Update, October 30th, 1998.
Because he can be fully aware. My life..
it's getting so cool!
Occupation: BS in CS graduate/Software developer - consultant.
Yr. infected: don't know date of infection
# of ob's per year: About 1-3, very spread apart and infrequent
Method of control: Valtrex when I get an outbreak (thinking about suppressive therapy, but not sure in this department yet).
My Story: I'm sorry, but I don't know *when* I got it, or *who* I got it from. I'm thinking I may have gotten it when I was raped at gun point on Christmas Eve 1990. But, it could have also been from one of the guys after that. (This was a psychological reaction to having been raped.. a string of one night stands...) Either way, I was not informed before hand about the person having herpes. Otherwise, I would have said no. Then, in July 1994, I move in with a boyfriend, and we lived together until Jan. 1997. My story picks up from there. I can tell you this, I found out in May of 1997, although I *know* that I have had it well before then. So, it's only been since May of 1997 that I have known that I have herpes. I think though, that since I did not know I had it, that I gave it to my ex boyfriend. (He is, of course, in denial about the whole thing, I KNOW he's got it. Ever since learning about herpes, its symptoms, and how it can manifest itself, I know what I have experienced in the past, and what he had experienced while living with me, I have had herpes for a while, and that I gave it to him.) Do I feel bad about that? Of course I do, but I'm not going to kill myself over it. What ultimately happened was that when I found out I had it, I immediately called him, that very same day. It was right, and t was ethical. Ultimately, he accused me of trying to break up him and his new girlfriend. Ha! Puhlease! Anyway, I did my duty, although I HATED having to have to talk to him, but, I treated him with the amount of respect that I would have liked to have been treated: being informed that my last partner has this disease and that I should get myself checked out.
At the time I found out, I was in a sexual relationship with another guy. I had to tell him. Funny thing.. he had a cold sore right before I found out I had herpes. (Trust me, I wondered if I got it from him through oral sex, but no, I was typed, and I have HSV2.) When I told him, he went in to get "checked out" and came out "clean." I asked him
if he had had cold sores before, he said yes, so, he's got HSVI. It wasn't until I found out I had herpes that I found out what cold sores really were. So, before I found out, and he had had his cold sore, I had no clue that his cold sore was really HSVI. At any rate, I didn't give him my type, and he didn't give me his type.
To back track, and then I will end my ramblings, I think I may have given it to one or two other people in the intervening time from my rape until I moved in with my ex. It wasn't until I was raped that I became promiscuous, and like I said, I know it was a psychological reaction to the rape. I won't go into that headspace.
To be honest, I really hate to talk about having sex with a string of one night stands in regard to herpes. But I have to. I mean, I don't know where I got it from, could have been from anyone, and, obviously, it was. I hate talking about the one night stands because I don't want someone to say "See??? You DESERVE what you got!" And I don't want *anyone* to ever say that to me, OR to ANYONE else who has herpes. No
one deserves this. No one deserves the social stigma and head fuck that this minor skin irritation brings on. Sometimes, I think, for me at least, it's not the actual OB's that are the disease, it's the mental space that comes "attached" to it. Also, I would really love to be able to say that I got it from my rape.. that way I can play even the bigger victim, and the "stigma" of having herpes from a sexually active life would go away. But, I have to be honest, with myself, and with others. I honestly do not know how I got this. Could have been my rapist, could have been one of the guys I screwed around with, could have been my ex (him getting it originally from an ex wife who screwed around on him.) Who knows? And at this point, who cares.
Medical Experiences: As far as experiences with my doctor. My experience was not as horrid as others have had. I went to the university doc, so he probably sees this all the time. But when he diagnosed me, he was "matter of fact" and "even prominent people have herpes" and "there is NOTHING for you to be ashamed of" type attitude. He answered questions best he could, admitted that I probably know more because of my research on the 'Net but said he'd help out in anyway that he could. Did some instant "on the spot counseling" for about 10 minutes, and not once made me feel
like shit, a leper, or like it was my fault. This was just another diagnosis to him that he knew could have some mental ramifications so he stayed and talked to me for a bit before signing me out.
Telling: I don't have experience here, but I can say this. There are times where I do "fantasize" about how I will tell someone. One way I like is to be at their house/place, sit them down, then tell them matter of factly that I have herpes, that, for me at least, my OB's are very infrequent, as well as my prodromes (then explain what "prodromes" is)
give them some literature, say I still want to be with them, and then leave. It's on their turf so they can feel comfortable, and give them time to think. Also, with an option to give me a call for *any* questions they may have. I have not had to have "The Conversation" yet, but I read in the forum that someone did it this way and she was quite successful. Hope this works for me as well! But, really, I hope that one day, someone will sit me down, "I have something to tell you.." and then all *I* have to say is, "Me too!" ha! But life doesn't get that easy. At any rate.. I'm not thinking about
this too much yet, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, and right now, my road of life isn't anywhere near that bridge.
Update, October 30th, 1998.
I went to Colorado to meet up with a guy to see if things might work out. We had only spoken on IRC, on the phone, and have exchanged pictures. The anticipation of sex was very much up there. I didn't want to get up there and put a screeching halt to things. Early on in our talks, on IRC, I told him that I had issues to discuss. I don't remember how I started it off, but I remember sort of stuttering, and then thinking "Jayne, just fucking spit it out." And I did. I think I said something like, "Remember on IRC I said we have some issues to discuss? Well.. [BIG HUGE BREATH HERE] I have herpes." Then he said, softly and quietly, "That's ok. I have warts. We'll just be careful. Are you exposed right now?" I said that I wasn't. And he said things were cool. That we'll just have to be careful. And after that, we were able talk about both of our conditions like they were no big deal. I felt like I won the STD "I have it too!" Lotto. The biggest sigh of relief, and the feeling of "Oh my God, he UNDERSTANDS!" was just so incredible. He expressed that he knew what I was going through, him having warts. (By the way, we didn't work out because of some other issues on his part. Our respective STD's didn't even come into factor.) And, for the voyeur in you.. we didn't have sex. (Come on, I KNOW you were wondering! (= )
I'm thinking I will probably tell early on in a relationship. So that way, if something spontaneous wants to happen, it can. Because he can be fully aware.
Update, May 6th, 2000
I have recently had to tell someone I very much care about that I have herpes. It was scary because I really like him and did not want to scare him off. But by the same token, because I really like him, and care very much for him, I wanted him to know, so we could be closer, more intimate, and it was crucial for me to start this relationship off honestly and fully informed. If he bolts, oh well,
at least it was sooner than later. He did not run. He reassured me that this was not going to scare him off.. *whew* I have referred him to this page. I hope he posts, asking questions, advice, and support. I know we all need it not just from our partners who have it, but from others as well. We all need outside support. Telling is scary, but it's not the end of the world, even if the prospective partner does decide to run. There will be others.