I was recently diagnosed with AMA.
I hope this post doesn’t get me into trouble, but I want to submit this as a warning to other people. A guy I like and am still seeing. We both had std tests. I had just a herpes test. He had a full profile version. We used protection and had the ‘talk’ about diseases, and neither knew anything in our history.
Meanwhile, I’d had some discomfort ‘down there’ but put it down to irritation from sex because I hadn’t had sex in so long. But the day after my doctor’s appt, I noticed some bumps. I got out a mirror and had a better look (nice imagery, I know) and realized it was worse than a couple of bumps. Straight away, I knew in my gut what it was, but I didn’t want to admit it. I started googling information and found out that the fever and sore throat I had were also symptoms of an initial herpes outbreak. It was a Saturday, and the next appointment I could get at Planned Parenthood was Monday morning. Luckily I’d already told my boss I’d need Monday off work due to my ‘strep’, so I was able to go.
At the appointment, the doctor visually confirmed it but took swabs to test for sure. She also gave me antibiotics (edit: it was an antiviral called aciclovir) to make the outbreak go away.
A couple of days later, I went to my regular STD doctor (the one who thought I might have strep) and told her I knew it wasn’t strep and that I needed a blood test for absolutely everything, including Herpes HSV 1 & 2 (1 being the cold sore virus, 2 being the ‘genital’ herpes virus – but both strains can infect both your mouth and genitals).
Anyway, my IgG blood test came back negative, indicating that I only recently caught it (it only comes back positive if you’ve had it for approximately three months or more because it tests for antibodies in the blood). My culture from planned parenthood came back positive in an std test.
Some things that people should know:
a) The standard panel of std tests you get at your doctor does NOT include herpes tests. Generally, they’ll only do that if you’re already showing symptoms (at which point it’s too late). So you have to request the test from your doctor, and you should make sure your partner has been tested for it, not just that they think they have because they got the standard panel.
b) Wearing condoms doesn’t necessarily protect you from herpes. We used protection, and I still got it.
c) Both HSV1 and HSV2 can infect the genitals and the mouth. I’m not sure if you can tell by looking at which strain you have.
d) About 80% of adults in the USA have Herpes Test for HSV1 (the cold sore virus), and something like 1/4 of adults have HSV2. You will likely come into contact with it in the future if you haven’t already.
e) It is possible to carry the virus without showing symptoms for a long time. Not everyone has outbreaks. If you do get outbreaks, you’ll probably get your first one within 2-12 days of first exposure, but otherwise, you could go years or months before your first outbreak. This is why figuring out when you got it is sometimes hard.
f) Apparently, Herpes doctors aren’t concerned about it (hence it not being in the standard panel of tests). Outbreaks are few and far between and easily suppressed with antibiotics (edit: antivirals, actually), so apart from that, the worst part about it is the social stigma. That’s the other reason I wanted to post this – I think people need to be educated about Herpes Tests and realize that it’s very easy to catch Herpes and wrong to assume that someone infected with it is a dirty whore.
g) I’m not saying that my partner gave it to me; I’d like to keep him out of this as much as possible because I don’t feel comfortable discussing things about him without his consent. At this point, the issue of who gave it to whom is moot.
Going out for the night. I will answer questions when I get back or tomorrow. 🙂
edit 2: Thanks, everyone, for being so understanding. I was a bit worried I’d be called a dirty tramp or worse! It’s also heartening to see that others don’t think it’s such a big deal. It helps me feel better about the diagnosis!
Around 15 years ago, I started dating a girl with genital herpes. She was up-front about STD test results and did not deceive me. I liked her a lot. We were really careful for three years, then got married. Eventually, we stopped using condoms. I caught herpes, too. We’re still married. I still like her a lot.
The biggest drawback is that STD tests were frequent. And so far has been that she had active lesions when it was time for our first kid to be born, so a vaginal delivery would have been unsafe, and she had to have a surgical delivery.
It’s a drag, but many people have much worse problems.