Apr 24 2007, 05:52 PM
Kel, I'm echoing what the other wise ladies have said. I've told people and usually had it end well (the exception: germophobes). I've also bailed out of seeing guys I felt I couldn't tell (whether because I had a feeling they wouldn't react well or because I just got too scared and decided that if that was my feeling maybe I shouldn't be looking for anything just then). I've also not told a couple of people and the guilt I felt afterward was so awful I promised myself I'd never do it again (well, to be fair, one of the guys I didn't tell was the asshole who raped me a couple years ago, and I don't feel an ounce of guilt about that -- I'll never forget what he did to me, and I'm hoping he'll never forget it either).
When it comes to dating, we all have dealbreakers; for some folks herpes is on the list and it helps to keep in mind they're afraid of the virus, not you. Herpes is like any other potential dealbreaker, whether it's too much emotional baggage, or not being into blondes, or a weight issue, or a loony family, or not having finished college (just to list some of mine), and they all look pretty trivial on paper, but we disregard them if we're into the person. When you get down to it, herpes is just a rash. And it's easy to treat. Unlike some other STIs it won't affect your fertility, lead to precancerous conditions or kill you. In the STI lottery, at least in that respect, we sort of get lucky with herpes.
Having herpes makes me less likely to rush to get naked with someone, so that's a plus. I like to work it into the "have you been tested" conversation, since I ask in order to protect myself, too. I've got a bad track record with STIs (I've also had HPV, which as far as I can tell has cleared up and should no longer be contagious but I tell anyway, just in case) and wouldn't want any more surprises on that front.
Apr 24 2007, 06:08 PM
Thanks again ladies. I talked with an old friend who doesn't have it herself but has many friends who do. She said that her friends have the most success telling people when they are into the idea of a relationship instead of casual sex. That makes sense. I can't imagine most people wanting to have casual sex and risk getting a virus like this. But if someone thinks I'm wonderful in every other way, I'm hoping he will still think I'm wonderful despite this. I've never been a casual sex sort of person. I have no problem with those who are, it's just not my thing.
It's scary, but I have some hope.
On another note, I had a date on Sunday that only confirmed that I'm not really ready to date yet. Nothing bad happened, it just isn't time yet. It's only been a month since my breakup.
Apr 24 2007, 09:54 PM
I've enjoying reading the archives of the current discussion-- important stuff, and I'm learning from it in various ways. Kel, best of luck to you (and the other ladies dealing with this) with the issue of disclosure now that you're single. It sounds like you're handling it really well, with a lot of calm and wisdom!
I originally popped in here to mention that I'm getting my third colpo/ cervical biopsy tomorrow as a further follow-up for my HPV... just in case any shit goes down. Which it shouldn't. 85-90% chance everything is ok, based on the research. Can I get some good luck vibes, pretty please?
Apr 25 2007, 12:35 AM
~*~*~*healthy cervix vibes for octi~*~*~*
Good luck, sweetie. I hope everything is fine.
I am also intrigued by this conversation, as I contracted herpes last September from my boyfriend. He thought he had been suffering from jock itch this whole time, apparently. I was devastated, and I thought things would be OK since we were together, and we both had it.
Last week, we broke up.
Now I feel like a big, dirty, herpes sore. Like, that's who I am. I know it's not healthy to think like that, but I just feel like I will never have a boyfriend ever again, because I can't sleep with anyone without letting them know first. From what I hear, sometimes even a condom doesn't protect one from herpes.
This could be good for me, as I won't be rushing into sex with guys the way I used to. But I feel so scared and nervous about letting anyone know when it is time. I would be so hurt if it became a deal-breaker.
But I know that it is necessary to be totally honest. Maybe not on the first date, but to take things slowly, then talk about it when things seem more comfortable. I don't know - something about that doesn't seem OK to me either, because I would feel like I was tricking someone. I would get them to like me a lot, then strike them with the blow of this STD. It doesn't seem fair. But I think that is how I would prefer to do it.
I know that herpes isn't that big of a deal now, because I have it and haven't had many problems. I don't take Valtrex because I don't have insurance, but I have had very few outbreaks, and other than the first outbreak, they have been mild.
Anyway, I'm comforted to read that there are others struggling with this, too, and that some of you have not had problems finding loving relationships anyway. It gives me hope.
And I want to hug (((kelkello))).
Apr 25 2007, 02:50 AM
thanks a lot for those vibes, PK . (good to see ya, BTW! i haven't been around "okay" much lately, b/c i've had precious little time and that thread intimidates me with its lightning fast pace!)
