Trying to process the news of Herpes

Hi, i'm new here but this seems like a really good way to talk to people that are actually going through the same thing so can give good advice and not feel alone, which I think is the worst feeling from this.

I'm 19 and got told a few days ago that i've got herpes. I'm currently single and this has caused me to fear relationships as it appears most people on here turned to their partner to discuss is and most were accepting. But how would someone be accepting of herpes when you are only just starting to fall for each other, it could be a massive deal breaker. At my age, sex is a massive part of my life and i'm scared of how this will go in the future and whether someone will be accepting. How have people approached this situation when telling people?

Also, i was wondering if people that have moved onto new sex partners that might not have the virus, could talk about their sex life, do you fear the shredding of the virus when you are not active? do you always wear condoms for protection?

I know i'm asking a lot of questions here but i've also caught herpetic whitlow in one of my fingers. Has anyone else caught that on here, and if so what did you do to it, so far im just cleaning it and then bandaging it? I'm also taking antivirals because i've just found out about the herpes so i'm hoping that helps. But i've got interviews coming up and wondering what to do about that because i don't know what to say if they ask why i have a bandage on my finger as i don't think it would give off a good employee expression but it is highly likely to be asked by at least one person.

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13 Replies

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  • Hey! I'm in pretty much the same position as yourself. I was diagnosed about a month ago and am also single and in the position of wondering if I'll ever have someone again.

    I can't offer you much advice in the way of relationships but people on here have been really helpful.

    As for the whitlow I've got small blisters on the palm of my hand the doctor seemed to think it's related to pompholyx eczema but I'm not so sure. I had three that turned up about 2 weeks before I was diagnosed and it took ages for them to go. Now just as they've cleared up a new crop have turned up in the same place?? Not sure if it's related to how stressed/anxious I have been. But if you have to have a bandage then I'm sure an employer wouldn't think too much about it.

    I'm trying out salt water just resting my hand in it and that seems to help with the itching and burning. Also vitamin e oil helps I find.

    I'm sorry I'm probably no use to you in terms of advice but if you need someone to talk to to then feel free.

  • It's nice to know that there are others out there in the same boat and that already does make me feel better! Hopefully, others will be accepting if they understand what its really like, i've found a good site which gives you good information and leaflets and events that help with things like this and I found it has helped me process the information a lot better than a lot of online things were saying about it you could give it a try - its herpes.org.uk/shop/annual-s... the subscription does cost £30 but emotional stability is worth at least that!

    But i think the fear of rejection will always be there, at least unless you give it a go. But i feel that its not even the rejection that will be the worst part but if they spread the information and because of people's perceived judgement on herpes it would be awful. I just hope the first person i tell won't reject me because even if that doesn't last it will give confidence that someone will.

    Yeah it probably is if you are highly stressed as that seems to be a clear trigger, are you stressed about the situation or other things in your life?

    Oh i'll have to give vitamin e a go, is that just for your hands you use that for or can you use it down there?

  • The diagnosis itself I think I am slowly coming to terms with. As you say really it's just the fear of rejection that worries you the most. I am yet to tell anyone and dread the day that I have to.

    I takes supplements as Lizbeth has also suggested not sure if they work because I've only been taking them for a month but time will tell. It's all about your immune system so taking them can't hurt.

    As for the vitamin e I am yet to have any lesions/ulcers/blisters down below so can't say whether it would work but I read online it's safe to use down there so give it a go if you get another flare up. I don't think it makes them go away but it eases the pain and speeds up healing aparently.

  • Have you told any friends or relatives? I feel that this could be a good step for you, it's nice to have someone to turn to when you need support, but obviously this would have to be someone you fully trust. But i'm also available if you need a friend to support you in any way.

    Okay thank you for that advice!

  • No I haven't told anyone. I don't want my family to worry for my future or feel disappointed. There is no one else that I feel I can trust with the information.

    I think once I've come to terms with it a bit more I mean it's only been a month I don't know what my symptoms are gunna be like I don't know long term how it's going to affect me and I'm not planning a relationship with anyone so if and when the time ever comes then I'll cross that bridge.

    Forums like this are my biggest help I think learning from others is hugely helpful.

    No one asks for this and I wish people would understand it's not actually as bad as it seems but unfortunately people are uneducated and always will be so it puts me off feeling comfortable enough to tell people.

    I had mild symptoms I only went to the doctor because I felt concerned they cropped up after sex but for all I know I could of had it a long while!

  • I understand what you are feeling about family, I wouldn't want to discuss it with them. If there's no one you feel you can trust at the moment then don't at the moment. Have you considered going to any of the events hosted by sphere which are good at meeting other people in this situation and help? As there is some later this month which i'm considering going to.

    Yeah I find that the most scary part right now, the unknown of what it will be like, the recurrences and effect.

    Yeah as soon as anyone hears its classed as an STD everything seems to change, even though it doesn't seem like a major life threatening deal to me. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but it isn't that bad as long as you don't get loads of painful recurrences.

    Yeah there is no way of telling how long any of us have had it and when its decided to pop up.

  • Try googling 'sphere herpes'. That is the web site the doctor recommended when I was diagnosed. Lot of good info on it. They recommend taking a vit e capsule each day, and also a dissolvable vit c with zinc. I am on the anti viral medication and have been for 2 years... not sure if they will stop it at any point but it helped me to get it under control. just say you had a wart removed on your hand?!... if anyone asks... or a whitlow. It doesn't matter when you have herpes on your mouth or hand.. it's just genital herpes that isn't talked about!! It's easily the worst thing I have had to deal with as there is no one to talk to... I have only told one friend... and the bloke I caught it off... no one else... through fear of being judged.

