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Genital Herpes Prompts Thoughts of Suicide

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Q. I desperately need your help. I was diagnosed with genital herpes three years ago, and this diagnosis has left me full of emotions. I am crying as I write this letter.

For fear of scorn and rejection, I cannot disclose this to anyone. I won’t ask for a prescription because if I got it filled, anyone who works in the store would know, even the kids they hire after school.

Are there any over-the-counter vitamins I can take to help with the discomfort and pain? I feel tremendous pressure to maintain this secret. The only reason I haven’t killed myself is because I have kids. I am afraid I could pass this on to them, so I constantly wash my hands and disinfect the house and car.

A. You are not alone. It is estimated that one in five Americans (45 million) is infected with genital herpes. Counseling can sometimes help overcome the emotional strain of this infection.

There are effective antiviral medications to prevent outbreaks or shorten the duration of an attack (Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, Feb. 2008). Your doctor could prescribe acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) or valacyclovir (Valtrex).

You should not worry about the pharmacy where you purchase the medication. Your privacy is protected. If you prefer, though, you could use an online or mail order pharmacy service. That way you wouldn’t even have to go to a pharmacy.

The virus that causes genital herpes is spread primarily by sexual contact, so you won’t infect your children. Of course, during an outbreak, frequent hand washing is advisable.

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I have had this for 27 years, having contracted it when I was 19. Since then, I have married, and I have 2 children. I have symptoms at times, and have tried many different things including Valtrex, whick does work.

However, I have gone back to an old standby - lysine. I last took it 2 or 3 weeks ago, and haven't had an outbreak since. There is an online protocol for taking it, and the key is taking a LOT of it, up to 20.000 mg. a day (that is not a misprint), along with some other common supplements, for a few days.

Until I adjusted the amounts correctly, I had diarrhea, but that was a miniscule price to pay for the relief I have received. I believe the website is herpes-be-gone.

This is a local (MD/VA/DC plus) support/social group for people with HSV and HPV. There is no cost associated with this group and people can participate as much or as little as they choose.

All this lady needs to do is post a hello or "help message" on the message board and there will be a number or welcomes and offers of support in various ways.

Please encourage her and/or any other people who come your way, who have HSV and/or HPV to check out this website.

Some of the people involved have had the disease for 20+ years. Some just found out recently but no one regrets getting involved with this group. I have been with them since 2001.

It will change her life.

Thank you.

I have had herpes for 20 years. I was young and initially did not know what it was. It was another 10 years before I found out. By then, the outbreaks were less frequent [about 1 every 3 months instead of every few weeks when I was first infected; I thought it was a heat rash or something] and lasted only a short time, although they were still annoying.

My doctor gave me Famvir, but I can't say it really helped, but it did make me queasy. About 2 years ago, I started taking the vitamin L-Lysine. This is where I am going to disagree with the other poster. I take 1500 mg a day, [500 mg with each meal to be exact] and I haven't had another breakout in all that time. You can take as little as 1250 mg a day, but I have not been able to find a lower amount than 500 mg tablets.

I have had no side effects to the L-Lysine. I also take 25 mg of Zinc per day. It is also said to help. Avoid the vitamin Arginine and foods with high levels of it. It's important the you have more L-Lysine in your system and less Arginine to keep outbreaks at bay.

I'm not saying this is a cure, I am saying it has worked for me. Having herpes really has no effect on my life one way or the other. I have children and a wonderful husband.

By the way, when I see that commercial for Valtrex it always makes me mad. It says that one study found that 70% of people became infected by their partners when they didn't have an outbreak. Sounds scary, huh? Not so much. People tend to focus on that "70%" instead of the words "one study". One study!!! They could have studied only 5 people. That's crap!

My husband and I abstain during an outbreak, otherwise we don't even think about it. He gets tested every year at my insistence and is still herpes free. Don't let it ruin your life or make you feel like taking your life. It is manageable. Herpes meds are also used to treat shingles, so your pharmacist won't know for sure why you are using it and you can always get samples from your doctor or a clinic if you want to save face. The person who gave it to me knew they had it, knew they had a breakout and did not tell me. I've never been a promiscuous person, but I was young and naive. I am thankful I have an understanding husband. Anyone worth having will understand.

Herpes is common and a lot of people have it and don't know. Try the L-Lysine and Zinc. It couldn't hurt and may help. I can't imagine that anything else has given me the 2 years of relief I am now enjoying.

Your advice to your reader with genital herpes was excellent. It sounds as if she needs to talk with a counselor or health practitioner who can calm her anxieties about this condition. I was fortunate enough to have a nurse practitioner who shared with me the fact that she, too, had genital herpes and how she learned to live with it. (Thank you, my friend!)

The one thing your reader needs to know is that herpes outbreaks generally become less painful with time. The lesions can be very painful in the beginning, but they gradually lessen in severity.