(((((PK))))) Sorry to hear about the recent breakup and your troubles with the herpes now. I honestly think that your plan re: when to tell a potential partner is a good one. I don't think you'd be tricking someone. I think you'd only be tricking someone if you either a.) refused to tell them what's up if they point-blank asked you why you didn't want to sleep with them yet, or b.) put them at risk before telling them. And neither of those things are what you're talking about, so I think you're in the clear! I respect your integrity about it though, and the integrity of you other ladies in here. I must confess that when I've contemplated how I'd react to finding i had herpes, I might possibly feel so pissy and bad about it that i'd just go get drunk and sleep with whomever, with a kind of "fuck it, what does it matter now?" attitude. (In the end, though, i'm fairly sure my desire to be ethical would win out. but still. i can see how it'd be easy to give in to that temptation.)
i think it's so fucked up how there's such a huge amount of stigma surrounding herpes. any sti, really, but it seems especially intense with herpes. (which is weird- i guess it's b/c it's not curable, so someone can't just get rid of the sti and pretend they never had it-? any other theories-?) like fuego said, it's ultimately just a rash, and i wish that our society didn't have so many confused ideas about sexual behavior that it carried so many other connotations for people.
Apr 25 2007, 09:29 AM
I know how youre feeling! When I broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years (who I was with when I got diagnosed) I felt like I could never have sex again. I had this idea that no man anywhere ever would want to be in a long term relationship with me because of this and therefore i could never have sex again and would die an old hag with alot of cats.
The only thing I can think of that it changed in my life (besides the obvious) is my promiscuity. I was having alot of random sex (albeit with condoms) with people I didnt really care about. Even after my breakup when I was newly dealing with the diagnosis I was kinda wild. I had sexd with friends, their friends, strangers frmo the bar, etc.
I quickly learned to accept the fact that as fun as that stuff may be, that chapter of my life is now closed. I learned my lesson. I cant go around random fucking anymore.
And once i accepted that and learned that I needed to stop thinking with my vagina
I found a really decent guy who I am now in love with.
I think that was definately the hardest part of it ALL for me was learning to control my body and not jump in the sack with the next average joe. Once i focused on bettering myself and not looking for sex, I found what i was looking for.
I tend to ramble so i hope at least some of this made sense.
Oh and if you dont have insurance, taking a zinc vitamin daily can greatly reduce the breakouts and severity of them.
Apr 25 2007, 04:57 PM
SCORE! octi: 5 million HPV: 2 All went well at the gyno today-- even better than expected! i thought there'd be no change from the last exam/biopsy, but i got a bit better! instead of 3 abnormal areas, there was only one! And- even better- the doc said that the biopsy seemed to take off most or all of those abnormal cells because the area was so small! My cervix/body fucking rocks! Woo hoo!
(so hey HPV girls, there's hope!
Apr 25 2007, 05:45 PM
I would like to hug (((((((PK)))))))))))
Wow, PK, we are really in the same small boat, aren't we? I sometimes feel like a one big nasty sore, too. And what's so stupid about that is that my outbreaks are hardly anything...one tiny sore. And haven't had one in four months. Yet I'm stigmatized forever. I don't think your plan is bad...would you confess to being, I dunno, a recovering alcoholic upon meeting someone? Would you confess to any of your big secrets right away? Probably not. If a guy gets pissed because you waited to tell him, then he's a jerk who was just biding his time for sex. If he decides not to date you because of herpes, that is his right. However, if he's a dick about it, that just makes him an assclown not worth your time. I'm here and in Okayland anytime. You can PM me, too.
Daisy, how did you tell your guy? And how did he first react?
Yay, Octi!! Great news!
Apr 26 2007, 06:12 AM
I am so glad summer is coming- I have more outbreaks in winter, hardly any in summer. And for the first time I feel as though I could tell someone and everything will be okay. That doesn't mean it will be easy. But easier.
I felt like one big sore for, like, a whole year after my long-term bf and I broke up. When we were together I didn't really think of my status at all. Nothing changed and everything changed. And I guess because of the stress and thinking about it I started having more outbreaks.
Apr 26 2007, 09:07 AM
i had my first dose of the HPV vaccine. i know it won't necessarily protect me from the HPV i already had but at least it protects me against 4 other strains, and boosts my immune system against the hpv.
Apr 26 2007, 03:34 PM
Oh that HPV shot hurts like a mother! I got one left to get in a month or so. Ouch.
Well, the way I told my guy was weird. At first (before anything happened) I mentioned having a cold sore in my mouth. Ive gotten them since i was a kid. He reacted fine to that (like normal people wouldnt?) and the conversation moved on. Then later we were having one of those "Im falling in love with you so lets talk about secrets in bed" And we traded off all these secrets. My eating issue, his sexuality experimentation, etc" So I just kind of said it. I was leaving for Europe in a week for over a month so I figured if he reacted badly, at least Im out of the country for a while.
I think i said something like...
"I have herpes.....................you know, alot of people do and dont even know it. Do you know much about it?" and he said he knew a little bit. He was a TINY weird, like just quiet. Then the next day he emailed me like "I didnt know 1 in 5 has it! I probably have it already too! Weird..."
And it was never really mentioned again until later in our relationship when it was something like me saying "Im really stressed at work lately" and him saying "You should start taking your acyclovir in case you have an outbreak...want me to draw you a bath?"
