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Readers Respond: How Did You Handle Finding Out You Had Herpes?

Responses: 147


Updated April 06, 2009

What can you do? A few things...

I wasn't sexually active until college, but once I started having sex - went through a few years of being fairly casual about it, but always using protection. Never had any problems. Then I got married at age 24 to a devoutly religious man. We were both tested before we had sex & I thought everything was fine and dandy. A few months after we had been together, I had a pretty mild first outbreak and did not realize at the time what it was. I thought it was a bad reaction to some lotion. Looking back on it, I don't know whether I caught it from my husband or if I caught it during college from someone else. I think it's pretty wacked that they don't test for HSV or HPV during STD screenings. I mean, c'mon! Anyway - I didn't have any other symptoms for the next 5 years. I didn't actually find out I had it til after my divorce when I was under some life stress and had a few blisters pop up on the labia majora & my OB told me it was herpes. I was shocked, and had them do the tests to confirm the diagnosis. Sure enough. So I sucked it up and went about my life, figuring as you all did that there are worse things in life. It's actually ironically improved my sex life since then because I don't jump into bed with guys anymore having to now fully check in with my integrity and inform them before anything sexual happens. It's just not even worth it to try all that unless I'm really sure there is some potential for relationship there. And I rarely ever get outbreaks. 5 years after being diagnosed and 10 years after catching it, I've only had blisters 3 times. My acupuncturist told me to avoid alcohol, coffee and fried foods to minimize outbreaks. I do NOT take the valtrex stuff because I think it weakens the body's ability to fend off the virus on its own. Anyhow I've dated successfully in the 5 years I've known about it - it's not the end of the world y'all. For the last 2 years I've been with an awesome guy who knows I have herpes, and has to this point been symptom free. I told him about my condition before we had sex & he did not have a big issue with it. There seems to be some confusion on whether or not a person is contagious if they are asymptomatic. Bur I'm afraid I may be coming down with an outbreak, and we had sex a few nights ago. I'm really hoping he didn't get it from me just now. I mean, he knows and I feel ok about it because I had told him about it before. But ts just kind of a sucky condition. Take heart everyone, it's not that horrible of a deal. But be safe, be honest & be cafeful. It could be much worse!
—Guest Well damn.

Tryna get used to it.

welp im 20, and i lost my virginity to a guy who happened to have it, and he was a hoe...well after the first time we had oral sex my throat starts hurting about a month later i get the started having a serious yeast infection and a bunch of open sores i was mortified! i figured it was herpes, so i went to the doctor got a culture test, and the test only confirmed what i knew...i broke down in the doctors office, then called my boyfriend in told him thats what it was and yeah there u have it. we are no longer together, he busy sleeping with people,then telling them afterwards; while im still trying to grasp the fact that i have this, trying to move on, and wondering if ill ever find someone after him cuz unlike him i do plan on telling them that i have it. man im so young this sucks.
—Guest me

How I Handled Finding Out I Had Herpes..

About a week ago I had felt a bump in my genitle area. So as a woman I got a mirror and checked it out. I've only have been having unprotected sex with one person. So when I seen the bump I kind of knew it was herpes but wasn't sure. I couldn't get a real good look. I thought it might of been a vaginal tear or ingrown hair. The last time me and my partner had unprotected sex was the 1st of the month. I noticed the bump on the 21st. 20 days after the unprotected sex. He must of had an outbreak but had no symptoms which I have read is common. A couple days after seeing the bump and realized it wasn't healing I made an appt. With planned parenthood. Same day appt. I went in. Got tested for everything! They took a culture of the bump. She said it didn't really look like herpes that she thought it might be a vaginal tear which was kind of a relief to hear. So today (2 days later) I get a call "from my dr's office" and I knew I was positive for it. She had gave me a prescription the day I went in for my exam just in case it was herpes and told me to take start taking them. She told me I was positive for herpes type 2 which means the vaginal area. I kind wanted to cry, but it was no ones fault but my own for not being safe and using condoms. One of my friends had the same thing happen to her. She was the 1st person I called to talk to but she didn't answer. So I called my partner and let him know. He denied that he had it and he's never had an outbreak. We still don't know if he has it cause I just found out today and he's going tomorrow to get tested. When my girlfriend finally called me back she told me it was going to be ok. We kinda laughed at the situation just because we didn't wana cry and said at least it wasn't AIDS. I'm very disappointed in myself and would never tell any of my family members that I've been infected. I am glad I have my friend to talk to about this. There's nothing wrong with having herpes. We are all still human beings. Its just something we were all taught not to share with the world. Just with people close to you that you can trust. I try not to think to much about it, what's done is done. I have herpes. I have to live with it for the rest of my life. My message to everyone who is reading this. Just be safe. Use condoms everytime. These days you can't trust your partner. Get tested frequently. Or at least 2 times a year. I didn't listen about wearing condoms and I got infected.
—Guest P.D.