Even though we may not want just any stranger to learn of our condition, we eventually learn to live with herpes safely and to keep it under control, without spreading the virus, simply by using care and moderation during outbreaks.

As with any other virus, keeping a positive attitude and a healthy immune system will help keep herpes from flaring up and shorten outbreaks. What works, besides the medication? Daily probiotics (I have found "Daily-Dophilus" by Country Life to be the best probiotic I've tried so far) as well as regular exercise, a healthy diet (moderation is the key) and taking a high-quality daily multiple vitamin formula with ample B vitamins.

In addition, rest and a good night's sleep, yoga and other stress reduction methods such as meditation, listening to music you love (or doing just about anything you enjoy doing), and avoiding strenous activity that you're not used to, can help keep the outbreaks to a minimum and reduce the duration of an outbreak.

Once an outbreak occurs, resting and using dietary manipulation helps: eat foods high in lysine and low in arginine.

All the best to your reader!

I was diagnozed with herpes over 25 years ago. My partner had no genital symptoms, but had a cold sore on his lip, which was determined to be the cause.

I am totally into natural remedies and NEVER take medications. I grow Aloe Vera, broke off several stalks and saturated my genitals with it. It was immediately soothing. The lesions disappeared in a few days and I HAVE NEVER HAD A REOCCURANCE in over 25 years.

1982 At age 26 my sister married a awful person who we would all later learn was "pure anything goes scum". He gave her various VD's including herpes. She reacted like the author and was about to harm herself

we asked her to think of her child. An Italian lady that worked with our Mom told her to eat kiwi fruit had also suffered the same condition and that the immune systems deals with it better in time. She said in her country they use it for herpes 1&2 and did not understand why americans were using such strong meds for the condition.

As soon as I read your post, I felt compelled to write. I also have herpes and have had it for about 20 years now. I remember my diagnosis in my early 20's and thinking it was a death sentence - I would be destined to a life alone, embarrassed and shunned as I had an STD. Not so - not at all. Only a few years later, I fell in love with a wonderful man who the herpes didn't matter to him (as it shouldn't), have two great children and a super life. We've been married now for 16 years. We were not as careful (as one of the other readers above) and my husband contracted herpes a short time after our marriage.

The outbreaks for both of us are not severe and the older we get, the less in occurrance. Please do not worry about filling ANY prescription as so many medications nowadays are used for so many different things - i.e. The pill for acne, etc. And, jokingly, you sure don't have to walk in to the pharmacy and say "Hey there! Can I have my HERPES PRESCRIPTION?" The checkout girl doesn't even look at the bag when checking you out. It's no different from to the drug store for Tampax or yeast infection cream.

Please do not feel helpless. There are so many people that have herpes and you are not on an island. You are not dirty and are not destined to a life solitude. Yes, it's an inconvenience when there's a breakout, but it passes, just like these bad feelings will. If you have children, you have a OBLIGATION to be alive, happy, mentally well, and present for them. They need you MORE than you need to feel sorry for yourself.

See if you can find an online chat, maybe a mom's group - somewhere safe - and get a separate email or logon that you feel comfortable in using and talk with others about it. I think that you will find that SO many others have herpes and that it doesn't affect their lives in any way either, except for the occasional outbreak inconvenience.

Also, just one more thing - a reality check - THANK GOD it's not something terminal! :)

Two months ago, I was diagnosed with genital herpes.
Am a 75 year old widow and have not had any sexual contact in 16 years and am cautious in using public bathrooms. Problem presented itself after a visit to a new OB GYN. When does genital herpes present itself...does it take years?

I contracted genital herpes 30 years ago. I had never heard of it, and had never received any education about STDs. The only thing I knew was not to get pregnant -- I took the pill.

I still get outbreaks at least monthly, especially when stressed. But I live with it. Be very careful about touching and spreading it, be careful with wet towels. And be honest with potential partners.

I have never felt embarrassed or ashamed -- I was young, not at all promiscuous, and had no knowledge of these things.

I am married with 2 children. My husband got it, but hardly ever has a flareup.

After reading these posts, I'll try lysine. I always resisted taking medication, tho' have used acyclovir.

I am 22 years old and am fearful that I may have herpes. I recently had symptoms, went to the OBGYN, and am currently awaiting test results. I am terrified, just as the first author wrote. I feel like my life is over, like no one will ever want to date me again. I'm not promiscuous at all; it only took one person for me to (I think) get infected. I am sinking into a deep depression just thinking about having it. I understand that people may live perfectly normal, happy lives with kids, but the fear exists nonetheless. Does time help this fear and depression to pass? I'm currently taking anti-depressant medication and am not sure what else I can do. I feel so hopeless...

genital herpes is one of the more heavily stigmatized std's unfortunately, leading sufferers to not only deal with physical symptoms, but psychological symptoms as well. freaking out is normal and not at all unreasonable. however, the world is not so ugly as you fear at the moment. i work in a pharmacy where more than a thousand prescriptions are filled in a week. many of which are for anti-viral medication, potentially for herpes.

it's pretty common. you wouldn't stick out like the sore thumb you're envisioning yourself to be.

you're not alone. you have a virus, but it's not your identity.

