Just diagnosed with herpes

I am 22. I was just diagnosed with H while traveling overseas. I had met this guy, and we started with condoms. After a few times and some drinks, it didn't get used. A few days later I had moved islands and left him, and saw what looked like a tear on the inside of my vagina lip, it worsened quickly and more "tears" began to appear. After 3 days of indescribable pain and going to three hospitals,I was ready to get real answers, expecting to have been torn from rough sex and them been infected. To my surprise and dismay, I was told right away it was herpes, contracted most likely from the guy I had just met. I am devastated, not only did that end my trip and make it the worst decision of my life to go over there, and a giant waste of money, but I had to sit on a plane in pain for 29 hours to get back home.

I am so ashamed, embarrassed, and disgusted with myself. And it's even worse because it was in no way worth it, I regret everything. I don't want people to know I'm home because I don't want to have to answer why I am early or what's wrong with me. I feel like if people look at me they're going to know what I have and that I'm dirty and be made fun of and called a whore. People around here don't accept things like this at all, and I can't blame them because I wouldn't either. I haven't stopped crying since I found out and I don't want to leave my room. I can't look my parents in the eye. I don't want to talk to anyone. I feel like no one is going to ever want me. I have struggled with bad depression and relationships as it is, and rarely find someone I like. Now when I finally do find someone every now and then they aren't going to want me. And I can't blame them because I wouldn't want me either. I wouldn't want to be with someone that had herpes, so I can't expect them to either. And I don't want to give it to them. I don't want to continue with any part of my normal life because I am disgusted and embarrassed with myself and I just want it to go away but there's nothing I can do to change it. My parents are supportive but they don't understand how the people my age here are. They're so judgmental and follow stigmas very closely. And if I do ever attempt to tell someone, I know they're going to be disgusted and want nothing to do with me, as well as go tell all of their friends and then everyone will know. I'm also scared I'm going to have a lot of outbreaks, because this first one has been the worst pain I've been in in my entire life. And I'm scared I'll have issues keeping a job due to this because I have been struggling to move for a few days. I also have found myself thinking it doesn't matter if I gain weight or don't take care of my appearance now anyways because no one will want me as it is. I'm so devastated and alone I don't know what to do, I've had so many other issues already in my life this was the absolute last thing I needed. I don't want to be here, I just want it to be gone and be normal again, but it never will be. I'm miserable and feel life is over and so soooo angry.

To make matters worse things with my ex have started to get better and I was suppose to go see him for my birthday next week. (Great bday figuring this out huh:( ) Now I'm not going, feel awkward even talking to him about normal things. I feel I'm never going to get to be with him again. I can't imagine telling him, and even if I did he wouldn't run, he's a hypochondriac as it is and would be appalled. He's going to be so upset and confused about why I don't want to hang out or have sex with him and he's gonna keep trying and saying no is going to be so hard but I can't tell him or risk him getting it.

16 Replies

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  • I'm so sorry you are going through this! I have a fear of HIV! I tested at home and it was negative however I have a rash and a cold! But I can't stop scratching I am so ashamed of having unprotected sex that no one will understand!

  • I don't normally reply to herpes questions as I've got very limited experience (no, I myself don't have it, I just know people who do), but in response to your plea I really feel I must provide a bit of reassurance...

    (1) The disease. Please take a look at other previous posts about herpes: the common experience is that the pain - and outbreaks - lessen as time goes on. Some people have reported years between outbreaks and suffer "mild discomfort".

    (2) The immediate social stigma. I'm afraid I would vote for the wimp way out. "I don't want people to know I'm home because I don't want to have to answer why I am early or what's wrong with me." You are not going to be able to hide that fact you are home. The reason you are home is because you fell ill while out there. So the next question will be: What have you got? I would - for the moment - go for a stomach/intestinal [white lie], or skin complaint [true...?!] but include the fact that it's debilitatingly painful. This excuses you when it *is*.

    (3) The worry. Your feelings about not being wanted, your job, outbreaks, and wanting it to go away... *please* read other peoples accounts on here. They said the same. These feelings and worries are all because you don't know what it is going to be like living with it, and they are based on worry rather than fact. Remember... it *will* go away... for most of the time...

    (4) Your ex. You can keep a lid on the infection with everyone... but not someone you're going to sleep with. Stall until the infection dies down, okay, but then... I'd arm yourself with some education... a trip to a clinic, or your GP... how to avoid transmission, the management of outbreaks... your ex is going to have lots of questions which you need answers for. Get ready. And you might find he's willing to give it a try - but you're going to have to treat him with kid gloves because - as you say - he's going to be upset and confused.

    I'm sorry I don't have more technical, practical answers to give... hopefully someone here will...

  • Thank you so much for the advice and input, it means a lot! I hope it gets easier.

