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jude

Is it vital to tell my recent partners?

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jude

Hi there!

So I recently found out I contracted HSV2. Still unsure where from, like most people here I guess! But I'm slowly but surely coming to terms with it. The more I read about it, the more I understand that it really isn't a big deal. It only is if YOU make it one. 

Anyway I come here to ask a question. A question which I probably know the answer to already, but nonetheless would like a second opinion on how to go about it and if taking my time in doing so is forgivable. Also, would love to hear of other stories which are similar to mine!

So....should I disclose to my recent partners?

I am in two minds. On one side I feel like it's the right thing to do as I do care about their health and it would hopefully prevent further spreading (if they do have it). However I still don't know if it is completely necessary given each circumstance (Which I will explain below).

Obviously if I was in a relationship or about to begin a sexual relationship I would 100% disclose, but I feel like exes fall into a different category as they are the past and therefore aren't your responsibility anymore. 

In the last 10 months or so I have had two sexual relations. The first was a relationship purely based around sex, but one which I hoped would eventually grow deeper. It didn't. It lasted around 2 months until we both no longer had the time for it. He moved away and I felt it was pointless as it really wasn't going to go anywhere anyway! He didn't even say goodbye and we haven't spoken since. We live in different countries and with him being a lot older than myself, I don't feel it's my responsibility to disclose in him. It's not that I'm bitter about the relationship. It's more that I'd like his image of me to stay the same. I have too much pride for my own good and so would like him to think of me as 'the one who got away'. Not 'the one who got away, but it's okay because she has herpes anyway'. I know this might come across as daft and perhaps a tad immature, but he was never honest with me, hence why I'm not instantly eager to confess to him. Maybe I should be the bigger person but what if I'm okay with not being it. Does that make me a bad person?

The second relationship is a bit trickier. We both live in different countries and met on holiday. We spent a couple days together thinking that would be it once we parted ways. However he came to stay with me for a weekend a few months later and we had the most amazing time! I then went to visit him in his home town a month later, but when I returned I had my first outbreak. It's been 2 months since then and I've spoken to him a few times but never had the guts to tell him as I don't want to do it over text or a phone call. Since we live in different countries it makes it even more difficult to disclose. I want to be there with him, so I can explain everything in the best way possible so I have more chance of avoiding rejection. But on the other hand if he came to visit me again, travelling all that way to find out I have herpes or if I flew out to him, he might feel trapped and upset that I didn't tell him sooner. So I guess I feel like I'm in a bit of a pickle. I mean, we might never see each other again! But what if we do and he finds out I kept this from him. 

I really like him, but our relationship isn't monogamous and won't ever be unless we're living in the same place. So this gives me little hope in that he'll want to continue things with me. I also want his image of me to stay the same, but is that ridiculously selfish of me if my sustained image taints someone else's future? And if I do tell, how and when is the best time? How do I know when I'm ready to disclose, because right now I'm avoiding the thought and I know when I do my herpes diagnosis will suddenly seem real. 

One last thing! I always wish I was part of the 80% that don't know they have herpes because they have no symptoms. So what if both of them haven't had any symptoms and don't know, then they don't have to be in situations like this! Is that totally backwards?

I would appreciate some thoughts on the matter. Perhaps my judgement is clouded by my own ego or maybe I am making it a bigger deal than it needs to be. I'm a little confused...it's been a tough month!

All the best :)

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Lisajd

Personally i think it comes down to when you may have contracted it and how far back you need to go. The reality is you either had it before this last guy or got it from him so i would tell him.  

One last thing! I always wish I was part of the 80% that don't know they have herpes because they have no symptoms. So what if both of them haven't had any symptoms and don't know, then they don't have to be in situations like this! Is that totally backwards?

If they dont know they have it and keep passing it on they are putting others in your position.  Protect them from how you feel right now vs all the others they give it too.  Mind you if they pased it to someone else they may already have been informed they may be a carrier. 

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WilsoInAus

I am also of the view that there is only the need to tell the partner you were with immediately prior to your first outbreak.

My logic is that there is a 90% chance they are the source. If they are not the source, then there is no telling which of your past partners had it or which ones were then exposed from you. Most will have had one or more partners since. There is simply no value to a person in receiving such a notification in regards herpes.

