LAST EDITED ON Mar-26-15 AT 05:07 PM (CST)
I wanted to come back to this site and make a post.
Iím a 33 year old Male who caught herpes from a girl I was casually seeing and having unprotected sex with.
It recently occurred to me that itís actually been just over 10 years since I contracted Genital HSV-2 and I remember being so scared and upset about it all at the time. I thought my life would be over as I knew it. I remember reading all of the posts on sites like these and I think at the time I was trying to find out what my life with Herpes was going to be like! At the time I remember seeing some people being really very positive and others being really very negative and loads of almost religious debates about everything.
I really want to try to add to the positive side of all that debate because I really would hate for others to do the same thing I did and harbour negative thoughts and focus on the negative side because, in my case all that worrying that I did for few years after being diagnosed was completely pointless and was a complete waste of life and I can say that after nearly 10 years Iíve not missed out an anything in life whatsoever other than not pursuing things that I should have been in the couple of years after diagnosis.
Obviously, everyone has different worries but my main worry was that I would have to tell all the girls that I wanted to sleep with that I had herpes and that they would run away screaming or something! I know that people talk about this happening to them and Iím certainly not going to try to explain why that happens because I donít know, but I can say that Iíve never had a single bad reaction from any girl that Iíve had the herpes chat with at all. Iíve had serious and casual sexual relationships in the last 10 years and Iíve told every single one and theyíve all basically shrugged it off and said Ďso whatí and have been willing to progress with me. Iím not posting any numbers up here for anyone to start talking about but my numbers are either roughly same or higher than all of my close male friends who are all very normal professionals who go out a lot socialising and are very normal chaps who have no trouble with finding relationships!
In case there is some wisdom in my experiences perhaps I can state the rules Iíve observed and experiences Iíve had when talking to girls about it:
Iíve never had the herpes chat with anyone whilst being in bed with them or whilst things are leading in a sexual direction or other sexual activities (which do not involve my risk area) are happening. Instead of trying to initiate that chat I will instead say that, itís not the right time, or make up some excuse or anything that fits best! Humour can be very effectively applied to de-sexualise the scenario if she wonít back down. Anything said of note conversation wise that can be brought up at another non-sexualised time is useful. Iíve never had anyone running away at this point either
Iíve also applied the above rule to any highly romantic scenario, e.g. .when you are both gazing into each others eyes or after youíve just cooked her an amazing romantic meal. Iíve been tempted to bring it up at these times, but my more sensible mind knows that there are much better times to bring up.
I have always tried to wait for a good time to naturally occur for having the chat. You would actually be amazed how many opportunities there are for this. Most obvious ones are any conversation about her STIís, friends with STIís, jokes made about STIs. Cold sores, friends with cold sores, someone having a cold sore at the moment. The less obvious ones are conversations about her Health problems, friends with health problems, Vaccines and viruses, Past relationships, Regrets in life, difficult times youíve had in life, things youíve found hard etc. etc.
Iíve found opportunities like these to come up more times than you think they would, but if Iím really stuck or I just want to get things moving, I will just engineer one of the above conversations and take it from there.
Iíve always tried to have the conversation in a way that states the facts of what happened for me to acquire herpes in a confident and honest way and described how itís affected me, ending with the statement that explains why I need to have this conversation with people that I meet and want to progress with. Iíve got better at this the more times Iíve done it and probably everyone has a different story, but I feel like something that helps is to remember that youíve done nothing wrong and not appear like you are telling them some horrible secret.
I will always try to apply humour to my situation if possible perhaps by saying something like Ďso, yeah this the best part about being me and having to have this chat obviously!í. Or if I suspect that itís the right sort of mood or if I suspect she may have had unprotected sex at some stage Iíll say something like Ďso, yeah thats what happened to me when I slept with a girl I met without a condomí
I avoid the temptation to say anything subjective about the symptoms of herpes or what it might or might not be like for anyone else to have it
This only happened with one girl, but I avoid the temptation to become Ďherpes doctorí if they donít know anything about it and are desperate to know everything about it. Iím highly knowledgable about the virus and Iíve probably read every piece of medical literature about it, but itís not my place get technical or talk massively in depth about it at this time with them. If they donít know anything about it Iíll state basic facts about the fact that itís contagious etc. but Iíll insist that they go away and read about it if they are desperate to know details and then after that Iíll talk about it with them in depth. Remembering that itís just cold sore can help to provide a short explanation and end any escalating demand for information I would personally avoid providing anyone with sources of information to read about it and Iíve never been asked for it, but I would feel like I was leading someone down a garden path if I was the one explaining risks and informing them. Let them research it on their own or talk to their friends/family about it if they need to go into it all immediately.
I never try to ask for a reaction or keep the conversation going longer than it needs to. I usually end with something funny wait for some sort of response and if it doesn't come then I'll move on to some other topic.
The last thing that I think has helped me is telling some of my close friends about my herpes status and laughing about preparation for the h-chat with them. I think that small things like sending a quick message to a mate about h-chat status etc. sort of helps a bit. Makes me feel like Iím not on my own with it and iíve got support. As Iíve said itís never actually happened to me, but if someone did run away screaming I reckon talking to mates about that and laughing about it would really help!
So, yes, to re-state the reason for my post - I hope that others who are newly diagnosed can weigh this experience up against all of the negative things and bad experiences that people talk about and hopefully realise that herpes is definitely not the terrible life changing disease that you might think it is in the difficult time when coming to terms with a new diagnosis!