We’re going to get through the scientific side of this first and then talk about some things that will be crucial to your knowledge about HSV or what most people call Herpes.
PLEASE WATCH FIRST
There are two types of Herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2:
HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus 1) is often oral herpes (cold sores on the mouth), but can cause genital herpes. We’ll discuss transmission in a moment. HSV-1 is by far the most common. The difference in one of the most recent studies shows that HSV-1 was at 47.8 percent compared to HSV-2 at 11.9 percent. Both types of the virus are on the decline which is a great indication that treatment and awareness are working.
HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus 2) is much less common but still affects an estimated 11.9 percent of the world’s population from the age of 15 to 49. Infection rates for HSV-1 and HSV-2 vary significantly from country to country, although HSV-1 infection rates are consistently high worldwide.
Here are some quick Data Points: Unfortunately a lot of this data is outdated.
Africa is said to have the highest percentage of HSV-2 positive population at 32% compared to the world’s average of 11.9% (2014)
53.9% of the US population has HSV-1 (2005-2010) and 15.7% have HSV-2
The infection rate of HSV-2 in 14-19 year olds has declined from 55% in 2004 to 39% in 2010
It is estimated that up to 88% of homeless women suffer from HSV-2
33% of children in lower income homes, show signs of HSV-1 by Age 5
The average age of first symptoms for either virus (affected from birth) is 6 Years Old.
Until recently, there hasn’t been much hope for a cure, only a way to maintain and control outbreaks. There has been a cure discovered through testing on animals. They are hoping to move to human trials soon!
Now let’s move past the data and on to things that are important to you. Symptoms, Testing, Treatment, and Learning How To Live With HSV.
The most common symptoms according to the CDC are:
Blisters or Sores in or around the mouth, genitals, and/or anus
Painful Urination (HSV-2)
Rare possibility is Herpes Keratitis. This is an infection of the eye.
These symptoms include:
Feeling of sand or grit in your eye
Less Common Symptoms include:
Lymph Node Abnormalities
Lack of Appetite
(Those symptoms alone aren’t indicators. Don’t WebMD this and think if you’ve got a headache that you have HSV.)
Don’t forget Herpetic Whitlow. This is an infection of the fingers. This can happen by touching someone with HSV directly on a sore with a finger that has an open sore.
The CDC doesn’t recommend testing for asymptomatic people, I personally disagree. Asymptomatic people can still spread the virus.
Most STI panels DO NOT test for HSV. STI Panels focus more on things that can have serious complications and consequences if they are not treated. You should request this test when you go get tested. Unfortunately, the medical field sees the shame and stigma that comes with having the virus worse than actually having the virus.
There are super rare cases where herpes can develop or cause meningitis which can result in death due to the infection.
There are three types of tests:
Oral swab – Tested by using a swab on a sore that could be herpes. Quick and easy.
Blood Test – If there is a chance you have come into contact with someone with HSV but are not displaying symptoms, a blood test will be necessary. Pretty painless, but much more effective than an oral swab.
Spinal Tap – This is used in the case where meningitis is a possible diagnosis.
Test results come out normal/negative or abnormal/positive. Scary as it is, a normal/negative test DOES NOT mean you do not have HSV. It means that you don’t have enough of the virus in your blood to be detectable. If you experience the HSV symptoms, get retested ASAP.
Positive results speak for themselves. If you test positive and have no sores, it means you are asymptomatic and should get in contact with previous partners.
Any result should be retested in the future. False results do happen. If you were told by someone to get tested and it’s negative, get retested. If you have a positive result, even if it may be a false positive, notify your previous partners from your first or your last negative test result.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are both lifelong infections without any known cure. However, a variety of safe, affordable and highly effective medications are available to treat both types of the virus.
The three medical treatments used by a doctor are:
Those medications may be in pill, cream, or (In rare cases) injection form. As embarrassing as it may feel, if you’re not on a medical treatment, please consult your doctor. It takes medical interventions, sorry to all my “natural remedy” folks. No plant keeps the herpes suppressed. These medications are not a cure. They do offer a chance to have less intense and less frequent outbreaks. More importantly they reduce the risk of transmitting sharply.
As for learning how to live with the virus, I am not consulting medical websites. Those places are often out of touch with reality and what it’s like.
I instead will be putting the advice from the 100 participants in the HSV Sample I did. There will be a link at the end if you want the raw data. I feel like hearing from people that live through this every day, getting resources put right here for you, and understanding that life isn’t over will be the most important things to take from this whole article.