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Free73

Unless you can be sure that it was either one, and you can't, then I don't think there is any point in disclosing. when I was diagnosed I went to a sexual heath clinic for counselling and they told me that unless I was certain it was a particular person, then there was no point. I found that difficult to comprehend at first, but with time, I agree with their point of view.

Your role now is to protect your own health and disclose to future partners.

As far as seeing him again, you live in different countries, so irrespective of the herpes or not, a relationship probably won't work anyway.

I had quite a few sexual partners prior to being diagnosed and I am still friends with most of them and still in contact from time to time. But I haven't disclosed to any of them. And none have questioned me about any suspicious symptoms of their own. If it was a fatal disease or had other serious health implications, then the obvious answer would be yes. If our own health authorities deem that herpes is not a reportable STD, then why do we?.........the answer is the stigma associated with it brings a disproportionate moral obligation which is totally out of whack with the reality of the virus.

 

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K_Sock

It's the second relationship guy who gave this to you...trust me ;) . Kidding...but it's more likely based on the timeline... To actually answer your disclosure question, I also don't really think you have a moral obligation to tell those past partners... but it would be nice as it might just save someone from getting it... Personally, it would drive me crazy not knowing where I got it from and maybe it'll give you some closure knowing...but there's not a whole lot to gain besides possibly bringing you and the second guy closer together if that's what you both want...

Regarding the '80% no symptoms' thing...That's actually a common misperception as it's actually only said that '80% don't know they have HSV'... When those 80% are actually told the symptoms of HSV most of them admit to some level of experience with symptoms (i.e; I just thought it was jock itch!). It's really just a product of lacking education and ignorance as practically everyone with HSV has had a primary outbreak...but obviously they can be quite minor. Lastly, the 80% data point is clearly subject to human error as people can easily lie, misrepresent symptoms, and such...

 

 

 

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Disc0rdant

I also dont think you have a duty to disclose to prior but like a couple others said, it may help someone else.

Personal choice.  I would want to know if I was the person right before the first known ob.

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jude

Thank you for all your replies, they have been tremendously helpful! 

I think I will disclose to the second guy as it is more likely that he might have given it to me. However, it's been nearly 3 months since my first OB, so when I tell him he'll be confused as to why I didn't say sooner.

Obviously it was because I was coming to terms with it, researching and dealing with the effects. But if I explain this to him he'll think of it as a big deal....which I don't want. 

And the second thing is, how do I tell him as he lives in a different country. We talked a few days ago and there are talks of meeting again, nothing set in stone (it's a very spontaneous relationship) so this could either be from a few months time to a year. 

Would it be terrible if I didn't tell him until we met in person again? I think I would prefer this, but I obviously have no idea how he would react. If he did know he had it (not cool for not telling me), I'm sure he wouldn't care. But if he didn't and his views were distorted about it, he might be upset I didn't inform him sooner. And when asked why I didn't...I really wouldn't know what to say.

So basically I'm looking for a valid reason as to why I hadn't informed him immediately after my OB, but one that doesn't make herpes sound as if it's a big deal! 

Thanks in advance, you guys are great!

 

 

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K_Sock

@jude Definitely tricky, but I think it sounds best to reach out with something like; "There's been something I've been meaning to tell you.. After we hooked up I did experience symptoms and you should get tested for HSV. I have not been with anyone else and so I suspect I contracted this virus from you. I would really like to talk about it when you're comfortable."

This doesn't sound overly accusatory but it suggests you think you got it from him.. If he does have HSV and knows it then he will likely not be to offended to respond..and should reach out somewhat apologetically and be concerned with your well-being firstly. If he does have hsv but truly doesn't know it (rare) then he will hopefully still show some empathy for you but will be much more focused on getting tested..and possibly even express negative sentiment towards you for putting him at risk. 

People are unpredictable, but I think the above message is the most likely to start the right kind of dialogue one way or another.

Edited by K_Sock
clarifying

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K_Sock

Oh, and I kinda think email/text may be best in this case...I think that mediun will ensure you're both more logical than emotional. .. Up to you of course...

The most logical scenario is that he gave this to you... He might not know he has it,but I expect he has ignored some symptoms and it will make sense that he has it once you reach out...

Hopefully he is a good guy..If he reacts defensively, blames you or is dismissive then more likely than not it's never gonna work out as he's a douche... Unless he TRULY didn't know (no symptoms at all, ever- very very unlikely) then he certainly owes you an apology and an explanation..

