Jump to content

Just joined and here is my (rather long) story


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I'm a 48 year old white male who was diagnosed (sort of) more than 15 years ago, but I don't really know how long ago it was as I didn't make a note of the date!

I'm here to basically get some advice, support and have some people I can talk to because I'm about to face a situation that is really scaring me.

So let me first explain my diagnosis and my sexual activity since that event.  As I said above, I really don't recall when I was first diagnosed.  I was living in Hong Kong and had an active sex life with many female partners.  Then one day I noticed a small zit like spot on my penis.  It was a bit tender and there may have been signs of a second spot appearing. 
I asked a gay friend if he knew of an STD clinic because I thought I might have caught something.  I went to the clinic and had a blood test and an physical examination of the sore.
The doctor said it looked like it might be herpes, but that was the extent of the discussion (as I recall it).  I was told they would call me when the results came back from the lab.
From memory I think it was about a week before I got the call.   So I went back in for my results and the doctor said it was inconclusive.  He told me I may have been exposed to the virus but he didn't think I was actually infected.   Phew!

Fast forward a couple of years (you will have to excuse the lack of accurate timeframes as I have never noted dates or been good at recalling them) and I had my first what I would call real outbreak.  I didn't see a doctor, I knew from the symptoms (thanks Google) and the reappearance on my penis of a small number of very sensitive sores what was going on.  At the time I was not in a relationship and so the problem was just one of dealing with the symptoms and waiting for the outbreak to finish.   I did not take any antivirals.

I have I think had one mild outbreak approximately every 2-3 years (again not kept records but it seems like that is the frequency).   So since discovering I was exposed I've had I guess 5 or 6 outbreaks.

My outbreaks are very mild, I've never had more than 2 or 3 small sores and they are always in the same spot on the underside of my penis.   

I've never taken antivirals.   

I really haven't thought of myself as having herpes, although now I'm facing a difficult situation I guess the truth I must admit is that I have been living in denial about having the virus, I've been telling myself that as my symptoms and outbreaks are so minor and infrequent that I don't need to acknowledge it or tell short term partners.  I have been careful not to engage in sexual activity when symptomatic.  

And that brings me to my situation now.

Four months ago I met a very nice girl, she is 20 years younger than me and she is Thai (not that it is important to my story but I live in Bangkok, Thailand).    We began dating and then one month into our fledgling relationship I had to fly to the UK because my elderly father was hospitalised.   What was supposed to be a short trip back to see him ended up being a month long trip as he passed away shortly after I arrived.  So after the funeral etc I finally returned to my girlfriend in Thailand.   Two weeks after my return she dropped the bombshell that while I was away she had been to see a doctor and confirmed she was pregnant.  The thing is she knew it wasn't me as she had hooked up with someone else for a few days before her and I first met, and the dates corresponded to him being the father, not me.

She told me she was sorry and said I should find myself another girlfriend.  She said she was going to be a single mum and not inform the true father of her condition.  

But I really like this girl and I told her that if she wanted to stay in the relationship then why couldn't we raise her baby together, after all he (yes she's having a boy) will only know me as his father.   She was overwhelmed and accepted my offer of staying together and we've been very happy since.  

She is now 5 months pregnant.   Because of her family situation and being Thai, her parents don't know about me yet. It's complicated and would take too long to explain Thai culture.   Suffice to say I know she loves me and I love her.    Because the family don't know about me we can't live together and sometimes we don't see each other for upto a week.

The last time I saw her was Dec 27.   

Today is January 5th and this evening I started to develop what I am sure are the herpes prodrome - sensitive skin down the back of my legs, I've been sneezing all day and feel like I'm getting a cold, minor muscle aches and a bit of itching in the creases of my groin area.   No sores yet.   The symptoms are very mild, more annoying than anything.  If I turn off my aircon my skin starts to crawl within a minute of the cool air stopping, then again it does that here anyway because of the heat!

I am supposed to be seeing her on Saturday (3-4 days from now).   I can easily make excuses about being sick and not see her, or if I do see her just say I'm too sick to have sex.

 When we first me we used condoms (most of the time) but since discovering she's pregnant we haven't bothered.

