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Particularly refreshing is this reader’s ability to, after just a month’s time, decide she’s not going to let her herpes diagnosis bring her down. Instead, she’s already choosing to focus on the positive aspects her diagnosis has elicited, which include, but are not limited to, improved health, and a renewed appreciation for the little things.
How I would have paid for her perspective some 14+ years ago when I was diagnosed at 16 years old! Needless to say, her determination to overcome the stigma associated with a herpes diagnosis and to see it for what it typically is: little more than a nuisance – is bound to inspire others as well. And for that, I say, cheers!
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
Full-time student at a university
3. What STD do you have/have you had?
HSV – herpes simplex virus
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD?
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD?
Yes, from a good friend from my childhood whom I have known for 15 years and trusted completely. I do not sleep around or with random people ever, and a week after we had intercourse, I became extremely sick and found out the reason was HSV.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD?
I am a lot more self-conscious and very sad sometimes. I am normally a very positive person; so, I have grown a lot and am taking it one day at a time.
7. Do the people who know you have an STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
Only one close family member knows and she has been nothing short of amazing. She has been my rock throughout this entire ‘adventure’, and I could not be so strong right now without her. I do not feel a need for any one else to know, because this is not life-threatening or life-altering in most aspects.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STD? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
I took antiviral medicine to get rid of my first outbreak. Now, I am living extremely healthy and exercising daily. In that aspect, HSV is a positive thing.
9. Has having an STD hindered past relationships?
I have not had any relationships since finding out, but I truly believe that I am going to find someone who loves me for all I am, and this is not going to matter.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD affected your partner?
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD whom you did not tell you had an STD?
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD?
I never thought this could happen to me. I have learned that STDs do not discriminate.
I am a full-time student with many friends, a great social life, upper-class, and have everything going right for me. So, I take this as only a step back like everyone experiences in life. This is not deadly and can be controlled – it is not as bad as people make it seem.
In some ways, I feel like I am going to grow from this. I will never just sleep with anyone and am going to wait for the right guy to come along.
I am learning to value myself for my inside beauty not just my sexual appeal.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with The STI Project?
I wanted to share my story, because people need to realize this is not anywhere close to the end of the world. Yes; it is annoying, and I do not look forward to further outbreaks. Yet, my outlook is that I can control these outbreaks by my lifestyle choices, which will benefit me overall greatly.
I have huge goals and dreams which are already becoming a reality, and nothing so small will stop me.
As for a relationship, I know I am going to find the perfect guy for me. I have a lot of wisdom for my age, and I know for a fact that this is an extremely minor bump in the road for relationships. There are so many issues that are detrimental and will instantly end relationships – herpes is not that, and if a guy tells me it is, I will laugh, because he is missing out on a successful, happy, loving, fun girl who is going far in life.
This is something that I cannot change; so, I am embracing it.
I am so thankful to be healthy, happy, loved by amazing family and friends, earning a college degree, and living life to the fullest in all ways possible. I am now learning to value myself more for all of these qualities instead of trying to find acceptance in sexual acts as I did in the past. If anything, I am slowly but surely enjoying every day to the fullest and living for the moment – which I never did before.
So, I hate you, herpes, for causing me to be in pain and depressed for a small amount of time, but thank you for helping me re-evaluate who I am, what I want, and how thankful I should be for the amazing life I’ve been given.
Can you relate to this interviewee? Did it help you to read someone else’s story? Have you experienced something similar or do you have some feedback to share with this individual? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!