you may be worrying about this over nothing.

Do you have any pets?  Did you know that humans aren't the only animals that can get a virus called herpes?  Most vertebrate animals can.  Dogs, cats, horses and even penguins can get a virus called herpes.  Its not exactly the same kind as ours but it is still a common virus and they usually treat them with lysine.  I swear there is a beluga whale here at the Georgia Aquarium that gets cold sores :)

I hope you feel better soon!


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  • 2 weeks later...

I did end up going to a doctor and she reassured me that I would be aware if it was an actual outbreak. Convinced now it wasn't. I also asked her about taking suppressant pills and she said she didn't think it was necessary unless I was older, had an immune system deficiency, or it had been long enough that I knew I was getting frequent outbreaks. So that made me feel better.

I do have two dogs and I didn't know that, but I did know they can get STIs so I guess that does make sense!

It's been about a month and a half now and I don't let it bother me as much. Maybe I'll feel differently during my next outbreak, but I barely think about it because nothing has been happening and I don't feel any different. Haven't spoken to my ex in almost two weeks and I'm okay with it. Still have plenty of people in my life who don't see my any differently.

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