So, maybe I was just really lucky but he took it amazingly well. But as you may have figured, he is a VERY open minded person so he didnt shut off to me right away.
Apr 28 2007, 12:35 PM
hello ladies. I was on this site years ago, and have just now found it again. I don't know how much I will visit (two little ones taking most of my time), but I did want to pass this on, because I have had herpes since, oh, 1986 (I gave a guy from my church my virginity and he gave me herpes, first time out, swell exchange, doncha think?).
Anyway, throughout the 90s I had a couple of outbreaks a year, then I dated this one guy that kept me so stressed I had several. Then I met this one guy that gave me a different strain, which in my ignorance, I did not know was possible.
But what has been incredible, and I mean incredible, is when I met my future husband. he was fine with the confession, but that is not the unbelievable part. We have been married five years and during that time have had lots of stress, some with each other, but mainly through job losses, family death, two pregnancies, financial worries, a large move, home remodeling, etc.
Since i have been with him, I have not had ONE KNOWN OUTBREAK. For years of experiencing the same symptoms over and over again for more than a decade before him, I have not broken out since. A few times I had the prodrome sensation, but nothing came of it. I thought I had changed pattern perhaps and my sores were on the inside, but they weren't.
I can't explain it. I like to think it is because we are so incredibly compatible, but that doesn't mean I think that outbreaks another person has means that they aren't as compatible with their significant other.
But it is true that the amount of drama in my life has decreased dramatically from when i was single, and most of life's challenges that we have had, we have faced together, so although I ahve experiences stress, it's not triggering outbreaks.
i wonder if there is anyone else out there that has gone so long without an outbreak.
Apr 29 2007, 12:28 PM
Wow, sublime, I hope that happens to me. I've gone over four months without an outbreak (knock on wood). That's a record for me.
Apr 30 2007, 08:41 AM
i've gone 29 yrs - yes you're reading that right, i'm old, lol! - with only one or two minor outbreaks (two tiny sores, not real blisters, several years apart, which, when they were scraped for testing, did not come back positive).
which makes me wonder if that first horrendous outbreak so long ago was even herpes. altho at the time, the doc said it was. but i wonder about the accuracy of the testing back then.
question: is there a single bloodtest for both types of herpes? and if it comes back positive, will it be reported to a state authority? i'd like to finally know for sure.
Apr 30 2007, 06:23 PM
Mando, the Western Blot or the Herpeselect both (I think -- the WB definitely does) can differentiate type. I can vouch for the WB because that's how I know I've got HSV-1 and -2. Since I don't get oral outbreaks, the result made me wonder if the outbreak I had my first year of college, years before I was diagnosed, was actually herpes since the culture (scrape test) came back negative at the time.
According to studies, genital HSV-1 tends to recur less often than genital HSV-2, probably because the virus doesn't like to live there, away from its typical site on the mouth. Maybe this is the case for you? And since herpes doesn't affect fertility and won't kill you, a positive result doesn't need to be reported to the state.
Sublime, I can only wish that my outbreaks followed the pattern yours do! I've had herpes for 11 years now, and still get outbreaks every month before my period. I'm contemplating going on one of those four-times-a-year birth control pills to see if the reduction in periods makes for fewer outbreaks. Then again, I'm serially single, so I'd resent being on birth control if there's no man in my life and hence no risk of pregnancy. We'll see what the girldoc says when I see her next week.
Octi, that's great news! Yay, immune system! Keep up the good work!
May 1 2007, 04:00 PM
Hi all, new here, but I found this thread rather comforting. I've been with my boyfriend for nearly four years now, and shortly after I became sexually involved with him, I went in for my yearly PAP and found out I had HPV. It really freaked me out, but I told him about it and he was very concerned mostly for my health more than anything else. I did the whole deal, freezing and all, twice within two years, but I seem to be OK now. Some abnormal cells, but not enough to be a problem for the time being. I'm thinking about trying to get the vaccine even though I'm a year older than what they recommend. We'll see how that goes.
Also, my boyfriend has herpes. He told me about it early in the relationship, and I was at first a bit concerned about contracting it, but it didn't really bother me that much. I never judged him on it. We have no idea which type he has because he has never gotten a positive result back from the tests, but he definitely has it and has never gotten sores on his mouth, so I assume it's type 2. He used to have outbreaks once every few months, but in the last few months they have been pretty much monthly, coinciding with the week before my period nearly every time. He's had a lot of stress lately due to job searching, so I guess that is why the frequency of outbreaks has increased.
We have had unprotected sex for most of our relationship, but never when he sensed an outbreak coming, during, or for a few days after his outbreaks. So far, I haven't had anything resembling any sores, but I'm guessing I probably have the virus in my body by now. Anyone else have a similar situation? I am just wondering how long it might take before I end up seeing the consequences.