  • Yeah i have found that website to be amazing in helping deal with it. Did you ask to be on the anti viral medication for 2 years or was it offered? Because i was only giving a 5 day pack, and an emergency extra 5 day pack in case it wasn't healed in time, which it definitely isn't as i'm now on my fifth day. Or was you offered it after you got your results from your tests, as i'm still yet to have it confirmed through the test results even though they said i obviously had it in the clinic. And has it prevented any further outbreaks?

    I am exactly in the same boat with you in this situation! How have you found these last two years coping with it all?

  • I was prescribed a lie dose that I take daily as I had about 4 outbreaks one after the other... I was really poorly with it... was the worst thing I have ever been through. The sexual health clinic recommended it and wrote to my doctor. Doctor was pretty clueless about it all to be honest. Initially they said up to 2 years and they have never reviewed it or called me back... presumably they will one day! I have not had any outbreaks since I started the daily medication and apparently it means I am less likely to pass it on to anyone else as well whilst I'm on it. Going on the daily meds was the best thing I ever did!!... it gave me my life back!

    It's been ok cos I'm still seeing the bloke I caught it off (from a cold sore on his mouth that hadn't actually come out at the time of transmission)... but I have a feeling that will come to an end fairly soon... I'm reluctant to end it as I can't face telling anyone else and I'm scared of being alone... but gonna have to face up to it eventually!!

  • Ah I will have to see about going on that, as it seems so much helpful! I'm only just starting to recover from my first outbreak so i'm not even sure how often mine will occur yet, but sounds like the medication is good for everything as helps ease your mind as well with the lower transmission rate.

    Ah, it will be hard telling new people, but there's no point staying in the relationship if you aren't right for each other and you are just scared to tell anyone else, the right guy will accept it and it can be like a screening test to see who are the nice guys or not, I hope anyway. When I first told the guy that gave it to me, even though we aren't together, he seemed to think it was not much and that it's fine so hopefully other guys will think the same.

  • Hi there!

    I caught herp years ago. I was only 21 at the time. I was gutted. I thought no one would want me again. I turned down every date offered for about year cos of it. I was scared to tell anyone. Looking back I really don't know why I was scared. I finally told a close friend who reassured me that it wasn't the end of the world. They even helped me by pretending to be a bf and how I would tell them. With the help of talking I finally calmed down. It is scary telling someone your wanting to be with that you have this little issue. It is the first few times of telling anyone. Some people will tell you to do one, however if someone really likes you and your honest and you try your best to protect them from it, they'll not mined. It's always best to research what you got and know all the in and out for any questions they may have. If they are unsure, don't panic. Tell them to go read up about it and to think about it. With knowledge people are more understanding and more likely to have a relationship with somebody who has it. I'm now 31 and I don't care that I have it. My partner don't care that I have it. My friends and family know that I have it. I've helped other to go through the same thing. Knowledge and honest talking is the only way. Also I found that medication given by the doctors never helped really. Salt water baths and sudocrem worked a treat for me. Instead of scabby blisters for weeks it was a matter of days. A healthy balanced lifestyle and exercise is the best way to keep them at bay. No pants days at home are good too when having a flare up. I've not had a flare up in 7 and a half years cos I sorted out my day to day lifestyle. The docs expected me to have flare ups for several years cos I got so ill at first. I didn't though cos of the changed lifestyle.

    hope I've helped in some way and I'm here to chat too about it.

  • When i found out I had herpes it was like 3 weeks ago. I was scared and still scared out of my mind. My boyfriend didn't know he had it and gave me. I kept it from him thinking he won't believe he gave it to me. I shut him out and got depressed thinking no one will want to be with a walking virus like me. He finally found out and he apologized, gave me money to go the doctor etc and we trying to work it out. Am really saying that not because we have this virus means we are going to let it changed everything. It's not that bad when you finally accepted it. People who av HIV etc are living their lives to the fullest, so why can't we?

  • Hi there. What type of herpes do you have? The oral herpes simplex one or one or the genital one herpes simplex 2? I caught it aged 23 from a partner (whom I'm no longer with) I'm now 42. I was devastated when I found out I had I caught it and I felt dirty and ashamed, I also got it on my finger probably from touching the area as it was so so painful at the time. I have oral herpes simplex one (the less severe of the 2) I had a few breakouts in the first year and after that it subsided. I was always been honest with new partners and have had many long term relationships and have never passed it on as I abstained from sex whilst I had an outbreak. You don't need to tell your family or employer it will get better, it's just quite bad in the beginning. Make sure you take the antivirals for each outbreak and have a spare pack just in case it reoccurs. You need to start treatment asap to help it clear up quicker. Use a towel for that area only so there is no risk of cross infection, use mild soaps like 'simple' or 'fem fresh' and do not use sponges or face cloths. You could get some 'wart treatment' for your finger (go to a pharmacy) I only ever had two outbreaks on my finger in the beginning.

    It will get better with time and it's something you unfortunately have to deal with. You can only pass it on if you have a current outbreak and further outbreaks are not as severe as the first one thankfully. I have gone several years with out an outbreak thankfully. Hope that helps x

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