1. Health

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

Financial Stress

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

Responses: 147


Updated April 06, 2009

Nobody wants herpes, but many people have it. When someone finds out they have herpes, they often feel ashamed or mad along with many other emotions. The sad thing is most people go through this very difficult time feeling alone and isolated because they don't want anyone to know. It would be easier to tell their friends and co-workers they were upset because they had cancer. But herpes?

What did you do when you found out you had herpes? Who did you talk to? How did you handle telling your partner? Share your story so other "newbies" won't feel so alone.

Never too old to be stupid

I was diagnosed yesterday that I have herpes. I am still waiting for test results and hope they are wrong but I doubt it. Reading these posts makes me feel better. I am not alone and I will not die from this. My BF of 1 1.2 months says he is symptom free and it cannot be him but the doctor says outbreaks happen 7-10 days after exposure and this relationship fits the bill. Plus I have been tested twice int he last 4 months for anitbodies and they came up negative. Now my biggest fear are the people around me, my family who I kiss, my daughter who sahres everything. So many questions and so few resources. Right now I just want to make it through the physical symptoms of the outbreak. I can make but I am going to cry a lot first.
—Guest Crying but Strong

Your life isn't over until your dead

I never thought this would happen to me. In high school I was the "good girl" very preppy and always associated STD's with dirty people who didn't care about themselves.But after this experience my whole outlook has changed! It can happen to anyone! When I first felt the bumps near my vagina I thought my life was over.But this website has been very helpful,I thought I was alone but now I know I'm not.I just wish I could talk to someone in person about this, who knows maybe one of your friends has Herpes and is keeping the same secret you are.I haven't been checked yet, but I'm positive it is Herpes, I'm scared to go get checked but after reading everyones stories, I know this isn't the end of the world.Over the past few days I thought to myself I would rather have cancer or even the thought of death sounds like a better way to deal with this disease, but why should death be better than a simple virus.. Everything is going to be ok, Just keep ur head up even tho it hurts really bad!
—Guest It could be worse


I am 30 and just diagnosed with herpes. My bf and I just moved in together. With running around and getting utilities, school and everything else set up, I was under considerable stress. I was tested 6 months ago for herpes and it came back negative. He was also checked for STD but not sure if for herpes. Ugh. 5 days ago We had sex. I felt some pain and i felt a bump there. I ignored it becAuse I shave and thought it was an ingrown hair. Later the next day I felt like I pulled my groin muscle. It hurt to sit or stand quickly. The next day the sore really began to burn and hurt like rubbed raw from sex. The next day I had several blisters and that night I couldn't sleep well because of the itching. I tried so hard not to scratch but I would do it anyway in my sleep and instantly wake up from the burning pain from the open sores. It hurt so bad To pee. I cried and immediately jumped into the shower to cool it down. No matter what I have done to sooth the pain it kept/keeps getting worse. I finally passed out from exaustion last night. Nothing I have done before is helping today. It HURTS. So painful I just want to pass out till it's over. I went to the dr and she said it was herpes. She gave acoloVair, whatever that doesn't help the pan and symptoms keep coming. She also gave me some benzocaine to wash in the tub like a sit bath. It burns!!! I hope it's doing it's job. Anyway. I have been having the flu symptoms for a few days too. Double wammy. This sucks!!!!

Alone and scared

Last october my husband of 22 years left me after along affair with my best friend. Much to my devastation and shock I spent the next 6 months trying to save the marriage. In the end he told me it was over in Feb. 2010. Just like that. No trying to work things out - just throwing it all away. I took some classes and met a man that was in a very similiar situation. I have only been with 2 other men in my life.We became intimate and I knew it was totally a rebound relationship. He did tell me he had herpes before we slept together and for the most part we played it safe. I guess not safe enough. I seemed to get reckless and not care. It was like I was punishing myself for the loss of my husband. I was diagnosed 4 weeks ago and now wonder what this means for any kind of future with another man. I am not ready to date or anything yet as I am still struggling with the loss of the marriage but this is not helping me. I feel alone and worthless and very ashamed I was so reckless
—Guest Guest alone

pain, pain, go away

my story? i havent been sexually active since 2007 until i met my boyfriend. he's in the military & gets tested & i was tested for STD's as well...both were negative. Go figure herpes isnt a standard thing they check for. after being together, intimately, for 4mo i started to show symptoms and went to the emergency room where the doc told me i had Herpes. It was hard to hear but i told my boyfriend and we are not blaming the other...it could've easily been either one of us. we are in this together now. i am in my first outbreak. i have a high tollerance for pain but oh my gosh!!! i cant sleep, i cant walk. UGH!!! the pain is excruciating. i'm scared to drink water because that'll make me pee & even looking at the toilet makes me sick, because the pain is so so severe. So i've been hopping in the shower & washing with babysoap. Now that even hurts. i cant do a thing. just wait for the pain to subside. there's worse things 2 b told u have. youll get through this though and best of luck!
—Guest can't sleep