May 3 2007, 03:51 PM
Miami, it varies from person to person. I had sex with my now-ex-boyfriend for 8 months before contracting it. He didn't know he had it and never had sores. He swears he never cheated on me (although I have a vague suspicion), so I can assume I was exposed to it for eight months. My first outbreak came and I got culture tested on the sore which came back positive. What's interesting is that my blood test came back negative for herpes antibodies of any kind. Which means I had just contracted it; antibodies would have built in my blood regardless of outbreaks. So you may not have it all; unless you outbreak, only a blood test can tell. It could live in your body for years before you outbreak. All the while you could spread it to unsuspecting guys (if you and your guy should ever break up, that is. Let's take the glass half full approach, however). I would highly recommend using condoms (which aren't foolproof but are something) until you know. There's no sense in getting it if you don't have to. Hopefully you two will be together forever and it won't be an issue. That's what I thought with my guy...now I'm alone and have to tell all future boyfriends about this. Good luck.
May 3 2007, 11:39 PM
hi miami! listen to the lovely ms. kel, she is wise!
guess what! i got further news about my HPV situation these days: my biopsy was negative AND my pap smear was *normal*!!! That is way better news than I expected! i'm apparently in that fortunate 10-15% whose cervical abnormalities resolve (with no surgical/medical intervention) within 2 years! Awesome! I feel wonderful about this! (I attribute part of the good fortune to all the tea i drink-- i drink it pretty much every day). i haven't gotten the latest HPV test yet. the chances are very very slim that it would be negative as well; it usually takes years and years to actually clear the virus itself out. but who cares if i have the virus in me if it's not causing trouble? this news is good good good. good luck to you other HPVers-- and drink lotsa tea
May 4 2007, 04:57 PM
kelkello, thanks for your reply. We are actually back to using condoms full-time now since I ditched hormonal birth control, so that is a "check!". I definitely hear you about not know if you're going to be with the same person in the future, and that is definitely a concern I didn't really consider very carefully. In fact, I didn't think much about it at all until I found this forum.
Congrats, octinoxate on your good HPV news! I'm hoping to have a normal pap one of these days myself! According to my doctor, the virus has cleared, but the cells aren't completely back to normal. Are you drinking any particular type of tea, or just any kind? I'm not due for another pap until December, so it'll be awhile for me. My sister is getting the HPV shots, but she has also been diagnosed with HPV and has also been through biopsies and laser surgery. Oh the joys of being the fairer sex!
May 5 2007, 05:25 PM
thanks miami! Regarding tea: I drink a wide variety (white/yellow/green/oolong/rock oolong/black/puer) but it's almost all real high-quality stuff, from this local tea house that buys it direct from growers in china. Basically every type of tea they sell has some different really specific medicinal use-- did you know that tea originally was not consumed by the common people, but was prescribed by Chinese medicine practitioners like herbs are today? Anyway, a high antioxidant level is probably the most important thing for fighting the abnormal cells/ warding off cancerous changes, and for that the lightest teas (white, yellow, and green) are best. Plus, they're just delicious!
Regarding the HPV vaccine: miami, I heard through a friend that her gyno said women's cervix tissue hardens as they get older, and that's why they don't give the HPV shot to women over 26. I guess the idea is that it wouldn't have much of an effect. What I'm unclear about is whether or not the "hardening" of the cervix also makes it harder to contract HPV to begin with--? Anyway, if you can get someone to administer it to you, it certainly seems like it couldn't do much/any harm. (BTW- I also got the shot this past year, and wouldn't be surprised if that has something to do with my good results too, despite what the docs say about that.)
Good luck-- with both the HPV and HSV issues. It's awesome that your body already cleared out the HPV!!! I'm very excited for the day I get that news!
May 6 2007, 08:57 AM
So, the time has come for me to tell the new boy about my HSV. I haven't known him for very long at all, but he wants to have sex, and so do I, and he's going away soon. I actually think it will probably go okay, I have positive feelings about this one, my only problem is that I've always had a hard time saying it out loud (I could barely say it to my new doctor). When I imagine his reaction he's understanding at the very least, but I cannnot picture myself saying "I have herpes," although being straightforward like that is probably the way to go. Thoughts?
May 6 2007, 02:29 PM
Yes, any help with Edie's situation? I'm in a (possibly) similar one. I went on a great date with a great guy. He wants to see me again. There is an obvious physical attraction. I can't see it happening anytime soon because I don't leap into bed with guys right away (I don't have a problem with those who do, it's just not for me), but I'm still trying to figure out a way to say it to someone.
On another note, I am filled with tears after reading stuff in the Lets Talk About Sex thread. It seems people there just wantonly have sex with multiple partners and they don't have to deal with an STD. I don't care that they are having casual sex...they are entitled to do what they will with their bodies and to feel good about what they do. But I get so angry. I was so careful. I took pains to not get an STD, and I did anyway. It makes me so sad sometimes. I had this wonderful date today and all I can think about is how there is a 50-50 shot he will reject me when and if I have to tell him.
