You’re Invited: Share your Story of being Diagnosed and Living with Herpes

Share your Story of being Diagnosed and Living with Herpes

By Contributing Author Stephanie

Living with herpesAs many of you know from reading my short bio, I am working on earning my MA in Sociology. I was diagnosed with herpes right around the time that I was accepted into my program and made the decision to go to graduate school. As I was brainstorming ideas for my thesis, my own experience as a woman living with herpes sparked my topic. I am now in the midst of exploring the connection between social stigma and the disclosure process. I am determined to understand the role that stigma plays in the ability, or inability, to give “the talk.” I also want to know how the social stigma of herpes affects simple dynamics of “the talk.” By understanding the relationship between stigma and the disclosure process a bit more clearly, I hope to shed light on the way that stigma can affect transmission rates. If we can get people to feel more comfortable talking about their sexual health, there is a possibility that STD transmission rates could drop. Of course this assumption would need to be explored further than my own research in order to make this claim, but one thing we do know is that simply knowing you have an STD decreases the chance of passing it on to your partner.

Now that you have learned a little bit about my thesis and the agenda of it, I would like to invite any and all of you to be a part of the process. My methods for data collection include individual, qualitative interviews with people who have been diagnosed with genital herpes (type 1 or type 2) and wish to share their experience with me. The interviews will give you a chance to share your story, including triumphs and struggles with “the talk.” By talking with as many people in the herpes community as possible, I am hoping to paint a representative and accurate picture of the experience of living with herpes.

If you are interested in sharing your story with me, I would greatly appreciate your participation and ask that you contact me with any questions and concerns. The research is completely confidential, meaning there will be no names mentioned in the final report. I will be the only one with access to names of the participants, and measures like keeping files on a locked computer and using numeric identifiers and pseudonyms will be taken to protect your identity. If you wish to contact me about participating in the study you can reach me at: I hope to hear from you all, and look forward to shedding light on the struggle associated with a genital herpes diagnosis through my thesis.

About Stephanie

Hi Everyone! My name is Stephanie.  I was diagnosed with HSV-2 in April of 2014 when I was 22 years old.  Right now, almost three years later, I am a doctoral student in the sociology department at Purdue University.  I recently completed my MA in sociology at the University of Northern Colorado where I explored the role of stigma in the process of disclosing a genital herpes diagnosis.  With that said, if anyone is interested in reading what I discovered in my project, I am happy to share that with you! I plan to continue advocating for our community, as well as studying the social factors that influence sexual health in order to understand how we can create a world that is easier for people diagnosed with STIs.  I really enjoy writing for the Pink Tent community and am excited to be able to share some of my experiences and thoughts about living with genital herpes with you all.


  1. Hi my name is rosalia am 26 years just found out I have hpv.. I don’t know What to do know that it stay with me forever. .how can I find myself happy again. .I was a virgin when I meet my future husband. .can it be him that pass it to me..

    • Stephanie says:

      I am so sorry to hear that! I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with hsv, and I just want you to know that it gets better faster than you expect! Life throws you curve balls now and again, and you just have to try your best to find the silver lining. It’s there, I promise!

      • I was diagnosed about almost a year ago with HSV2 and i also thought my life was coming to an end i was do depressed. As time went by i reaized that life isnt easy and those who will accept you are those who truly love you and care about you. It is not the end of the world and we shouldnt feel ashamed of this disease. Just be positive and dont let the negatives make you think otherwise. You are no less of a person just because you got infected it happens to many people. Hope this helps

        • Dannyboy says:

          I agree. Just because you have Herpes doesn’t mean you’re not any different than you were. It’s horrible that it happened, yes. But that doesn’t mean you’re any different. Your condition shouldn’t define you as a person. And anyone that can’t accept that? I’ve found that they’re not worth keeping around.