  • Hello my lovely!!! I just wanna start by saying everything your feeling right now is normal so so normal. When I was first diagnosed I literally think I cried for six months. Your going to feel this way and you need to let yourself feel this way to get over it. I know right now it seems like the end of the world but you need to get in to the mentality of looking at it as a skin irritation.... because really that is all it is a skin irritation. Your not going to die, you won't get sick from it. You will go on to live a normal happy life. Some people have the initial outbreak and then never have one again. Some people like me will unfortunately get a lot of outbreaks in the first year and then they decrease. There is ways to stop outbreaks if your like me so don't worry about that. By the way I am currently 37 weeks pregnant this has not affected my life at all. Where are you based? I really recommend you look on the herpes uk website and get all the facts. I know right now your upset but believe me when I say this is literally nothing to worry about. It sounds to me you deal with depression prior to this so I really recommend you talking to someone whether it be a doctor or someone at a sexual health clinic. Please don't beat yourself up. You are still the same girl you have always been.

  • I am in the US. I have been doing a bunch of research, my main concern is with other people. I know I can deal with the physical aspects, but psychologically and socially I don't know if I can. I can't bear thinking about telling people ever. I do deal with depression. I honestly don't think i could ever tell someone, because I am so afraid of rejection as it is and I feel this guarantees it will happen.

  • I'm also pregnant with 3rd and contracted hsv2 from husband precmarriage around 15 years ago and after the initial outbreak, I didn't have another episode for over 10 years! It was dormant. I forgot I had it. Now post children, I get regular & continued outbreaks. All stress related but taking 2-3 aciclovir tablets daily helps to relieve but not clear up for long. I need to try something else to keep this at bay as a prevention and remedy now. My lesions aren't clearing up! Help where do I get Lysine?

  • I got it at Walgreens!

  • I'm in the UK so not sure about Walgreens

  • Ahh, it's just a pharmacy. It's with the vitamins

  • @Qwerty94 Please do not feel ashamed about this, anyone can catch this even if you are using protection it's never 100%. Everything Courtney25 said is right, you don't need to panic your life isn't over as you know it. I'm 28 & found out I have Herpes 10months ago, I was upset at first but I had lived with the infection for at least 3months since it was found in my blood, I have had a couple of sores which I assume are outbreaks but nothing severe.

    My biggest concern was the same as you- starting new relationships. I've dated 2 people since I found out- 1 is now my BF who I told about the Herpes before we had any sexual activity he said it didn't change the way he felt and it's not an issue- I started taking supressive therapy and we use condoms to still try and prevent him getting it.

    The other guy.... I told him too and believe it or not he was currently going through tests as he was sure he had it too. So I really is much more common than you'd expect.

    My advice is don't stress, it's a skin rash down there nothing to panic about. 2nd advice- trust someone before you tell them and make sure you do it before intercourse then they will really appreciate your honestly.

    All the best xxx

  • I have such bad trust issues I don't know if I could ever trust someone my age to keep this to themselves. If someone told me I don't think I would have been able to be with them, regardless of the research I have done, because there's always a chance. I wouldn't have wanted to risk myself and I couldn't ask anyone else to do that. I feel like maybe when I'm older and people are more mature, but it would take me a long time to determine if I could handle it or not so I'm sure it will take others the same. I meet one guy I like once every year/year and a half and I just can't imagine letting myself open up to someone and have feelings for them, and them not wanting me when I told them what I have.

  • There's absolutely nothing in your post that gives the slight impression of you been dirty or a whore. You are a very bright, sensitive & caring young girl who appears to have had a fairly tough life up to now and this latest bad luck has made you feel that you can't cope anymore. You have nothing to be ashamed of --- all you've done is the same as Millions of others by having unprotected sex and like many of us, you've been unlucky. You now belong to a very big club, girl !! (That none of us wanted to join).

    Embarrassed & Disgusted ? Why , who did you beat up, rob or murder ??

    You say that your parents are supportive, which is great. What you need right now is for a few people to show you the love and support that you need and definitely deserve. The first and most important person who needs to do this is YOURSELF !! You really are unfair on yourself you know. You'd never be as nasty to anyone else so please allow yourself to be human and forgive yourself when you make mistakes as we all make "cock-ups"(That leads to most of these type of problems !! lol ). It certainly sounds as if you have not had things easy so try to give yourself the love and understanding that you also wish & deserve to receive from others. Stage 2 will be to look them loving supportive parents of yours straight in the eye and explain to them that their lovely young daughter is struggling ( Nothing to be ashamed of -- Life can be difficult & we all need each others help) and you could really do with their support. If you do need further help, there's always health & social professionals or even BF or good friends. Please let people help you through this to get you back on track to happier days again.

