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Will I ever find love?

Jan 28, 2016

Dear Richard,

I dont know what to do. I feel so alone. Please help. I was diagnosed with genital Herpes about six months ago. As soon as I found out I told my boyfriend. He started screaming at me, telling me that hed better not have caught it, and accused me of cheating. Which is not true. I did not cheat on him. He is only the third person I have ever been with, and the only guy I didnt use condoms with. Needless to say, the relationship didnt last. He said he couldnt be with a girl that had Herpes and didnt want to risk getting it himself.

So here are my questions. Im sorry if Im asking too many. My doctor said that even though I used condoms with my other two boyfriends I still might have caught it. Is that true? She also said its possible my most current boyfriend may have transmitted the virus to me, without knowing he had it. Is that true? How is that possible? Should I go on medication? Am I ever going to find someone to date again? I feel so alone, and dont know what to do. I dont have anyone to talk to about this. I dont feel like Im ever going to find someone to date again either. Please help.

Thanks,

Lilly

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi Lilly,

First, give yourself a break. I could be shooting in the dark here, but I think you're being too hard on yourself. It takes two to tango. Someone transmitted Herpes to you. It happens. Two, I'm sorry that your now ex-boyfriend reacted the way that he did. When something like this happens we hope that our partners will be there to support us, but too often that's not the case. However, as hard as it may have been for him to leave, it only leaves room in your life for someone who will accept you for who you are. And that means ALL of you. So, good riddance to bad rubbish!

Being diagnosed with a chronic, but manageable disease like Herpes is HUGE. It's a lot to process. It took me a long time to get to a good place with being HIV positive. The best advice I can give you it to be patient with yourself, and find the support you need to make it through these challenging times. As time goes on you're going to have a lot of questions. Having a support system of people who have been in your shoes is going to be critical

Before I get into that, I want to answer your questions about transmission because I know they are weighing heavy on you. Everything your doctor said is true. Using a condom does lower the risk of transmission, but it does not eliminate it. Herpes, like Syphilis, and HPV are transmitted via skin-to-skin contact both through oral contact, and vaginal or anal sex. In fact, by the time they reach age 42, 92% of Americans will have some form of Herpes. Did you know that the common cold sore is a form of Herpes? As far as your boyfriend transmitting it without knowing it, that is also true. Any of your past partners may have been carrying the virus without knowing it. The virus can lie dormant in a person's system, and they may never have a breakout. The reality is that your ex-boyfriend may have known he was infected with the virus, and never told you. As for medication, that is a discussion for you and your doctor to have. Taking daily medication, along with using condoms, and avoiding intimate contact whenever there is an active outbreak can GREATLY reduce the likelihood of transmission.

Now for the important part: You are not alone. I can't stress that enough. Trying to navigate this by yourself can be hard, and I would encourage you to reach out and find support. Fortunately, it's 2016 and we live in the digital age where it's easy to find others in similar situations like ours. As you start to figure out what living with Herpes means to you, my suggestion is that you start to find a community of others to talk to. Sites like Positive Singles are a great place to start. Now, yes, it's a dating website for people living with an STD, but it's so much more. While I know dating may be on your mind right now, I think you need to first start with finding others to talk to about this. Sites like Positive Singles can be helpful because even more than a dating website, they are a community of people that are there to support each other. I joined their site last summer because I was tired of having guys reject me on the dating websites for being HIV positive. Joining Positive Singles was eye opening for me. Once I was a member I had access to different chat rooms, forums, and member blogs where people talked about all sorts of stuff from dating, to disclosing your status, what medications they were taking, dating with an STD, and so much more. It was a bunch of normal people, talking about normal things. We just all happened to have one thing in common we're living with an STD.

If you had asked me a year ago if I wanted to be part of a website for people living with an STD I would have said no thanks. I thought that doing so just cemented the fact that I was different. I couldn't have been more wrong. Finding a place to connect with others like me was the best thing I could have ever done. I found a place to connect with others, ask questions about things that were important to me, and was able to see what others before me had done. I found the support I didn't know I needed, and communities of people just like me.

Don't go it alone, Lilly. Reach out and find others to connect with. You'll be all the better for it. I promise.

Sincerely,

Richard



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