I have recently learned that i have herpes. I am only 24 yrs old have a husband and a two year old. I do find myself a little down and out at times. There is a big chance my husband as herpes to we both had an out break at the same time.

I was more affected by it and ran to the doctor where i recieved a Blood test an got a possitve result. We both are unsure of how we contracted it but we are in it together. He will be getting a check up soon. He has tried to make me feel as if we are in it together threw thick or good or bad. But i know the feeling as if you are a walking monster, or dirty, ashamed, etc..

Trust me i can't say it will be okay but you are not alone i am not alone we have each other.. We are not the only ones.There many of us out there it is just a matter of realizing that life goes on and there is plenty to look forward to. This just like an obstacle course its not completly easy life is meant to a little difficult at times. But theres a bright side to things and this is not the worst we will be fine. Phsically,Mentally,and Emotionally..

I have been taking Valtrex 500mg a day. If the meds aren't ya thing then you can go the natural way just as long as you take care. As far as my first time getting my pills it took me about a week i was ashamed. Funny thing is it was nothing my husband and i were gonna have lunch with my 2 year old and on our way to lunch the subject came up so we walked into the pharmacey and i was no longer in fear of who would look or think of me in anyway. If anything between my family and pharmasist they made me comfortable more then ever. And at that moment i realize i was doing my part of taking care of my sitiuation as many other do .

I felt the same way when I was diagnosed 20 years ago. I was in my 20's and I got it from a cheating boyfriend. I didn't stay with him for the obvious reason, and I thought my life was over. It seemed too hard to have to talk about with my doctor, never mind someone I might want to have a relationship with.

I had horrible outbreaks at first, which didn't help. Nothing like a constant reminder of what I considered to be a huge mistake in judgment. I blamed myself, I was a smart girl, how could this have happened to me?

I had really bad outbreaks, in addition to the sores I had pain down my legs that made it difficult to walk. I had outbreaks almost every month with my period, and they would last for a couple of weeks. I had way more bad days than good back then.

Different things work better for some people. I tried zinc and lysine but it didn't help me. I tried Zovirax but that didn't work either. It wasn't until Valtrex came on the market that things finally turned around for me. That was the first time I took something that actually shortened the duration, and if I took it soon enough, the severity. Then when I met my husband I started taking it daily for suppression.

I understand those here who don't want the pharmacy employees to know about their HSV. I used to fill my prescriptions at a pharmacy in a different city where no one would know me. Now I only use mailorder. Nobody needs to know your business but you and your doctor.

I found some great websites years after all this started when I was surfing to find out if there were any new treatments available, and that's when I finally found out how many others were JUST LIKE ME. I think if I'd known then what I learned by talking to people who were sharing my experience it would have helped so much, I felt very alone for years. I had no idea and was too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. What a blessing the internet turned out to be.

I've been married for 14 years now to a wonderful man who still doesn't have it, probably because I take 250 mg of Valtrex every day, and 1000 mg every day and abstain from sex if I'm having an outbreak. I stay healthy and try to limit stress. Outbreaks are no longer a constant part of my life, I get them maybe twice a year now and they are only an annoyance. For someone first diagnosed I know it's difficult to believe that one day you will be able to consider it merely an annoyance, but you will find what works for you and things will get better.

And if you are worried about the ignorant people who like to crack jokes and perpetuate the stigma, just know that the 1 in 5 number is real. Odds are very good that some day they will be faced with a loved one who has it or they may even get it themselves. It's a shame that anyone should feel like they have to suffer any illness alone, don't give other people the power to do that to you.

Wow, I am really thankful for this site, I am the mother of a beautiful 15 year old daughter who was just diagnosed with genital herpes today. Her and I both have been trying to understand more about this virus. She came to me in the night a few days ago crying and stated that her and her boyfriend of 15 months has "done it" and she had bumps down there. Initially my first thought was that he had cheated on her...but, after further communication with the doctor today and her boyfriend, we believe that she may have contracted it via oral sex while he had a cold sore. The information has been extremely relieving to me in helping my daughter through this now traumatizing experience...thanks

I was diagnosed with herpes about a week ago and when I went online to find out more info about this particular STD I got so scared when I read that once the virus enters your body it will always be there. I am only 22 years old so I have my whole life still ahead of me, but when I read all of the passages on this site they really made me feel much better about myself/life and thank you so much for the different types of solutions that I can try to decrease the outbreaks. Now I know that having herpes is not the end of the world because all I have to do is take care of myself and I will be just fine. Once again I just want to thank you all for your advice and support!! :-)

I just found out today that I have genital herpes. I contracted it (I'm pretty sure) through a re-occurring one-night stand. I am generally sore after sex, but when the soreness lasted more than a day, and I started finding bumps, I got really scared. My question is, how do you tell the person you contracted it from? How do I ask someone that I'm not "dating" that I contracted herpes...from them. I don't even know if he knows he has it. I'm 23. And I'm terrified that I'm never going to be able to get over this.

