Last Updated on February 18, 2021 by Jenelle Marie Pierce, CSE, Executive Director
Were you judgy about people with herpes before you were diagnosed? Yup? Us too. Did you think only certain kinds of people contracted HSV? Yup? Us too. Were you sure that HSV2 wasn’t something you ever had to worry about? Yup? Us too. But we were all so wrong. And that’s ok.
This interviewee is not unlike the vast majority of us folks who were just plain ignorant about HSV before getting diagnosed. But that doesn’t make us crappy people. The measure of a person is not in what they first think but in where their mind goes next: Do they think twice? Do they correct their misconceptions or judgments? Do they seek alternative viewpoints? That secondary thought process is what sets a good person apart from a jerk.
Thank you so much, interviewee, for being honest about your process and the growth you’ve experienced since recently getting diagnosed, because we can never learn and become better, more empathetic people without first acknowledging our shortcomings.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
3. What STI/STD do you have/have you had?
4. How long have you had or known you have Herpes?4. How long have you had or known you have an STI/STD?
I’ve known instinctively for about 2 weeks, but just received the diagnosis a couple of days ago.
5. Do you know how you contracted this STI/STD?
I believe so, but I am not 100% sure.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STI/STD?
I think I am still in the initial shock period, however I am determined to not let this drastically change my life.
I have herpes, but that doesn’t define me.
I wasn’t expecting this news, so it hit me like a truckload and feels like my world has flipped upside down, but I am lucky this isn’t a fatal disease, and it’s something I will learn to live with.
7. Do the people who know you have an STI/STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
My sisters and my Mom are the only ones who know. They have been nothing but supportive and haven’t treated me differently what so ever.
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.
I already take L-Lysine daily, as I’ve had cold sores almost my entire life, and I lead a healthy lifestyle so I’m hoping that will help, but I also will be taking daily medication (Valtrex).
9. Has having an STI/STD hindered past relationships?
Not so far, but I am slightly concerned about how it will affect my current relationship once we have that discussion.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STI/STD affected your partner?
Yes, it’s quite new, as I am recently divorced. I am pretty certain that I got this from my recent partner and am hoping that he is receptive and understanding. I assume he is the type of guy that will be, but I guess you never really know.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting STI/STD whom you did not tell you had an STI?
No, haven’t been in that situation yet.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STI/STD?
I feel like I’ve already changed in the past two weeks. I’m more aware of my body and feel less invincible. I thought I would NEVER be someone who would have this, and admit, I put people who had herpes in a category.
I know, after doing research and talking with my doctor, that people of all walks of life have this and the stigma that is attached to it is so inaccurate. I would like to think this isn’t going to dramatically change my life, and I am trying to look for the positives in this situation.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
After I was diagnosed, I stumbled across this site and read through a ton of these stories. I am not someone who is prone to depression or anything of the sort, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t devastated by this news. It broke my heart to hear some of the stories that I read about people who said how ashamed they are.
I hope the stigma of this diagnosis changes. I think everything happens for a reason and that this can help bring some perspective to my life and purpose.
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!