Does Anyone Have Any Positive Experiences About Being Told They Have Herpes?

by g5

This might sound like a weird question. I am a sexual health specialist nurse in the UK and I am looking at my skills of giving a herpes diagnosis. I have seen a range of emotional reactions from patients, from matter of fact, to really shocked or upset.

In my experience a patient's reaction partly depends on if they were expecting it, and their previous ideas/ feelings about herpes. However I'm sure that some clinicians (DRs/nurses) are simply better at sensitively telling someone they have herpes than others, so that whilst it may not be the news a patient wants, they feel they got what they needed at the consultation.

There isn't a lot of literature specific to this. So can anyone share positive experiences, and why you thought the nurse/DR was particularly caring/supportive etc...

On a personal note (given that I am asking you to share personal information), I was diagnosed as a teenager with vulvar vestibulitis, a pain condition that only hurts when you have sex, but always hurts when you have sex.

It has a big stigma, I've never really told any of my friends as its too embarrassing, or even my sexual health colleagues ,and only my husband knows about it really. So whilst I can't share a herpes diagnosis experience, I have some insight into a stigmatising sexual long term condition.

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Feb 10, 2014
My Diagnosis
by: Anonymous

When I got diagnosed, it was at a local health clinic that was associated with a Baptist Hospital (I live in the Southern US). The doctor was nice but he made me feel guilty because I wasn't married (or engaged) and was uninformed about viral shedding. Luckily, I'm in college so I was able to go to the Student Health Clinic the next day.

My experience there was the start of my slow process towards healing. The doctor sat with me and my emotions towards herpes. She then examined me and confirmed the diagnosis. She told me how the clinic sees herpes almost daily (since it is a college campus) and how the guy I was with could have been asymptomatically shedding.

One of the main reasons I felt so horrible is that I felt that I should have prevented it in someway. But having the health care provider explain how some individuals have no idea they're carriers and that condoms don't protect 100% against herpes really allowed me not to beat myself up as much.

I think compassion is your main tool and by asking questions I think you're already helping out patients more than you think. They may not seem alright when you leave them but how you treated them will be something they go back to later on. Nothing was going to stop me from being upset on that day but when I look back I'm so grateful for the empathy and compassion the doctor had, especially after having a bad experience.

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