Last Updated on February 21, 2021 by Jenelle Marie Pierce, CSE, Executive Director
This short story was submitted semi-anonymously via our contact form and is written by Mario, a 59-year-old who’s been living with herpes for 30 years.
My name is Mario, and I would like to share my story.
I am 59 years old. I know that might seem like an eternity, to some, but it is what it is. I am writing this, because I believe in the power of words shared by those who have been changed by God – it can transform a life, and I also feel that it’s the right thing to do because of God’s goodness to me. So, I will always be a voice for Him.
God changes one life at a time.
First, I want to say, I am far from perfect, and I will never be perfect in this life. I live in this body, and it has a fallen nature. However, even though I have a checkered past with many regrets, and I have to live with an STD, life doesn’t have to end there.
It is no accident I am writing this. I was not looking for this site, actually, and this was the farthest thing from my mind when it showed up on my Yahoo front page under some small print that said ‘The STI Project’. I wasn’t sure what was meant by The STI Project, but it looked interesting, and because I have herpes, I was interested to hear what it had to say; so, I clicked it. I should point out: I never get on places that I shouldn’t be in, sites that would lead my mind into the sick garbage that the internet can produce. I’m not that kind of person.
It’s been thirty years, and I have accepted my condition and have moved on, even though, sometimes, it seems like it just happened yesterday. Our adversary will always remind us of our past, but I try to be courageous and learn to live for the future – where God works, because He forgets the past. God changes one life at a time.
Wired for Only One Thing: Sex
I will share a short version of my story, and pray that God will show you a better life too.
I was very sexually active during my youth, and I followed that promiscuous lifestyle until my early thirties. Having had a background in the Navy only made things worse, because most sailors were known for their bad behavior, and I was one of those sailors. I didn’t see much of a problem with that, at that time, because no one told me better, and I thought all men were like that – wired for only one thing: sex. How stupid is that?!
My life took a 360 turn-around during that time.
As much as I would like to forget, I can still remember that hot summer night, as if it were yesterday. I was looking to pick-up a woman at some night club, like I had in the past. As the night was fading away, a woman approached me wanting a ride. By what she was wearing, I thought she wanted more than a ride, but so did I. Little did I know, I was going to be her next victim. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. She was a little on the quiet side, as if she was hiding something. ‘Oh well,’ I said to myself, ‘what can go wrong?’
The next week, I had a sore; so, I went to the doctor to have it checked out. The doctor told me it was genital herpes, explained what that was, and that I would have it for life. I was shocked; I couldn’t understand that thinking. I asked if penicillin would take it away, because, in the Navy, I had a disease that penicillin cured. He said it would not work. In my denial, I went searching for a cure hoping to find an antidote, but I found that there weren’t any. Plus, I didn’t like taking pills, because I felt they might do more damage than the herpes; so, I quit taking them too.
That’s when I cried out to God for help.
Isn’t it interesting how we our put at a crossroad – one brings life, the other brings chaos? My first option was to trust God and find His wisdom that could bring healing and set me free from my past. Even if I had to carry herpes to my death bed, I knew I wouldn’t have it in heaven. My second option, which, I think, most people follow, was to allow my own wisdom and the help of medicine and science to find a cure. For me, it was a no-brainer; I chose the first option.
For those who read the bible, I want to encourage you to read Psalms 38, because in the words of King David is a heartfelt cry for help, a cry from a man who also felt the emotional pain of having been infected with some form of STD. I’m sure he asked God to remove it, but God didn’t, and even his close friends wanted nothing to do with him. God, though, is not like our fair-weather friends, those who seem to leave when we are at our worst. God forgave King David, and God’s love for him did not change, even with an STD… but the consequences remained in his flesh, just like it remains in mine. Whether you are a king or a peasant, or anything in between, God works all things for good for those that love Him.
There is a better place than this world.
In closing, I want to say, that after ten years of singleness because of my herpes, I got married to someone that accepted my condition. We were married for fifteen years, and we had two beautiful, healthy girls together. Even though she later left, I stayed faithful to my God, and I raised my two girls as a single man serving the Lord.
There is a better place than this world, and I’m just pressing forward to that goal.
I would also like to thank Jenelle Marie, because I think she has more of a backbone than me and a lot of others who hide in the shadows. To put yourself on display, before the whole world, is not an easy task, especially when you become an open book for people to judge you without even knowing you. I just want to say, thank for your transparency, and keep up the good work.
Thank you for reading my story.
To His praise and Glory.
This short story was submitted semi-anonymously via our contact form and is written by Mario, a 59-year-old who’s been living with herpes for 30 years. Mario found The STI Project while casually perusing Yahoo News one day. He was intrigued and wanted to share his story, because he thought others could relate while also harnessing their faith in God to help them through an STD diagnosis.
Did this story affect you? Have you had a similar experience or do you have a message you’d like to send the author? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Thank you for your story… I cried the whole way through.
I have being hiding after finding out that my fiancée gave me herpes and then left me this year. I just feel like life is over now. How do i go on. How do I meet someone, like them and tell them I have this?
Today I pulled out my Bible and was looking for some acceptance.. Tonight I turned on my computer and found your story… Thank you for some hope… I am going to read Palsms 38 now and pray for some strength to start loving me again…
Thank you again…
Hi Shirley –
Thank you for your message and letting us know how much it affected you.
There’s definitely hope. Be patient with yourself, as you’re dealing with trauma, and healing takes time. It will get better, though, I assure you – although, I know that’s not much consolation right now. It might be helpful to know, I’ve never had a partner choose to separate because of my infection – while that isn’t always the case, a meaningful, well-developed relationship and love usurps stigma and the infection all of the time – so, hang in there. The first step is self-love – once you come to terms with yourself and know in your heart that a herpes infection neither defines you or represents your character, you’ll have better luck finding a partner who feels similarly too.
Feel free to reach out whenever you need to – you’re always welcome on The STI Project (we have a wealth of great stories and resource referrals throughout), and you’re always welcome in my inbox should you feel like speaking directly.