I am very encouraged by the honest and open comments here. For years, I thought about looking into a site in which people wrote about their experiences and feelings about being this, but was too ashamed! Thanks to all of you who shared. Because of you, I have been empowered do the same.

First of all, I contracted herpes from an unfaithful boyfriend. A few weeks or so after we had had sex, I experienced a sense of discomfort. I chalked it up to being a little overzealous with toilet paper (might sound funny, but I really did think I had chafed myself, because I had a tendency to do that since my childhood). I looked at myself in a mirror, didn't see anything. The next time I looked, I saw what looked like a single, small pimple.
"Hairbump", I thought, and let it go.

When the irritation persisted, I went to my gynecologist, and she said it looked like herpes. She sent the test to a lab, and the results confirmed her diagnosis. I cannot express the feeling of humiliation and sense of ... LOST-ness I had. I felt dirty, tainted, spoiled...

What really got to me was, I had deliberately *waited* until I was in my 20's before I began dating. And because I 'stuck to one boyfriend', I thought of myself as being clean and wise. But we cannot know what's going to happen, and contracting such a disease is not bound to our habits alone.

I asked my doctor, "What can I do to lower the discomfort in the meantime?? Before I can get the prescriptions during an outbreak??" I was so distraught.

Do you know what she told me? She smiled and said, "Warm, wet teabags." I thought she was a kook.

But I have to tell you, whenever I experience an outbreak, putting a warm, wet teabag on the area of the outbreak has been a sweet blessing. An hour or so after applying it, I don't feel any kind of discomfort whatsoever. I place the teabag on some folded paper towels, put it in my underwear, and go about my day. A saving grace!!!

And what's more, after doing this, most times I don't need to do it the next day at all. I don't feel anything.

I would like to say also a big thank you to the suggesters of L-Lysine (if anyone missed it, press "Ctrl" +"F" in your browser and type "Lysine" in the box). I am going to start using this as well. :)

Thank you to all, from the bottom of my heart, for your honest sharing. You have lifted a bit of the burden and shame off my heart. : )

OK here is my comments on the matter,

I am a 24 year old male, I contracted genital herpes about 4 months ago, at first i knew i had it but brushed it to the side thinking it would go away. After a few months it came back in full force. I have to admit the thoughts of Depression, Suicide, and Isolation are overwhelming at times but the truth is, this is life. You are not alone, we have all heard 1 in 4 people have it in the United States alone. If it wasn't that huge they wouldn't have commercials for it on the T.V. you know? Please take care of yourself, lead a healthy life and healthy thinking. Be happy with your life take care of the problem with medication and continue your life, it's not the end of the world.

I just learned I to have genital herpes two days ago. I was completely distraught and felt dirty, disgusting and everything else that goes with it. I am in massive amounts of pain right now, but reading these comments are helping me to feel much better. I've read that Lysine helps multiple times from multiple different sources so I will definitely try that.

I am now coming around to the idea that this is just something I'm going t have to deal with and it is not the end of the world. I thought my boyfriend was going to be disgusted when I told him (I know I got this from an old unfaithful boyfriend), but he wasn't at all. He's been very supportive, as anyone who really loves you should be.

The best way to deal with this is to talk to someone that you know loves you because if you don't you will feel isolated and alone and repulsive (that's how I felt before I talked to anyone). But after talking about it and realizing the people who love me think no differently of me my outlook was turned around.

I'm only 20 and have a lifetime of dealing with this ahead of me, bu at least I'm living, and so are you. Try to look at the bright side of things, and try to share this with someone close to you. You are still lovable, you are still the same person you were before you were diagnosed :)

Twenty years ago I was given the herpes virus by my boyfriend who, at the time, had an outbreak but did not tell me. We had been dating for about three months when I decided to have sex with him. He was an extremely educated man who was a very successful businessman, with a well known reputation. It didn't occur to me in 1989 that someone like this would knowingly subject me to herpes. After sex he pointed down to himself and said "WOW, you rubbed me raw, you hot thing."

Well, I was no dummy. Having been single all those years and was careful along the way, I knew it was herpes right away. I asked him if it was and he denied it. Then I saw the tube of Zovirax ointment on the bathroom counter. It was then I knew I was a dummy afterall. That I was doomed. I asked him "was he trying to brand me and keep me as his own?"

