My Experience and Tips for Living with Genital Herpes
I contracted genital herpes a year and a half ago from a guy I was dating at the time. I found out I had it right towards the end of our rather short-term relationship. I was really disappointed with myself, but knew that there was nothing I could do to change my circumstance. At this point, you just have to bite the bullet and make the best of the situation at hand.
When you first get an outbreak, it's no fun, but if you deal with it right away, you can shorten its stay with you. Go to the doctor as soon as you can and get a prescription for Valtrex, or an equivalent. The sooner you get medication, the better because the lesions will only get worse before they get better.
And it's quite painful peeing (as a girl) when you have an outbreak! Use "no tears" shampoo or fragrance-free soap to keep the area clean. Make sure to dry it well and always wash your hands before and after! Take Advil or Ibuprofen to lessen the pain, if needed.
The amount of outbreaks that you get and their severity vary from person to person. I had about 3 within my first year of having herpes. The reason I say "about" is because even if I had the slightest tingle down there, I would go fill a Valtrex prescription and begin taking them before lesions would even pop up - so as to completely avoid the ordeal.
Another thing I HIGHLY recommend is to begin taking Lysine tablets. Lysine has been proven to help reduce herpes outbreaks. It's something that you can integrate into your daily routine.
Another thing that has greatly helped me is making sure I educate myself about it. In my opinion, the worst part about having it is that most of the population doesn't know a thing about it! It's INCREDIBLY common, and yet has this terrible stigma attached to it. After getting it, I've been noticing how often jokes are made about it
on a day-to-day basis. It can be really frustrating to hear people make jokes about herpes or say inaccurate comments about it because you want to correct them, but you don't want them thinking you have it!
Another concern I had when I first got it was how can I sleep with or hookup with guys without telling them or feeling completely guilty? The key is to always use a condom and definitely don't be engaging in any sexual activity if you have an outbreak. Some people or doctors may tell you that you must disclose the information to your partner. I beg to differ - especially if this is somebody you just met... You don't want to be telling just anyone! The key is to be RESPONSIBLE and as SAFE as possible.
Last summer I began dating a guy (who I love and am still with now!). It was going really well and we had been together for 6 months, but I still hadn't told him I had herpes. At this time, I knew in my gut that I needed to let him know. It took A LOT of courage to tell him, but I did and guess what, he was INCREDIBLY understanding! I hope that if you're in that boat, your girlfriend or boyfriend is equally as accepting!
As of right now, I haven't had an outbreak or a sign of one in almost a year. My boyfriend and I don't use condoms. I don't recommend this if you're not in a serious relationship and even still, you need to make sure it's a mutual decision and BOTH parties are well-educated on herpes, before you decide to skip on using rubbers.
All in all, it's REALLY not that bad. You'll encounter bumps (... for lack of a better word) in the road, but believe me when I say it'll only get better. If you're reading this whether you have herpes or not, or whether you've had it for years or only just found out, I hope I've helped!