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positive guide to herpes disclosure



I think I have herpes..

I am a 33 year old female. Last week I started experiencing itching and pain in my v area... I went to my gyn for what I thought was a bad yeast infection. She confirmed the yeast infection and prescribed me a one dose pill. She also said she did a swab to send to the lab. I took the pill two days ago, but I am still experiencing the itching and I'm sooo uncomfortable down there. I also have a few bumps, which I am trying to see them myself but due to the location, they are obviously very hard to see. I am also experiencing the tingling feeling that I have recently read so much about. I am going to call my dr tomorrow to request a blood test to confirm my suspicions. I am just so scared. I recently had a new sexual partner that was pretty much a one time thing, he did wear a condom but now that I have looked into herpes further, I realize that condoms do not always protect against the herpes virus. Can anyone please give me advice about what my life is going to be like, if I did contract the virus. I am very worried and upset, so kind words only please.


  • edited September 2017
    Hello, @Jls321, and welcome! Certainty is definitely the best place to start, so I think it's a great idea to get tested and know for sure. If you still have bumps, you might want to see your doctor right away and ask for both a swab test (where they swab the lesions), and the IgG blood test. (Get the IgG.....the IgM is notoriously unreliable.) If the lesions have broken open and they can get a sample from them, doing both tests at the same time would tell you if this is a new infection or not. If there's not enough to get a sample for the swab test, keep in mind that it can take up to 12-16 weeks to show positive on a blood test, as those tests measure antibodies (not the virus itself) and it can take time for your body to produce enough antibodies to test positive with the IgG.

    This short handbook is a great place to get started so you have some basic information: https://www.westoverheights.com/herpes/the-updated-herpes-handbook/

    If you test positive, what your future life will look like is up to you! :) Having an intimate relationship with someone who does not have HSV will mean telling them about your status and may include some preventative measures such as antivirals and/or condoms to reduce the risk of transmission. You'll be surprised at how many future partners won't care about your status! I have not dated since my diagnosis (just thoroughly enjoying the single life since my divorce and in no hurry to rush back into a relationship), but if you read the success stories on this site, you'll see that many, many others are married, dating casually or dating seriously with HSV.

    Here's to hoping that the yeast infection and other irritations go away very, very soon! {{{hugs}}}
  • @HikingGirl... Thank you so much for getting back to me, right now I feel so terribly alone. I hope we can keep in contact through this site, especially if my results come back positive. The tingling sensation is very come in H, correct? That is the main reason I think it is HSV and not just a skin irritation. Also, I started to notice all of this last Wed, and today is Monday. Usually, if I have a yeast infection it seems to go away after one treatment in a day or two. I've actually recently gotten back together with my ex (who is the sweetest person) he is not who I think gave me H, that one was a big mistake. So, I'm not sure how to tell the man I am with now. I'm not sure if he will stay, if I test positive. It'll be devistating, but it is what it is and I will have to deal either way. I will take your advice and get both tests done, I would like to see if this is a new virus or not. Thank you again for getting back to me, I hope to hear more responses as well. I don't like feeling so alone in this. Hugs back to you!
  • You're very welcome. The worst part of it all, for me, was feeling so alone. Ironically, that's total bullshit since there's so many people with HSV, but nonetheless I *felt* alone for a very long time! It's true that tingling/zinger sensations are common with HSV, but you just never know until the labs come back (and it's possible the swab your doctor did was for HSV, but you'd have to ask her to know for sure). As for the man currently in your life--it will be easier to decide how to handle that once you know your test results. In the meantime, be extra kind to yourself--lots of pampering, physically and mentally!
  • Hey there, so it has been confirmed that I do have it. I was prepared and I have been feeling ok off and on. But, waking up this morning was tough. So many thoughts running through my head. I'm only 33 and I have the rest of my life to live with this. Have you told anyone, if so, who? I don't think I can tell any friends because next thing you know, they may tell their significant other, then who knows who will find out. I don't want to worry about who knows and who doesn't. I have a daughter, do I have to be careful about sharing towels and wash clothes for the rest of our lives? This is tough, and of course I was one of those people who thought, "it will never happen to me"... Any advice helps!
  • edited September 2017
    Yes.....we've all been there.....the "it will never happen to me"!

    The good news is that you do not need to worry about transmitting to your daughter. That requires genital to genital skin contact. Terri Warren still recommends using separate towels just because viruses in general like warm and moist environments, but there are no documented cases of transmissions HSV that way.

    I've only told a handful of people:

    1) My ex - via e-mail - because I got my diagnosis just a year after divorce and we were married for 15 years. Surprisingly enough, he tested negative for both strains, so now I know I picked it up some 20+ years ago and just had no idea.

    2) The guy I was seeing long distance at the time. He also later tested negative, and while he was supportive at first, we never were intimate after that and he later just kind of faded into the woodwork.