Needless to say, I remained in the relationship out of sheer fear of knowing that there would be no one who would ever want me after that. I wanted so much to tell my parents but was so afraid. I felt so dirty knowing I had the gift that keeps on giving.

After many years of staying in a relationship of mental bondage I finally freed myself of this terrible man. My self esteem had plummeted to the lowest it had ever been. Suicide was a constant thought. I dated a few men after that relationship but each of these men knew about the horrible story ahead of time, since we were friends well before we began dating. No one ever got the disease from me.

When I was about 43 years old I attempted suicide. I had a hugely successful restaurant and lived a very lonely life. I thought "who would ever want me? I have herpes." I obviously surived the suicide and from then on I threw myself into my work full speed. I figured God had some bigger plan for me. Sure enough a wonderful man walked into my life. From the moment I met him I knew "he was the one." Now all I had to do was break the news to him. I was sick about it. After a several weeks I finally mustered up the courage to tell him what the creep did to me many years ago. He said "Is that all it was? That doesn't matter. I'm in love with you."

We have lived happily ever after. We were married in 2006. However I continue to get outbreaks and I must be honest, it sends me in a tailspin every time. I get depressed and angry each time I have an outbreak. I have a Rx for Valtrex but don't take it daily. Somehow I continue to hope that it will go away on it's own. It never does. Nor does the anger. I also thought the longer you have had herpes, the less reoccurrence of outbreaks. By reading the above posts I've learned that I am not alone. There are others who have had it for 20+ years and continue to have outbreaks. It seems they always surface around my menstrual cycle or if I'm very stressed. I am happy to report, however, that my husband HAS NOT gotten infected.

It looks like Valtrex will have become a daily med for me. It's funny, after all of these years and even after finding a loving man, I still feel dirty each time I have an outbreak. I've always wanted to take out a full page ad in the local paper telling everyone that this "successful and wealthy man they all know is a CREEP who knowingly gave me herpes". Now wouldn't that be cathardic?

Thanks for reading!

Wow, reading all of these comments about the depression associated with first finding out you have this disease really took me back. I contracted the virus at the age of 20 from a boyfriend who knew he had it and had unprotected sex with me anyway. I remember thinking that I was damaged goods and that no one will ever love me or want to be with me again.

This could not be further from the truth. It has been 10 years since I have contracted hsv and I have had several healthy and loving relationships along the way. HSV is simply an annoyance and the stigma that goes along with it sucks to say the least. However, the 1 in 5 thing is most certainly true.

I have several friends that have either HPV or HSV and they live completely normal lives with husbands, boyfriends, and girlfriends. Once you learn how to live with this virus comfortably whether through prescriptions or natural methods you will find that this is not a death sentence and more just a minor inconvenience. And here's the thing, you now have an automatic jerk detector. The first time you sleep with someone new and have to have "the talk" (which gets easier and easier btw) their reaction to this is a really quick way to weed out those who are not worth your time and who don't deserve your heart.

Anyone who has a problem with this or doesn't want to wear a condom to be with you does not deserve you! Maybe I have just been lucky but I have yet to meet someone who has made a big deal out of it and I am a single gal with a very active dating life. It may sound harsh but be grateful that you only got herpes. God bless and keep your chin up. Brighter days are soon to come!!

Wow, reading all of this makes me feel less alone. I'm a 21 year old female and I was recently diagnosed with Herpes. As soon as I found out, I felt like my world ended. I barely ate, slept, and could focus for the past week. I still have trouble eating and sleep and focusing.. but I'm getting better. When I started getting an outbreak, I think I cried just about every hour at school - not because of the pain but because of how dirty I felt.

I'm starting to cope with it better through these sites, have signed up to go to counseling at my school, and am looking for a support group in the area to go to.

I was date raped 17 years ago this week, on the eve of my 18th birthday, by two significantly older male coworkers. I'll spare you the details, but needless to say, I get depressed every year at this time.

About 36-48 hours later, I became extremely ill. I was terrified to tell anyone, so I called the local county health clinic, went in and got tested. I was diagnosed immediately with an STD called trichimoniasis, which they gave me antibiotics for, and tested for everything else. Got a call about a week later telling me that I had herpes. It was about a month before high school graduation, and I have never felt so lost, alone, afraid, dirty - every emotion you can imagine went thru my mind. I felt like I couldn't tell anyone - and I didn't. I kept it to myself, like denial would make it go away. That was the worst thing I could've done.

After that initial outbreak, I didn't get another for many years. About 10 years later, I developed a huge, painful sore on my back, right where the waistband of low rise jeans hits - that was tested and diagnosed as herpes. Nobody has any idea how it got there, but I've had that outbreak twice since then. I take valtrex if I feel my right foot tingling or my back itching, and I take lysine, although not regularly. I have only told one person about it, ever - and he didn't care but I pushed him out of my life. Silly me. It's no worse than a cold or flu, we all get those and they go away. Herpes has an ugly name because a terrible stigma has been attached to it. But it's no reason to feel suicidal or ashamed. I just live with it and don't think about it until I have to - which is more than I can say for the rape, which is much more difficult to live with the memory of.