I want to do the right thing and tell her, as I cannot keep denying to myself that I have this virus, but I am so scared of her reaction.  

She is a smart girl, but her English isn't great and I don't know if I can explain that this is very common, not harmful (typically) and that I'm not some dreadful disease ridden pariah.

I'm worried she will freak out and dump me out of a lack of understanding and I will lose a girl I love and the chance to have a family with her.
I've been reading everything I can about having herpes, avoiding spreading it, issues with pregnancy etc   I know there may even be a slim chance through asymptomatic viral shedding that I've already infected her.  There is a slim chance she may have already got it from someone else before meeting me (clutching at straws maybe).  

I'm tempted to make an excuse not to see her, start taking antivirals tomorrow and stay away from her until I'm totally clear of any symptoms.   

It would be very hard for me to suddenly start using condoms though without telling her why.

I want to think that with all the information available about herpes and how common it is etc that she will just accept it like someone would accept a person having had chickenpox.  But I don't know if she will and what I'll do if she doesn't accept my condition.

Basically I'm really really scared about telling her as I don't want to lose her.

Thanks for taking the time to read all that and thanks in advance for any advice.   


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's normal to feel scared about telling her, but she deserves to know since she is pregnant and getting herpes while pregnant would bring a lot of misery and suffering to her. If you can't summon the courage to tell her right now, at least have the decency to protect her from the virus. There are varying degrees of symptom severity in those that get infected. Don't take chances as her body is already under a great deal of stress from the baby.

You don't have any positive test results to show that you're infected with HSV (as far as I can tell from your story), but your symptoms suggest that it is a possibility. At this point, you should be able to take an IgG blood test that determines that and identifies what type you have (HSV I and/or HSV II). I would suggest you get that done to at least get some knowledge about your condition. HSV I, for example, is much more common than HSV II and she may already have HSV I from childhood.

Figure out how to break the news to her softly. Some members on these forums will tell you to just tell her the truth, but I think truth is relative and the absolute dry truth is not always helpful. Maybe you can tell her that you care about her greatly and that you've been thinking about the health of her and her baby; that both her and yourself have had active sex lives in the past and that it would be best that both of you get blood tests to make sure that what you are doing right now is safe, for the both of you but more so for the baby. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your reply VVK.

My fears (which I know every other member here must have experienced) are compounded by the lack of perfect communication.  Her English is ok for general day to day stuff, but I don't know how knowledgeable she is about viruses etc.   If she was a western woman I'd be nervous about telling her but at least I'd be safe knowing a western woman would have had a good education and understand what I was telling her.

I know I have to tell her and I will.  I'm just trying to figure out how to do it.

This morning (approx 18 hours after I think I first noticed the prodrome) I went to a local pharmacy and got a 5 day course of Aciclovir (200 mg x 5 per day x 5 days).  I've taken my first dose.  

I have developed a cold, started yesterday or the day before with regular sneezing, by late last night one side of my nose was blocked and I've got a runny nose.  My prodrome symptoms are much less than they were yesterday.   

Actually yesterday I went for a swim, for the first time in months and afterwards while laying on my sofa I realised my legs and buttocks ached and my skin (back of thighs) was 'sore'.  At first I assumed it was from swimming (muscle fatigue) and possibly the chlorine (I was too lazy to shower).  It was only after an hour or so and my skin starting to crawl that I realised it might be the virus waking up and that was when I began looking for answers.   As I mentioned before I've never had it confirmed medically that I've had this for the past 15-20 years and my incidences of OBs have been limited to less than once a year so I don't even think about having it, until times like this when I'm reminded of it.

I keep myself generally fit and healthy, although the past few weeks I've been less on top of my health.  Might explain why my immune system is compromised.

This afternoon I am going to a local hospital to get tested for HSV.   Once I have a solid diagnosis then I can figure out how to tell her.  I may need to take her to have a Thai doctor explain it to her in language she will understand, except I won't understand what he is telling her.


