Dating With Herpes. I had barely finished my first semester of college when I found out I had herpes. A high school friend and I wound up taking our friendship a little further, and 2. My friend said I was too much like a sister, and he couldn't continue. I worried about how that incident would affect our friendship.
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Little did I know my worries would extend far beyond that concern. Less than a week later, I found myself in excruciating pain. It hurt to walk, and I couldn't use soap anywhere near my genital area. I knew enough about sexually transmitted diseases to know that I had herpes, but I didn't know exactly what to do. The Diagnosis. As I sat in the college health center waiting to see a doctor, I watched my very short- lived social life drift by. I was thinking that I'd probably never go on another date, or get a boyfriend for that matter, and I'd certainly never have sex again. The nurse who examined me revealed that she had herpes and said it was no big deal.
She had been free of outbreaks for 1. Genital herpes is a contagious viral infection that remains permanently in the nerve cells. Many people are unaware they have it, because they don't experience symptoms or because they attribute the symptoms to something else. During an outbreak, blisters or sores appear on or around the genital area. Some people never experience a second outbreak. The nurse taught me how to manage the virus, but managing my personal life was another story. The Encounter. When I confronted my friend about the situation, I asked if he knew that he had herpes.
Our friendship, unfortunately, ended as quickly as the act. It was hard enough to face the fact that we'd had sex, or tried to, and it was much harder to cope with the fact that I had caught an incurable sexually transmitted disease. Continued. The Silent Approach. In 1. 98. 9, when I got herpes, the nurse told me I couldn't transmit the virus unless I was having an outbreak.
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For three years, I had a boyfriend who never knew I had herpes. Each time I had an outbreak, which for me consisted of a very small cluster of blisters that lasted two or three days, I'd pretend I had a yeast infection and say I couldn't have sex until it was gone. By the time I finished college in 1.
I was still uncomfortable about bringing up the subject, but now I didn't have much of a choice. I didn't date for awhile, but inevitably, I met someone. Telling All. I held off on sex for as long as I could, but it got more and more difficult. One day, my new beau reassured me, .
You have nothing to worry about. I explained that I had herpes, and that was why I was being so cautious. I told him that to my knowledge I had never spread the virus to anyone else, and that I was very careful.
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I had always insisted on using condoms, which can reduce the risk of transmission. My selling point, however, was telling him that approximately one in four people has herpes and, statistically speaking, he undoubtedly had slept with someone who had herpes. He said he would know if he had been with someone who had herpes. In the end, instead of rejecting me, he chose to continue our relationship. But after we had sex, he would always wash himself like a doctor scrubbing down for an operation. I could hardly blame him, but it wreaked havoc on my self- esteem.
Since he was disease- free, he refused to wear condoms, instead choosing the scrub- down - - something that would do nothing to prevent herpes transmission. That relationship eventually came to an end, leaving me worried yet again about getting back in the dating game.
Then, while surfing the Web for information on the latest herpes medication, I stumbled across a web site for people with herpes. Continued. Finding Help and Support. There are dozens of web sites that provide online support and information for people with herpes.
Many feature chat rooms, bulletin boards, treatment information, personal ads, and social groups around the world. A friend of mine had recently married a guy she met on the Web - - proving that not every Internet date is a psycho - - so I gave it a try. I met dozens of electronic pen pals and eventually went on several dates. It was a relief not to worry about when to bring up my medical history, and to bond with a guy over asymptomatic shedding instead of having to explain it.
The whole experience made me more comfortable with the fact that I have herpes and gave me the confidence to begin dating again. It was as if I had just re- entered mainstream society.
Not everyone with herpes has to date someone infected with the virus to find true love, but in my case, it worked. Mr. Right Online. Eventually, I met a man online who lived only three miles from me. We discovered we had numerous mutual friends.
Given the circumstances, it was surprising that we hooked up on the Web and not at a neighborhood barbecue. Soon we will be married, and more than 1. Most have no idea how we really met, but it's not important. Herpes brought us together, but it's the love, laughter, and good times that keep us close. Ann Smith is a pseudonym for a journalist living in California..