Diagnosed with herpes yesterday: Hi, I'm struggling to... - BASHH


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Diagnosed with herpes yesterday

Char1234 profile image

Hi, I'm struggling to come to terms that I have herpes and keep crying constantly because I feel disgusted in myself, even tho it's not my fault. I've been with my partner for 4 years but we split up and we've both had different sexual partners. Unfortunately, a month after being back together I have had an outbreak of herpes on my genital area. However, we both only suffered with a bit of itching at the start and didn't think anything of it. Now I'm the one suffering with the blisters but he doesn't have any. He's extremely supportive and I'm lucky to have him right now.. I've been on anti-viral medication for less than 24 hours but still so sore. It's hard because I'm a sales assistant and have lots of overtime due to Christmas, which means running up and down the shop with chronic pain from my genital area :( any ideas on how to come to terms with it? Also, anything to help with the blisters? And when will my blisters dissappear?

Genital tract infections

11 Replies


Firstly don't worry, herpes is really common and apart from being sore when you get it doesn't cause you any problems at all.

I'm glad you've got some tablets to help settle the episode down. You can also take painkillers like you might for a headache. There are local anaesthetic numbing creams you can use (lidocaine or EMLA). Ask your local sexual health clinic or GP.

Salt water bathing can also be very soothing. Add a handful of cheap table salt to a few inches of warm water in the bath. It will sooth the sores and reduce any swelling.

I'm glad your partner is supportive. The reality is herpes is very common, it's just one of those things that lots of people have but nobody talks about! It's just a cold sore 'down below'.

The herpes virus association is very supportive (herpes.org.uk).

It will settle down in about a week but don't hesitate to go back to the clinic if it's still sore.

Take care,

Mark (Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV

Char1234 profile image
Char1234 in reply to

Thank you, I will take your advice and try and deal with it, as well as help my sores.

I have it but I always forget I've got it until someone mentions it! 7 out of 10 people have it in some form, it's so stupidly common. It's more common than diabetes and cancer.

It's not a proper STI, it's only considered one because of how it can be transmitted (through sex) and because it can appear on your genitals. Apart from (usually) the type of herpes it's exactly the same as a cold sore around your mouth or a whitlow on your finger. If someone had a whitlow and touched you somewhere where you'd cut yourself you could get herpes in that area.

I can't stress how much this isn't a big deal. I just view it like thrush, it's just annoying and inconvenient but there's absolutely no health risks and it goes away after a week or so. My doctor gave me medicine for chicken pox and shingles (also types of herpes) when I was first diagnosed, it didn't even mention it was used to treat herpes, which to me showed me how little a deal it was.

Www.herpes.org.uk is an amazing website to visit for reassurance and to give you all the facts about it and helping you with ways to bring it up with people. Also remember that you can't always pass it on, only right before, during or right after an outbreak. The rest of the time it's like you don't even have it.

If people you tell aren't ok with it then they're idiots and not worth your time as far as I'm concerned, as long as you've given them the facts and things. When I was first diagnosed I was mortified and basically thought I'd be alone for the rest of my life. But after reading the website above I realised that was a load of crap and it was literally the most pointless thing to worry about. My doctor told me not even to bother coming back for more medicine if I had another outbreak as it would have disappeared before I'd managed to get to her anyway.

Please please please don't let this worry you. It's so not a big deal it's ridiculous. I wouldn't have sex with someone if I get thrush - I wouldn't have sex with someone if I have a herpes outbreak. It's exactly the same to all intents and purposes in that it doesn't do anything health-wise, it's just a bit annoying.

And I'd much rather have it down below than on my mouth where people can see it!!!

To help make it a bit more comfortable while you're working you can try putting vaseline on the sores, it lubricates them so they don't rub as much.

Char1234 profile image
Char1234 in reply to xturner

Thank you so much, reading through your reply made me feel in some way normal again. As ever since I've been diagnosed I've felt like I'm not the same as everyone else. Hopefully I can get over it and forget about it.

xturner profile image
xturner in reply to Char1234

Glad to be of help. Seriously go to that website, I cannot recommend it highly enough!! You're not different to anyone else. If it was a cold sore you wouldn't bat an eyelid so don't let where it appears bother you!!