Only took One 1 night stand

I'm 28 years old and contracted Herpes when I was 21. I had only been with 2 people when I made the biggest mistake of my life. My boyfriend had been cheating on me and finally decided to break up with me. I stupidly decided to seek revenge and sleep with his best friend. This was something that was totally out of the norm for me, but anger got the best of me. I take full responsability for what has happened to me. We used protection but sure enough 2 weeks to the day I had my first outbreak. By this time my ex realized he made a huge mistake and we had gotten back together. He was understanding and felt guilty himself for starting all the drama. The first outbreak was very bad I was horribly sick for 2 weeks. It felt like I had the worst flu I had ever had. We are now engaged but I still deal with the guilt of my one drunk mistake. I know this too shall pass but it doesnt help the shame I feel everytime I have an outbreak.
—Guest monaquimby

Caught from husband after 10 years

I'm 39 years old.Two days after renewing our wedding vows at our ten year anniversary I started what I thought was a UTI. But soon followed with severe pain and blisters on my Labia. We knew immediately what it was as my husband told me he had HSV when we first dated. To me it wasn't a big deal because I lived him so much. We were very careful and surprised to have prevented infection for 10 years. My initial outbreak has been very difficult emotionally, physically and mentally. I'm on medication to help shorten the outbreak and Vicodin for the pain. It's been 2.5 weeks and thought the blisters are gone there us still sone discomfort and ichiness. Not from a blister but a wired nerve ping that ends up itching. I know this too shall pass and somedays are easier than others emotionally. It's been very hard on my husband too because he's such a kind, loving and patient man who has lived with this for over 30 years. This can happen to anyone, good or bad, and you should not be ashamed of it. The blessing out of this us that this tribulation has brought deeper closeness between my hubby and I. He sees the pain and continually prays for me. He admits his initial outbreak was mild compared to mine and was surprised how bad it was. But through faith and live we will get through this. Keep your sail up and your dace to the wind and you'll get through the storm with Gods help. Shalom!
—Guest Dear, Loving, Wife

Everything happens for a reason

Sunday I noticed a very small bump that looked like an ingrown hair on my vagina and although I for sure knew that wasn't what it was (it was too close to my clitoris where no hair grows) I didn't think much about it. I have been with my girlfriend for 8 months faithful all the way and before her had never had any symptoms although I was quite permiscuous with both guys and girls in the past. Anyway at the same time this bump appeared I felt like I had a vaginal tear and It really burned to pee. My girlfriend and I don't use toys or anything that would nor has ever caused this before so It was kind of my first inclination something was up. The thought came into my mind that I could be having symptoms from an STD and I knew a bump could either be herpes or warts but it was so small and harmless looking I still shrugged it off and figured maybe my gf just scratched me w her fingernails and the two boo-boos had nothing to do with one another. Monday a bump appeared next to my anus and my cut or tear in my vagina was so painful i couldnt even put a finger inside of me. By Wednesday I had about 5 bumps to match. By now my girlfriend and I had been doing research online and were sure of my diagnosis so I called in sick to work Thursday morning and went to planned parenthood. I only waited about an hour and my visit was free so if you think you have herpes don't wait to get checked cause it can get worse fast and the meds they give you will help stop it and make you more comfortable. So the nurse gave me a visual exam and took a swab to send out for testing. I already knew what it was but I asked the dr. what she thought and she flat out told me "I think it's herpes." I immediately broke down as we probably all did. Now that the initial shock is over I can thankfully say the bumps are very small and are uncomfortable but not what I imagined herpes to be like. I know breakouts vary with each person so i like to think of myself as lucky, although today (friday) my breakout is probably the worst it has been yet. My point is herpes is no joke and we should really all be overly annoyingly cautious with our genitalia and who we sleep with because take it from me it sucks to learn the hard way that you body is priceless and sex is a huge deal. And if you think you could have herpes go to the doctor, no excuses, before you pass it to some other poor soul. Guess what if you do have it life goes on, it really does. You'll cry for an entire day but you only get stronger. Getting herpes has also really shown me how much my girlfriend loves me and is willing to support me. Our love, trust and relationship is stronger than ever. Honesty is truly the best policy with your partner in this situation. And through all of this, even though it is depressing, I've learned a lot and love and value myself more than I ever have in my life.

i cant believe this

I found out two days ago that I have herpes. When the doctor told me I was so depressed but I knew it was coming for the previous 4 or 5 days before my appt I had these sores inside my vagina that hurt so bad and everytime I went to pee it was burning the hell out of me. I'm only 22 and I can't believe I'm going through this. I feel like being celibate for the rest of my life. I don't even feel sexual anymore like I used to. I researched a lot about herpes and I'm trying all the home remedies and their kind of helping. I swear if it wasn't for my cousin being here for me idk what I would do. I pray for the day when this first outbreak will go away.

Why me?

