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Nothing like a Rd 2


NotJustSure,HSVPositive

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Hi Everyone, Apologies in advance, this will be a very long post; but this is therapeutic for me, and hopefully can be encouraging for others! So please enjoy my journal post/brain vomit :). I'll include a TL;DR at the bottom too for those who want less words!

I am back on these forums for the first time since 2011 when I contracted o/g HSV-1 and had no idea how to navigate these waters. Now, 11yrs later, here I am again after recently (very likely) adding HSV2 to the mix (hooray!). I am currently feeling angry, scared, depressed, frustrated, shameful, and numb....but ALSO hopeful, confident, strong, and motivated to make the most of this unfortunate twist. The reason for this strange mix of emotions is in my story below...

When I first got hit with HSV1, I felt many of the same feelings I feel today: stunned, in denial, pleading for it to not be true, angry at my careless actions, feeling a sense of loss of identity, and scared of the daunting task of navigating a love life. I contracted HSV1 from an old high school crush through oral sex. Had no idea that could happen at the time - lesson learned! It took me about 1.5yrs to come to terms with it. First outbreak came with fever, painful urination, and two single sores on the tip of my penis which scabbed and fell off over the course of 2 wks. My first disclosure actually turned out to be a success despite the horrified look on the girls face when I told her. She took a day to think it over then said ok bc she really liked me (me-1; herpes-0). We had a lot of sex; condoms, but no other restrictions. Unfortunately I passed it onto her genitally - most likely due to my oral infection as I was still in my first year and didn't understand my prodrome feelings. I do still feel guilty about this as I was careless and instead of being careful, just dove in to sex as it was a form of validation for me - very selfish! Anyway, in the end, we didn't work out for other reasons and I continued dating.

The next year I met another woman and waiting until night we were supposed to have sex to disclose. I made an awkwardly huge deal of it and was shaking. She was nice about it, but slowly distanced over the next month and eventually cut it off (me-1, herpes-1).  This gutted me - brought me into my most feared reality (that gHSV1 WAS a big deal and I was a leper). It was during this time that I spent nearly every waking hour on forums searching for hope and success stories of people who have conquered this virus. This habit brought some comfort, but ultimately kept me in a cycle of negative self belief as I wasn't taking any actions in real life, just "mentally masturbating" to these success stories. What snapped me out of this was this woman who rejected me reaching out randomly one day to say she missed me and wanted to give us a shot (whoa! me-2; herpes-0?!). Anyway, due to my low self esteem, I ran back to her like an abandoned puppy desperate for attention. Needless to say, this pushed her away pretty fast which gave me my first big realization: herpes wasn't really my issue. My low self-esteem and insecure behaviors were!

But with essentially a 2/2 record on H disclosures, I was no longer stuck in the H-depression cave and began working on myself and living my life with the confidence that this wasn't going to be the end of my romantic/sexual life. Over the next 8ish years, I've had nothing but successful disclosures - probably about 8-10. I never made it a big deal, I always said something along the lines of "I have HSV-1 in both locations". Because so many people have HSV-1, I was often met with "Oh, I have that too, no big deal". So despite the genital aspect being involved, most weren't concerned once I explained the risks. Some were even so non-chalant, that I wanted to repeat myself because I was concerned they didn't really appreciate what I was telling them. Also since that first girl, I've never passed it onto anyone else - that I know of. I mostly used condoms, and some girls didn't want me to go down on them; but I also had unprotected sex on numerous occasions (including the majority of a 2yr relationship) without anything being passed - again, to my knowledge. So until Labor Day weekend, herpes was nearly 100% a non-issue in my life (me-win; herpes-lost).

Then Labor day weekend 2022 happened...I went on a first date, hit it off, had great energy with a girl and we went back to my place. In the excitement and passion, I proceeded to have unprotected sex with her. It was hot, fun, and passionate. But FUCK, I didn't even disclose beforehand. We talked AFTER (not good), but she said the familiar "oh, I have HSV1 too, no big deal" response to the "HSV-1 in both locations" spiel. Fast fwd two days later and I get an all-to-familiar fever and chills out of no where. I haven't had a fever in YEARS. COVID test neg; I suspected HSV2 pretty fast and back onto the forums I went. I didn't have any clear sores, but did have lots of prodrome-y and itchy symptoms all over genital region. Then just today, I see my first sore...😔. Have appt to get it swabbed Friday.- But it feels all but certain. I'm back on the forums mentally masturbating and trying to wrap my head around this. I have fear about how I'll manage dating without the "50% of ppl have HSV-1, so they are highly protected" crutch. I'm so angry and feel ashamed that I didn't practice safe sex. I am angry that I am still looking to women for validation - casual sex over relationships have been a bad habit for me last couple yrs.

Anyway,  I now begin my rebuilding process. I am scared, depressed, and experiencing all the fears that every newly diagnosed person feels. BUT my experience from o/g HSV1 has PROVEN that this can be overcome and be a footnote in my life. SO below are the lessons I've learned and goals I have to take this second round of pain and churn it into an even better life! Perhaps this can be useful to others. Or if anyone disagrees, I'd love to hear your perspectives as well!