May 6 2007, 07:16 PM
(((((kel))))) Oh honey, I hear you. I felt that way when I first got diagnosed with HPV... thinking "what the fuck? all my girlfriends have casual sex--usually without even using condoms and no testing!-- and yet i'm the one who gets something like this." it just seemed extremely unfair to me. i guess with time i just accepted that sometimes things happen that suck or are unfair but the important thing is what i do with that experience: if i decide to learn something from it and in some way become a better/fuller person because of it, get smarter in some way, understand something more about myself or people... or not. besides- lots of the folks that do have lots of casual sex (again, more power to them) probably do have some sort of STD and just don't know it yet.
as far as your situations, edie and kel- first of all, i'm happy to hear you've found cool guys! now, when it gets to telling them about the HSV, it seems to me like you have the right idea about being direct, edie. also, it seems like it would be least awkward if it were part of a general pre-sex STD talk (which of course is a good idea regardless). i guess if i were on the other side of that conversation, i'd want to hear something like: "i do want to tell you that i've been diagnosed with herpes, so if we sleep together, of course there's some risk of you getting it as well. it's possible to do things to minimize that risk and get it pretty low. if you're interesting in talking about that, or this issue in general, i'm all ears and i'll try to answer your questions as best as i can. if you need some time to think about this or read up on it on your own, i understand." sounds pretty good, i think, no? how would you feel about saying something like that? (good luck to both of you!)
May 6 2007, 07:26 PM
Octi, that sounds reasonable. It's just easier said than done. I talked with a friend who said that the conversation goes best when it looks like a real relationship might blossom. She also said to never act ashamed. Be matter of fact and informative. That's hard for me. I get emotional very easily. I'm seeing him again tomorrow. I told him very matter of factly today that I'm a bit old fashioned and I don't tend to get physical quickly. And that is true, even before herpes. So he knows that he isn't getting any anytime soon. I'll just hope that he sees how great I am and will be willing to work with the situation.
May 6 2007, 09:27 PM
It does look like a relationship could blossom, kel. I played the old-fashioned card too (which is only kind of true in my case, though more-so in the past few years)- we've already fooled around a bit (underwear on, though, zero risk), and I know he wanted to do it last time but I just said "do you mind if we wait?" and he was cool with that (I was also on my period, so that was an easy excuse). I want to tell him soon though because I want to sleep with him before he goes away for a month, and because things are moving kind of fast emotionally and I don't want to string him along for much longer.
I feel like he's reasonable and cool enough to be okay with it. That being said, one can be reasonable and cool and still not want to take the risk. It would be totally understandable, but it still would crush me. I do honestly think it's really low risk that he'd get it- obviosly we'd use condoms, I'm outbreak free (touch wood), I haven't given it to anyone (that I know of), and I'm taking Valtrex as of today in anticipation of this. Would it be misleading if I told him that it's probably really low-risk? I obviously don't want to lie or, like, trick him. I was also thinking about opening with "So, I really want to sleep with you..."
May 7 2007, 09:37 AM
Good luck guys! I know what you mean about how hard it is to say it outloud. But what helped is when I was at home alone was just saying "I have herpes and thats ok" over and over. The words at first seemed so foreign and dirty but then I got really used to hearing it. And the more i said it, the more 'ok' i was with it.
If he reacts badly, just know that he wasnt right for you anyway. There will soon be a guy who says "I wanted to talk to you about it. I have it too" or "Ok ill do some reading on it. Wanna get dinner now?"
May 7 2007, 06:48 PM
this conversation is reminding me of a chat i had with a friend recently. he is quadraplegic, and was saying that his disability generally not a big deal for his dates unless he acts like it's a big deal. generally people just follow his lead on it. i imagine the same type of thing could be said about an std issue: like kel's friend said, don't act ashamed and it won't seem shameful. you know?
edie, that sounds like a great lead-in
as far as saying it's "probably really low-risk": i think that sounds fair. it's probably true. it might be better if you could actually back it up with a fact/ a number from some sort of concrete source (a book, paper, study, etc.). have you come across anything like that?
good luck, ladies!
May 7 2007, 08:48 PM
Oh shit oh shit oh shit. I like this guy a lot. We had a little make out session tonight, and I couldn't even completely relax and enjoy it because I felt like I was lying to him by not telling him. And it wasn't even serious...Just kissing and over the clothes groping. I tried to feel him out a little...asked him what his dealbreakers were. He didn't mention STD's, but what guy thinks of that when put on the spot? I almost told him. He could tell something was off. It's too soon to tell, but I'll have to tell him very very soon. I don't think I can do it. I'm going to have to end up brushing him off for other reasons. I'M FREAKING OUT!!!!
Edie, I looked on the Center for Disease Control's website, and they have some reassuring info. They say it's very unlikely you will pass it if you don't have an outbreak although it is possible. They also say the longer you have it, the less likely you are to pass it and that women are less likely to give it to men. Type in CDC in google and it will take you there. Click on the "H" in the alphabet box and it will take you the herpes section. I think they are the cream of the crop in disease info, so you might want to print some out in case he has questions.
