Occupation: Graduate Student (pursuing MS in food science)
Type: HSV I and HSV II
Year Infected: I (pre-90?), II (July, 1993)
OB's/year: Difficult to determine due to frequency and length of outbreaks, at least 12.
Prodromes: Also hard to determine at times. Some itching and tingling no more than 12 hours before, sometimes there is no warning for type II. Itching and tingling about 12-24 hours before for type I.
Method of Control: Zovirax cream (with and without DMSO), Valtrex 500mg/day for 6 days (for type I), used to take 400mg of Zovirax orally 2x/day for suppressive therapy and 5x/day for an outbreak for 5 days (for type II). I'm going to begin suppressive therapy with Valtrex (1g/day) for both types and will continue with cream and DMSO (gets rid of outbreak in 5-7 days so far, just started the treatment).
My Story/Medical Experience: I contracted HSV II in the summer of 1993 from a person who I THOUGHT was wearing a condom. I felt a burning sensation during the act, which I recall from sex ed. class as being a warning sign of someone having an STD, but ignored it. About 5 days later, I came down with the worst sickness I've ever experienced. I had typical flu symptoms, very high fevers, a touch of meningitis, an abundant discharge (from secondary bacterial infection), muscle pain in buttocks and legs, extreme fatigue, and of course I had an outbreak. I couldn't hold anything down, so I lost 6lbs in 1 week. I first saw a general practitioner who wouldn't recognize a Herpes Virus if it bit him on the you-know-where and blood tested me for every STD known to man (except for HIV, I don't recall that one). All came up negative (including HSV). He gave me a physical exam at which point he could not determine why I was so "tender" and diagnosed my discharge as a yeast infection and sent me on my way. He also gave me a pregnancy test due to my upset stomach, which I emptied, at his office. He referred me to an OB/GYN specialist who positively identified my "tender spot" as HSV II through a culture, and sent me on my way. No detailed talk or discussion. I recently (July, 1998) found out that the irritation I experience on my lips on very few occasions (since high school) is HSV I. They appear as cold sores that are almost imperceptible to the human eye. Also recently, I had a doctor diagnose a peculiar rash (has reoccurred about 4-5 times in the past 4 years) on my leg as HSV II based on visual observation, the culture test turned up negative. It was previously diagnosed as shingles at first based on visual observation, no test was taken. Since typing my different outbreak locations would be difficult and expensive, I'll just be satisfied knowing where and when they occur. Also, I was diagnosed with HPV (virus that causes genital warts) in 1994 which I got from my (now ex) boyfriend, I believe. I had cryotheraphy for that.
Telling: I have told four people since, although they're not necessarily the same four I had relations with. I told the first person after having protected sex for about 2 mos. They took it in stride and insisted on unprotected sex on occasion -- he (my ex) contracted HSV II about 9 mos. later. This is the person who I believe gave me HPV. I told the second person after having safe sex with them twice, they took it in stride. I didn't tell the third person because it was and understood to be a weekend affair. I also told another person who I had never met (kinda like Rajah), but had a long distance talking relationship with. However, I never met this person (they began to scare me a little bit, got to be more careful). The fourth person, the current person, I told is okay with it. I told him before having relations with him, and that is what I recommend and will do in the future.