Lessons:
-People will accept the risk if they are truly interested in you. To allow for this, it begins with healthy self-esteem. Build and maintain a healthy life that you love first and foremost - this breeds positive energy which will attract the right people to you.
-Disclosures should be relaxed and a MUTUAL conversation. So often I made it about me and what I had to tell the other person. I largely ignored what the other person could give to me. Let this convo be an opportunity to learn about the other person AND share of yourself
-TAKE ACTION. Rejection sucks, but it exists in all parts of life and dating outside of H. If you don't give dating/disclosure a shot, you WILL be alone. If you give it a shot, you have a chance, and a good one at that. Think of it like sales - lots of doors slam in your face; but you learn from each one, get better, and eventually you get the sale!

What I'm going to change about my life approach now that I have HSV2:
-Drop my walls. Don't hide my flaws (including H) or true feelings for fear of how the other person may respond. It is my job to show up authentically in this world. How other's react to this is their business.
-Focus on connection. Date more intentionally and pass on partners who are not good fits rather than simply trying to hook up to feed my ego - this ego-feeding approach has bred so much unhappiness in my life, prevented true connection, and fostered the environment for H to come into it - twice!
 

Thanks for reading! :)

TL;DR; I've had o/g HSV-1 for 11yrs. Only successful disclosures with a few awkward moments along the way. Outbreaks are minimal and manageable. This virus was an afterthought for me completely!
I just recently contracted HSV-2 as well (highly suspected at least); I'm back in the dark space with this all as it feels like a bit of a different ballgame. But I am very hopeful and confident that I will be ok with some modified life strategies! Can't wait to update you on the progress!

 

 

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Hey @NotJustSure,HSVPositive and welcome to the website!

This is a good note that is a wonderful lesson that for the mature person, HSV is not much of an issue at all. I am glad you have found some amazing ladies mature enough to look through to the person you are and not a common virus.

I cannot help but feel though that there is a bit too much drama here and a bit fact free which may not help. I have a few thoughts and questions that may help.

  • What makes you think that you have both oral and genital HSV-1? What tests did you have at the time 11 years ago?
  • Note that with an initial infection with HSV you do NOT get prodrome feelings, you get the sores first!
  • You suggest that its been 4 weeks since the sexual episode of concern? The chances are that the 'sore' you are experiencing is not related to the sexual episode at all.
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Hi Wilso! Good points- and I suppose there is still a sliver of hope that these symptoms are not HSV-2, and I do hope you are right. So I will certainly update this thread accordingly if I find that out. I am an anxious person, so that's a very fair comment about this being dramatic :)

As for your questions, let me provide more detail to clarify:
-On first HSV-1 exposure, I had the fever/chills, very painful urination, two genital sores which scabbed, and a massive oral sore. I have not gotten any more genital lesions in my 11yrs, but 2-3 oral ones per yr. I only had HSV-1 blood test as I didn't know about the swab tests at the time, and it has been positive every time I've taken it.
-For this suspect HSV-2, you are right that my main concern is really just surrounding this fever and the timing of it after unprotected sex. That paired with my itchy urethra and clean STI panel tests (for bacterial infections, syphilis, and HIV) make me more worried. I have read from Terri Warren's Herpes Handbook that HSV-2 infection after HSV-1  can be very subtle - so that is why I'm concerned with these subtle symptoms...Then today I saw a tiny bump on my penis which has the look of a small blister. Perhaps this is HSV-1 recurrence or something else, but with the other symptoms, my mind is drawing worst-case conclusions. Ideally a swab test can confirm Friday. Otherwise, I plan to wait the 12 weeks and do the blood test.

Edited by NotJustSure,HSVPositive
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Hey @NotJustSure,HSVPositive well much. much more than a sliver of hope. Why would assume that this partner has HSV-2 in the first place? And why wouldn't they disclose HSV-2 if they had it when you brought up the topic of herpes and she mentioned HSV-1? Even if she has it unknowingly, the transmission rate would be 1 in 2,500.

From what you describe, it seems there is only a small chance that you actually have genital HSV-1. It is far more likely that you have an oral HSV-1 from childhood. This actually gives you high to complete protection from a genital HSV-1 infection. How soon after the oral sex that led to the lesions did you have an IgG test?

You have absolutely no reason on account of these symptoms to suspect a recent infection of HSV-2, that is simply not how an infection works. Your testing will be negative and confirm this.

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I appreciate the replies Wilso, and I certainly hope you're right on this HSV-2 piece. I am definitely drawing conclusions at this pt. My assumption is the girl doesn't know of her infection which is why she didn't disclose. Hopefully I have a data-driven answer to this in the next week. And if not then, within the next couple months!

On the HSV-1 front, I'm not sure I agree that this would be a childhood infection. All the symptoms were tell-tale signs of a primary HSV-1 infection which occurred days after an encounter that involved kissing and oral sex. All other tests at that time were also negative for other infections. For the IgG, that was done many months later - I don't remember exactly at this point. Regardless, this infection I am quite comfortable with regardless of how I got it; so no longer a concern :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to give an update here, that "sore" was not actually a herpes sore. It was a wart which I had treated. That said, I do still have persistent "itching" at the tip of my urethra; and this has been going on for about 3-4 weeks now (total about 6-7weeks since potential exposure). Further, I had blood test at 4wks and was negative. However I'm well aware that at this early timeframe that simply tells me that I was negative prior to this partner. I will repeat at the 12wk mark.

So, my paranoia is still on high due to the initial fever and these genital sensations. But no current outbreak. If anyone positive for HSV1 or 2 has experienced prolonged "itchy" urethra symptoms, I'd be interested to hear it!

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