Living with My Herpes
by Eunice Lopez
(New York City)
I've always gotten blisters since I was a little girl. When I was about eight years old I got a really bad break out. My top and bottom lip were filled with blisters. My dad took me to the doctor and I was prescribed some medication. When the blisters began to heal, my lips were crusty and scabby. It took a long time to heal because when I opened my mouth to speak or eat, the scab and skin would break causing it to bleed and prolonging the healing process. My dad did not explain to me what it was.
I, being young, never questioned it and believed it would go away. When I was a teenager and I would have a breakout, kids in school teased me. Many times I avoided going to school because I was embarrassed and ashamed. When I was about sixteen, I began dating and because I was not knowledgeable on STD's I was not using protection. I don’t know who I got it from because I believe I was sleeping with multiple partners.
One day I woke up with intense burning sensation and notice the blisters. I went to the doctor and he told me I had Herpes. I ignored it and although I knew it was contagious, I was on denial. When I was pregnant my daughter’s father, who had been one of the men I was sleeping when I contracted genital herpes, showed me the blisters.
I knew what it was but I still did not confess. When I got pregnant on an OBGYN appointment, the doctor asked him to leave the room to explain that I had Herpes and the risk. I then told him what happened and he immediately flipped out. He blamed me for having it, but I always have doubted him because he was a player and for certain sleeping around without protection before. I only told this one guy I dated about it because, before we became intimate, he asked me if I had anything. I felt obligated to tell him. He stayed and called it baggage. Things did not work out with us and I went on dating.
Now I'm dating someone whom I really like but I have not told him. I want to but I'm so afraid he will be upset because we've been intimate. I don't have sex when I have an outbreak and I always use protection. Nonetheless I feel guilty because I wanted to say something but my fear held me back. I don’t know where to start but I want to be honest with him and anyone else after if it does not work out.