Happy with Herpes and Everything Else in Life

by Christine
(England)

I have just hit 50 and fairly recently been diagnosed with having genital herpes but never been happier. It doesn't have to be a bad thing. At the time of my first outbreak I had been with my current boyfriend for one year and we were building up the love and trust. Both of us have had unhappy marriages in the past so we were taking it slow and it took some courage to start again. Neither of us had ever had an STD and had not had many partners in the past, we had both been married and not really done a lot of dating so it came as a total shock.


He came with me to the doctors and was there when I got the diagnosis, which really helped. My first thought was maybe he is cheating on me (I knew I wasn't cheating on him) but that quickly passed, I could tell from his reaction that wasn't the case. He was just so calm and supportive. I then began to panic in case he thought I was cheating. We hadn't known each other very long and I had been told by one of his friends that it would take time for him to trust another woman.

For a few days I felt terrified, not knowing what was in store for me physically (the doctor made us feel terrible and gave me no information) and believing I might have some terrible disease and he might decide to end the relationship. But he totally reassured me. I found out more information and explained everything to him. He said he did not want to use a condom but would rely on me to tell him if I had an outbreak and we would avoid sex then. He was just as loving and sexual as he had ever been. He also never made me feel alone.

Although he has no signs of herpes himself he said he believes he got it from a relationship he had in between his divorce and meeting me as this girlfriend was quite flirty and he felt he could not trust her. It could just as well have been passed on from my previous partner but he never made me feel responsible or guilty. He always talks about our problem even though we don't know if he has it so I feel it is something we are both living with together.

Our sex life is just as good as it was before the herpes in fact it just keeps getting better. We are very passionate, affectionate and sexual. I am having better sex now than I ever had in my 20s because I am now with a caring and loving man who is not afraid of intimacy and commitment. We have been together now for 2 years and had a lovely holiday a few months ago, we spend every weekend together and meet up in the middle of the week. We both have busy jobs and have children but we make time for each other.

As my outbreaks were frequent due to stress I took aciclovir suppressively for 3 months and had no outbreaks. I came off it 6 weeks ago and have just had one outbreak over Christmas that lasted 4 days. Not too bad and if you have to go a few days without sex it just makes it so special when you get it back.

I'm not sure whether to take aciclovir all the time suppressively or just when I get an outbreak, my doctor is leaving the decision with me but I just wanted to share my story to spread the message of positivity. It isn't that bad and who knows whether antiviral meds might protect us against other nasties - since I got herpes I haven't had a cold or flu since. Any thoughts on whether to take suppressively or not would be welcome.

Please don't let this minor health problem affect you more than it has to we are lucky it’s not HIV, it’s not cancer, it’s just a reminder we are only human and need to make the most of life.

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