So i just got told i have herpes type two but my doctor was no help at all i had went and visted them friday because i had this bump on my vagina an bump! that hurt when i peed and also had a BV and today they called and said it was herpes type 2 he said i dont need no type of medicane but y the bump is gone but he doesnt know that and he also said i can go on living and happy normal life but how i dont have no medicane like i dont understand since the bump is gone is the herpes gone till my next "flair" or should i go get tested somewhere else to make sure because non of this is making since to me at all please help

Butterflyl3 profile image
Butterflyl3 in reply to Kekeop

I booked myself in at the doctors and asked if they could check it has gone because it was the first time having an outbreak and I didnt know what to do next or if it had gone. Have you got a sec clinic? As try them x

So when I got diagonosed and I still had the little spots/warts on my vagina, which is why I had to have medication. However, if your spots have gone then you don't need it because it's only a viral thing and not a bacteria. It's a virus that will just stay in your body and flair up if you're stressed, run down etc. If you get the spots again and they're not going fast enough then go to the doctors and get tablets. I found out that my herpes was actually type 1 and not sexually transmitted in the end. Due to yours being type to it may appear on your vagina again if it flairs up. Hope this helps.

in reply to Char1234

Hi char1234,

I'm glad your doing well. I think it's important to know that even if it's HSV type 1, if it's vaginal, then it has been sexually transmitted. It may have even from oral sex but most importantly you can still pass it on through sexual contact.

Other people who get cold sores are unlikely to catch it though as they already have a strain of HSV-1.


Stanleyuz profile image
Stanleyuz in reply to

But can a male with HSV1 pass it on without oral sex? It's a bit confusing...

Hi, all. I'm probably a longer way down the road than most of you - I'm in my 40s and I've had HSV1 & 2 for about 20 years. I promise you - it's not the end if your sex life and you're gonna be just fine.

I'd like to add a few things to what people have said above.

Firstly, HSV is definitely an STI. But that's ok, because people get STIs. It's normal to get an STI at some point in your life. It's not dirty and it's not anything to be ashamed of, it's just a dose of bad luck. Go easy on yourself - don't judge yourself.

Secondly, HSV is unbelievably common. Up to 1 in 4 sexually active adults have HSV2 and many more than that have HSV1.

*Most people have herpes*. Yup.

However, not many of us actually know that we have it! The NHS don't routinely test for HSV - in fact, unless you present at clinic with a sore that can be swabbed, you'll most likely be diagnosed on the sound of the symptoms and by elimination of other STIs. There's a lot of people walking around who have HSV and have no idea - even people who get tested regularly won't be aware of their status. Remember that the next time you disclose your status to someone. Tell them the stats and help them to understand that there's a good chance they already carry the virus.

Thirdly, HSV can be transmitted when there's no sores by already mechanism called viral shedding. It's theoretically less likely than transmission via active sores, but because most people with sores don't have sex until they've healed, most transmissions of HSV are thought to occur when there's no outbreak and from people that carry the virus without knowing. You can halve the risk of transmission by using condoms OR taking anti-virals, and you can halve it again by using both. Are you piecing it together? When you're well informed, care for your health and actively protect your partner, your risk of transmitting is super-low. It's a quarter of the risk of unprotected aex with someone who doesn't know they carry the virus.

Fourthly, communicate with your partners. When and how you disclose is a really personal thing, but if you're well-informed, confident and positive, your partner is far more likely to feel comfortable with the situation than they are if you mumble something about it being 'no big deal' and then burst into tears with the shame of it all. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Encourage people not to use words like 'clean' when referring to test results. Respect people's decisions in the same way that you'd like them to respect you - if they don't want to deal with HSV then respect that. Be kind. In my experience, honesty and being well-informed have earned me a lot of respect from partners. Disclosing, like anything else, gets easier with practice. Hold your head up, you'll be fine.

Paracetamol works for the pain. Lysine and zinc supplements are good, too.


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