How, When, Who.. What's Next?

by Sarah
(United Kingdom)

Through discovering I had herpes (5 months ago), I discovered I had more than intense heat, incredible itchiness, discomfort and the soreness of blisters; there were a whole load more questions which raised their heads. Questions which really gave no answers: HOW, WHEN, WHO... what’s next?

Although my instincts and the sequence of herpes manifestation led me to believe it was from a certain guy, he denied any trace of the virus and said he had blood tests to prove he was not a carrier.

What could I do?

I had a positive result, he did not (if what he was saying was true... denial is a powerful thing!) and I never saw or heard from him again! Nice! So I was left feeling uncomfortable and troubled with the new diagnosis both on a physical and emotional level. Self-esteem was low and adjustment to my new situation had to be made. This was not like a common cold and was clearly something which would not leave my system... I had to accept herpes was here to stay!

Instinctively, human nature is to want to fully understand any circumstance we find ourselves in. Researching about the virus, I found out a heap of new information plus staggering statistics. Then virtually overnight became a specialist in an area I had previously been ignorant about (as indeed so many people are).

Information is power!!

Reading other people’s stories was also a great comfort to me as I did not feel so isolated.

Herpes is one of those things that help you develop a philosophical approach to it. Initially a shock but beating yourself up by reinforcing negative thought processes does not help! Herpes can lie dormant in the system for years, people carry it
without showing signs, people can pass on the virus without knowing it, and its only when you have an outbreak that the mystery is revealed.

That's when you can take control and be an aware carrier. Being angry does not help. It only fuels the fire! Oral herpes (cold sores) is so common, 70% of the population are affected in this way and somehow cold sores are readily accepted by the masses. It’s still the same virus, only softened by the lay term 'cold sores'.

There are creams on the market to help ease cold sores, but genital herpes is a different story! With this virus there is little you can really do. Diet can be looked at and life style modified, or wildly expensive one-off treatments can be purchased.

But shifting into acceptance mode is not as easy as ABC but I felt it was the first part of self healing-emotionally if not physically.

To face telling people, potential new partners or indeed present partners, is a daunting feeling. But I embraced this with a mindset that life is full of challenges and I have not done anything wrong.

I guess having a herpes diagnosis helps to shape things... it is not "your fault" or something you have "done wrong" or something that "you deserve"- stay clear of all that negative nonsense. Avoid absorbing other people’s reactions, unless they are positive.

Try talking openly about what happened to you... many of my friends have been surprised and completely unaware about herpes. By being open about it, you help reduce the stigma surrounding something that every single individual is potentially exposed to.

Feel proud you are who you are and each day will bring its own challenges and surprises. Be grateful for that.

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