Newly diagnosed- My story

I am a 22-year-old female who recently tested positive for Herpes S2. I had recently just come out of a long-term relationship of 5 years, which ended badly due to a cost-effective herpes test. It took me a while to date again. When I did branch out, I thought I’d met someone really lovely, someone I trusted. Turned out I was very wrong. After being lied to and cheated on over an extensive period, I had my first OB. At the time, I was very confused and upset because I was unaware of the cheating. So, I trusted my partner when he told me he had no clue about the bacterial profile home test and being infected. 

Denial and Devastation

During my first outbreak, I was unsure of what was going on; I refused to believe I had contracted an STD from someone who had assured me he had been faithful. Initially, I did not believe I had a positive STD result until the pain got so bad that I couldn’t bear to sit down even. I decided to go to the doctor and get it investigated. When I tested positive, and they thought I had genital Herpes, I was devasted and so upset. I cried and thought my life was over and that I would never date or marry. I convinced myself I had ruined my life by being silly and having unprotected sex. Also, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t gotten regular STD Lab testing, too. Of course, no one thinks they will be the unlucky person who contracts Herpes in a new relationship. 

Social Withdrawal and Stigmatization

Hearing you have an incurable disease that is so intimate and confusing was, at the time, far too hard to handle and grasp. I shut off from my friends. I felt dirty. And I felt like I would have to be alone from now on because the idea of trusting someone to understand and be ok with me having a Herpes test made me sick. The first person I trusted and reached out to was a friend. And they hurt me when they blew the disease out of proportion. And made me out to be a threat to others’ health and safety in a public space.

After the initial rejection, despite only seeking a shoulder to cry on and just for someone to listen to how I felt, I had been completely discouraged from revealing my diagnosis to anyone else. I closed off from my family and hid it. I had no support, no friends to go to, no partner; I was alone. 

Sibling Support

When I eventually branched out to my sibling, she, too, was devasted that I had been lied to and mistreated. The result of someone else narcissism was me being left to deal with the hurt and struggles of getting a positive STD Home Test result. The support of my sister helped pull me out of a hole that I had dug myself into so deep and helped enlighten my view of the situation. She said and still says, “Herpes does not define you”, and she is completely right. 

Courage to Date Again

After much hurt, I got the courage to go out dating again. I met someone amazing, and after 4 dates, I decided I would get the courage to tell him about my condition and hope he understood. Also, I was afraid of rejection as this was the first male I’d spoken to about the issue, and the stigma around Herpes was very harsh. I had a million and one emotions running through my head, and I was afraid. I told him through text, which seemed best as I feared face-to-face rejection. 

Partner Acceptance and Understanding

Initially, he was shocked, upset and angry. But his reaction surprised me the next time. He was accepting, understanding, and willing to listen. He needed time to know more. I understood the circumstances, but he did not run for the hills or show disgust. Instead, he was open to the issue and let me explain. It was extremely emotional telling someone I had major feelings for about an issue so intimate. Still, his acceptance reassured me that dating with Herpes and finding a partner was possible and that I should not fear rejection. 

Self-Care and Management

I take my suppressive,  Eat well, monitor my symptoms, constantly research and look out for his safety. And yes, at times, It is very emotionally draining. It does hinder my ability to feel normal and capable of being intimate without fear. But finding the truth from a Herpes HSV type test has not held me back from being able to live and be happy. 

I’m in a happy relationship; my partner understands and is very sympathetic to the fact that I worry about it. But I wanted people to know that you should not fear rejection. Some people understand that they do not have the disease or know much about it. Educating partners is the key to helping your relationship flourish and ensuring that both parties are on the same page. 

Overcoming Fear of Rejection

Fortunately, I had such a good reaction the first time, and my relationship was great. Sexually, I do not feel any different from someone who is herpes-free. I’m much more open to the idea of Herpes and that it does not define who I am or what I can and cannot do. And it should not stop you from being happy and living your life like I once let it.

Empowering Message

What I want people to take from my story is that this STD does not define you; you define yourself. Don’t fear living life with genital Herpes Lab tests; fear not living your life and holding yourself back. You have support, and great people worldwide will understand and accept you regardless. And even if you have to filter through to find them, that’s ok. Regardless, those who reject and hurt you aren’t the people you want in your life.

A positive STD Panel report is only a blip in the road. And you have so much more in life that’s worth the tears, worry and energy many of us have invested in coming to terms with our condition. You are not alone, and you don’t have to be. xx

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