T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 60699
posted 02-26-2012 04:52 PM
I'm a 19-year-old girl. Two weeks ago I hooked up with a really nice guy at my college. I told him I didn't want to have sex (intercourse), and he was totally okay with that, told me he wasn't going to make me do anything I didn't want or would regret. I was trying to be safe, because I worry a lot about pregnancy. We went as far as oral sex-- he went down on me for just a few seconds. And I know oral sex is just as real/dangerous in terms of STDs as intercourse, but usually the person at more of a risk is the person performing oral sex. I didn't think I could get something from HIM going down on ME. But a few days later I started to realize something wasn't right. I was itchy and uncomfortable down there but I didn't know why. A few days later visible bumps started to appear and I went to my college's health services office to get it checked out. The nurse confirmed my fears-- it was herpes.
She sent a culture out for testing and a few days later told me it was HSV-1, NOT HSV-2, meaning the guy probably had a cold sore/shedding he didn't know about in his mouth. She told me HSV-1 was good news compared to HSV-2, because it rarely breaks out again in the genitals. She was really great and calmed me down, reminding me that it's just a skin condition, and that a HUGE percentage of the population already has HSV-1. She said it was a yield sign, not a stop sign, for sex, and that now I just have to be sure to talk about sex before I have it, something I should do anyway. Leaving the office, I felt like it was no big deal. But now, several days later, as I think about it more, I'm slowly getting more and more upset. I talked to the guy I got it from, and he was shocked. He had no idea that could happen-- he didn't even know that the cold sores he used to get as a kid were caused by HERPES. I don't think he realizes that even though the outbreak will probably go away in a week or so, I still have the infection for life and since I'm aware of it now, I'm morally obligated to tell people about it. At first when I found out, I wasn't too scared, especially since the guy I got it from really really likes me and would definitely want a relationship with me, so if I dated him I wouldn't have to worry about The Talk. But I'm starting to realize that I don't like him the way he likes me, but I feel like I'm stuck with him now that I got herpes. And I know that it probably wouldn't be hard to come by somebody else who has had cold sores who wouldn't be affected by my genital HSV-1, because so many people get the virus as babies from their relatives kissing them or whatever. But I'm just terrified of having to explain to someone how I got herpes on my genitals from someone with a cold sore. Especially since I go to a very small college! I feel like I can't date anyone here, because I'm too afraid to tell a guy and have the whole school find out. I'm only a freshman! I don't want this to follow me for the rest of my time here! I know that a lot of people have it with no symptoms too and sometimes I feel envious of them for being able to live in ignorance. I know that's a stupid thing to say, but it's true. I don't know how to deal with this. I don't want to tell anyone. I'm embarrassed about it, even though I know I shouldn't be. I go to a liberal, sexually progressive college, and they educate us very thoroughly and encourage openness about sex. So I know I didn't do anything that would make the people around me call me a "slut" or "dirty," because they all do it too, a LOT. But people make jokes about herpes and it just feels so shameful. There must be other people around me who have it but I'll never know.
Member # 90293
posted 02-26-2012 09:24 PM
You're not alone. This has happened to many, many people. The nurse at your health service was right: this is not a stop sign. You never, ever have to date someone just because you feel obligated to, okay? You don't even have to limit your sexual activities to people who already have HSV1. You do however need to tell them, as you already know, and it might affect the sexual choices you make as a couple. Using dental dams for oral sex and condoms for intercourse can decrease risk for your partner. I could be wrong, and please tell me if I am, but I hear you saying that you think you'll have to tell anyone you date about your HSV1 right away. While it's important to have good healthy discussions about sex before you ever get sexual with each other, know that lots of times dating just happens for dating's sake with no sex involved. We have lots of articles here at Scarleteen about Herpes, including articles about people's personal experiences. Would it be helpful for you to read them?
Member # 60699
posted 02-26-2012 11:02 PM
Personal experiences would be very helpful to read, if you could point me in that direction.
I'm having a hard time comprehending how this is going to affect the rest of my life because I have yet to be in a situation where I've had to tell someone, besides the nurse and the guy. But it's like everyday I realize a little more and it's scary.
Member # 20094
posted 02-26-2012 11:54 PM
This piece is a great start:
Me & HSV You may also find this advice answer helpful: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/i_feel_dirty_and_irresponsible_because_of_genital_herpes and there are a lot of other pieces on the main site if you do a search for "genital herpes".
Member # 60699
posted 03-13-2012 10:17 AM
I'm back because I'm really upset! When the nurse found out it was HSV-1 not HSV-2 she told me that was good news because I'd probably never have another outbreak. Now about two weeks after my first outbreak went away, I think I'm about to have another one! I've been feeling it coming for days. I do have a prescription that I was supposed to get filled right away if I thought an outbreak was coming, but I didn't because when I first started feeling symptoms, it was so soon after my first outbreak that I thought maybe it was just a little leftover itchiness. Now I think it's too late for the medicine to make a difference. I'm really upset that it's happening again. Do you think it could be because I was really sick with a stomach virus one day last week, and it left me vulnerable with a temporarily weakened immune system? I cant believe this is happening at all, but especially so soon after the first round.
Member # 3
posted 03-13-2012 10:28 AM
I'm not sure why she told you you'd probably never have another outbreak in the first place (as people with either kind of HSV can always experience more outbreaks), but I certainly understand feeling disappointed if it seems one is coming on since she did say that.
By all means, when a person has or is fighting any illness is a time when outbreaks are very common (thus the slang "cold sores"). The prescription you were given: is this a suppressive medication like Valtrex?
Member # 60699
posted 03-13-2012 12:59 PM
She said an outbreak was possible, but since HSV-1 prefers the mouth, it was a lot less likely than HSV-2 to show symptoms again in the genitals after the initial outbreak. So I knew it COULD come back, and I knew that I can still be contagious sometimes without showing symptoms, but I'm really surprised that I have to deal with it again so shortly after the first time.
I believe the prescription is for Acyclovir. I don't know what the difference is between that and Valtrex.
Member # 3
posted 03-13-2012 01:01 PM
That's an antiviral medication, and what it can do is to slow the growth and spread of the herpes infection. That includes helping to prevent future outbreaks.
Since you've had one outbreak already and it sounds like a second is coming on, I'd say it's be wise to go ahead and start using that medication as directed.