HSV. Everyone's favorite topic! If you read my other piece, you know about my struggle with Viral Meningitis. But now I get to share with you (because it was just shared with me) how I got it. As if I wasn’t already depressed, hurt, and confused, here comes the nurse from the hospital calling to tell me that one of the possible causes of Viral Meningitis is the Herpes Simplex Virus and they tested me for it when I was there. Surprise! I have the Herpes Simplex Virus type 2, or as I like to put it, Genital Herpes. I cried almost as loud as I did the day I got the severe headache from the Meningitis. I immediately thought, I am 21 years old and my life is over. I thought about all the cons, no more dating, the difficulties having children without infecting them, dating rejection, my friends judging me, having to worry about infecting people around me, every possible negative thought came rushing at me all at once. I can not believe this is happening to me.
I had to mourn the death of the person I once was for a few days of course, but after coming to, I realized that although it is not curable, this is not a death sentence. I thought let me learn a little more about this before I just shut out the world and everyone in it. I found that 1 out of 6 people have HSV. So if you know more than 6 people, one of them most likely has some form of HSV. Some people know, some people don't, but they do. So yeah that is A LOT of the population. Some people get symptoms like itching, burning, and bumps on their genitals sometimes and some people can go years without having one single outbreak. There are Antiviral medications and even suppressive treatments to help lessen the outbreaks. To prevent the spread of the infection you can:
getting regular STI tests and ensuring sexual partners also get tested regularly
reducing the number of sexual partners
being in a long-term monogamous relationship with an uninfected person
avoiding sexual activity during outbreaks of the herpes virus
using anti-herpes medication daily if one partner has the herpes virus
abstaining from sexual activity
The best thing to do if you find out you have HSV is to contact your doctor so they can answer all of your questions and help you find the best option for treating the infection.
On another note, I felt like although I could treat it to minimize outbreaks, dating is going to be a nightmare from now on. I thought, who would want to be with someone with Herpes, one of the scariest STIs out there. I immediately thought ok, well what if I find someone with herpes like me to date, I could possibly find a guy that way. I mean, who could turn away someone with the same condition as them? This notion, I soon found out was a problem. I signed up for a HSV dating site and I realized that I was scared to share too many details about myself and even post a picture of myself. I noticed that I was scared to reveal that I had herpes even on a HSV dating site. Odd, I know. I was struggling accepting my truth.
I went on to search for forums, discussion boards, etc (as I did when I found out I had Meningitis). I was searching for people my age with HSV who were struggling in the LOVE department. I found them. I could not help but fully relate to every single person on the discussion board. It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. One blogger expressed how she would never sign up for a HSV dating site, as it can influence people who carry the virus to conform to only talking to or being with others who have it which is crazy. She opened my eyes to understand that we are all people and should not live under the stigma that Herpes is this big scary monster thing and we have to alienate ourselves from the rest of society. After all HSV is really just a few outbreaks of uncomfortable bumps and itching. It's not to say you shouldn't be careful with your health, it is just that the stigma behind Herpes is that it's a death sentence and its not.
The posts made me laugh and informed me of so much. People my age, in college just like me, everywhere, going through the same exact thing. One girl and guy on the board went on to say don't be afraid to disclose that you have the virus to people. The girl told about 50 guys and had only been rejected by about 5 of them or so. She had been in 7 relationships post HSV. A guy said the girl he met had it and he didn't really care and slept with her. All of this was good news to me, not because I just HAVE to be in a relationship or have sex, but to know that I don't have to restrict myself to find love or be ashamed of myself for my condition. I also learned to ditch the stigma because its not as bad as anyone thinks and is easily contracted. Anyone can get it and not even know it.
I don't know if I am quite as ready as these folks to be as open as they are with HSV, but I can say that I had a huge sigh of relief that I can be if I choose to. Tip of the day is to not be afraid of rejection. Not everyone will reject you.Take a chance, try it, disclose to someone and be positive about it, because you won't know the outcome until you try!
These are the two websites I went to to research: The first is the forum from the people’s stories that I used in my entry. The other is an article. I hope you find these as helpful as I did.
