So you went to your doctor for a routine exam, he or she noticed a small bump on your private areas – and suggested a blood test to rule out the herpes simplex virus. You may have noticed the bump but thought nothing of it. Perhaps it looked like a shaving bump, or a bug bite – whatever the case is…genital herpes was the very last thing on your mind. You leave the doctors office, nervous – but sure that you couldn’t possibly have that disease. A few days later you receive a call from your doctor who nonchalantly tells you that your test results were positive for the herpes virus. She offers to give you a prescription for suppressive treatments and reminds you to come back in one year.
Just like that your entire life is turned upside down. What should you do? How will people react? Should you tell your best friend? How is this going to impact my dating life? You will have an endless amount of questions running through your mind. The very first thing you will need to do is just take a step back – and relax. As difficult as that may seem – it is very important to remain calm. Stressing out will only make your outbreaks worse.
1. How did this happen to me?: You have to stop blaming yourself. Even using condoms 100% of the time won’t protect a person from contracting genital herpes. This is a virus that can go years upon years without detection and often shows no outward signs of infection. Having herpes doesn’t make you dirty or promiscuous.
2. I can’t believe he or she did this to me!: The next stage in dealing with a herpes diagnosis is to blame your most recent sexual partner, but the truth is – herpes can’t always be traced back to your last partner. Once again, it can literally remain dormant in a persons system for a long time – without them even knowing it. Unless you’ve been tested in the past for HSV 1 and 2, it’s very difficult to pin point when and where you contracted it.
3. No one will want to date or marry me: This is totally false! There are millions of happily married couples where one person has herpes and the other person does not. Dating and relationships are difficult enough, dating with herpes does complicate things – but it won’t make it impossible. You will need to be responsible in dating, but that’s the case even without herpes.
4. I won’t be able to have children: This is another totally inaccurate myth! Herpes simplex virus has absolutely no effect on your ability to have children. If you are a woman, your doctor will likely suggest that you deliver through a Cesarean section (also known as a c-section) to avoid the risk of passing on to your child, but herpes has no effect on conception.