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K_Sock

Sorry. The shitty thing about email/text is that he might ghost you.. If you think that's a possibility then he is a douche and you should wait to do it in person as you deserve the closure..

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ifwinterends

I, too, have been wondering whether or not to tell my past partners (just got diagnosed a week ago). On the one hand, there are men that I have dated/slept with that I really do not want to tell and do not trust with the information. Most of them are from years ago. Honestly, I just don't want to talk to them. My doctor didn't say I should tell and herpes seems to be mostly a benign thing. I don't know if it's worth it to reach out to them and I'm probably not going to.

However, I did tell my two most recent sexual partners, mostly because I knew that we would likely be seeing each other again. It didn't go poorly, and it didn't go super well. I don't think they'll be seeing me again, unless the one comes back positive. 

Honestly, I think you should at least tell the guy you are currently still seeing. I know it will suck, especially if he decides that he doesn't want to risk it if he's negative, but then you will be able to heal and move on. It sounds like you're stressing way too much over what he'll think of you! And I would do it in text or over the phone instead of waiting until you see him in person. I disclosed to my past sexual partners over text because it just saves a lot of time and awkwardness (I'm also 20, though, so that might be why I'm cool with using text). 

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jude

@ifwinterends

 Hey there! Thanks for taking the time to respond. Sorry to hear about you're diagnosis, although it definitely gets easier with time. Yes I agree that there is no point in reaching out to previous partners from years back! And that's super cool that you had the courage to tell your recent partners, what did you say?

Hmm well it's been nearly 4 months since my diagnosis and still haven't plucked up the courage to tell my recent partner. I wanted to, but I was dealing with so much at the time I didn't want the extra emotional stress and drama. As time past we didn't speak as much and since he lives in another country I thought it had just fizzled and so just forgot about it! This was up until last week when he told me he wants to visit me in the spring. And now I'm super happy he wants to visit, but also panicking.  

I don't think I need to tell him right away and would 100% prefer to do it in person. But all I can think about is his reaction and that he might be confused and upset that I didn't tell him straight away. To be honest, I don't have much confidence or self worth as it is so the rejection would seriously hurt me. So yeh feel like I'm in a bit of a pickle. The thing is there is a 90% chance he gave it to me, but also a very high chance if he does have it he doesn't know. 

I really want to see him again and am so afraid that if I text him disclosing the truth, he won't want to visit. 

Edited by jude

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Felix12

I think only if you plan to sleep with either of them again, it will be necessary to tell them first. If you may have gave it to either of them, and aren't planning to have sex with either again, there is no reason to disclose. They've already been exposed and knowing that they got it from you will not help them or you. Just my two cents.

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jude

@Felix12 hey :) Thanks for responding. I have just found out recently that the second guy might come and visit me in the spring. Obviously I will need to tell him, but the question is when? Do you think it's acceptable to wait until I'm with him in person? I mean if he decides not to have sex, we can do other stuff! ...and I'm pretty sure he isn't just visiting me for sex haha. 

I'm just wondering whether he will be upset I didn't tell him sooner, or that he might feel trapped. But dammmm it's not a big deal, there's about a 5% chance (at most) that he would catch it from me if all the right precautions were taken. 

So yeah, do you think it's unfair that I wait until he's with me to tell him?

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Felix12
17 minutes ago, jude said:

@Felix12 hey :) Thanks for responding. I have just found out recently that the second guy might come and visit me in the spring. Obviously I will need to tell him, but the question is when? Do you think it's acceptable to wait until I'm with him in person? I mean if he decides not to have sex, we can do other stuff! ...and I'm pretty sure he isn't just visiting me for sex haha. 

I'm just wondering whether he will be upset I didn't tell him sooner, or that he might feel trapped. But dammmm it's not a big deal, there's about a 5% chance (at most) that he would catch it from me if all the right precautions were taken. 

So yeah, do you think it's unfair that I wait until he's with me to tell him?

Honestly, unless it is wearing away at you, there is no reason to tell him before you see him in person. It would only be unfair if you told him that you didn't have it or didn't say anything right before sleeping with him and revealed that you have it after. But if he's responsible, he shouldn't assume that you don't have herpes or any other std. Like they say, it should be assumed that everyone has herpes. So no, don't feel bad for not saying anything right now. 

