No visible symptoms, but positive for HSV 2

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    I found out 5 days ago that I have HSV 2… Unfortunately, I don’t have a story where I had a partner who gave it to me, a monogamous relationship, or even something I willingly went into knowing the possibility of contracting the virus from somebody I actually gave a damn about. I got herpes from my very first one night stand (go figure)

    My story starts with a night of drinking too much alcohol (to the point of throwing up when I got home), a cute guy (that I didn’t even remember talking to or exchanging numbers with, but somehow managed to text him my address), and a decision I woke up regretting as he was laying next to me that morning.

    To make a long story short, a couple weeks ago I started what I thought was a UTI or maybe even a yeast infection. I was only itchy for 2 days in the beginning, but very uncomfortable when urinating. I dealt with the uncomfortable urination for almost a week when finally one day I woke up and it was brutal to go to the bathroom. The following day it clicked in my head that I had changed my soap and maybe I was having a reaction. However that same day I was beginning to have pain down the back of my legs and this had me the most worried. I finally decided I needed an antibiotic for this infection.

    At the urgent care, the triage nurse asked me all basic questions and medical history. When I had told her about what felt like sciatica pain, she began asking about my sexual history. I had shamefully told her about my one night stand and in my head I was thinking this woman is judging me and thinking I’m some stupid slut that contracted trichomoniasis or something (pain in legs with trich as well). However, this was not the case- she told me she thought I had contracted herpes. I immediately started to cry because how can I have an incurable virus when I don’t have any rashes, sores, blisters, or anything. Now, the nurse was extremely comforting and had said it’s just like having a cold sore, but in a different area. That people make a much bigger deal out of it than it really is because nobody ever talks about it.. So, after I calmed down I did a urine culture, the doctor came in and did a pap smear style swab, and gave me meds to treat a UTI and a yeast infection. The doctor didn’t see anything during the swab and said it didn’t look like I had herpes- which I let out a huge breath of air after hearing that. Upon leaving I was told that I should have the results back by that Saturday and any medicine or further problems, contact them.

    After I called every day since that Sunday, they finally called me back Thursday morning at work and confirmed that not only did I have bacterial vaginosis, but I had also gotten chlamydia AND Herpes. Needless to say I was a mess and had to try to contain myself between patients – worst day ever. My inital feelings were shock, embarrassment, shame, disgust, and felt like this was something I deserved for being so careless and stupid.Karma’s a bitch, right?

    It’s only been 5 days since I found out and I’m almost numb to it. When the one of the very few people who know about it complain about anything – my response is “well, at least you don’t have herpes”. Making stupid jokes is almost like my way of dealing with it. Also I know I have it, but I want to have a blood test to really confirm it. I need to also get tested for HIV because although I don’t think I have it, I also didn’t think I had HSV 2 either. Again, I didn’t have a rash, sores, or blisters. I had what I thought was a UTI, 2 days of mild itching, and a couple weeks worth of sciatica pain that I now take care of with ibuprofen. More than anything else, the sciatica pain is the most intense. Its mainly in my left leg under my buttocks, but it’s also gone into my right leg, given me a type of cramping feeling in my calves, and the other day I felt it in my toes. I haven’t had much pain these past two days, more discomfort than anything else.

    I have a mix of emotions because I know this isn’t something life threatening like cancer, so I’m trying to stay positive. I’m thankful because I have a great support system back home, but I wanted to join support groups, read as much as I could, and sort of know what to expect..
    I’m the only person I know with HSV 2 so I also feel alone, “diseased”, undesirable, and almost unworthy of love. I know the time will come when I want to date again, but right now? I don’t even want to talk to any of the guy friends I normally do in fear of something as simple as getting a compliment. I know there are dating websites for people with STDs, but when will I feel like myself again? Will I have the sex drive that I used to have or forever feel ashamed and dirty? How will I know if I’m having an outbreak or “shedding” if I haven’t gotten the sores or rash? Is the sciatica pain considered as an outbreak even though I can’t see or feel anything on my vagina?.. As much as I read, I feel like I still have so many unanswered questions. I know this is a learning process, but more than anything else- I want to know what to expect and when to expect it AND I want to feel the confidence and acceptance I once had.

    Dr. Kelly


    Thank you for sharing your story. Since it is all so new to you, I would expect a range of emotions from anger to guilt to fear and everything in between. Given your history, the first thing I would tell you is that you should be compassionate and gentle with yourself. There are many women in this community who were infected by the first person they were ever with or by a partner within a loving, monogamous relationship. The fact that herpes is so very common, I don’t want you to be hard on yourself. It could have happened to you at any time in your sexual history.

    The symptoms are different for each and every woman. If you did not get any sores with this first outbreak, then I would suspect that you probably won’t in the future. It sounds as though your body reacts to the virus with more neural type symptoms that are more similar to a sciatica. When these symptoms are present, it indicates that the virus is active within your body and that you are more contagious during these times.

    The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to create an environment for healing. I encourage women to meditate every day and to adopt a diet and lifestyle that is conducive to healing. That would also include incorporating supplements that help to rebuild your immunity.

    Keep us posted as things progress.

    Live. Love. Thrive.
    Dr. Kelly

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