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Home Personal Perspectives Personal Perspectives "When she shared her story with me I cried. For once in my life I felt like I was not alone…"

"When she shared her story with me I cried. For once in my life I felt like I was not alone…"

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I contracted the herpes virus when I was a little girl, and would get blisters on my mouth all the time. As a child I never paid much attention to the outbreaks because I was too busy being a kid! When I was about eight years old, though, I had a severe outbreak that covered most of my mouth in blisters. The worst part is that I didn’t understand what these outbreaks were. It wasn't until I became a teenager and I got a blister on my lip and someone teased me and told me I had herpes that I realize what it was.

One afternoon I accompanied a friend to a clinic. She wanted to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). I was already dating boys and sexually active, and was extremely naive about STIs. I was sexually active and was not using protection. Not too long after I went with my friend to the clinic I returned, but this time it was for myself; I had woken up that morning with a sharp burning feeling in my vagina. The doctor told me I had contracted genital herpes. I was clueless... what is that? The doctor explained it was an STI, gave me a prescription and sent me on my way. On my way out I grabbed a few brochures to read on the bus ride home. I felt my heart sink into my stomach when I read "there is no cure for herpes, preventive treatment is available." Nonetheless, I was enlightened by the brief information it gave me on the virus. I then became hungry for more knowledge and began to research on my own, and I’ve learned a great deal. It has been hard living with both HSV-1 & HSV-2 but I have learned to be positive and how to manage.

To this day when I have an outbreak I am embarrassed. When I see people notice I have a blister on my face, I feel very self-conscious and sometimes I try to hide it with make-up, but I still feel insecure. I shared with my brother that I had the virus a few years back and he laughed at me. I was extremely hurt but understood that ignorance on the topic made him react this way. The hardest thing about having HSV is having to tell someone you like that you have it because you don’t know how they will react. It has taken a great toll on my self-esteem but recently I met someone who confided in me that she had it too. When she shared her story with me I cried. For once in my life I felt like I was not alone. It was as if I was in a dark tunnel all alone but I finally saw a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

 

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