Herpes and Other Blessings – September 18, 2014

Picture this.  You wake up one day and you have this discomfort “down below”.  You have no idea what it is, but you know it’s uncomfortable.  You try a few home remedies, thinking maybe it’s a heat rash, hemorrhoids, pimples, something…. You may or may not suspect what it is.  If you do, you have now found religion because you are praying for something that can be cured with penicillin.  You go to the doctor, they do their examination, take their swabs and send them off to the lab.  But you are feeling okay because you had a recent STD test and all was good. So, you’re okay, right? Well, the doctor calls you back in. They come in to the office and they say the words the change your life forever “You have herpes”.  Suddenly your brain goes numb and all you can hear is Charlie Brown’s teacher.  You don’t really hear much after “you have herpes”.  You leave in a daze.  Until you get home and the news sinks in.  Shit! I have HERPES.  And then the panic sets in.  What the hell does that mean? Am I now celibate for the rest of my life? Is this pretty much the end of my dating and sex life forever? The doctor probably gave you no information or incorrect information.  You have no clue what this means for your life and nowhere to turn.  It’s not like you’re going to call your best friend up “Hey, I have herpes and I’m scared”.  Not likely to happen. So, you’re alone, you’re scared and you’re trying to find some answers.  If you’re lucky, you went on the internet and found a good support group.  If not, you are left scouring You Tube and Google looking for answers and seeing pictures of the worst case of herpes known to man.

There is a stigma that goes with having genital herpes and yet few people know the facts.  Facts like 25% of the population has genital herpes.  Of those 25%, 80% don’t know they have it.  Genital herpes can be HSV I or II but is more commonly HSV II. However, if it was passed on by oral sex, it is HSV 1.  And, few people know that at least 80% of the population has HSV 1. Think of all the people you know.  How many have had cold sores on their face? And yes, if they give you oral sex, there is a chance they will pass herpes along to you.  The virus has been around since time and eternity. If you have had sex with 4 people, you have most likely have had sex with someone who has herpes, whether they know it or not.  And although condoms are a great idea, they are no guarantee.

But, here’s the deal.  Herpes has a good side to it as well and I am so grateful for it.  And I am not the only person to feel that way.  And here’s why.  Because I know I have herpes, I know my body.  I know when I am going to have an outbreak and I am able to take suppressive therapy.  I will have “The Talk” with a new partner and when we are talking about herpes we are also talking about other things so we each have a clearer idea of what we are getting in to.  I am not going to have “The Talk” with just anyone, so it gives me time to get to know someone first.  It makes for a great filter.  It also builds trust because the person I have The Talk with knows I care about their health and that  I have integrity and honesty.  They know if I will have The Talk, knowing they could reject me, then they can trust me to be honest about other things as well.  And I get to see what someone is like as well by their reaction.  Even if they decide they don’t want to take the risk, how they deal with my disclosure tells me a lot about their character.

Herpes does not need to be a bad thing.  In fact, like many things in life, it is what you decide it is going to be.  You can decide to be a victim or you can decide to use that experience to help build your character and to grow.  There are many resources out there.  If you or someone you know has herpes, the do not need to suffer alone.  A great start is Herpes Opportunity.  There is a great community of people there and many resources to draw from.  http://herpeslife.com.  I am also available as a coach if you need someone to talk to.  This diagnosis could be the beginning of an amazing journey.  It’s all up to you.  It can either define you or refine you.  Your choice.

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