    • Dannyboy says:

      Wow. That’s hard to hear about. A virgin when you got herpes? Sad to hear about that. You hear these kind of horror stories a lot of times, but you never think you’d hear about it for real.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Diagnosed 3 years ago! I’m 33 now and in July 2012 I noticed that I had 3 bumps at the small of my back. It seems odd but I chalk it up to bug bites. Come August my mom comes has comprehensive blood work and tells me that she has genital herpes and that she could have passed it to me at birth. She suggests getting tested. I go back and try to think if I’ve ever had any suspicious bumps on my genital region and I come up with nothing. I look at all those horrible photos on Google and I slowly but surely start to freak out. My blood results come back positive and I’m immediately devastated and yes suicidal. I have several panick attacks and admitted to the hospital. I pretty much sedate myself for the next week or so with Xanax. My mom is beside herself because she believes she gave this to me but I’m pretty sure I got it from past partner etc. My aunt tries to sooth me by telling me she has also recently been diagnosed. I explain to my aunt how can this be Ive never had any bumps on my genital area. Either from reading and researching I realize the bumps on my back was the herpes outbreak. So here I am 3 years later and 5 outbreaks in all at the base of my spine. Each outbreak throws me into a depression and I still feel disgusting and wish I didn’t have these constant marks of shame on my body. I wish there was a cure! I wish I had been more cautious with my sexual health. I wish that this experience would be wiped from my past. I hope that it gets easier each time I have an outbreak but I thought I’d be further along in my emotional healing then where I am now.

    • Dr. Kelly says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I think that becoming more involved in our community is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You have done nothing wrong and from what you have shared it doesn’t sound like your mother gave it to you. At least one in four women have genital herpes even though few people are talking about it. I encourage you to check out my book or online course to help you to gain some perspective. If you would like to speak with me personally and receive some coaching around this, check out the coaching tab. I would welcome the opportunity to help you break out of this emotional roller coaster. You can over come this emotionally! You are not your herpes, you are a woman of strength!

      Live. Love. Thrive.
      Dr. Kelly

    • Dannyboy says:

      That’s a really powerful story. Not going to lie. It was kind of heartbreaking to read it. Just know that your condition doesn’t define you, and that I hope you can eventually feel comfortable with yourself with each outbreak. I’m rooting for you!

  3. Dayana says:

    Hi i am 23 years old i was recently diagnosed i contracted it from my ex boyfriend. I went into the relationship knowing he has HSV and i accepted it and now that i have itim with someone who does not have it but accepts me. My point is that no
    Matter how hard things may seem or how difficult it may be theres always light at the end of the tunnel. When i first found out i wanted to die i was depressed i didnt want to talk to anyone and i would cry every day but it gets better.thank you for creating this blog its amazing ive been looking for a place like this. We all need that support it isnt the end of the world.

    • Dannyboy says:

      I’m glad this blog exists too. I hope that you and everyone else on this forum here feels better about themselves eventually. though you did say you were depressed and that you got better. I just hope that everyone takes inspiration from your story.

    • mylife16 says:

      I’m 23 also I try not to think about or stress myself out but I can’t my mom talks about it every day and it makes me more sad I cry and cry everyday. I’m not suppose to question God but I do. One of the things I do regret is letting my mom in with me and the doctors she really making it so hard for me . Each day I’m trying to learn and forgive my ex that gave it to me . My mom is the one that really making it hard for me I have all kinds of thoughts running through my mind. Do God love me? Will I go to hell? Why me ? Will I ever find love agin? How will that person feel? I’m just taking everything day by day and I will continue to always pray for strength& health.

      • Dr. Kelly says:

        I think one of the best things you could do is to ask your mother to stop talking about it everyday. Sometimes this diagnosis gives us an excuse to learn how to create healthy boundaries, especially with those we love. This virus is incredibly common. At least 1 in 4 women have it. God does love you. I believe that life happens for us and not to us. I too was diagnosed at 23 and I am living the life of my dreams. There are several people out there that will lovingly accept you for exactly who you are. Herpes does not define you. For added support, I highly recommend reading my book. It will offer up many ideas as to how to get your mind focussed on the positive instead of the negative. You can learn how to live and love again.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I think I have genital herpes and I’m scared lost sad and extremely angry! I just started dating the man of my dreams and now I’m to terrified to say anything to him in fear that he may leave

    • Dr. Kelly says:

      I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling.