The crappy thing about this virus is that there are versions which people don't bat an eyelid over (cold sores, chicken pox, shingles) and then there is the 'sexually transmitted' version that people seem to think is in the same league as Syphilis, Gonorrhea,, or even HIV.     When I was a teenager it was common for friends to have cold sores, no-one thought anything of it, when I was a young kid I had chickenpox and my parents and other parents got all the kids together for chickenpox parties (so we'd all get it as its better to have it as a kid I believe the thinking was/is).  Various older members of my family have had shingles, no-one thinks they are 'unclean'.   But tell someone you have herpes and they react as if you have the plague.   

The big issue for my girlfriend is that she's pregnant.  The big issue for me is that she might want to break up with me. 
The baby's safety and her health comes first.  My potential loss of a girlfriend has to come second, no matter how painful the outcome.

Of course the other less important issue is hoping that she keeps my condition secret and doesn't tell her girlfriends who then tell my friends and my 'secret' is out where I cannot control who knows and how I tell them.  But that is another issue.

Thanks again for your advice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all, 

Just been to hospital and gave blood for the following tests 


PCR Herpes Simplex Virus (with type)

For comparison the cost here was US$ 166.00 for the test, the medical charges and the doctor's fee in a top private hospital in Bangkok.

My prodrome symptoms are much less than yesterday, I've taken 3x 200mg doses of Aciclovir today (1 dose every 4 hours for 5 days).   And so far I'm not sensing much if any of the usual skin discomfort on my penis that signals sores are about to appear.  

I will get the result on Sunday.

So between now and then I have to decide how best to tell my girlfriend, that she should get tested; and how to (I don't want to say convince but..) convince her to remain in this relationship with me.   We have already talked about having our own child after she has the baby she is carrying, getting married etc etc.  

Thanks for reading :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok an update...  and not what I expected.

The hospital called and said my PCR test was negative for the herpes virus.  

The doctor (female) told me that I have immunity (her words not mine).

I ask her if I should tell my pregnant girlfriend she said "No, there is no need to tell her anything.  You don't have the virus."

I asked her about asymptomatic shedding of virus and she said that unless there are actual sores on my penis I cannot pass the virus.   

This is not what I've been led to believe by everything I've read online.   

Comments are welcome!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes you need to sort this out; unfortunately you have been given a wrong test.

PCR on blood is not appropriate for herpes; it simply does not live in the blood! Hence a negative means nothing.

The HSV IgG test is the most appropriate. However it must be type specific for HSV-1 and HSV-2. This is the test result you need. Get the paperwork on this test, full printouts and we can evaluate things from there.

Do you get oral cold sores?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi WilsoInAus,

I had two tests, HSV IgG and PCR Herpes Simplex Virus (with type). 
The doctor called to say the PCR tests was negative and the HSV IgG showed I have immunity. 

I don't get oral cold sores, but I can't say if I've never had one.  I'm 48 years old, I may have had one in the distant past that I don't recall.  Thinking about it I have had spots close to the edge of my lips, similar to a cold sore, but never the big weepy type that I have seen on other people.

I was tested in Hong Kong approx 10-15 years ago with the same result, negative for the presence of virus but positive for the antibodies, which at the time I was told mean't I had been exposed to the virus.  This was following the discovery of 2 small spots on my penis.

Over the past 10-15 years I have had genital outbreaks approximately every 18-24 months (estimate only as I've not kept a diary of the events).   These outbreaks start with some tingling prodrome sensations followed by the eruption (so far always in the same place) of 2-3 small, but quite painful spots on my penis.  

This time I got the prodrome but no outbreak.  This time I also did a 5 day course of 200mg x 5 of Acyclovir.

I understand I am carrying the virus and that I get outbreaks, I also understand from reading a lot that there is a thing called Asymptomatic shedding and that even when not showing symptoms I can pass the virus on.  

But the doctor from one of the top private hospitals here in Bangkok told me that I should not tell my girlfriend as without sores I am not contagious.  

I specifically went to get tested and talked to the doctor about my girlfriend as she is 5 months pregnant (for the record the baby she is carrying is NOT mine, she got pregnant before we met, but I am going to just treat her baby as my own).

