Occupation: Restaurant Manager
Type: HSV2 (never been typed, but assume this by it's behavior)
Yr. Infected: 1979
OB's per yr: 2 - 4
Prodromes: Tingling, itching at site of ob. Occasionally also get shooting pains in leg, and/or skin hypersensitivity on thigh and butt.
Method of Control: At the first sign (see prodromes) I begin taking acyclovir, 200 mg three times a day. The prodromes usually stop within 12 hours and I never get the full outbreak. I take acyclovir (Zovirax) because that was the only drug available at the time I was infected. It works for me, so I don't see the need to switch to Valtrex or Famvir. I also took it suppressively for about a year with no side effects. Did not get an ob or prodromes the whole time.
My Story: I was infected at age 19 by a guy who didn't tell me he had it, nor did he take any precautions to avoid spreading it. Shortly after we slept together, I felt a painful bump on my genitals. I thought it was syphilis or gonorrhea, and went to a health clinic, where I got the news.
Medical Experiences: The doctor took one look and told me I had herpes. They also took blood to confirm it. When he told me, I immediately started crying, and he said "You're lucky, if this was syph or gonorrhea, we would have had to give you a huge amount of antibiotics, which is really hard on your body." SHEESH! This guy just told me I had and incurable STD and tried to tell me I was LUCKY. After that, I somehow found HRC, the Herpes Resource Center, and got on their mailing list. This was a godsend for me, as at that time, NOBODY talked about herpes and the web didn't exist. They mailed me info monthly in a plain wrapper, and it was quite helpful.
Telling: This was incredibly difficult for me, like everyone else. The very thought of telling someone, saying the word herpes, was paralyzing. Somehow I did, and promptly got dumped by the first guy I told. I was crushed. At that time, information on asymptomatic shedding was not out there, or if it was I was in denial about it. So I did not tell my next few partners, just avoided sex during ob's. The deception and lying were worse than telling though, and I couldn't handle it. So after that, the general way in which I told was:
I waited until we got to know each other and I knew the relationship was headed towards the bedroom. I sat them down and said look, I have to tell you something that I want you to think about. I have herpes. I have had it for a long time and I am very careful, and so far I have not given it to anyone else (that I am aware of), but I cannot guarantee you won't get it. It's not a big deal for me, more of an occasional annoyance. You probably need to think about this, and if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask them.
You have to find your own words so you are comfortable. And PRACTICE! Hopefully you have a close friend you can do this with. Saying the word herpes out loud in this situation is really hard. By practicing, it will help you get comfortable with what you are going to say. The most important thing is not to freak out and cry or act like it is a terrible thing. If the person you are telling has no clue about herpes, this will scare them even more. Once you tell them, and they come back with questions, you could direct them to some websites or give them some literature to get educated. You will be surprised at the number of people who will be ok with it. We have all definitely gotten dumped, but the percentage of people who will accept this is pretty high, all things considered. I am married now, and my husband does not have herpes. He has never been tested, so there is the possibility that he does have it and is asymptomatic, but it is not an issue for us.
UPDATE: My husband and I will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary on May 16th, 2000. We are still going strong and herpes has never been a detriment to our relationship. Although he has still not been tested, (since we don't see the need), he shows no symptoms. I did find out that his first wife had HSV1, so perhaps he has some antibodies, and perhaps he received small exposures of HSV2 from me over time. (Or maybe we've just been damned lucky!)
For those of you who are curious, we do not use condoms. We don't have sex when I am prodromal or having an ob of course. I am not recommending this, just telling you what we have chosen.
I send my heartfelt support to all of you, and I hope that each and every one of you will find the love, peace and happiness that I have.