    3) A friend on Facebook--a former coworker of mine who I wasn't close to yet still trusted. I won't bore you with how/why I came to tell her. But it turned out she has it too. She's now happily marrrie with a son. The crazy thing I still can't understand about this experience is that she offered absolutely zero support or sympathy/empathy. Just said it was really hard for her when she got it and that was it.

    4) I broke down and told a close friend at work who I also trust implicitly. She saw how I was not coping, and for at least two months kept asking how I was, saying she was worried about me, offered to just listen if I wanted to talk. One day I told her about it and she was nice and all, and she's never treated me differently since but I don't think she really knew how to be supportive, so I came away from that experience without feeling much better, really. It was a relief to get it off my chest to someone I knew in person, but that was it.

    5) I took a 10-week shame resilience workshop early this year with a small group of women and told them during our final meeting. You can read about that experience by clicking on my username and looking for the two-part post about my herpes manifesto. I was able to do this because I had really built a lot of trust with this group over ten weeks. Going forward, it's definitely going to be a requirement that someone has to *earn* the right to hear my story. I'm not telling just anyone anymore.

    6) My therapist. I had worked with a therapist for a while after my divorce. After 6-7 months (post-diagnosis) of hating myself, thinking of herpes the moment I woke up until my head hit the pillow that's night, and not feeling worthy to even talk to strangers, I reached out to her for help. Of all the people I've told, this was the most helpful. I shouldn't be surprised, I guess....she's a trained professional who is really good at listening and empathy!!

    I have this growing sense lately that I'm going to tell more people soon. Not because I need to in order for me to feel better, but because I feel like I can be a part of the solution by helping people see that is is something that can happen to anyone, and that it's happening to their friends and family members and the stigma is so undeserved! I just haven't figured out how to do that yet or who exactly I might tell.

    In my opinion, probably the most destructive thing about the herpes stigma is that it leaves us feeling so utterly alone. For that reason, I do think talking about it with others is very healing. But I say that with the caveat that a person needs to have your trust first--would you share other personal/private information with this person? Not everyone has someone they trust, which is where a therapist or this forum comes in. While it's true that a lot of people who have HSV don't know it, you most definitely are not alone!! :)

    Anyway....sorry to make that so long. I just got to rambling. :)
  • So far, I have chosen not to tell a soul. My dr knows, the girls at the office and now the girl at the pharmacy, lol. I my first outbreak consisted of the itching, tingling and 4 small sores. I just wish every day that it was just that. That it was gone and I don't have to worry about this virus constantly being in my body. I hate that I have no clue when it's going to come back. Are you on a Daily pill? Are they huge and blue? Do they have any side affects? How often have you had break outs in your 4 years? Is it semi safe to have sex without a condom when you are not having an outbreak?
  • edited September 2017
    I do take antivirals...acyclovir (Valtrex gave me constant tingles)....which are white. I started taking them because I wanted to find something I tolerated well before getting into a relationship someday. I found with acyclovir all of the itching i though was due to recurrent yeast infections is all but gone. So I continue on with them (been about a year now) with no side effects.

    I've had herpes for about 20+ years now without knowing for much of that time. I was diagnosed about 18 months ago when I went in for a Pap smear about a year after divorce and asked for an STD panel. Just "lucked out" that the clinic I went to actually included HSV testing. When my ex-husband and the guy I was seeing at the time eventually tested negative, that's how I knew I must have picked it up 18-25 years earlier before getting married and had no idea.

    I can think of maybe 3 times in those two decades that I can remember getting one small cut-like lesion....very mild....and didn't think anything of it. I was, however, getting frequent relatively mild yeast infections. Now that I know 80-90% of those yeast infections were probably a herpes outbreak for me. I estimate probably 6-8/year. I'm convinced my monthly cycle was a big trigger for both HSV outbreaks and yeast infections.

    Condoms reduce the likelihood of transmission, but they don't eliminate the risk entirely. Every one of the 5 guys I was with prior to getting married I used condoms with, so I'm living proof that you can still get HSV with condom use. My ex, on the other hand, never used condoms while we were married (for 15 years) and he never got HSV1 or HSV2 from me. Don't ask me how that happened!! My attitude has changed tremendously in the past 18 months. It's much easier to see HSV for what it is--a skin nuisance that has a stigma. That's not to say I never have a bad day, but the really good days far, far outnumber the bad. :)
  • With taking daily, do you have to take around the same time every day? Or, can you take whenever? So far, the valtrex is working fine for me, so I hope to stick with it. If this was my first on, it wasn't bad at all. I'm so bad with pills, I need to figure out something so that I remember to take each day. It's crazy how bad herpes "seems" like it is going to be. When it treated, it's not all that aweful. I hope that my break outs are minimal and few and far betweern. This is a scary and embarrassing thing to happen to me, but it is what it is and I have to deal no matter what. Your responses have helped more than you know.
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