Oh fuck. I don't know how to do this.
May 7 2007, 09:05 PM
kel darlin', breathe! in...... and out....... and in...... and out...... relax! you're gonna be fine! you can do it! you're gonna tell him, nice and calm and matter-of-fact, that you really dig him and want to take things further and want to first tell him that you have herpes. you are NOT going to sabotage this by brushing him off!
good move looking to cdc! that's definitely reassuring.
have you decided in what context you'd like to tell him? personally, i think it would be better to bring it up BEFORE things heat up and you start kissing and such...
May 7 2007, 11:19 PM
Edie, also check out http://www.westoverheights.com/genital_herpes/handbook.html
(too tired to make the link pretty) for really up to date information. The Westover Heights Clinic is pretty much the epicenter of herpes research in the US, so I trust them.
There's also the Herpes Homepage, racoon.com/herpes (click on "support and info"), which also has great info and resources. Kel, take a look over there and see what you think -- most of the people posting there have herpes and can give you advice on how to tell a partner.
Me, I'm thinking about telling someone new. If we have another makeout session like last night, it's only a matter of time before I want to get naked...
May 8 2007, 04:31 AM
I'm going to have to tell him soon. He kissed me sort of out of nowhere last night. This all happening very fast. I just can't fathom a world where I tell him and he doesn't run screaming for the hills. I don't know what context it could be where I would just be able to say it and watch his face flinch up and see the discomfort. I don't know him enough to judge if he will be an ass or he will be okay about it. But I am absolutely terrified. The only thing I can think of is to shut him out completely. But that's not fair either.
May 8 2007, 06:15 AM
Kel, have you told any of your friends? I'm just wondering if you've got that telling -- and acceptance -- under your belt. It made a huge difference in how I saw herpes and myself, to have it out in the open with my friends and see that nothing changed in our relationship. Besides, if you've got a friend who knows, maybe s/he could coach you through a couple practice rounds of the talk, suggest things to play up, and generally help you get used to saying it out loud. Just a thought.
*hugs* You can do this!
May 8 2007, 11:52 AM
Kel, I know how hard it is- I've brushed off several guys in the past for the same reason because I didn't want to have to say it or have to deal with what might happen. But what I've realized (and you probably have too), is that it'll just keep happening, and eventually you're gonna have to tell someone, so you might as well start now and get used to it and see what happens. And I can fathom him not running screaming for the hills! I think if he's an okay person he'll at least be understanding, and while getting rejected would be hard, the end result is pretty much the same as if you had run away (no guy), and you'll have had practice with this.
As for myself, I have to tell him tonight. Well, I don't have to, but I want to. Yesterday things got pretty hot and heavy and I told him that I can't have sex now and will explain myself later. He said he really liked me (maybe he thought my issue was not wanting to be used for sex by someone who's not into me). Then later it came up again and I told him there was something I had to tell him but it made me nervous. He told me "you can tell me anything" but he also said I didn't have to explain myself if I didn't want to. And it's not that I didn't want to, it would've been a good time, I just chickened out. So I'm supposed to see him again tonight and I'm determined to do it, so that we can either take it to the next level or I can start getting over the idea of him. I guess part of me is tempted to stretch out what's going on now (romance, fun, make-out sessions) just in case he rejects me after I tell him.
May 8 2007, 02:29 PM
Let me know how it goes. I'm sending acceptance vibes your way. Can you guys send me some?
May 8 2007, 04:07 PM
Oh, of course!
May 8 2007, 04:15 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~more good vibes to both of you!!!!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
no matter how it turns out, you'll at least be able to take pride in 1.) having had the guts to have that talk and 2.) having had the sense of integrity to have that talk!
edie, i wonder if by this point he'll have come up with some theory that's much worse than having herpes-- eg, having HIV? or maybe he's wondering if you've been a victim of sexual assault? maybe the herpes thing will be a relief and seem like no big thing by now!
i like fuego's suggestion about telling friends first! (it'll also keep 'em from making any insensitive STD jokes-- i know i'm around those sometimes and i imagine i'd feel even more negatively about 'em if i had the std they were joking about.)
May 8 2007, 04:28 PM
My closest friends and some of my very close family members know. They are completely fine with it. Telling a potential boyfriend/lover/whatever is scarier. My friends and family already love me. The guy doesn't yet.
May 8 2007, 05:51 PM
I was actually thinking that, octi.... I was wondering if he has any theories, if he's super-curious or if he just doesn't know what to think. I think I've given the impression that I have all of these hang-ups concerning sex, which, aside from this, isn't really the case.
