Living with Genital Herpes

I am in my early 20's I was with a guy who was sleeping around and he knew he had genital herpes for years and had passed it on to previous girlfriends (I only found this out after I caught it and split with him) my first outbreak was about 5 months ago.

It started with a small sore and then after a few weeks becoming very sore In-between my bum cheeks above my anus and it was also very itchy. I remember waking up in the night itching like crazy so I got the partner to have a look at it and he convinced me it was fine it was just a rash and nothing to worry about and to use some sudocrem.

A few days later I had gone back to my parents as he convinced me he needed some space so I headed back to my mums, that night the rash was getting worse and I started to feel sore In the vaginal area so I decided to examine myself a little closer ... It was then I relalised this is just no little rash.

I woke up and the rash had spread everywhere and I was in agony, I will never be able to express the pain I was in I had taken painkillers but nothing seemed to help the pain was so extreme it was in my anus, all around my vagina and I just wanted to die. I couldn't urinate and I had constipation from where it had spread in the Anus area. I ended up getting rushed to hospital in an ambulance where they gave me very strong painkillers, tablets to make me poo and medication to clear the breakout and let me go home.

From that day onwards I felt my whole life had been destroyed, I still feel that way to be honest. I haven't spoken with anyone that has this also yet and anyone that has tried to explain it has made it sound like its a dreadful thing to have.

I'm still trying to get my head around it all really, I feel like I will never be able to have a relationship again, how do you explain this to a guy at my age?

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions Fire away,

8 Replies

  • Hi Tulip,

    The first thing I should say is that your life is not over. You will be feeling terrible, but it will get better. it is entirely possible to live a completely normal life. Apart from the pain of the initial infection, and the irritant of repeat outbreaks (which get less common with time), the main issue with Herpes is the social stigma. It will not affect your long term health, and crucially, it won't affect your fertility.

    I've been dating a girl for about 6 months who has the condition, and it hasn't really affected our relationship at all. We're careful sure, but no more than I would be with any sexual partner (to avoid pregnancy). There's nothing we haven't been able to do sexually - even unprotected sex when she's on anti virals.

    I hope you don't resent my posting here as someone who doesn't have the condition myself, but I wanted to let you know that although it's normal to feel terrible about it, things will and do get better.

  • It's nice to hear from who isn't infected and is with someone that is that a normal healthy relationship can be maintained, have recently been diagnosed with it myself this gives me confidence for the future so thank you :)

  • Awwww babe. Can I just say, I feel your pain. Reading through leaflets should help you get a clearer understanding. Leaflets suggest that as time moves forward the pain becomes less and the outbreaks are fewer too. It should reach a point in your life where you have no symptoms at all. Though this can take years, the amount of outbreaks you have should be less and less each year, until finally, you have no outbreaks at all. I would suggest you keep what you know to yourself and use condoms to protect your partners. If ever you tell a partner make sure it's someone you can really trust, someone you know well and with whom you have been with for a while. Otherwise, I would suggest no man need know.

    Please bare in mind it can be easily passed on to sexual partners if you have an outbreak - even with the use of a condom, so to protect others, one would suggest having sex whilst you are clear of symptoms and again, use condoms! Herpes isn't the only infection out there so you still need to protect yourself! Herpes is common, as 6 out of every 10 people have it. Those are figures I came across a few years ago, it could be more or it could be less by now, though it is commonly known that people have herpes on the mouth.

    I know it's a painful experience to go through and you feel your life us ruined but it isn't. Before you know it, you'll forget you even have it and you'll be living life normally again but until then, just bare with the outbreaks. Use cream to help with the sores and keep your health up because you're more susceptible to it when you're not well or haven't got good health. In short, you're more susceptible to it when your immune system is low. You'll be fine. Be happy and keep smiling. Herpes is nothing. There's far worse out there. Unless he's a real scumbag, maybe even forgive him? As he fell victim too. Can't blame him for keeping it to himself, in a world where you can't trust everybody, as people talk. Nothing more embarrassing than the whole world knowing you have an infection down there. Stay happy x

  • Hi I am also in my 20s and just found out today after going to my GP I to have herpes.. I feel your pain , this weekend just gone I got in the shower and found the water stung my fafney ( nickname for vagina) come Saturday Sunday I was in agony so I had a look with a mirror nAnd I couldn't believe it I new , well had a feeling it was herpes. I couldn't cope so first thing I got to the doc and was confirmed . I layer on the bed and just swor . I apologised for my language and she got me medication to take but advice for me and my partner to go to a clinic..

    We are both fining this very hard to deal with and I have not got a clue how I'm meant to cope, I have a thousand questions, I feel sick from it all. But myself and partner have said we will stick by each other though I feel he's really not coping with it. He's convinced we can't have kids together and no sex life . As befor this break out our sex life was amazing!!

    Please please if anybody can help I would be so thankful . I'm really scared and worried, we also have young children from previous relationships and I FEAR somehow passing it on . Is this possible ??

    Thanks for and help in advance x

  • Firstly I'd like to say that there is no shame in catching a STI - you only have to sleep with one person to catch it, a lot of people forget that...

    I'm proof, I caught 3 STI's the night I lost my virginity - how's that for unlucky! One of them was Genital Herpes. I have never experienced pain like it. I was 17, didn't know what to do and it got to the stage I could hardly walk. I went to the STI clinic and got sorted out. That was 27 years ago and I'm pleased to say that I haven't been plagued with recurrent outbreaks - 2 or 3 at most - and they were so mild compared to that first one. What I want to say is that your love life isn't over although it might feel like it at the moment. Any decent man will have a huge amount of sympathy for you, should you want to tell them but tbh I'd wait and see how it goes - you might be like me and it's not an issue. I can imagine how you feel, I've been there but it's not something I give much thought to now! If it does recurr then you'll deal with it and it will get better over time. My heart goes out to you and I just wanted to share my experience with you, so you can see that life goes on after Genital Herpes. You'll be fine, and I think you'll be surprised how supportive partners are that you trust to tell. After all if you are going to have sex, which most of us do it could happen to anyone! As I said at the beginning, it just takes one partner....

    So keep your chin up, you'll get through this and come out the other side!

  • Thank you dotty x

  • No problem Xx

  • Hi I'm new on here but just wanted to tell you your life isn't over!

    I was 18 when I found out I'd caught genital herpes. It was 3 days after giving birth that I noticed I was unable to pee , I'd had a reaction to something used in labour and my whole bottom of my body swelled up so I thought this was normal! It was only that my midwife checked my stitches that we discovered something wasn't quite right. At 18 I felt my life was over and i felt dirty I went on a rage for hygiene everything had to be clean I washed my hands upto 30 times a day, I showered twice a day i got depressed i was to scared to hold my baby it just brought me to a melt down until I finally had a chat with my doctor who assured me that about 6 in 10 people carry the virus and not everyone knows it. It's now 4 years on I do have outbreaks nowhere near as bad as the first . my partner couldn't have been anymore supportive even if he tried . We sat and talked he listened we found out information and from that day on its never been mentioned since. There are lots of support pages out there it also get a lot easier to deal with and over the years you get less and less out breaks!

    I hope this helps your not on your own! Xx

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