Self Diagnosed Genital Herpes - Terrified and Confused

by Sara
(Minnesota)

First of all I'd like to begin by saying that I am 17 years old and a virgin. My ex boyfriend and I were kissing one day and he noticed a bump on my lip. I had gotten a cold sore. I had never had one before that. So I knew I got it from him.


At the same time I was also on my period. I had touched my cold sore before I went to the bathroom, not knowing I could spread it. So I went about my business not thinking I could get genital herpes from it.

About a week later, I noticed it had been itching a lot down there. I didn't think anything of it until I noticed it hurt to pee. It was a terrible burning feeling. I looked to see what was up and noticed I was covered in little bumps and blisters. I was terrified.

Not knowing what to do, I did a Google search for genital herpes pictures and symptoms. I then self-diagnosed myself with genital herpes.

When I was noticing the bumps, I had also been very sick. I thought I had the flu. Then I found out that flu like symptoms are common with genital herpes.

I have never told anyone about my embarrassing disease. I am so scared to tell anyone. I don't want to be known as the "dirty" girl. I don't understand how I could have done this to myself. I am so confused to why it is happening. I mean, I'm still a virgin. I shouldn't have an STD.

Please, someone help me. I don't know what to do. I am currently experiencing an outbreak. It's not as bad as my initial ob, but it still burns. Any tips on what to do? Ways to make it not hurt?

Thank you for sharing your story with our community! There are many young people just like you who are in the same situation.

My first bit of advice for you is to simply get tested! Self-diagnosing genital herpes is not very accurate at all. There are many things that may appear to be genital herpes but are not. The only way to know for sure is to have a herpes test.

On the surface your story is fairly typical but there are a few things that you reveal that simply don't make a lot of sense. I have no reason not to believe what you're saying but things here are not adding up.

The first thing that I see strange is when you stated that you found a bump on your lip and automatically assumed that it was a fever blister or HSV-1. And you also assumed that your current boyfriend passed it to you. Again, without the proper test you simply don't know for sure. It could be any number of things.

The second thing that doesn't make sense to me is that you said that you touched the fever blister then touched yourself in your genital area. Then about a week later you experienced an outbreak.

The herpes virus, whether it is HSV-1 or HSV-2 does not live for an extended amount of time outside of the body. Although it may be minutely possible that your have spread it from your lips to your genital area I feel this is highly unlikely. The sequence of events would have to occur almost immediately to transmit the virus this way. Are you sure that you and your boyfriend haven't experimented with oral sex?

Another thing that seems odd is your description of your outbreaks. Now this can be subjective and I have no reason to doubt you but outbreaks of HSV-1 in the genital area tend to be much less severe and occur less frequently than HSV-2 outbreaks in the genital area. So your description of your outbreak and the number that you've had don't match the trends. Are you sure that you're a virgin?

These are just my thoughts and you can certanly take them with a grain of salt. However the bottom line here is to please see your doctor, or go to your local public health department and get tested.

Another tip that I'll recommend is to tell your parents. You're very young and you need their support. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Reach out to them. You'll be glad that you did.

Ed
LWGH


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