I can’t speak from my own personal experience with the virus, I can only share the medical facts, and the lessons from others who have walked this path before you. If you’re recently diagnosed or scared you may have contracted HSV, take all of these in and take a breath, it’s going to be alright I promise.
See a therapist
Why are you struggling given that it’s such an extremely minor and inconsequential thing?
Your life will change less than you expect. If you’re a woman, men really don’t seem to care.
It gets better, I think. Also healthy living might kick the OBs out completely
You’re not alone.
You are not gross or dirty. Things happen. Make the best of it.
It will probably feel panicky for a year or two, but once you attack your internal stigmas you will feel more solid in the world and deal with it like any other annoying problem.
Life never stops. I still have goals and dreams that I want to achieve. Doing suppressant therapy might cause some depression aside the fact that they might have depression and anxiety. This pill will make you tired and it makes you want to sleep more. Stress, amount of sleep, chocolate and alcohol are the biggest factors that people should consider. Lysine is good for cold sores (HSV1). I am HSV2 positive.
It’s hard, but only as hard as you make it on yourself. Find a support network, a trusted friend. I’ve found there are people in my life I had no idea had it, or they’ve disclosed a different chronic sti they struggle with. Not everyone is going to be understanding. I wasn’t before I was diagnosed and dove into the depths of resources.
Realize that this isn’t something that is life ending, and that it doesn’t make you gross or dirty. Things happen, and learning to accept it and value even this part of yourself is important.
Learn about your body and what helps or hurts/stresses it. Be open with others, most have it and you are not alone…billions have this!
It’s not the end of the world. Learn to listen to your body, take care of yourself, and know that someone will want to be with you regardless.
It’s important to find people to talk to about it!
It gets better. It truly does. People don’t care, they want to be educated. Sex life can be incredible still, you will find love, you will have successful pregnancies and birth if you choose that. The only difference between me, and anyone living without it, is I have to have a serious talk with people from the jump. EVERYONE I have ever told, was appreciative, wanted to be educated, and 99.9 percent still wanted to be with me and progress the relationship. People appreciate the realness, the more you educate the more the stigma dies. You will encounter someone either with it, or someone who has been with someone who has it. It’s common, and you can have a successful happy life if you allow that, and you love yourself.
i’ve seen people say it gets easier. i’m still new, only a month in and i’m lowkey clinging to the idea that it’s a false positive (still remaining abstinent in case it isn’t). it’s just something you have to deal with. many many many people have it and you just don’t know. i worked with my coworker for two years before finding out he also has it. he’s had it since 2015 and has had 3 outbreaks the entire time. people have it, they just don’t shout it from the rooftops. all will be okay my friends 💕
Take one day at a time and to find a great set people who will support and encourage you. I am still struggling myself. It is not easy and it is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about it. However, I try to think life could be worse and I am blessed to still be alive and well.
Join advocacy groups
Be honest about it. Lying is easy short-term but you can’t build a lasting relationship that way.
Love your life honestly. Try your hardest to live safely and not pass it on but don’t let it stand in your way.
You are everything you were before!
It is hard to coupe with the idea to live with this diseases for the rest of your life, but you have the choice to do something positive out of it. There are millions of people with this virus, and the best way to help yourself and other is by advocating for a cure. We are closer than ever before for a cure. Become active by donating to the researcher who are investigating trying to develop the cure. If you can not donate, help others by sharing helpful information. No matter what you do for the cause little or small, every way of contribution helps.
It gets easier
You are more than your diagnosis.
There will be a cure in the future
Ir gets easier as you go. Open up to people in the community, help end the stigma and learn to love yourself again from scratch. It’s scary but it will be amazing! Everything will be okay!
It helps to tell 1 or 2 people close to you to have for support.
This isn’t going to ruin your life. It’s easily managed with meds and most people don’t care that you have it.
Hang in there. Find new meaning
HSV doesn’t define you. Be happy. Be thankful for what you have. Your life isn’t over.
Its only a virus! We deal with hundreds maybe even thousands of viruses a day. Its okay.
At the moment, just be with yourself, there are many people living with this and that doesn’t stop them so it shouldn’t stop you.