Aside from the fact that they already love you, your friends and family also won't be having sex with you. I personally haven't told any friends or family. There are a few people (a couple girlfriends and maybe my brother) I feel like I could tell, but it'd still be hard, and there's no real need to tell them. I do see how it could help though, as practice and just to have it off your chest and out in the open if you ever want to talk about it again. One of my friends sometimes makes jokes and comments and it does make me uncomfortable. Friends talking a lot about casual sex or saying "why didn't you sleep with him?" bugs me too, but I can't fault them because they don't know. I have another friend who doesn't have any std's but she sometimes talks about getting tested and safe sex. I feel like I could tell her. It might feel good to educate other people too.
May 8 2007, 07:01 PM
For practice tonight I called an old college guy friend who always had a crush on me and I sort of had one on him. We are great friends, but we've never been romantic. I called him and just sort of told him and asked him what he thought. He was totally fine with it. Didn't even phase him. He said he's dated two girls with it...one didn't tell him until SIX MONTHS into the relationship. He was furious. The other one told him before things got sexual and he was fine with it. Used protection, never got it. It made me feel better. He's a guy who, if he weren't in a happy relationship, would actually sleep with me, unlike my other friends and family members. I guess that's a good sign. It still makes me incredibly nervous and sad at times. I've cried off and on all day. If it's not this guy, it will be some guy some day. I may never hear from this guy again, who knows?
May 8 2007, 08:23 PM
****Good vibes, Edie and Kel!****
Kel, I'm glad the talk with your friend went well. Did he have any advice on how to tell your guy? Any thoughts?
I totally understand the hesitation to tell. With my ex, I waited something like two months (kept my underwear on any time we made out) to tell him because I was so nervous. He took the news fine, which made me want to kick myself for not saying it sooner. But I wasn't ready sooner.
Back in November, I bailed out of something that seemed really promising because I just wasn't in the right headspace to tell him. I regret doing that. I wish I'd been ready to take that chance, but I just wasn't then. I'd hate to see this happen to you, and for you to miss out on someone who sounds really good.
My goal for this new guy is to get it over with quick, like ripping off a Band-Aid. That way, if it goes well I no longer need to worry, and if not I haven't gotten too attached or spent too much time freaking out about the talk.
May 9 2007, 04:23 PM
Well, I may have my panties in a bunch over nothing. I haven't heard from the guy anyway. It's only been a day and a half. I dunno. I get so pissed off when guys just never call. Be a man and call and say "I'm just not that into you (even though I made out with you because I'm a pig and will make out with anyone that will let me)" I get so frustrated.
Edie, did you tell him? How did it go?
May 10 2007, 08:36 AM
May 10 2007, 11:05 PM
Holy crap, p_176, that's really worrisome.
My mom mentioned that the Journal of the American Medical Association (or maybe the New England Journal...) recently ran a piece about how the strains of HPV that the vaccine addresses aren't as common as we've been led to believe. I can't find it in my cursory Googling (it's probably password protected -- JAMA likes to do that), but I'd be curious to read it. If nothing else, to be able to rebut my mom's smug tone re: women who get HPV. She doesn't know I've had warts, and if I hadn't been wiped out from a really awful week I would've set her straight.
Kel, Edie, any news?
ETA: When I went in today for my annual, my girldoc said she'd spoken to an infectious diseases specialist who specializes in herpes about my case (I asked her to do this ages ago and forgot to follow up). He advised her to culture a sore, if possible, to see if it really is herpes, because he said there's next to no way I should be having outbreaks this frequently (the issue is not whether I have herpes -- a blood test confirmed it ages ago -- it's whether my monthly outbreaks are actually herpes or something else). My period is due in about two weeks, so I expect an outbreak in the next week or so. I'm hoping her office will actually be able to see me at a time I can manage -- it's nowhere near my house or work, and getting there is sort of a production. Wish me luck?
May 11 2007, 04:13 AM
Fuego, I guess I dodged a bullet because the guy turned out to be something of an idiot after all. No sense telling someone you don't plan on seeing again. But eventually, my turn will come.
Good luck at the doctors. It does seem very odd that you break out every month. I haven't (knock on wood) had an outbreak in 5 months now. That is such reassuring news to me. ((((Fuego))))
May 11 2007, 12:43 PM
fuego - just tell your mom that the vaccine protects against the strains of the virus that are found in 90-95% of cervical cancer cases. not everyone who has hpv has the strains in the vaccine, but almost everyone who has cancer does. so, if you don't have cancer and you get the vaccine, your body is more likely and able to fight against those strains. and on planned parenthood's website, it says about hpv, because it's soooo common, even folks in ancient rome had it.
the article i posted from the, haha, Post, i thought was really interesting, not only because it was about hpv (and seems to confirm suspicions that some folks had about hpv causing oral cancers), but because it also addresses sexual behavior - oral and anal sex are not "sex" or "risky behavior" ??? maybe if you live with your head in the sand.....
let us know what happens with the dr - if the outbreaks are not herpes, what could it be? eczema irritated by the herpes? oy.
May 11 2007, 03:50 PM
Sorry! I haven't been able to actually sit down and write this for days.