Definitely see a counselor and at least find an online support group. Take lysine, eat well and keep stress managed. Someday I believe everyone will be a member of our 'club.'

I just wanted to add my own post, in an effort to bring comfort to people who have been recently diagnosed with HSV. You are far from alone - many of us know how you're feeling, and are here to help you move forward in a healing direction.

I was diagnosed a little over a year ago - my partner at the time had oral HSV, and the virus transmitted to me via mouth-to-genital contact. I can't completely blame him, as so many people carry the virus orally, but have no idea that it is, in fact, herpes. Anyhow, the relationship was long-distance, so when the first outbreak occurred, I couldn't turn to him for help - nor was he very supportive. He actually said, "Well, I guess that means we can't break up" - and I admittedly fell into that thought pattern, as I felt dirty/untouchable. Surely no one could love me...

Thankfully, I was mistaken - but most importantly, in time I found a greater sense of love for myself. I saw the abusive aspects of the relationship, and got out. I began taking better care of myself - eating well, getting proper rest, finding peace and calm in life. For all its initial shock, accepting HSV can bring you a sense of perspective - the important aspects of life come to the forefront. The lesser issues fall back, and are soon forgotten.

I'm now in a wonderful relationship with a dear man, who has been very calm/accepting of my virus. I was terrified to tell him about it before we became intimate, or even emotionally close - but he saw it for the small matter it is. And he's right - it is a small matter... one that can be managed, and treated with care.

Nowadays, I have a very minor outbreak, maybe every few months. I am not on medication, but try to get plenty of rest/eat well/take care of myself. My fiance´and I abstain from sexual contact during an outbreak - it's usually a matter of 2-3 days before things are clear.

Most importantly, I want to say that it does get easier. I admit to still being put off by the stigma that is highly pervasive in our society - HSV is still treated as a laughing matter, and you will see it spoken of as though some sort of curse, as though it's the worst thing that could happen to a person. Don't give in to that lie. There is life after diagnosis, and it does get easier. Acceptance and self-respect are your best tools in this journey.

I caught herpes at 18, the very first time I had sex. I am now 47 and over the years the outbreaks have gone from monthly to not having a breakout in over 10 years. I now am breaking out monthly again. I work two jobs and have been for years so I don't think stress is the issue. When I went through a nasty divorce, shuttering my business and struggling financially, I never broke out even once. I am now a vegetarian and have been for the last 9 months. Could it be a nutritional issue? I'm worried I'm sick and don't know it. I take Lysine daily.

After reading all these comments and others on the same subject on other links on this site, I have to express gratitude to all who have written and shared deeply personal stories. You are all loving, giving spirits.

I am researching for my very panicked 20+ year-old daughter and her new sweet boyfriend who has just suffered an outbreak/diagnosis. Their story mimics many of yours.

As perspective, I must tell you that I am battling primary liver cancer (HCC), which means a cancer that originates in the liver (just like breast cancer originates in the breast, prostrate in the prostrate, etc). Its a 94-98% fatal disease, usually within the first 3 years or less. It is the 3rd most common cancer in the world, but fairly rare in the US. It too has stigma attached; its usually caused by one of the hepatitis' or by alcoholic cirrhosis. of which I have none; mine is of 'no known cause.' So far, I've succeeded in beating this for 2.5+ years with the help of both conventional and alternative medicine.

Thank Goodness for this site that shares so much wisdom and hope; I've used this site to successfully battle - and even shrink - some of my tumors.

As many of you have pointed out, herpes is not fatal. While I sympathize greatly with what everyone is going through, a part of me wishes I could 'trade' for 'just' herpes. Just goes to show you, one can always find those whom are better off than you, and also others who are much worse off. I hope that gives you all hope and perspective, and wish Peace and the Best for you all.

After all our trials and tribulations as human beings, may we all meet in Heaven some day!

I have yet to be diagnosed, but I am positive I have HSV 2. I'm finding it pretty hard to cope with seeing as I'm 20, and I have never had anything close to a serious relationship. Even before I found my herpes, I wasn't comfortable with dating and becoming serious with someone and now I feel like it will be 10x harder having to break this news to anyone I want to become intimate with.

I have been diagnosed with clinical depression years ago, and here and there I will experience it, so I'm not exactly taking this news easily. I have had the thoughts of suicide that some have been experiencing, and since I have had similar thoughts before, I know I can control myself not to go through with it. I just can't wait to get to the other side where I no longer view my herpes as a black hole in my life.