Just like many of y'all, I felt invincible, but have still taken precautions/protection (most) of the time. But I just found out this girl I was dating a few months back tested positive, and recommended I do the same. I did, and was shocked that I was positive. I have never shown signs in 20 years twenty years of having sex. I was tested a couple years ago for STDs, and test was negative for all STDs. She thinks I gave it to her, but I'm not certain that's the case. My new girlfriend came into my life a couple months after the girl I was dating, and I never want her to leave, she's a god send, but I feel terrible that I have passed this on to her after reading some of the other stories, not knowing when we started dating that I had this. She seems supportive. I think I'll marry her!!
—Guest Anon

Just diagnosed :(

I am 23 years old and i just found out yesterday that I have herpes type 2. My doctor says that it came up as being an old infection so I am guess I got it from this guy who raped me when I was 19. He also gave me HPV the virus that causes cervical cancer. I was so worried about that at the time and thought that pap smears covered herpes checks too, but I guess they don't. I had an itchy red bump that looked like a shaving rash and there was a little open cut there and the next day the cut was gone. Now there is the bump there with no cut. It's just red. And I just shaved and I have more little bumps, but I dont know if its that or not. All I know is that I have it and I am so afraid that I gave it to my boyfriend of almost 3 years. I feel so horrible and I wish this would have never happened to me. I know there are so many other things that are worse. My mother is dying with cancer and I think I got so stressed out from that so that triggered my first outbreak. I am so angry and sad:(
—Guest Sad Guest



my 1st is happening right now

2 days ago I saw blisters on my vagina, it burns so bad when I pee, so bad I try not to go. I was scared and didn't want to tell my boyfriend. I did not cheat on him or anything like that but I wasn't sure how I got it because I knew he didn't have it. I went to the gyno and she said she was pretty sure it was HSV.. I burst into tears and thought how am i going to live? what am I going to tell my boyfriend? She asked if he gets cold sores on his mouth and my response was yes last week he had one. & she told me I most likely contracted it through oral sex. WHO THE HELL KNEW THAT COULD HAPPEN? because i didn't .. and most people don't know that. I thought my boyfriend was going to think I was gross and freak out. When I told him he was so sweet about it .. even apologized because he didn't know it could be spread that way. I am in so much pain I don't know what to do with myself.. I have been reading that the 1st outbreak is the worst .. hope that's true.
—Guest yankeefan218

He Kind of [?] Told Me....

Now i'm not saying if he did tell me point blank i wouldn't have had sex with him. I would have; i just would have made sure we used protection. I didn't think anything about it. Now i will say, he DID give me the idea that he had HSV-2 but told me he got tested and the test came back "neg." his ex gf and i spoke and she said he didnt have it. 3 weeks after i had sex with him i had my first outbreak. it was a very painful [emotional/mental as well as physical] expierence. I shouldn't point fingers really, but i didn't have any STD's before him and had contracted HSV-2 a very short time after being intimate with him. I found out when i was 18. I take Acyclovir everyday twice a day and I've had only one outbreak in the past 3 years, my primary outbreak. Now that doesn't mean it's gone it just means i'm lucky. But when i think about it i still get depressed, but i know it's not the end of the world for me, it's just a small bump in the road.
—Guest PB1889

May 21st 2010

I stopped getting my period for 8months so I decided to go to the doctor and get checked for a cyst since it runs in my family. Since I just got in a relationship and haven't had a Papsmear for 6years I decided to do that as well. The following day the doctor called me and told me I had clamydia so when I went to get my meds for that he told me usually people with clamydia are at higher risk for other STD's so I had to get tested for everything. He told me to come back for my results in 3days but I was too afraid so I never called or came. 3weeks later I was done with my meds for clamydia so I HAD to go back to make sure it was gone. Since I was in a relationship I didn't want to pass it on to my boyfriend. On 5-21-2010 I was told I had herpes. I felt like my life was over that I would never be able to live a normal life and had to tell my boyfriend. Surprisingly, he refused to leave me and chose to go thru this with me. Even with his support, I felt alone and wanted to die. The nurse tried to convince me that its not as serious as I think but I felt disgusted and didn't want to have sex with my boyfriend. I cried, I hated god but never blamed him. I just felt like I already went thru so much so why couldn't god give me a break just once in my life. I told my brother and he cried with me but told me not to use his bathroom anymore lol. I'm still having troubles being intimate with my boyfriend but have begin to deal with the situation. I think I had herpes for years before I was diagnosed. For those of you who just found out, trust me, it does get better. This is just a part of your life and you either going to let it break you or move on. The older you get the less outbreaks you have. The more depress you are the more outbreaks you have. Don't blame anyone for this, everything happens for a reason (atleast that's what I have to keep telling myself). The only good thing that happened thru this was that I was able to find true love from someone that would do anything and everything for me. If he can't deal with your situation then he wasn't meant for u in the first place. Keep your head up.
—Guest BrighterDays
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Dermatology
  4. Skin Diseases
  5. Herpes
  6. Genital Herpes
  7. First Herpes Outbreak - Share the Story of Your First Herpes Outbreak

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.