Coming to terms

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    Hi, I’m fairly new to this community. I am 19 years old and contracted type 1 herpes through oral sex with my boyfriend. We had been dating about 4 months at the time and are still going strong despite the fact I just transferred to a new college 2 hours away. I have had the herpes for about 8 months now and am just realizing I have been somewhat in denial. I was very ignorant to STDs and have only had sex with 2 other people, who were also long term boyfriends. I was so confused at the time of diagnosis, when the doctor told me I may possibly have herpes I didn’t know how to react because I had barely any idea of what that meant for me. I believe I have been in denial of how herpes is in fact a lifelong condition. I suppress questions like what if my boyfriend and I break up? What would happen if my parents or friends found out? Will I be looked at in a different way? My emotions come to surface when I hear a herpes joke in a movie or reference to it in a book (which triggered my current episode, landing me here). My gut starts to churn and tears fill my eyes as I realize that I am a person who will be living with genital herpes for the rest of my life. I feel much too young and scared and ashamed of what my future holds. I also catch myself subconsciously making remarks to my boyfriend from time to time when the topic comes up, almost if I’m trying to make him feel bad for doing this to me. I am truly afraid that a part of me despises him for passing on the herpes virus to me. It’s not fair to me nor to him.
    I know everything works out in the end but I don’t feel like my “old, pure-self” anymore. The hardest challenge is coming to terms with the fact that having genital herpes doesn’t define me, because right now I’m letting it take control.

    Dr. Kelly

    It’s so easy to forget that we have herpes when we are not having active symptoms. This is both good and bad for many women. Good, because we no longer need to be neurotic in thinking about it, but bad because many women find themselves in denial.

    The best advice I have for you is for you to start journaling about it and work on forgiving your boyfriend for giving it to you. An underlying feeling of despise can bubble up in so many dysfunctional ways and in the end, it only hurts you.

    No matter what happens, you must know that you are still filled with love and light. Your old “pure” self was just an illusion if you really think about it. I mean honestly, no one is perfect and we all have our stuff. Your “stuff” just happens to be herpes just like many other women in this world (at least 1 in 4). The sooner in life you realize that everyone has something they would rather the world not know, the better. Having herpes is nothing to be ashamed of….just like having chicken pox is nothing a child should be ashamed of. Did you know that herpes and the chicken pox virus are both part of the herpes family of viruses?

    Never allow herpes to define you. You are so much more than that!

    Live. Love. Thrive.
    Dr. Kelly

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