      I want you to know that if he is the man of your dreams, he will totally understand!

      There are tremendous resources available to you here at Pink Tent including my book and online Foundations Course
      I think you will find the Secrets To The Talk incredibly powerful. After going through this module, you will know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. There are even scripts in that module!

      If you feel that you need more support, go to and let’s set up a one on one coaching session.

      You are totally lovable!

      Live. Love. Thrive.
      Dr. Kelly

  5. Cecelia says:

    Dear Dr. Kelly, I want to thank you for sharing your life story of living with HPV 2 and sharing your book with women around the globe. I am 36 years old. I am a RN who has been infected with the virus about 9 months ago in April of 2015. I’ve notice a heat rash like bumps across my right rib cage for 3-4 weeks. I thought I was allergic to something that’s it. Then my initial outbreak happen 2 weeks after the rash disappeared on my left lower buttock. It was painful and as a nurse, I was scared but went in to get a culture. The result is still very devastating to me. I went home and cried away the shame, hurt, pain. I feel so disgusted and depress still. I told my husband the bad news. He supported me in the beginning but now my marriage is falling apart due to this infection. I was having fertility problems diagnosed with PCOS which makes it even worse. We have been married for 9 years. I had no break outs no symptoms since our marriage until last April 2015. He has been tested and all his STI results came back negative. I am afraid of giving it to him. He is afraid of me. There has been no sexual intimacy contact for 9.5 months now. I am hoping to conceive. Can it be possible to have a healthy baby? I am suffering from depression and stress. My parents just divorced, me with infection, & knowing my husband is leaving someday. I am lost currently but trying to hold my marriage and stay strong for my mother. My mother and husband, only knows about my infection. I need your help and a support group. I am walking alone in the shadows- ashamed and angry at myself until I found your website on YouTube. You have given hope. I thank you. Know that HPV can happen to anyone. It has taught me to be a better nurse with a different outlook in understanding my patients disease process especially those with STIs.

    • mshkg says:

      I am so sorry. I hope you are better now. I was celibate for 10 years after my divorce trying to work 3 jobs and raising a child. Then I have a partner for 5 years and I think he gave me herpes because I never had any ob before that. I have been living with it in silent agony. Every month I would get an ob., like clockwork. I found this forum quite by accident and I am glad to know there are wonderful people who are in the same boat. Right now I have a horrible ob, 6 lesions, because I had tremendous stress after a horrible car accident. I can’t tell anyone… But I feel I can talk about it in this forum which helps. I hope you are doing well. We don’t know each other but I want you to know I care. Take care!!

  6. Trina says:

    I was diagnosed with herpes while dating my now ex-husband who gave it to me 30 yrs ago I am 52 .We have been divorced 3 yrs and though I only had about 3 outbreaks during our 19 yrs of marriage I’m realizing now that any sexual relationship I’m in I will need to tell my partner of my herpes diagnosis. I never had to do this before so I feel somewhat embarrassed as I do question what man will still want to be with me knowing I have herpes. It’s sort of double whammy not easy to find a man at this age and then to hope you don’t run him off once he hears of this diagnosis. What are your suggestions on the best way to inform my partner?

  7. Dannyboy says:

    I was diagnosed with herpes several years back. I was a little wild I guess. I was one of those guys that were all “Oh, I’m young, carefree, and nothing bad will happen to me.” kind of people.

    Little did I know that eventually my health would be put at risk and I’d contract Herpes. Needless to say, I was a little bit devastated, and horribly humbled. I hit a low point in my life, thinking and wondering how it could happen to me.

    Well, several years later. Here I am. Humbled, slowed down, and no longer carefree and a lot more cautious with my health and my life. Not as sexually active either because I just don’t feel comfortable.

    But at least I’ve learned a lot. Thanks to blogs like this,

    I’ve learned a lot about my condition, and it’s actually helped me be a bit better about myself, and hopefully warn others who are similar to me to take themselves more seriously.

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