What I do appreciate from this is that I realize before, I wasn't taking care of myself as I should have been.
I'm not always comforted by what I read online (My mind tends to pick up negative connotations that weren't actually implied), but I did hear one comment that stuck with me.

"I truly think one day having herpes is going to be like having wisdom teeth. We all expect to get it and deal with it accordingly."

I also find comfort in the fact that there are so many people affected. I guess I just wish I knew more of you personally in my life.
Hell, I bet some of my friends might even have it! But how awkward would it be to bring that up? I think I might just try anyway. Hopefully it will help.

I'm glad to see so many of talking about going on to have wonderful lives. I hope in a short while I can be back and saying the same.

Hello Sue. My story is exactly like yours. I saw the 250mg a day you took for the valtrex but what is the 1000 mg of and when do you take it? I am hopeful that my situation will become better and you have truly inspired me.


I was only sixteen when I was diagnosed - I hadn't even slept with anyone, it was through skin to skin contact. I feel like the unluckiest person in the world sometimes!

It's been a few years now and so far I've had one relationship, he was fine about it but I think it got the better of him towards the end so he left me, he blamed it on other reasons but I have a feeling it was the herpes that was the case! Since then I've been diagnosed with depression, mainly because I have a hard time coping with things. Can herpes ruin your life? Honestly I feel it has ruined mine, but I'm young and naive and I'm hoping things will get better in time.

There's no way I'm looking for another relationship, 18 year old males don't exactly want to settle down with girls with an STD.

I just wish there was more information out there, it's the 21st century! There was all this hype about using condoms etc but no-one ever mentions cold sores being herpes! People are so easily mislead, its no wonder 1 in 4 people have it!

I'm just holding out for a cure, but I suppose there won't be one if the drug companies are making too much money on suppressive tablets like Valtrex.

Sorry for the miserable post, I'm just looking for someone to tell me everything will be fine :(

I had my first outbreak of oral herpes about a year ago. I had frequent oral outbreaks this year, but nothing in my genital area. Then, just today, I found some red bumps on my labia. I was horrified. I'm going off to Russia today for a 3 week study abroad trip, and panicked that this outbreak would ruin my time there, let alone ruin my whole love life.

I am so thankful for all these posts. In fact, I as silly as this may seem, I'm wondering if my herpes virus will help me stay away from all the jerk males out there who would look down on someone with herpes. I really hope that there is a blessing in this, that I find someone who will take the virus for the small annoyance that it is.

None the less, I am still horrified and nervous that I will live the rest of my life sex-less. =( Sigh. I guess all the successful people in the world are those without love lives anyways.

Hello. I was just tested yesterday and the impending results look bleak. Same story you have heard a thousand times, cheating ex, painful lesions, etc. I'm hoping, by some miracle, it isn't herpes, but in my heart, there's no doubt. I immediately told my fairly new BF, bawling my eyes out the whole time. I've been bawling ever since because he has been WONDERFUL about this.

That said, I can't deny that I am completely out of my mind with fear, and I'm scared to be alone right now. I'm terrified of what I may do when all is said and done. I started the Valtrex, but if it's always going to be this painful, I won't be able to handle it.

People's Pharmacy response: Valtrex should get the pain under control quite well, and you will find from reading the other comments that it does get easier to handle.

I tested positive for Herpes Type 2 about two years ago and it has taken me about that long to accept the diagnosis. I had always heard of people having Herpes, but I always dismissed them as promiscuous. Full disclosure: I haven't always been careful to practice safe sex so I do take full responsibility for my actions. The other part of having Herpes is that it doesn't have to be a problem unless I make it a problem.

I've had to have "the talk" with two men about my situation and I found that very difficult. Fortunately both were very supportive. I refuse to live my life being
ashamed and I'm not letting it define me. There are MUCH worse things in life than having Herpes. The worst part by far has been the self imposed guilt and shame. Don't waste your energy on those emotions!

I have had this for 20 years myself and I concur with most of the statements on this post but one thing everyone should remember. We tend to heavily blame the people who gave this to us but please remember someone gave it to them. At some point they to woke one day to find a disturbance down there. They are not evil or bad and promiscuous behaviour has nothing to do with it. As someone who could potentially pass it on, I can tell you that that is my biggest fear. Clearly the emotional problem is much more potent than the physical one.

Diagnosed a month ago. Like a previous poster, I waited until I was 24 to lose my virginity & got herpes from him. I suspected he was fooling around but was waiting for more concrete evidence to say something about it. It feels like a punishment for having sex at all (was raised religiously), and I was SO cautious. I waited 6 months before having sex with him, and this is what I get for it. I'm scared no one will ever love me, especially because I was never great at getting guys to be attracted to me in the first place.

