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I have Genital Herpes, My Experience PART I

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Old 08-08-2004, 06:47 AM   #1
White Sneakers1
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Cool I have Genital Herpes, My Experience PART I


I’ve been reading some of these posts concerning genital herpes, and I’d like to add my comments. I am not sure how many other posters on here actually have genital herpes, or just offer their input from what they have read or heard. There are some olders postings on here that I do not agree with, because of my experience with the virus.

I had to split this post up due to length:

My Exposure
I am a 40 year old, White female who was diagnosed with genital herpes at age 25. It appears that I was exposed to this virus when my then-on-and-off again boyfriend went down on me. We did not have sexual intercourse during that contact, although we had been sexually active in the past. Two weeks after that incident, I had my first breakout. At the time that I shared this intimacy, I was not regularly seeing my boyfriend (we had been broken up for a while before getting together on this night). I had not been dating anyone else.

My Symptoms
First, not all genital herpes outbreaks looks or acts like a ‘text-book case’. For instance, with my initial onset of symptoms, I developed what I thought was the beginning of a cold. I felt tired, feverish and unwell. My right labia (the outer fold of skin on my vagina) was very sensitive to cold (sitting on the toilet seat) and contact (my clothes resting against my vaginal area hurt, as did wiping after urinating). My right labia was also swollen enough that sitting and walking was uncomfortable. But I had no visible sore or blister or oozing. I had no other symptoms.

Because I had never felt this symptom before, I went to my gynecologist for him to take a look. He gave me a thorough examination (we also went through my sexual history), and told me that it probably was an ingrown pubic hair. I asked him to culture the area because I always lean toward being wary, so he did.

My results came back positive for genital herpes. I absolutely flipped out because I do not have promiscuous sex, and my lovers had been few at that point (two). I have always associated ‘dirty’ or sexually irresponsible people with STDs.

For the next few months, every time I had a series of similar symptoms (I had a series of back-to-back outbreaks my first year), I went to my gynecologist. Each time I had a different doctor or nurse look at my vaginal area, and each time the answer came back the same – that there was no way by looking at my labia that I was having a genital herpes outbreak.

But each time I demanded a culture, and every time it came back positive. After about a year, I did come to accept my exposure to this virus.

I did contact my ex-boyfriend by phone to tell him what I had been exposed to, but he denied ever having any type of oral/genital outbreak or symptoms. Since this man was sexually more advanced than I was, I also had an AIDS test taken at my request soon after it was determined that I had been exposed to genital herpes. I also now make it good practice to have an AIDS test (along with my partner) before committing to a serious relationship with a man.

Since the first year of breakouts, my tell-tale symptoms have become well known to me. First the skin around my labia and sometimes my anus becomes super-sensitive. I feel like I have to urinate more frequently. Then, when my small little lesion comes to a head, there is some burning when making direct contact with that area (if I am wiping after urination). There is also some burning if urine contacts that area. Once my body gets used to having a lesion there, I will spend about two days having the worst itch possible in that area – more noticeable when I actually touch that area. Scratching it is sweet pain, because to touch myself there does cause discomfort. Since the initial exposure, I no longer feel ill with any of my outbreaks.

My lesion usually appear at the original site (right labia), but I have had a few small outbreaks (again, my lesions are so small that they don’t look like text-book case pictures) near my anus. From the first signs of sensitive skin, I will usually have a lesion appear (or become symptomatic) within a day or two. By my third day of itching, it has pretty much worn itself out. The sensitive skin feeling settles down, and I no longer feel too much discomfort. From start to end, I would say that my outbreaks last about 5-7 days.

Sometimes I can get two outbreaks in a row, but normally now I am good for at least two a year. More if I am stressed or have been sick. But especially after being very stressed out about something. Most commonly for me, I will have an outbreak if I am starting my period.

FYI on Herpes
Many people don’t know they even have genital herpes, which is one of the reasons why it can be passed so easily. Additionally, you can pass on the virus even if you have no symptoms. Meaning, you could have a small outbreak without being bothered by symptoms. And sadly, many people who know they have it, think that as long as they don’t have any outward signs, that they can engage in sexual practices as if they had never been exposed. Unfortunately, some people choose to ignore the fact that they have this virus, and simply do not tell their partners.

First, since Herpes is a virus, almost everyone has had exposure in one way or another. This means that if you were to get a blood test to check for the herpes virus, most likely it will show up positive. However, even if a blood test shows up negative, without being cultured, a person can still have genital herpes and not know it. THE BEST WAY TO SEE IF YOU HAVE GENITAL HERPES IS TO SEE YOUR GYNECOLOGIST (IF YOU ARE A FEMALE) OR SEE A UROLOGIST (IF YOU ARE A MALE) WHEN YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS TO GET IT CULTURED. Culturing is painless and takes all of less than one minute. The doctor takes a sterile swab and swipes it over the affected area.

Also, for me, my vaginal symptoms also mimic things like an ingrown pubic hair or a follicle irritation – the severe itching I get the first few days also can mimic a yeast infection. Bottom line, if you have a symptom that doesn’t feel routine/normal, or is very bothersome or is questionable, always get it checked out. What I thought was an irritation ended up being genital herpes.

(see Part II)

Last edited by White Sneakers1; 08-08-2004 at 06:57 AM.

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