So, the other night I told him. Sort of. It made it easier that he already knew there was something I had to tell him related to sex, and I was kind of pacing around and he said "something on your mind?" You'd think it'd be easy-ish at that point, but no, I was chicken as hell to just come out and say it. He said "I can't imagine anything you could tell me will deter me or stop me from liking you." Very sweet and amazing is he. I finally told him that I have an STD but I still never said it was herpes. Isn't that dumb? He knows that it's something I've had it for a few years, and I told him it wasn't HIV, so if he knows anything about STDs he must think it's either herpes or HPV. And he seemed fine with it. The only problem is that I still haven't really told him. I'm just concerned that he doesn't know the facts and maybe he doesn't know that there's still a possibility of him catching it with a condom on (however I did say "condoms aren't 100% fool-proof"). We've had sex a few times now. I don't feel guilty but I do feel another talk coming. However, I feel really relieved and a lot more ready for the follow up talk. And my vagina & surroundings feel pretty a-ok these days (knock on virtual wood).
Good luck Fuego! I'm curious what the findings will be. In the winter when my immune system is shittier and I'm stressed with school I have pretty frequent outbreaks- maybe as frequent as yours. However, I rarely see sores, it just kind of feels like they're there. But it feels really bad. Is it like that for you too?
Kel, that sucks, but it's kind of relieving, I guess. It would suck to have the stressful talk, become more emotionally involved, and THEN find out he's an ass.
May 11 2007, 08:38 PM
Ooooh, good, keep going, Edie! Just finish telling him and get it over with! He sounds like a keeper!
Kel, good thing you found out so early on that the guy was an idiot. Less time wasted, and all that. How are you feeling, though?
Yeah, it's funny how all of a sudden I'm, uh, not exactly looking forward to my next outbreak but not dreading it. This culture may turn out to be very interesting indeed. I certainly can't understand how, after 11 years of anything from almost-constant to merely monthly outbreaks, my case of this damn virus hasn't burnt itself out. I also can't understand how even with daily Famvir I still have outbreaks every month. I'm hoping this infectious diseases doctor can answer some of these questions for me. Watch, my herpes will suddenly go into hiding -- kind of like hiccups do when someone asks you to hiccup for him/her.
My outbreaks occur in one of two spots (sometimes both at once) every month but they don't look much like the pictures you can find online. I don't get prodromal symptoms, other than some mild itchiness right before I notice some mild swelling at one of those spots. The sores aren't blister-y, just red and slightly swollen -- kind of like a mosquito bite but less itchy. If I double up on the Famvir they go away in three days, tops. The fact I don't get any warning of an outbreak has always worried me -- if I'm most likely to pass it on to someone within three days before and after an outbreak, how am I supposed to know when one's coming so I can warn my partner? (This is one reason I've considered dating only HSV+ guys, but I'm already not attracted to many men (I'm straight -- just really picky), and I don't see any reason to further limit the pool.)
May 11 2007, 09:20 PM
Edie, that's such good news! Someday my tolerant prince will come, huh?
Fuego, my outbreaks look NOTHING like the pics online. God, they're horrible aren't they? They look like a scourge of leprosy or something. I get one tiny sore that I can barely see but can feel when I pee. I think those pics they show online and in doctors' offices are just to scare the living hell out of people. I'm sure some folks get bad outbreaks, but everyone I've talked to has nothing like that.
Have you tried Valtrex instead of Famvir? I take a gram a day, and it really makes a huge difference. I don't know how different it is from Famvir.
May 11 2007, 09:47 PM
The pics online are like the worst case scenario. The kind that's bad enough you're the worst case that doctor's seen, so the nurse runs to get a camera to document it. Take them with a grain of salt, and feel grateful that you've got it so much easier! (Am I going to hell for looking at those sometimes to feel better?)
When I was first diagnosed, acyclovir was the standard but Valtrex and Famvir were both pretty new to the market. I found acyclovir to be utterly useless. Valtrex is basically acyclovir that's formulated so that the body only needs one or two doses a day instead of five -- hence Valtrex doesn't help me much, either. Famvir works differently, but I forget what the difference is. Famvir helps me more -- though not that much more. The shitty thing is, Famvir's not included in the same tier as Valtrex in some insurance formularies, even though they are very similar drugs (acyclovir is generic, so it's maybe $5-10/month), and Valtrex has been marketed so aggressively that it's pushing Famvir off the map in other ways, too, like getting the attention of doctors.
May 13 2007, 01:05 PM
Hmm. I have to go to the doctor too, to get a new prescription, and I'm wondering if I should get something other than Valtrex, which the doctor gave me automatically last time. It does seem to help but it's so damn expensive. It's $50 a pop (for like 12 pills, which last 6 days) out of my pocket. I only take it when I need to- I kind of use it at my own discretion, sometimes lowering the dose to stretch it further. But there's no harm in that, right?
I might finally get type tested. And I have to get tested for all other STDs too, which is always a little scary (I did have unprotected sex with one person this year, and not neccessarily someone I trust to be on top of that sort of stuff). Oy.