I'm in therapy now, and I don't know that it's helping. I can't tell several of my friends as I'm afraid they'll look at me cast me as a leper, so they have no idea what I'm dealing with. All your stories really help, and now I know I will ensure future guys to get tested; maybe this experience will save me from HIV someday.

Thank you to those of you who've dealt with it for a while. My doctor told me it's nothing more than a nuisance, and I want so badly for other people to see it that way too. It was tough trying to be loved before and this definitely makes it that much harder.

Again, thank you so much for your stories and support. I needed this.

I was a 19 year old lad who just started university. I was a virgin at the time and typical thought I found the love of my life. I slept with her and a few weeks down the line I began to get really painful sores. I feel stupid for falling into this trap. The funny thing is I still stayed with her for over two years, I guess I was scared that I would not be able to be in another relationship. in the end we broke because of her constant cheating, lord only knows how many other guys she infected. I found out recently she is now married and due to have her first child. I'm upset as I still cannot get over what she has done to me. I cannot believe people can be so selfish and inconsiderate.

I know how you feel, my doctor told me I had genital herpes a year ago, I was almost 19. I thought of suicide, the pills, everything basically. I was still in shock, and sometimes the emotional stage comes and goes because its still fresh in my mind. But then I realized that you know no one is perfect, and at least its not fatal, at least I can live, I can dance, sing, move, walk! It's not the end of the world and I see that. Its actually not even that bad, I barely know I have it sometimes I even forget. And the pills do work, and if the guy/girl loves you they won't care because herpes isn't you, it's just something you have. It's your past that makes you who you are.

And who are you? Well your the incredible human being you were before herpes and you are still the incredible human being afterwards. Herpes doesn't make who you are, it makes you wiser, and smarter, and accept things better. It's not cancer or death. Its a tiny disease that almost half of this planet has and you are never alone no matter what. It's the past and sometimes, yeah, you get sad, but don't let it control your life, just because you decided to have sex with someone. And never regret anything because it makes you everything you are today. And the fact that you have kids, makes you even stronger, that you look at them and see the joy in life and the beauty in love.

Dear fellow sufferers!

Many thanks to all of you for your comforting comments. I have been on a hell of an emotional rollercoaster over the last 20 years of having this disease--feeling like damaged goods, etc., etc. I have been taking meds, natural remedies, etc., etc. My main question remains unanswered: while there is NO outbreak and while not on medication, can genital HSV still be transmitted to a healthy partner? I am planning to get pregnant and will be coming off acyclovir, so I am very worried about my partner contracting it. Being on acyclovir is obviously protecting him, but how likely is is that a person could contract it without an outbreak?

Is it the same as with people with oral herpes--i.e., it seems only to be transmitted during an outbreak and safe when there is no outbreak?

I try to tell to myself that if herpes was transmitted even without the outbreak, then everyone would have herpes, not just 1 in 5 people. By the way, does anyone know the statistics in Europe? 1 in 5 I believe is in the USA.

I thank you all for your time reading my post and for replying to it.

I just found out I am infected with HSV2 and not taking it very well. I did notice some rash before but thought it wasn't serious till I decided to get it looked at. It went away and I didn't give it much thought. I hope I didn't infect my girlfriend or think I have been fooling around. I did tell her that the doctor thinks it is genital herpes and now I hope she isn't infected as we have been trying to plan to have children. She was understanding and it was more important to stay in love. She is so amazing but I am concerned for her and our unborn child and the approach to take.

25yo Male -- I was diagnosed with HSV-2 about nine months ago. It appeared when I was extremely ill, perhaps from the herpes, or perhaps the herpes presented itself as a result of my illness.

Either way -- I had just started dating my girlfriend about a week before the bumps appeared. Luckily we had not had sex because I was too sick to do so. I got tested and it came back positive. I was extremely depressed for a few days. Every person I saw the though crossed my mind 'Do they have hepres'. I dreamed about herpes and it ruining my life. My girlfriend was so understanding and her first response was: You can take medicine for that right?

I was put on Valtrex 500mg and had two outbreaks after that, each coming after getting badly sunburned (which can be a trigger). My doctor upped my dosage to 1000mg a day and I haven't had any sort of outbreak in six months or so.

I actually almost completely forget that I have it, it is such a non issue. My sex life with my girlfriend is fantastic. She hasn't contracted it, and odd are she won't as long as I continue to take Valtrex. I'm just soooo grateful I don't have a fatal disease. When you stop to think about it, it's really just an annoyance of getting cold sores around your genitals a few times a year, or perhaps only one or two times a in your life (if you take your meds).

I'd also like to say to all the young women who have posted on this thread -- I total understand how you feel! But, the good news is that there are tons of great guys out there who will release HPV is a skin condition like eczema or a regular cold sore. And there are also some really fantastic guys who probably also have the virus! I wouldn't be shocked if about half of my friends have it, lol.

Life is beautiful if you don't let the bad stuff block your view!

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