Think of this like getting your heart broken you are a wreck for the first few months and it replays in your mind constantly then one day you wake up and it doesnt hurt so much anymore then as time passes you forget the pain of it and realize everything happens for a reason good or bad ut your still you just with another bag on your cart
It doesn’t discriminate. Everyone has it and either doesn’t know or doesn’t present symptoms.
It’s not the end of the world! Think of it as a great way to know your body and it’s limits. Stress is a trigger for most people – so be gentle on yourself. Invest in eating better, sleeping more, exercising regularly and reduce alcohol and tobacco consumption as a means to prevent flare ups. And be honest with people about having it (when appropriate), you’ll be surprised by how many others have felt shame and not spoken out.
It gets a little easier with time.
That we will find someone out there ! We need to advocate for ourselves and that we deserve love just as the next person.
Participate in supporting the race for a cure at https://www.reddit.com/r/HerpesCureResearch/
It takes time to come to terms with , and you will certainly find someone willing to look past it.
Talk to yourself as if you’re someone you love who contracted HSV. Take your medication. Follow forums (Tik tok) of people who have the same condition
Give it time. Don’t beat yourself up.
Take time. BE kind to yourself. It can be difficult but (sex/relationship) life isn’t over. There is hope.
In daily life, don’t sweat it too much: if you feel insecure about it (and trust me, I do) you’ll be the only one knowing about that together with the people you decide to talk to about it. We’re not identified by our pathologies and, fortunately, hsv doesn’t give us a tag on our forehead to make it noticeable In sexual life, I’m still struggling for now so I have no specific advice other than try to start opening up to people you most feel comfortable with and respect any decision they might make. It’s their choice too.
Hang in there, scientists are working for a cure and one day we will be free.
It doesn’t take away from what you have to offer as a human. It should be treated like any other autoimmune disorder. The people in your life who care about you will not actually care that you have it. Be proactive about outbreaks, take care of yourself, and take pride in who you are. This virus does not define anyone.
YOUR LIFE IS NOT OVER. YOU ARE WORTHY. Take care of yourself and do your research!
Join in the activism for a cure, it’s the only way we can be totally free from it one day, search for herpes cure research on facebook and reddit
Do what you can to alleviate the symptoms and lower your viral load, practice disclosing frequently and try to remember that having HSV does not make you any less valuable, attractive or viable a candidate for love and affection and connection with others. Yes, it’s a condition you have to manage and be forthcoming about, but so are countless other things people have. Love yourself, reduce the risks however you can, keep an open dialogue with any potential partners about how you are doing your part to keep things safe, and then let other people make their own health decisions and risk assessments once they are informed.
It gets better, in some ways it makes your life better. You are more selective of partners, etc.
It gets better
Most people have it. If someone isnt willing to be with you because of it I dont think I’d want to be with them either. I want to be with someone who is understanding and who is willing to learn/not judge someone off a stigma.
Just know its not the end and don’t stress out too much about it. live your life normally. One day they will find a cure.
Find a like minded community, stay hopeful and get on the suppressives
Try to stay optimistic
Take it day by day
It gets better
Relax. Breathe deep. Exhale. Repeat. HSV is so commonplace. It’s extremely treatable and relatively easy to live with. It is not fatal or a death sentence. Stay aware. Be cautious. Take care of yourself. Be willing to be open with people, even at the risk of other people judging you. The more honest you are, the better for everyone. Don’t hide your status from potential partners. Relax. Breathe deep. Exhale. Repeat. You can and will endure and thrive.
We will get through it, focus on other things in life and learn to love yourself, it can happen to anyone, unfortunately it happened to us but life goes on and the future is unexpected dont lose hope on life
Get a therapist and join a support group
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. Ask your doctor to talk to you about it, buy books, read online articles, listen to podcasts. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more confident you start to feel about what’s going on with your body and the stigmas attached to hsv.
Seriously do not care about the stigma. I’m 19, have a lot of friends, a great boyfriend, I take care of myself. You’ll find someone who doesn’t care about a skin disease and they’ll treat you the way you should be treated. Also if you’re looking for an excuse to be healthy here’s your reason.
Try not to think about it. Get enough sleep and take extra good care of yourself
All of those are real quotes from people who are going through this! You are not alone. I found 100 people in a few days.
A few more resources to look at that know even more than I do on the subject:
Kinkslayer HSV Sample Study – HSV+ Questions (Responses)
I want to thank the Reddit and Kinkslayer Community for contributing and making all of this possible!
Until Next Time,
Peace Out sub Scouts