Last Updated on February 18, 2021 by Jenelle Marie Pierce, Executive Director
It’s always so refreshing to read about supportive friends and family members – people who don’t judge someone who has contracted HSV2, but instead, embrace them. Bravo to this interviewee’s support network, because they are the one’s getting it right.
Many people get diagnosed and then deal with slut-shaming, disparaging remarks from their medical practitioners, or getting ostracized from the important people in their lives. So, knowing that there are people out there who will love you, support you, and uplift you is paramount to being about to move forward. Sometimes moving forward means removing toxic people from your life, those people whose true personalities came out when you needed them most, and sometimes moving forward means helping others like you to feel accepted and supported.
The process is different for everyone, of course, but we think it’s reassuring to know that there are people out there who will encourage and embrace their loved ones, despite all of the stigma. High five to those people!
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
I am a college student, studying political science and religion.
3. What STI/STD do you have/have you had?
I have been diagnosed with HSV2.
4. How long have you had or known you have an STI/STD?
I have known for about three months.
5. Do you know how you contracted this STI/STD?
Unfortunately, I do not.
I thought that I received it from a guy who I slept with on my birthday, and then we had kept in touch. I was always careful about using condoms with my partner, but that night there was a brief time when one was not used. ‘It only takes one time,’ has been ringing in my head ever since. Then, when I found I had HSV2, it took me a while, but I got the courage to call him, and he made it seem like he had no idea. Even though I asked him to get tested and get back to me with the results, he went AWOL, and I haven’t heard from him since.
So, I believe that it was him, but I don’t know for sure.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STI/STD?
My life has gone back to normal since I contracted it. Although, when I had my first outbreak, it knocked me out flat. I was so sick, had to go to the ER because I was in so much pain, and then was in bed for a month with flu-like symptoms and horrible pain.
But now I’m happy and healthy trying to emotionally get back to the spot I was in before I contracted HSV2.
7. Do the people who know you have an STI/STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
I have been so fortunate, because the people that I have told have been more supportive than I could have ever imagined!
Even when my mom told my father, he called me to let me know that he would always be there. That was the hardest phone call I’ve ever received, but it was amazing to have their support and to know that they didn’t judge me or look down on me because of it.
My friends at college have also been so amazing, and they even protected me from speculation when I had to go home from being so sick during my first outbreak.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STI/STD? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
Yes, I took Acyclovir when I was first diagnosed, but now I am on Valtrex once a day.
I haven’t had any outbreaks that have been nearlyyyy as bad as the first time… I felt like I was in the shower the whole time I was sick, trying to alleviate the pain.
9. Has having an STI/STD hindered past relationships?
I have yet to reveal to a partner that I have HSV2, and so it has not affected any relationships I’ve been in.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STI/STD affected your partner?
As of now, I do not have a significant other.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting STI/STD whom you did not tell you had an STI?
I have yet to be sexually active with anyone since I found out, although I am nervous about telling future partners.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STI/STD?
In the beginning, I was so hard on myself and angry that I let myself get into a situation like this. But now I feel like I am a much stronger person.
Having HSV2 has made me a stronger person, and even though I have this STD, it does not define who I am.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I found this website the first week I was diagnosed, and it really got me through the toughest parts of the first outbreak, both physically and emotionally. It has been a very hard past three months, from the terrible experience at the ER, going in with what I thought was a yeast infection, to them telling me it was herpes.
I had to learn what friends I could open up to and then let them know about this life-changing situation.
I am participating because I want other people to know that it gets better, and that opening up to other people makes having it a little easier. Don’t let this define you.
This whole thing has been so scary, but learning to laugh about it makes it a little less scary. Having an STD as a young adult makes me really want to reach out to other people who have it and let them know it’s ok. Reading other people’s stories really helped me get through the beginning stages of HSV2, and I hope that I can do the same for someone else. Stay positive! 😉
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!