Edited by Felix12

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ifwinterends
2 hours ago, jude said:

@ifwinterends

 Hey there! Thanks for taking the time to respond. Sorry to hear about you're diagnosis, although it definitely gets easier with time. Yes I agree that there is no point in reaching out to previous partners from years back! And that's super cool that you had the courage to tell your recent partners, what did you say?

Hmm well it's been nearly 4 months since my diagnosis and still haven't plucked up the courage to tell my recent partner. I wanted to, but I was dealing with so much at the time I didn't want the extra emotional stress and drama. As time past we didn't speak as much and since he lives in another country I thought it had just fizzled and so just forgot about it! This was up until last week when he told me he wants to visit me in the spring. And now I'm super happy he wants to visit, but also panicking.  

I don't think I need to tell him right away and would 100% prefer to do it in person. But all I can think about is his reaction and that he might be confused and upset that I didn't tell him straight away. To be honest, I don't have much confidence or self worth as it is so the rejection would seriously hurt me. So yeh feel like I'm in a bit of a pickle. The thing is there is a 90% chance he gave it to me, but also a very high chance if he does have it he doesn't know. 

I really want to see him again and am so afraid that if I text him disclosing the truth, he won't want to visit. 

Basically, I sent both of them a long text telling them what happened. That recently, after I slept with them, I broke out, that I wasn't sure if I got it from them, or if I already had it, or if I gave it to them, and that I wasn't exactly sure what kind I had, but that I wanted to let them know. I wish there was a happy ending (that they said they didn't care and would keep seeing me), but that's not the case. 

However, if I were in your shoes, I would tell your most recent partner from another country. I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. If you're pretty sure you got it from him, then it will give him an opportunity to get tested, and then when he comes to visit, you won't have to worry at all about it! I would try your best to minimize the severity of herpes, especially if you want to continue seeing him. Honestly, you can even say that you're pretty sure you got it from him, and then if he does test positive it will all be okay. 

If you and him already have a good connection going, then he probably won't just ghost you. I think he has the right to know before visiting you, and I know you know that, too. He has to know before being intimate with you.

If you do tell him and he no longer wants to see you or speak with you, you have to know it's not because of you, but because he's afraid of herpes (and probably too misinformed and scared of the stigma). And honestly, you have to think about which you would prefer: telling him over text and him freaking out/ghosting, or telling him in person and freaking out to your face? 

It's not your fault that you got this, and you shouldn't feel so ashamed. Let me know if you want to talk further about it. I'm realllyyy hoping everything goes well for you. 

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jude

@ifwinterends

thanks for your reply :) I will definitely give it some more thought, but for now since we don't have any plans set in stone I don't think there's reason to tell him. I mean if I had developed a coldsore on my lips instead of my genitals after visiting him, I wouldn't panic or feel the need to disclose to him. But because it's a different part of my body it becomes a bigger deal, why? If there was a huge chance of him contracting it from me (if he doesn't already have it), I definitely would tell him. But there's a 95% chance with the correct precautions that he won't get it. So the question is, why am I stressing over 5%? 

I will do some more pondering. I appreciate your advice and good luck with your journey :) am also here to talk if you have any questions. 

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ifwinterends
3 minutes ago, jude said:

@ifwinterends

thanks for your reply :) I will definitely give it some more thought, but for now since we don't have any plans set in stone I don't think there's reason to tell him. I mean if I had developed a coldsore on my lips instead of my genitals after visiting him, I wouldn't panic or feel the need to disclose to him. But because it's a different part of my body it becomes a bigger deal, why? If there was a huge chance of him contracting it from me (if he doesn't already have it), I definitely would tell him. But there's a 95% chance with the correct precautions that he won't get it. So the question is, why am I stressing over 5%? 

I will do some more pondering. I appreciate your advice and good luck with your journey :) am also here to talk if you have any questions. 

Hi jude,

I'm glad you're being so positive about it! It really is something that doesn't deserve much extra thought.

However, I am still worried about what could happen if you meet him in person and he does not take it well. A lot of people are not experienced/educated in herpes enough to know the risk taken is not very terrible. I do think you should tell him before he comes and rip that bandaid off early. You know it's not a big deal, but you can't help how he feels.

