Name: Cathy
Age: 24 (25 in October '00)
Sex: Female
Occupation: Fitness

Type: HSV 1 (I think...see story)
Year Infected: February '95
OB's per year: 0-2; 1-2 prodromes a year

Prodromes: itchiness of the genital area, moisture of the genital area, slight swelling in the area of the 1st outbreak

Method of Control
: Initially, Zovirax 400 mg...first outbreak 5 times a day for 10 days and vicadin for the excruciating pain. Two subsequent outbreaks in fall '95 and end of December/beginning of January '96-97 same prescription, but taken for 5 days; no need for pain relief as they were mild. Occasionally, I will take two pills a day if I am feeling prodromes. I just refilled at a new doctor's office to have some medicine on hand. They gave me 400 mg Acyclovir (generic Zovirax) 3 times a day for 5 days for outbreaks as I have been fortunate enough to have a mild case. I am going to stick with 2 a day if I feel a prodrome.

My Story: I had started date my first real "boyfriend" in the fall of '94. I met him at the nightclub that we were both working at. Two months later...I caught him leaving the club with another employee. We were not committed, but we did agree not to see anyone else from work. I confronted him, got him to admit that he slept with her, and left him as I was still a virgin. I couldn't help that I always had feelings for him. First love, I guess if you could call it that. I would catch him looking at me, and I at him. On New Year's Eve '94, we started talking again. I gave him a ride (not what you are thinking) home, and he convinced me to go up and talk to him. He started crying about how much he cared for me, and that he wanted to get back together. He told me about every time he smelt my perfume; he knew that I had been in the room before him. He started telling me about the qualities that he "loved" about me. He said that he wanted to be in a committed relationship with me, and that he was so upset that he screwed things up the first time.

I got back together with him. (I know, stupid. I was young and stupid. DO NOT EVER GET BACK WITH A CHEATER!!!) It was in February that I started having pain when I urinated. It was excruciating pain, but I figured that I had a urine infection. It got so bad that I was crying myself to sleep. I made an appointment to see my doctor. There were several blisters on my genital area by the time I went in. When the exam and tests were finished, they told me that I had herpes. They did not tell me what type, but I assume that I got type one as we had not had intercourse yet, only oral sex. I was devastated. I was a 19 year old VIRGIN with herpes. My sister, unfortunately, was also a doctor at that facility. I don't know how she found out as it is against her medical oath to be looking at my records, but she did. She started balling when she confronted me. This did not make me feel any better. It made me feel worse. She kept on reminding me of what I had. I felt like my life was over. I am damaged goods before I am even a full fledged product. I "loved" the person that I was with at the time, but I always knew that it was not a forever thing. I felt like that I may or may not ever be able to have a real "boyfriend" again. To this day...I am still not so sure of that. I have high standards and do I let some of these down to find someone that can accept this? It also confirmed my belief that marriage is not something that you can expect to happen in life...either you meet the right person or you don't. I may meet the "right" person who does not want to be with someone that has herpes. Can I really blame them for that? If I didn't have herpes how open would I be? How open am I now? Would I want to be with someone who has AIDS? Granted what we have is an annoying skin rash and not a deadly disease; people do not realize the emotional toll that it takes on your life! People crack jokes about herpes and other STDs not realizing that someone probably standing very close to them has that or something else.

I used to bartend, and I specifically remember a girl telling me how she liked this guy, but she heard it through the grapevine that he had herpes. She told me that she just couldn't consider being with him because of that. Little did she know who she was talking to. It is hard to live with, but this website has helped me a lot! [Thanks, honey:-)] Also, I was able to find a support group off of this site which I am going to start on this month.

Medical Experiences: My doctor was okay. She knew how much pain I was in the

first time. She brought in a nurse to hold my hand as they were doing the
culture. It was very painful, but it helped to have someone there. She just prescribed me the medication, didn't make it a big deal, and told me that I need to be careful when I decided to have kids. I really wish that the doctors would consider the emotional toll this takes on you and maybe suggest support groups in the area or tell you how to find a support group.

Telling: This is far tougher than any physical pain you will ever go through. This has destroyed my relationship with both my oldest sister and my mother. There were other issues, but this was just the icing on the cake. My oldest sister told my mother without my consent. They would talk about me negatively both in front of my face and behind my back. They made me feel so stupid for being with the guy I was with. It made me doubt my self worth. I know that I shouldn't...I'm attractive, I have a nice body and work hard at it, I live in a nice place, I'm fun and funny, but I felt like herpes cancels out everything positive about me. It is so negative that it does not matter what I have to offer. My oldest sister and my mother continued with this behavior on and off. I found out through my brother that they did this again when I had left my sister's house from Thanksgiving of '98. They said this in front of my niece and nephew. My nephew who was only 5...said "Auntie Cathy has AIDS?" I cried for a while after my brother told me that story. He did not tell me to hurt me. He told me because he was angry and felt like I should know. I called up both my mother and my sister and yelled at them expressing my anger, how hurt I was, and that not only was it ignorant for them to be trudging this up years later, but to talk about it in front of other people, especially my little niece and nephew was unacceptable! Needless to say, I haven't really talked to either of them since then. Occasionally, I have to make small talk for a family function or tragedy, but other than that...nothing. Neither of them have really apologized to me. My mother once told me that "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for whatever you say I did," but she would not admit it." I just couldn't forgive her when she can't even admit how much she hurt me. I am lucky that I am the strong person that I am and that I have a wonderful sister who is just a little older than I am. She makes me feel so good about myself, never judges my faults, and is always proud of my accomplishments. I have told some friends. They have really been indifferent. They ask some questions, do not judge me, and think it sucks because they know that I am the most "virgin like" of our group. Dating...well I have not had a serious boyfriend since. I have had some relationships, but nothing where I would call the person my "boyfriend." Part of the reason is I don't enjoy sharing this. I can understand why someone would want to reject me and don't need the additional pain. I have read many other profiles of people who say it separates the "good" from the "bad," but I cannot call an HSV-person bad for not wanting to be with someone HSV+. I think it does help to determine how much someone really does care for you or if they are just looking for sex. Watch out though, there are a few nice guys out there, and I would never want someone to feel obliged to stay with me because of the night in shining armor complex. This website helps a lot, and I hope that more education is put out there. Even in the last couple of years with the Valtrex commercials have helped to get things out in the open. I was really appreciative as well, hearing Dr. Drew and Adam Corolla from "Loveline" support a girl who's boyfriend loved her very much, but called up scared when he found out. They helped put it in perspective for me by telling him that it's just a skin rash and that what makes it annoying is that there is no cure
Currently, I have been dating a wonderful guy for two months and hope that nothing changes. I recently told him, but not as early as I should have, and I feel bad for that. He has been extremely supportive and even sent me this website for which I am most grateful. This website has really helped me, and I feel like I have more of a handle on telling now. I think it is important to take things one day at a time. Be upfront and honest, you'll be surprised at how understanding many people will be. The ones that aren't...don't hate them. They are just not meant for you.