3 Months and Counting

I lost my virginity at 19, a sophomore. One day I felt an extreme tingly sensation--not painful but very uncomfortable; it soon passed. The blisters were more internal in the vaginal tract, they themselves not painful, but very swollen with fluid. I probably could not have inserted a light-days tampon if I wanted to. Tests confirmed HSV 1, probably from getting oral sex--I was horrified and surprised b/c there were 0 visual indications on my ex bf. It got a lot better with valtrex, but the first dose didn't get rid of it. I've had it for 3 months now, not the extreme case it was before but still prevalent. I'm too ashamed to tell my parents, though they are both in the medical field and could help. I've been trying to consume a higher ratio of the amino acid L-lysine than arginine (chocolate and nuts has arginine, so eat less of that). Taking L-lysine and vitamin C. My ex and I broke up before I found out. I'm ok-worse things can happen. Could prevent something much worse, like HIV
—Guest College Girl


Just found out an hour ago I have HSV-2. Thought I never would have to worry about STDs again. I'm 31 and got back together with my girlfriend with the intention of getting married. Had some swelling and sores which I initially thought was friction sores. But it came back 3 months later and now I know its HSV-2. Feel like a piece of me has been taken from me. Must have gotten it from my girlfriend, who was supposedly diagnosed with a UTI before we got back together. Now I'm doubting her faithfulness, and angry at her being irresponsible and selfish and slutty, really depressed, worried that I'll never be as happy as I used to be, concerned that I will be alone. I want to believe my girlfriend that she used a condom and somehow unluckily caught it during a break Stigma and emotional stress is definitely way worse than the actual physical effects (at least for me personally). Wish it wasn't such a dark secret but feel like I can't tell anyone without being the punchline. Sad
—Guest Depressed


I'm 37 years old and just found out I have herpes. I did not have any symptoms nor outbreaks. What made me get tested was that my last partner accused me of giving him a "disease" and never specified what it was, therefore, I went to the doctor to get screened for everything possible. When I saw my doctor's telephone number show up on my caller id......I was not happy, but what can be done? I see my physician annually and don't know when I could have contracted it, therefore, having a hard time dealing with this. But it is what is and now I need to learn to live with it. As for my former partner, until he can specify what the disease is, I dont have time for games. I didn't know and I'm sorry.

I'm so scared

My boyfriend just recently broke up with me and I've always been pretty promiscuous until I started dating him. Well after he broke up with me, I had a few crazy drunk nights. I mean afterall I'm 19 and a college student. After having a one night stand on monday, that thursday my vagina felt kind of sore and felt even worse on friday. So by saturday I took a little mirror and was checking it out and saw white bumps there and then that night when I went to pee it hurt so bad I just screamed and cried. I immediately started googling herpes and possible other diseases it could be. I read that it could be a yeast infection with sores or maybe siphylis. I went and bought vagistat but no such luck..just got worse. Now its around my butthole and all inside my vagina. It hurts so bad and I have my appt with my obgyn tomrw and i've accepted the fact that I have herpes. I just am scared of how i'll ever be able to tell a guy I like that I have it and him accept it..let alone my parents?!
—Guest scared

Its just a cold sore

From the beginning I knew he gets cold sores. Intimate on/off 4 years no problems. Got together Tuesday (cold sore out break free) Before + after sex he went down on me. I often get vagina tears after intercourse so figured the burning pee would heal up in a day or 2 like usual. In the mean time I tried to relieve myself with lotion and aloe, im pretty sure that spread things faster. 4 days of all the crippling pain symptoms, and dehydration in attempt not to pee acid fire. I finally got to see my doctor on Monday. Been on Valtrex and Zovirax for 2 days. 50 or more big and small white pus sores all over, everything is so swollen. I hear 1st outbreak is worst. I feel stupid not knowing"cold sore"is a nice word for HERPES and yes you can get it with no visible outbreaks or safe sex. My advice, warm baths, ice packs, look up what food to avoid, drink lots 2 dilute acid in urine, Pee in a bath tub when ever possible, best thing 4 sure from doc is numbing Lidocaine cream called "Maxilene 4
—Guest Find a cure soon please

found out today

i went to the doctor today. the doc and his nurse both looked, then called in a second doc and she too glanced down and walked out the door. my bf of 6 months was with me when the doc came back in and told us that i have herpes. we were both shocked. im trying to accept it but i am having a hard time. my bf is mad at me since he might have it now too...doesnt know if we can ever go back to the way we were before. i currently have tons of family support so im sure it will all be okay.
—Guest nervous

