Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Valinda Riggins Nwadike, MD, MPH
Submitted anonymously via the contact form, this interview highlights one of the most common concerns we hear after a person is diagnosed: Now, I’ll never be able to get married. A common misconception, albeit, an understandable one considering all of the negative stigma associated with an STD, is that an STD – any kind – is the end of your sex life, all romantic relationships, or your marriage potential.
The good news is that’s just not so.
While the dynamic of one night stands and casual trysts might change for you, a healthy sex life, a loving relationship, or a happy marriage is not out of the question at all. In fact, some will argue that their STD diagnosis helped them weed out the good ones from the bad or that the authenticity needed to disclose their status brought them closer to a potential partner.
The take away is that if you’re diagnosed with an STD – in this case, HSV1 – a healthy sex life, a relationship, and even marriage is not out of the question, and this reader is proof.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, interviewee, and letting others know they too can live a normal life regardless of their infection.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
Program assistant for a special needs group
3. What STD/STI do you have/have you had?
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD/STI?
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD/STI?
I asked my ex-boyfriend to perform oral sex with me. He had a sore or broken tooth or something in his mouth, according to my doctor, and that is how I contracted it.
It was diagnosed when I had excruciating pain in my vaginal area and called my doctor, who saw me right away, and took one look at me and said, ‘You have herpes.’ She tested me for it and confirmed her original diagnosis.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD/STI?
For a long time after my diagnosis, I was very depressed and thought my life was over.
It affects my life now in the fact that I pay more attention to my body.
7. Do the people who know you have an STD/STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
I have not been treated any differently. For the most part, they are just inquisitive about herpes.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STD/STI? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
I just finished a round of acyclovir.
9. Has having an STD/STI hindered past relationships?
The ex-boyfriend who gave it to me was not supportive when I told him it came from him. At the time, he refused to get tested and was very defensive. He said he was sorry and kept asking what I expected him to do about it.
The demise of our relationship, though, had nothing to do with the herpes diagnosis but more with his own insecurities and lack of trust when it came to me. He started to think I was lying to him about certain things, even though that was far from the case.
He has chosen not to maintain any friendship with me, and I can not go to him regarding my herpes. As far as I know, he has not been tested, but I know he has it. He was the only partner I ever did that with.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD/STI affected your partner?
Yes; I am married. I had a hard time disclosing to him, but he took it amazingly well and just said we needed to go see my doctor so he could understand it.
He was tested and does not have it. He does worry about getting it, but it hasn’t affected our sex life a whole lot. When I have an outbreak, we refrain from being intimate for a while, and we use protection.
Since I had the latest outbreak, I have felt a little depressed again, and it has put a slight strain on our marriage, but we are committed to each other forever and are working through it.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD/STI whom you did not tell you had an STD/STI?
Yes, my now husband.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD/STI?
No, not really. I am the same person I always was; I am just more in tune with my body than before.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I chose to participate in this interview to share the perspective of a woman with HSV1 who is married. I want people to know that you can still live a normal life with this disease. You can’t let herpes control your life or who you are.
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!