Collected stories from – ASHA

ASHA has long collected stories from individuals willing to share their experiences with STD Tests, particularly the Herpes Test. While we use these in our patient advocacy work, we also share them here to help others and show how common and manageable such experiences are.

Do you have experiences relating to your body that you would be willing to share with others?

Concerns? Triumphs? Challenges? Advice?

We (and other visitors to our site) want to hear from you. Read the stories below to see what others are saying. You probably have insights that others would benefit from hearing, and we encourage you to share your story with us.

ASHA sincerely appreciates all submissions which are confidential and anonymous. All submissions are the property of ASHA and can be edited for length and clarity. Due to the large volume of emails we receive, we regret we cannot respond to every email. If you want information, referrals, or materials, please browse our website or check out our Person2Person phone service. Questions about STDs can be posted on our online support site at Inspire.

I suffer from a stigma, not a disease.

I have had HSV-1 since I was a kid and HSV-2 since I was 19. Both were diagnosed using the MOL Herpes HSV Home Test Kit. I’m 40 now. After all these years, I have this to share with anyone who’s been newly diagnosed with genital herpes: Do not be ashamed of yourself for having on your genitals what most people have on their mouths! It just doesn’t make sense. Most people have this virus on their mouths, and yet we don’t shame them, make them self-disclose before each kiss, think they are dirty, or get scared of kissing them between outbreaks!

If I had a magic wand, I would eliminate herpes stigma. I would do this before using the magic wand to create a herpes cure. This STD infection rarely causes me any trouble. I’ve had flea bites that hurt worse than an outbreak. What I suffer from is people’s judgement and ignorance. And I’ve been very lucky—in 20 years of having this STD virus, few people have rejected me and were polite when they did. I have been hearing terrible horror stories about the kind of rejection by others. And it’s unfair, not logical, and doesn’t follow medical facts.

I used to get angry by the rejection. It’s a very small risk of an infection that causes mild symptoms! But what they risk is catching something that stigmatises them. They don’t want to catch the stigma. No one wants to suffer from the stigma, and it’s the stigma we need to fight.

Don’t be ashamed!

You’re still as good and worthy and beautiful as you were before.

I went through all the common feelings of guilt and shame when I found out from a Herpes Type Test that I was a carrier. But not of 1 disease but of both HPV and Herpes from my STD Profile Test. I told potential sexual partners about HPV, and I did not have one guy freak out on me. They were all cool about it. It helps that since men don’t have a cervix, there is no real fear of cancer–the incidence of HPV-related penile cancer is extremely low.

I remember reading other people’s testimonials on the ASHA website saying how they told their significant others, and it wasn’t as hard as they thought. It was hard to believe that that could be true, but at the same time, I knew I could never have a serious relationship with someone without sharing this secret. I rationalised that it would be a good test; if someone cared enough about me, then my having herpes wouldn’t put a stop to our relationship.

I told my Boyfriend

When I finally told my boyfriend (BEFORE sex), I was laughing more than I was crying (which is what I expected to be doing). It was shocking how easy it was to tell the right person. Someone who cares about you won’t think it’s the end of the world. I told him I was expecting the worst, but he pleasantly surprised me, and I cared more about him. And I feel so much better getting it out in the open, and I think we’ll be closer.

Of course, more than anything, I wish that I never had to go through these STD Kits, But I want other girls to know that most decent guys aren’t going to care! I’m a stronger person, and even though I thought my life was over at one point, I know it’s just beginning.

Life After infection

I found out that I contracted herpes in September 2005 after a positive lab report.

I was trying to educate myself more on the virus when I found this site (ASHA). Now that I have accepted the fact that I have herpes and I have to live with it, there were still issues with the love of my life. I have been reeducating my partner about the virus, even though he’s still upset and confused.