Thanks for the reply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would pursue the actual result of the IgG. Performing a PCR test on blood for HSV is incorrect practice. There are no conclusions to be drawn.

Perhaps worse is that you appear to have had a combined HSV 1/2 IgG test. Also a fairly useless test.

In short, your medical advice is poor. You have no basis to disclose anything to your girlfriend.

Seek out IgG testing that is type specific for HSV-1 and HSV-2 and this will tell you much more about the issues.

What you describe may be genital herpes, but it may not. Further, your girlfriend may already have the same type in which case there are no issues either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank WilsoInAus,

I agree with you that the advice is poor.

Although I did go to one of the best hospitals in Bangkok and I can't afford to pay again at a different hospital. 

My girlfriend's father was killed last night in a car accident, so she has flown this morning to the province where her parents live. 
I'm glad I didn't have to tell her this weekend about my having a type of herpes.  Whichever one I may have.  

I have the antibodies to herpes, which I've always taken to mean I have the virus.   I've had outbreaks although as I said previously they are minor and infrequent; and the most recent prodrome did not result in an outbreak.   The prodrome symptoms seemingly only apply to herpes and no other condition.

It will be hard enough explaining herpes to my girlfriend as her English is limited and my Thai is non existent.

Thank for the advice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No need to tell your girlfriend just yet, but go and be with her this week. There are far more important things than sex and this unfortunate incident is a thousand fold more important to show your support (even if you're just in a hotel for her to come to if needed). 

Please try to find out more. I'll tell you why.

Up to 90% of people depending on location carry antibodies to HSV, in particular HSV-1. 

If what you have is HSV-1, then there is no real way of knowing whether it is oral or genital. However it won't matter. Your girlfriend is highly likely to have HSV-1 and therefore there is no risk to her. That's a better conversation to have under the circumstances wouldn't you think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Donate

    If Honeycomb has helped you, please help us by making a donation so we can provide you with even better features and services.

  • The Hive is Thriving!

    • Total Topics
    • Total Posts
  • Posts

    • WilsoInAus
      Hey @Zrozpaczona9 that looks like folliculitis to me, that’s independent of the question of herpes. The doctor is wrong in the sense that a negative IgG test is beyond reasonable doubt that you do not have herpes. It is a small percentage of people for which a false negative occurs. The doctor is right to take a swab to increase your confidence that there’s no herpes present. I’m sure you’ll have your result soon.
    • Zrozpaczona9
      Hey @WilsoInAus miałam dzisiaj wizytę u dermatologa, gdyż dostałam zmian w pachwinie, w trakcie wakacji nad morzem. Udałam sie tam ze zmianami w postaci strupów. Powiedział ze nie można wykluczyć opryszczki mimo negatywnego wyniku Hsv igg i zalecił wymaz z pochwy na Hsv i inne choroby. Wytłumaczyłam mu że zmiany zamieniają się w strup, ale nie ma w nich płynu, więc zalecił badanie śluzu pochwy na hsv PCR, zastanawiam się czy ma to sens, i czy wirusa można wykryć na podstawie tego badania w wydzielin z szyjki macicy. Z góry dziekuje za pomoc 
    • Atish
      In this forum we will discuss does lume work Lume is paraben-free and uses several natural ingredients like Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, tapioca starch, and Maranta arundinacea root powder (also known as arrowroot powder) to control odor and sweat. One of the key Lume deodorant ingredients is mandelic acid, an AHA found in skin care products, which also has an antibacterial effect.
    • Atish
      Ibuprofen medicine is a painkiller. Can you take ibuprofen on an empty stomach  Some people take medicine empty stomach which is not good for our health. Because painkiller kind of medicine is very strong and can harm your liver. Medicine makes many strong ingredients. like Lactose, corn starch, hypromellose, sodium starch glycolate, colloidal anhydrous silica, magnesium stearate, sucrose, talc, titanium dioxide (E171), and carnauba wax.
    • JS.245
      Never had a history of Oral cold sores before, but have dated someone with them.  Thats very interesting about the test. This was my first full panel.  The large bumps have recently show up, its been about a few weeks when I noticed them. Again no pain nor fluids from them. 
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.