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23 Years, No Outbreaks, My Story


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Friends, from my brief time researching HSV2 on this forum and elsewhere in the last couple of weeks, I've come to realize how unusual my experience is so I wanted to share it in case it benefits anyone. I don't think I'll stick around the forum, but I'll be happy to reply to comments if people have questions. 

I ended up here during a 72-hour period a little over a week ago when I thought (to my great surprise) that I was having an outbreak. It was quite dismaying as I'm in a new-ish relationship and have never had a second outbreak. I had a pretty horrific first outbreak in early 1995 (I had to run a bath to pee ...), but that's been it. I've been sexually active nearly the entire time, I've had more than a few partners, and I have never transmitted the disease. 

I was quite surprised to be experiencing (what I thought was) an outbreak, as I'm healthier now than I've been in decades, and taking much better care of myself (good diet, daily exercise, etc.). 

It turns out that what I thought was my second outbreak (after 23 years!) was a patch of folliculitis - it went away overnight with a bit of triple antibiotic cream. But during the few days I thought it might be herpes, I was researching like a mad woman. And while I learned a lot - about diet and lifestyle tips to avoid outbreaks, about others' experiences, etc. - I have to say I'm very glad these sorts of forums didn't exist in 1994. Not sure what my experience would have been like if I'd allowed a pretty harmless virus to become so constitutive of my identity. 

I actually wondered a little while ago if I even had HSV2, given that I've never had a second outbreak. I wondered if I might have contracted HSV1 in the genital area. But I did request the blood tests during a round of STD testing once (you have to request this test, it's not routine - I guess serum levels are much higher in the population than diagnosed cases ...) and I am serum positive for both HSV1 and HSV2.

The shamans advise "never let a diagnosis seal your destiny." When I had my first outbreak in 1994, I realized I had two choices: I could allow the disease to determine my future (i.e. I could live as a person with herpes), or I could put it behind me and get on with my life. I basically just went about my life as if the herpes had never happened. I never anguished over it, I did not change my diet or lifestyle (I have drunk coffee pretty much every morning over the last few decades, alcohol a few times a week, raw cacao in my smoothies on the reg ...), and further (this will be controversial, I get it) I have never told a soul. This is between me and my gynecologist, no one else on the planet knows. 

I am, I'll admit, a bit of a health nut, but I haven't worried about things like Lysine/Arginine ratios, I haven't been gluten free, I haven't followed an immune-boosting diet, and I'm underweight for my height. Moreover, I've had some unhealthy years including one back in 2002-2003 when I lived on Caramel Macchiatos and Amstel Light (with a few real meals a week). 

I'm not into magical thinking in general. I have a severe issue with my left eye that I know is incurable so I don't go about pretending I don't have the problem or trying to visualize it away because I don't need that kind of frustration in my life. Where my eye is concerned, I've had to follow the path of acceptance, not letting it seal my destiny necessarily, but making adjustments for it in terms of how I read, etc. But herpes is something very different because the outbreaks are not inevitable ... I really do believe this is a disease we can keep at bay through positive thinking and ignoring it, and I think obsessing over it is probably counterproductive (though if it motivates anyone to start exercising, eating right, and exercising more caution when it comes to sexual partners, that's all good).  

Edited by arabelle
clarification, spelling, grammar
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    • CHT
      Hi "Jeremy"..... I agree, the topic of your HSV status does not need to be something you disclose too soon in a developing relationship..... get to know each other first....see how it's going and as it progresses, then the HSV issue will naturally need to be revealed.... it's my personal opinion though that before there is any sexual encounter you ought to disclose your HSV status.... I know some will disagree with me on this but, I think it is morally wrong not to disclose first.  This can be a make/break situation for most people but, again, I feel it is simply wrong not to give the other person the whole story since your decision not to disclose could put their health at risk.... that is simply not an option in my opinion.  Looking back to my "pre-HSV" life I most certainly would want my partner to disclose their HSV+ status before intimacy so that I could make my decision as to whether I want to take that risk or not.... 
    • Jeremy Spokein
      Thanks, CHT. I appreciate the feedback. The whole trauma of going through this has led me to figure out a lot about myself and my attachment wounds, so I'm taking courses to come out of this better. This girl really was my dream woman in so many ways, it's been the hardest heartbreak to deal with ever. I'm truly in a lot of pain, but using the pain as fuel to launch that new business and work with coaches. I also opened up to my family about HSV, so my parents and sister know now, and they were very loving and accepting of it. Since opening up about it, I feel way better around this thing. After opening up, I also found out that some mutual friends in our family have discordant couples who are married with children, so HSV hasn't stopped them from living a loving life. The thing is... all of these couples I mention did not disclose until 6-8 months into the relationship. So now I'm thinking it might be better not to disclose until I know things are very serious. I'll of course stay on the medication and use protection, but maybe this is a better route than disclosing upfront and scaring women off.
    • WilsoInAus
      Hey @Lcj987 and welcome to the website. You can be sure that isn't HSV-2, looks nothing like it. It is much more likely to be folliculitis or inflamed fordyce spots.
    • WilsoInAus
      Hey @JackThrowAway herpes causes an outbreak where it enters the body first and maybe a progressive spread. If it doesn't cause an outbreak at the entry site then it won't cause one elsewhere, it also won't 'jump' upon infection - it would be more likely that the lesions are continuous from the penis to the anus. Nevertheless, testing trumps symptoms or any interpretation of symptoms. The correct conclusive result arises when: you have a positive swab; or An IgG HSV-2 level over 3.5 (Herpeselect test).
    • Lcj987
      Slept with someone unprotected, roughly 2 weeks ago now. I felt generally unwell the couple of days after but I’d been drinking the whole weekend and didn’t have much sleep either of the days of that weekend so put it down to that. 6 days after I noticed these spots appear on the shaft of my penis. Along with symptoms of discomfort in my shaft in the couple of days prior to them appearing. No pain when urinating at all that I have noticed. They don’t hurt, itch or tingle and they don’t have fluid in from what I can see or feel if I squeeze them and have never burst? I went to a sexual health clinic to get checked up, they took bloods to do a full test and looked at the spots but said they saw nothing that concerned them but I’m not sure about that, any advice? The smaller spots under the shaft are just follicles I had diagnosed years ago and non-sti related.
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