The Overblown Stigma of Genital Herpes - The Atlantic
I got my first herpes fear from a male prostitute. I did not know too much about herpes at the time, and thought it was easily tested in a free clinic. While most of the sex was protected, the oral sex was not(probably because HIV spreads less during oral). He also claimed to get checked often.
I tested negative for all the STDs, including HIV. I later tested Negative on a herpes blood test. But I'm skeptical on my results. Reason being that it is possible to get a false negative, and the person I had sexual relations was a prostitute who done this with plenty of other men.
With all the stuff I hear about herpes and how its spread. Its a no brainer that most people who are hookers and sex workers get it easily because of their profession. Every single pornstar for instance has it. This guy also has regulars and clients. He done this most likely unprotected and on a daily basis. While he might not have sores or lesions, that doesn't mean anything since herpes can spread anyways though shedding.
Why should I not doubt this? I hear some people smuggly insisting that these blood tests should not be taken as accurately as they should be, and the person I had sex with has a very very high chance on having it. Is it really that paranoid? Can someone give me some medical advice because every professional I asked give such vague and unhelpful advice that only brings me further to my beliefs. I hear people tell my I am going all about it wrong, but they are not giving me good reason to believe in such.
And please spare me the "!*@* shamming" nonsense, as well as the "herpes isn't deadly" excuse. Yes, its not deadly, but that shouldn't mean you should spread it to everyone else. Thats irresponsible and disgusting.
So vice just uploaded a video about herpes think it’s part of their tonic videos and while it’s great that they’re giving out the info I feel that they didn’t give enough information in the video at all but that’s not what my problem is. I’ve been trying to keep a positive attitude about having this disease but after reading the comments on said video I think it’s safe to say I feel like utter crap, pretty much everyone is either making a joke of it or vocalising how disgusting they think it is! I hate the fact that getting a couple bumps on my genitals every so often marks me as some kind of person that should quarantined. I honestly feel like if there isn’t a cure soon that I’m not sure I go on especially if the comments on that video are anything to go by. I’m sorry if this is a long post I just needed to get all this out there
@Micah and I are trying various ways to spread awareness and make something happen for those of us that are tired of living with herpes. Although YouTube is a good avenue to do that, we wanted to also try to write to celebrities, specifically those that do reply to fans and would possibly like to help the cause and fund herpes research. Now I wanted to ask HC members to please contribute any celebrity names that they know of who respond to fans in the comments below. *Also if you know the address of such celebrities please PM me or Micah. Thank you. Please get involved if you can as well. We need more people to try and do something and take a stance.
Below is my story but first i'm doing some research on HSV to better understand the virus and find out how you have managed with the virus Could I please ask you to complete the following survey. It is 100% anonymous and I really appreciate your time and answers - https://aaron485.typeform.com/to/NLqHqL
I was diagnosed last year and to begin with it tough to get my head around and to deal with. I had only been dating my girlfriend at the time for a few weeks but she stayed with me(at the time I thought I was lucky but have learnt a lot since then). 2 of her sisters have herpes which helped as she already had some knowledge about the virus and was able to help me quite a bit and knew what precautions to take to stop her getting the virus. We eventually broke up and to begin with I had no clue how I was going to continue my sex life.
In my first year I was getting at least one breakout a month and they were pretty bad and painful but I have since realised that my choice in lifestyle was the cause of that. I made the necessary lifestyle changes to stop the breakouts and now I hardly ever get them and they are tiny and disappear very quickly.
Since diagnosis I have learnt a lot about the virus and even more about my self and have worked through the mental issues and the stigma with society. I am now comfortable with the virus and I'm comfortable telling people because we are all imperfect in one way or another and everyone has something that they are shameful about(especially people without herpes).
My goal is to become an ambassador for herpes and lead the movement to remove the social stigma. The only way to do this is to get talking about it(which isn't easy) but I want to be part of the solution instead of the problem.
I would love to hear from people and hear your stories and ideas.
Be safe and know you are not alone!
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