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positive guide to herpes disclosure



Bisexual, Confused & New to this all

Hi All,

In early January of 2017 I got the horrible news that I was herpes positive. Being a 18 year old girl, fresh out of a long term relationship, this was devastating to me. I had a one night stand with a guy I never knew, and being freshly out of a loveless relationship and finally felt free, decided against using a condom( no judgement please) and woke up the next day feeling sore and feverish. As the days went on, I convinced myself it was anything but herpes but the signs were all there. I actually got diagnosed with PID and gonorrhea before they decided to do a swap test which resulted in the diagnosis of HSV. I spent almost 2 MONTHS in agonizing pain when sitting, standing, laying down and actually had to get admitted into the ER to get catheterized- it took almost 3 hours for them to be able to do it because I was in so much pain down there. After I started to see progression in my healing, I decided to confront the guy I had slept with. He seemed shocked and stated that he didn't know anything about it. I asked him the basic question as to whether or not he's noticed any bumps or pain, down there, and he swore he didn't. It wasn't until a week or so later I asked him if he's ever had a cold sore and he said yes but didn't know that they were also a form of herpes. But with this being said, I don't know how much I can trust him since I barely knew him... He had performed oral sex on me the night of the one night stand so this gave me the conclusion that I have HSV1 genital - which would be correct, right?

Being bisexual, I am now in a new relationship with a woman whom I've known for a year prior due to working together. She's my best friend. I disclosed with her about my diagnosis over 3 months ago and that couldn't have gone better but that is a story for another time. Though she accepts me for who I am and having herpes or even the possibility of me transmitting it to her doesn't scare her at all, my concerns and confusion still taunts me at times. SO, if anyone out there is able to help clarify things for me or give me some relief or even give me advice, I'd be eternally grateful.

Some questions I have:

1) Is there a test I can take to determine if I have HSV1 or 2 genitally?

2) I have not performed oral sex on my girlfriend yet because I am afraid I will give her herpes. Sometimes on the inside of my lip I get either clear or white, small, uncomfortable bubbles. I know these can be canker sores but I don't know which HSV type I have besides it's first initial outbreak being down below... If I got HSV genital, can I have outbreaks on the inside of my lip?
- I'm going back home to see my girlfriend in a couple weeks and I'd like for us to take that next step, so if I was to start taking acyclovir daily, would it lower the transmission rate within the next two weeks?

3) What are the best prevention methods for a lesbian couple with one of the partners being HSV positive?

4) I only had a very small, minor outbreak kind of directly after my first one but since then, I have not had any...is that normal? Also is it normal for increased sensitivity in my private parts from now on since my diagnosis?

Also a side note: She's had mono in the past, does this mean shes immune to the virus??

Any advice would be tremendously helpful and if anyone has been in my position please feel free to tell me about your experiences. Lately I've been feeling very overwhelmed and alone and the last thing I want to do is make my girlfriend go through what I went through.

Thank you :)


  • Hi, @EH4AR, and welcome. Yes, there's a blood test you can take that can tell you which type you have. It's called an IgG test. Lost of doctors run the IgM test too, but those are notoriously unreliable. You can also tell the type with a swab test, but if you're not having a lesion, or if the lesion is very mild, you typically can't get enough of a sample to run that test.

    Your second question doesn't have a clear answer. Typically you get outbreaks at the site of infection (oral or genital). My understanding is that it is possible to have HSV1 in both locations, but they would be from separate infections. For example, it's possible you had oral HSV1 from years ago (most don't ever have cold sores), then got genital HSV1 back in January. I'm hoping someone else with more knowledge will chime in on this one.

    When you start antivirals, you should start them 5-7 days before sexual contact. That's how long it takes to be effective for reducing transmission. Antivirals and dental dams are your best bets for reducing transmission. It might be worth your partner being tested. The majority of American adults have oral HSV1, and if she has it, then you don't need to worry about getting genital HSV1 "again" as a result of receiving oral sex.

    I've read that it's not uncommon for someone with genital HSV1 to get an initial outbreak or two, then not have an outbreak for a long time. So yes, that aspect is typical. I'm not sure about the increased genital sensitivity--that sounds like a great question for your doctor. I have genital HSV2 (and oral HSV1) and haven't experienced any sensitivity as a result of it.

    Having had mono does not protect her from HSV. Mono is one type of herpes virus, but not the herpes simplex virus (which causes oral and genital herpes).

    Keeping all of this straight can be really confusing....we've all been there! If you haven't seen this handbook yet, it's a great place to start when getting educated about HSV. I also highly recommend Warren's full book, available on Amazon. https://www.westoverheights.com/herpes/the-updated-herpes-handbook/
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