18 and Tested Positive for Herpes

(New York)

I had spent the last two years with an amazing boyfriend. We started dating when were sixteen and by the time of graduation I felt as if we weren't going to be able to make it work through college, so I foolishly broke up with him in the beginning of summer before we both went away.

Soon after I had another guy who was interested in me. I wanted to keep it fun so we went out a few times, and ended up having sex. We used a condom and no oral sex was involved whatsoever. He was twenty and I had just turned 18.

After we had sex I realized what the hell, why did I leave my amazing ex-boyfriend. So we started talking again and I had stopped talking to the guy I had a fling with. As luck would have it, I started experiencing yeast like infections or so I thought. I went to the gyno and had my ex-boyfriend take me. Probably one of the worst days of my life. She told me it was probably genital herpes and took a blood test to confirm. I could not stop crying because not only did I feel tainted and disgusted with myself for having had left my boyfriend for what I thought I wanted, but I had to sit through an excruciating car ride home, details and all.

I tried telling the guy that I had slept with that he should really get himself checked because I think he may have given me something. He was in denial right off the bat so I told him once it was confirmed i would text him.

I'm thankful that I had immediate symptoms of herpes because if i had not, I would have slept with my ex-boyfriend and give him the virus.

I was confirmed with genital HSV1 and now that its a month later, I am pretty sure I'm experiencing my second outbreak because it's around that time of the month. And I read that periods cause outbreaks.

It took me awhile to text the guy who I had sex with and I am positive I caught it from him because I only had sex with two people in my entire life and my ex and I were each others first and started having sex at 16. The guy I had slept with had at least ten partners. When I texted him he told me I'm a liar and never texted me back. I laughed and responded by being kind and said I will be here to talk if you ever get yourself checked. I was very very kind because if I had given someone the disease I would want them to treat me with kindness and forgiveness.

The consequences of contracting genital HSV-1 were pretty severe. The moment I was said to have probably had it, I couldn't get up for three days straight and withdrew from the college I planned to attend. I decided to not go to school the first semester because I'm so depressed but I have applied to go to school in the spring.

I'm still having a really hard time coping because some days I can feel like I can do it but others I'm just completely disgusted with myself. I've told my sister and three friends who are all very accepting. I am so lucky that my ex is still willing to talk to me even after what I have done. He still loves me and says he has forgiven me and doesn't care what I have and would still have sex with me. I'm not ready to have sex I just feel so worthless and undeserving of his forgiveness.

Its hard because I can never give him what we had before. We never used condoms because we were both clean and I was on birth control.I can never receive oral and I'm just so paranoid of being asymptomatic and spreading it. Its never going to be the same and it sucks that I can't eat what I want anymore. This disease takes so much from me and I know its my fault its just really hard to accept. I don't ever want to think about sex again or be in a relationship because I feel like ugly and tainted at only 18. I'll never be the same and it sucks. I really screwed up.

Thanks for sharing your story with our community!

Please don't be so hard on yourself. Your life has just started and I'm sure that it will be amazing!

Another thought...Based strictly on your story (keep in mind I don't have nearly all the facts) I don't feel that your "fling" passed HSV onto you. I feel that either your ex unknowingly did or you have had it for a very long time.

The reason why I say this is because a herpes blood test does not tell you who gave it to you or how long you've had it. It's either a yes or no conclusion. Based on the fact that you and your fling used a condom and no oral sex was involved tells me that he was not the person. Although condoms are not 100% effective at preventing the spreading of HSV, it's pretty darn close. You have nearly the same odds of getting pregnant having sex while using birth control pills as you do contracting HSV while using a condom. Since it can occur, I can't be 100% sure either.

But in the end it probably doesn't matter who gave it to you or how you got it. Your feelings about it are still the same.

The reason you feel so bad probably comes from a combination of things. More often than not people who feel bad about themselves is because they literally become what they thought about HSV before they were diagnosed. It sounds crazy but if the only things you knew about HSV were bad, then you associate those things with yourself. If you looked at people who had HSV as dirty, then you think of yourself as being dirty too. As you now know, this is totally untrue!

Educate yourself and study this virus and you'll see that it's nothing more than a skin rash that pops up occasionally. Remember that a bad case of poison oak causes a painful rash that is contagious too!

It doesn't cause any long term physical health problems. It certainly will not kill you. You don't have to drastically change your lifestyle. You don't have to give up the foods that you like to eat. You don't have to give up sex or oral sex either!

You simply have to learn everything that you can about the virus and how it works. You'll easily be able to protect your sexual partners, reduce the number and severity of outbreaks once you learn about the virus and how your body reacts to it. This come with research and experience.

If you want to know more about why I feel that your fling did not pass the virus onto you then feel free to email me at ed@livingwithgenitalherpes.org. We can discuss.

If not drop us a line occasionally and keep us updated on your amazing life!

Wishing you success and happiness


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