    Don't know much about the woman's side of things but with men it generally seems that the first time is usually far worse than any further outbreaks and these don't always re-occur and if they do can vary in the numbers. My first was very painful but the pain (infection)went immediately with tablets from clinic and blisters cleared with couple of weeks cream treatments. That was about 6 years ago & i've only had one very minor outbreak since.

    You are clearly a nice caring person and so no more of this i'm no good rubbish please.

    Rank Amateur's post seems very good.

    Best wishes girl, get help & yourself smiling again xx

  • Thank you! I just don't know how to accept myself when I feel like no one else will... I am going to try to find someone to talk to and get more information. I am just extremely heartbroken right now.

  • Please don't feel so bad about yourself. Believe it or not it's very common and the guy must have known he had it... he should have told you and insisted on using a condom. I won't go into the ins and outs, as it's too long winded. Get in touch with www. herpes.org.uk, they are very supportive. Presumable they have told you which type you have, if not get a test done at your local g.u. clinic, but I think you need to have an outbreak for them to do the test ( not sure) so check with them. You gp can prescribe for you and there are things on the market nowadays to help. Sorry you can't be more positive than that my love. Although it may not have crossed your mind, get other tests done, because, you don't know what else this guy had! Your life isn't over, you may be lucky and just get a few a year, but whatever happens, you can't spend the rest of your life beating yourself up. Take care.

  • Hi!

    I understand everything you have said and hopefully I'll put your mind at ease

    I contracted it by sleeping with a guy unprotected. Yeah my fault I guess but the guy should def have told me. I got it when I was 23 so I've had it for a year and half now. First outbreak was SO painful but if you can just battle through that first outbreak others are way less painful, almost can it be said that they are unnoticeable - way smaller way less pain. Outbreaks decrease and lessen over time. You can help this by eating healthy and regular exercise, something I told myself would be a positive from this horrible outcome and tbh I have never felt more confident! If your outbreaks are more often then not you can get suppressive therapy.

    As for the emotional side I get it. I thought the exact same too. Disgusting/dirty/what people would say/relationships/depression. Firstly NEVER call yourself disgusting you find yourself doing that again you need to stop and correct yourself, I'm sure depression talks have taught you the same thing. I need you to accept what has happened, as it is forever and don't spiral down into sadness. It is what it is and your strong. This outlook will also help you in relationships. Herpes is basically a rash that will crop up every now and again, by acting like it's nothing (which it is!) this impression will be passed on to people around you. There's people covered in eczema and other visual conditions. Even when this crops up no one knows but you even if you have told people!

    I told my best friend initially as someone to confide in. Can you do the same? As I got less and less bothered about it a couple more friends know (one of them even has it too!) but the world doesn't need to know! None of your friends have to know if you don't want too. It really can be your own little secret. By the time outbreaks come out again just say you got period pains/stomach bug/UTI.

    Relationships. This is the one that did it for me too. Will anyone love me again? If someone had herpes I wouldn't have sex with them so why would they with me etc. OK lemme tell you there are guys out there that just do not care!! My friend with it has had several bfs and is now in a long term partner (she got it at 18). I also have a long term bf. I had to delay sex with him whilst finding out my results. When I told him I researched EVERYTHING about herpes and loads of people have it, loads people don't know they have it and as a guy it is harder to contract. I didn't hear back from him for 2 days - thought I had basically lost the one he was perfect. But after thinking about it he came back and said he didn't care. We don't even use condoms, I just have to be honest about outbreaks.

    Having herpes makes finding a long term partner easy. It whittles out all the dumb and shallow ones. And actually you wouldn't have sex with someone who had it if you weren't really into them. But guys will if they love you and everything about you. No ones perfect, they may even have it too. The important thing here is again being you strong. We are not the boys that put us in this position. If you have sex you must tell the person you are about to sleep with. Men are a plenty, you will have no trouble finding one. There is herpes relationship websites, personally I don't agree and you should not seclude yourself.

    I hope this helps. The initial reaction is bad but remember you are not the only one who has it or feels this way. Everything will be ok, I promise :) x

  • ive told one friend whos a nurse and she just keeps saying im overreacting and its not a big deal and stuff. shes not very empathetic or good to talk to. im not worried about the physical stuff, that i can deal with. my whole issue is having to tell people because i know no one my age will be ok with it or understand or want to risk it. and i wouldnt either so i cant blame them. and guys are also usually immature so i wouldnt be surprised if they were to tell others if i told them and was rejected, which is the likely response. i know maybe i will find one whos ok with it and is a genuine person. but my bfs up until now have seemed amazing then turned out to be cheaters and immature. and i dont find anyone i like normally, ill find someone once every year or year and a half. and now this is gonna make it way more difficult

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