How I Got Herpes by D

I heard Shelley on CBC’s All in a Day and thought, wow, finally someone is talking about herpes. My story is nothing special. I met my ex-husband almost 30 yrs ago through a friend. They were a couple and she told me she had herpes. This was 1982. She thought that the lambskin condom they were using was protection enough for him. They split up and I had done some reading about herpes. Turns out that he probably had it, so I sought him out and told him to have himself tested.
We met again and sure enough, he had genital herpes. He was pretty bummed. I was 22. He became my lover a few months later. We took precautions but within 2 years, I got my first outbreak. And with me, it was hell. I felt like I had the flu; I felt depressed; it brought my system down so much, everything else that I had that was affected by stress, reacted to an outbreak of herpes. My outbreaks lasted for 3 weeks and were incredibly painful. And contrary to most, my outbreaks became more frequent. So much so, that eventually I went on suppression therapy. My lover’s outbreaks were few and far between, perhaps 3 or 4 times a year. Mine were non-stop some months.
I have been more open about being sexually abused by my father than I ever was about herpes. It’s amazing. People will take about sexual abuse, incest, you name it…but herpes…omg…Nope, can’t touch that. I have told a few people.
My lover became my husband and I left him almost a year ago. The first thing a friend of mine said’ll have to reveal that you have herpes. I agreed. And when a much younger man wanted to have sex with me, I did tell him. Well that was a deal breaker, though he appreciated my honesty.
I cannot imagine not telling my partner that I have herpes. It has had such a huge impact on my life that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I’ve had genital herpes for 28 yrs. For me, it never went away. I’m always on suppression therapy. In order to avoid outbreaks I must get enough sleep, listen to my body when it is stressed by getting away from the stress.
Only my closest friends know about the herpes. Almost everyone else in my life know that my dad sexually abused me.

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