However, if you think it's best not to tell him, I can support you in that. I don't have much experience with how people will react to herpes/possible herpes, so I'm not quite sure. Just be safe and good luck to you!!! 

Edited by ifwinterends

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jude

@ifwinterends Hi :)

Just wanted to double check the facts again and I actually got it wrong, it's a 1% transmission rate from female to male if you use a condom, are taking meds and have no symptoms. What is all the fuss about haha?! Maybe I should warn him about all the other 1% health risks he will have on his journey over. 

Obviously I will disclose, but I am definitely not going to turn this into a big deal. The facts are there and thankfully so is my logic. 

All the best :)

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ifwinterends
On 1/4/2017 at 4:21 PM, jude said:

@ifwinterends Hi :)

Just wanted to double check the facts again and I actually got it wrong, it's a 1% transmission rate from female to male if you use a condom, are taking meds and have no symptoms. What is all the fuss about haha?! Maybe I should warn him about all the other 1% health risks he will have on his journey over. 

Obviously I will disclose, but I am definitely not going to turn this into a big deal. The facts are there and thankfully so is my logic. 

All the best :)

Definitely don't be too worried :) If he likes you, I'm sure that he will be willing to take the chance! I really don't think that it will be a big deal for you. 

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Lisajd
On Wednesday, January 04, 2017 at 10:09 AM, jude said:

@ifwinterends

 Hey there! Thanks for taking the time to respond. Sorry to hear about you're diagnosis, although it definitely gets easier with time. Yes I agree that there is no point in reaching out to previous partners from years back! And that's super cool that you had the courage to tell your recent partners, what did you say?

Hmm well it's been nearly 4 months since my diagnosis and still haven't plucked up the courage to tell my recent partner. I wanted to, but I was dealing with so much at the time I didn't want the extra emotional stress and drama. As time past we didn't speak as much and since he lives in another country I thought it had just fizzled and so just forgot about it! This was up until last week when he told me he wants to visit me in the spring. And now I'm super happy he wants to visit, but also panicking.  

I don't think I need to tell him right away and would 100% prefer to do it in person. But all I can think about is his reaction and that he might be confused and upset that I didn't tell him straight away. To be honest, I don't have much confidence or self worth as it is so the rejection would seriously hurt me. So yeh feel like I'm in a bit of a pickle. The thing is there is a 90% chance he gave it to me, but also a very high chance if he does have it he doesn't know. 

I really want to see him again and am so afraid that if I text him disclosing the truth, he won't want to visit. 

Tell him before he comes. I seen a recent eg of a girl.stressing and it worked out fine.   Everyone assumes they will be rejected. Give they guy whom you know the benefit to make up his own mind and not put him the box of being a judgemental person.  Not fair to his character

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jude

Hi @Lisajd. Thanks for your reply. He can absolutely make up his own mind, whether it's before he comes or during the visit the chance of rejection will be there either way. You see if he was just coming to visit me purely for sex, then yes I 100% would tell him. However our relationship is more than sex, therefore even after an educated explanation of herpes and the risks he still decides against sex, there are plenty of other activities and things we can do and that I will plan. If the coldsores appeared on my mouth instead would I warn him before he came? Absolutely not. If there was a 90% chance I could infect him would I tell him before? Absolutely. But the fact is, it is a mere 1% chance with the right precautions of transmission and so what's the big deal. It becomes a big deal when I tell him before no? 

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      Sometimes, if its burning more than usual and I leave it too long, it does make the skin pinker than it should be, and sore. 
      The big question, what about loss of sensitivity? I worried that may happen, and its possible actually that I've lost some amount. But if I have, it wasn't even enough to remember when posting this originally, hahaha.
      Still every body is different, so I can only speak for me. But yes, for me, my sensitivity down there is still in great shape. 
      Over the last few years I've on average had less stiff erections, and dysfunction, which I never had before. However, I've also been less physically healthy, I've been mentally disengaged and highly anxious around sex and sexuality (and when I'm not anxious, it often improves quite a bit), I read once that herpes itself can actually cause forms of ED, and I'm also now out of my 20's, so... 
      Possibly related? But also very possibly unrelated to the alcohol. I'm biased though, both in mentality and my words here. So, perhaps consult a doctor if you're concerned. 
      Cheers! 
    • Marley91
      By Marley91
      I was diagnosed with HSV2 in the form of whitlow on the palm of my hand over a year ago. 
      Since then I have had breakouts almost every single month, sometimes more. I take valcyclovir 1000mg daily and had been ob free for a couple of months. I missed one day of medication and am now struggling with a terrible outbreak. 
      My anxiety is through the roof- especially with the fear of viral shedding when I don’t have an ob.  
      When I have an ob I am EXTREMELY fatigued and can barely function. Does anyone else get run down this easily? I know it’s only supposed to happen with the first outbreak but I’m going on 15+ in the last year with terrible side effects. 
      Will I need to wear a bandaid for the rest of my life- even when not experiencing an ob?? I get massages regularly and am always paranoid when they massage my hand that I might spread it to them through viral shedding. 
      The bandaids irritate my skin- does anyone have a better solution to keep my Palm covered all the time? 
       