yesterday yeast infection, today herpes

16yrs young. Reading all these, scared me to death. i didnt know i could get it in my eyes. MY ex boyfriend and i have hooked up on and off for a long time, ive only been with him. today i find out its herpes. I cry a lot. It hurts to pee, and walk, and sit. I wish i was in a coma. I wonder how long ill be out of school.. my mom knows, but my dad doesnt. What am i to do? exboyfriend doesnt think he has it, can you give it to someone without having symptoms? Can coldsores on the mouth give it to you downt there?? I have so many questions that are going unanswered. I feel so dirty. i love the guy who i know i got it from, but hte problem is he doesnt love me anymore, and now maybe no one will. Yesterday i thought i had a yeast infection, today it might be herpres. i want it to be over, and to have never happened. What can i do?:(
—Guest scared

its all right

Im 31 and just got herpes from a girl.I came down with pnemonia which almost killed me the doctors didnt know what caused it.I was given a spinal tap at the emergency room nothing blood test for aids and hepatitis along with other things like liver panels.I was out of work for 16 days going to the doctors and taking medication because my liver enzymes were very high something like 25 times higher than what they were suppose to be.I then went back to work for 3 days and ended up having cesures from so much back pain and was rushed to the emergency room where they gave me a mri nothing came back from that and was out of work for another 7 days.I then notices three small bumps on my penis so I went to the doctors and said I want a full STD check.He said that they were just genital warts.So I was very sad but not heart broken.I got the test back a week later.The sheet that said herpes 1. Im back at work still with back pain thanking god its not AIDS.
—Guest jon

I cant believe this

I am freshly 20 yrs. young. when i was 16 i found out i got chlamydia from my boyfriend of 4 months. i have recently been with my boyfriend for just about a year. almost a week ago i noticed what looked like an ingrown hair on the lip of my vagina. i didnt think too much about it until the next day, i found two more. my boyfriend and i went straight to the emergency room, when the doc looked at it, she said it was deff herpes. i've never cried so hard and so much at one time. today i got a call first thing saying i was tested positive for herpes. i dont kno how it happend, but i'm pretty sure it was my ex that gave it to me. it pisses me off knowing i've had this virus this entire time n i had no idea. i am very worried about my partner, there's no doubt in my mind he has it too, but he has been very supportive throughout this whole thing. my first outbreak, hurts, but it deff could be worse...im just very depressed, scared, n pissed off, it really does feel like my life is over!!
—Guest R.299

shes stays witout both parents

Well 2day was the 1st day I found out I have herpes. I've been w/my babydaddy 4 bout 2years. We had a baby girl nd 2moNths later began 2hav sex.my baby is 6months so -n the last 4months he cheated on me got herpes then had sex wit me. Soon after I felt a Burning feeling in my vagina area.2days later of takin the pain I asked him 2 check nd he said it was n ingrown hair nd He Had 1 wen we had SEx but his is gone. I asked 2 let me see. Nd he wouldn't show me. Wen I calld him 2day 2 give him the news he didn't care or even apologise. He. Was too woRried 4 himself 2care bout my baby or me. I was talkin 2 a new guy nd I like him but he knoes better than 2 b w/a girl sick like tat especially wen he has a 2year old baby 2 care 4. I wouldn't b able 2 allow myself riskin some1 elses life. I was a good girl nd I'm only 19 my life is over ! Not only tat but my baby is 6months I fear 4 her I don't want her 2 get it.
—Guest tragedy


well i know this will shock you all. i am 14 yrs old and im still not sure that i have herpes or not. i have one blister on my inner thigh close to the lips but i dont have any other symptoms that suggest i have herpes. i dont know what to do. if i tell my mom or i go to the doctor she's going to find out i had sex. i am way too young for this. im life is sort of over. who is going to be with someone who has herpes? even thought im not sure if i have it im already accepting that i do. i feel so dirty and ashamed and the worst part is i dont know who gave it to me...
—Guest young

Your life isn't over.

I have been in a loving long term relationship for almost two years now. My boyfriend is not also my lover but my best friend. In September 2009, I started having symptoms. I had enlarged lymph nodes, flu like symptoms and of course in the first few days blisters started appearing. I have always been so careful within my sexual history and to find out a year into my relationship confused me. The confusion I felt was horrible. I have never been in so much pain in my life. My vagina didn't even look like mine anymore. I was puzzled as to where it came from and still am till this day. I have been so so lucky to have my partner by my side, we are extra careful these days and we still enjoy a very fulfilling sex life.
—Guest Aurora_Guest
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