So I found out two days ago that I tested positive for HSV 2. I'm shocked, upset, scared, and mostly, I feel very alone. I haven't told anyone yet, not my friends or family, because I don't think they would understand, and am hoping to find some words of support and optimism to make me feel a little better than I do right now.
I would also appreciate if someone could clarify a few things for me. Firstly, I understand that herpes spreads through skin-to-skin contact, and that the rate of transmission from a positive woman to a negative man is about 2-4%. But going forward, if I use protection, would that be effective? Or can herpes be transmitted even with condom use? Secondly, and what's really bothering me, is that my index number is 1.87. After reading quite a bit on this, I believe that anything under a 1.1 is negative, above a 3.2 is positive, but that between 1.1 and 3.2 is a grey zone...that tends to lead to false positives. Is this true? I would like to be retested for confirmation, because I do understand that this is quite low. I've also never had an outbreak. But what does this index really mean? Does it mean that I got infected months ago, and a high number would indicate recency of infection? Should I wait a few months before being retested? Chances that it actually is a false positive?
As one tends to do when they've been diagnosed, I turned to Google for research. I understand that herpes is not deadly, and that when it comes down to it, it's just a skin condition- and while incurable- it's not really the end of the world. I've never had an outbreak and I'm realistic about the fact that if/when it happens, I'll deal with the pain and discomfort. What I'm really worried about it what this means for my future dating/sex life. I've read a fair share of stories people have shared about disclosing their diagnosis to sexual partners, and I have nothing but respect for those that have said it raises standards for who you date and have sex with, and I truly hope to be there one day. My only caveat is that I'm only 21 years old and I've been having sex for less than a year. I have only had sex with four men so far, and I'm picky about who I have sex with anyway (so disclaimer, it's not like I'm having a huge amount of sex) it's just that I can't help but feel like with this diagnosis, any semblance of casual sex is now off the table for me. The point of casual sex is being casual. I can't imagine telling every person I have sex with going forward that I have herpes; that tends to take the 'casual' right out of it. I'm not ready for a relationship yet, and would like the opportunity to have a bit more fun.
Another thing is that I also can't imagine having sex anytime soon without constantly thinking about the fact that I have it (which would kind of ruin the moment/sex for me completely). When I imagine myself having sex with someone right now, I think it's all I would think about. I'm trying really hard to come to terms with this and not overreact, but I can't stop thinking about this. Whenever I am alone it pops into my mind and I get scared about the future and can't help but freak out.
My apologies for making this so long; I'm trying very hard to stay positive, especially in lieu of a low index number and the fact that I definitely will be getting retested, but I can't help but think the worst. I would really appreciate if someone could make me feel better and less alone in dealing with all of this, and how to come to terms with it. Regardless, I'm thankful to this community for making me feel a little less alone just by reading some of these posts, so yay for that!