I may have transmitted herpes to my son and am devastated. How do I talk to him?

by Mary

I am a 53 year old married mother of 2. I was raped when I was 15. I have had this entire time break out's of my rear end sometimes several times a year and always suspected I had an STD. I finally got real answers about 5 years ago and asked to be tested.

I had two kids via caesarean section. My son (now 17 and not sexually active) had something on his lower leg when he was about 8 years old so I had it biopsied and it came back as unknown so I dismissed it; maybe out of fear, maybe in denial. He is now 17 and had lots of poison ivy this summer but he recently got a large breakout on his leg that looks just like Herpes. I am so panicked I am sick. We don't know what to do. I am so afraid he will hate me. I feel like I have ruined his life.

He made a decision to not be sexually active and save himself for marriage which makes this all the worse. We need to call his doctor today and talk to him and we don't know how. He does have a girlfriend. He scratched the sore a lot and I am afraid he made it spread. Please if anyone can give me some advice before I talk to him. I am almost suicidal. I am devastated!


Dear Mary,

First of all, I’m sorry to hear about what happened and the effect this had on you. I cannot imagine the emotional stress you’re going through right now. No parent wishes their child to suffer.

To answer your question, it is highly unlikely that you've passed the virus on to your son as you underwent a C-section instead of a normal vaginal delivery. When you did experience outbreaks, were you careful not to expose your sores to him as a child? If you've been meticulous about hygiene and careful in handling him, my guess is it’s unlikely for him to acquire it from you. This is because the way the herpes virus is transmitted is through skin-to-skin contact.

To dispel all worries and fears, the best thing to do is to have your son get tested for herpes. It’s the only way to know for sure if he has the virus in his system or not. If the results do come back positive, best is to just be open and honest with him. Stay calm and supportive. Somewhere in the back of our minds we think we need to blame ourselves or the person who gave herpes to us. But blaming ourselves cannot change the past. We can, however, change how we deal with the circumstances moving forward.

Hang in there okay? Let us know how it went...

Perhaps other readers of this forum can also share their advice.



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Nov 22, 2013
It's ok, Mom
by: Anonymous

Hi there. Your story touched me because you're a mother and I can hear the panic and emotional distress in your posts. I'm sending many positive thoughts and prayers your way. You're going to do what's best for your son. Just be sure of yourself. And do NOT blame yourself; you have done nothing wrong.

Please know that your son will still be able to lead a vibrant fulfilling life. This won't change him. Children are more resilient than their parents often think.

The sooner you're honest with him, the sooner he begins treatment, the sooner he can start healing in every sense of the word.

Have the results come back yet?

Sep 10, 2013
More questions
by: Anonymous

Well he had blood drawn yesterday. We confided in his doctor and decided not to alarm him and not say anything unless the test comes back positive. It will take a week for results. The sore was too healed to scrape it. The sore looked just like a herpes sore.

They did break my water when I was in labor with him and then it was 24 hours until they did the c-section. I have read that this could have been a possible time of transmission. I have made myself literally sick with worry and am not coping very well. It will be a long, difficult week.

Here's a question. If when the sore is oozing and too contagious then why is it not possible that he could have gotten it? I remember when he was little and we were all cuddling on our bed at night watching TV and his leg touched my butt when I had a sore. His leg was draped over mine. I remember a sense of panic when that happened. It wasn't terribly long after that that he had a first suspicious sore on his lower leg. That was when he had. Biopsy. It's the same leg that he just had another sore on. It seems possible to me.

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