      TIA
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    • viralfrog
      Little update again:  No improvements for me, still getting the same: constant redness on my penis, with tiny blisters forming as the old ones heal. This is together with continuous lethargy and a pulsating pain in my right groin lymph node. I also have sleeping problems, that are associated with the outbreaks. Usually, if the OB gets slightly better, I'll also sleep better. But right now, I wake up every morning too early like 6:30 feeling like my body is fighting something and I can't relax and sleep anymore. I get under 7 hours of sleep each night, but my body needs around 8-9 to feel normal. Unlike some others, I'm extremely sensitive to having enough sleep, which is also related to my heavy workouts. Of course it could be also the other way around, that I'm getting OBs because of poor sleep.  I went to get my bloods tested about a month ago and everything came back as normal (full blood count, thyroids etc.) but I found my vitamin D levels were low. I've been since spending a bit more time in the sun (normally avoid it) and eating a Vitamin D3 supplement daily (5000iu) without improvements to my OBs. I'm so disappointed, as I already got exited being onto something after finding that low Vitamin D-levels are associated inability of the body to fight viral diseases. Based on my research, 5000iu of D3 for several weeks should've definitely increased the levels by now, so I doubt that was the cause  . My testosterone and estradiol levels were also a bit high as I just changed testosterone medication, but I have confirmed in the past that this is not likely the cause.  My cortisol level was 17.3 ug% measured around 2pm (normal 3.7-19.4 ug% before 10AM, 2.9-17.3 ug% after 5PM). This could suggest that my cortisol levels are a bit high, but they are quite hard to measure and change during the day. I recall @IcantThinkofaName you suggested measuring these. Any comments? This was on a week day without any physical activities beforehand, except riding to the lab on a motorcycle in hot weather. Anyways, I can't really find any info on how to reduce these levels apart of relaxing more. For the record, I have tried quitting the gym completely (etc.).  I used some Xanax on the weekend which made me sleep well and feel much better. But obviously such addictive and strong benzodiazepine is not a long term solution. Next week I will try some cannabis to see if that helps with the sleep. I will get some indica strain and will vape it with a herbal vaporizer.  I will not give up the fight, next to try on the list: Confirm Vitamin D levels are back normal Quit whey protein for a week  Cannabis before bed  Amenalief at a higher dosage (200mg/day) Pritelivir from China Singles/varicella vaccine(?) ... any ideas welcome! 
    • Lost-hope
      If I could just piggy back off your idea and add a suggestion  how about with the same reasons you listed in your original statement, you / we start some type of petition or a mass email chain aimed at 60 minutes asking would they consider such a report ?
    • viralfrog
      That is interesting and I might try to stop it for a while or change brands. The thing is though, that I have been using whey protein daily for the last 10 years. I did change brand some time ago though to a pure, unflavoured whey isolate. I doubt that's the cause, but it's definitely worth a try. I'll see if I can find some alternatives for fast absorbing protein after my workouts. Maybe I can put chicken breast in the blender or similar.  I once tried this before I even hard Herpes and had a terrible side effect. It caused an itchy rash all over my groin.  Protected vaginal sex during days where my immunity was very low. Had been binge drinking on a party island.. but the condom broke, which is when I most likely caught the virus. 
    • Ali83
    • Joel7
      I don't think there's any awareness whatsoever of herpes in China. So I doubt it's a priority. Hopefully our western "awareness" won't spread to China any time soon.
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