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1726082 tn?1309929142

Recently diagnosed with HSV 1 genitally

To be honest, i'm not quite sure what my question is. I was diagnosed with HSV 1 genitally 2 months ago and it pretty much turned my world upside down. I thought that my boyfriend at the time had given it to me as i had my first outbreak 5 days after we had sex, however he was tested (via bloodtest in NB) a month later and it came back negative. So now i'm confused as i have no idea who gave it to me or how long i've had it. I try to be careful and always get an STD screen before starting a new relationship but in NS they don't test for Herpes unless you have an outbreak which i think is stupid considering how many infected people are asymptomatic. My point is that because it's not tested for here and so many people have no symptoms the chances of me finding out who gave it to me are next to nil.

I had a boyfriend that cheated on me numerous times so i thought perhaps he could have been the one considering he had unprotected sex with so many women while with me but he refuses to get tested (he's the only one i've been with in the past 4 years that lives outside of NS and can be tested). About a year ago i dated a guy who loved performing oral sex on me, about 4 months after we broke up i noticed he had a cold sore, but he never had one the entire time we were dating, so i don't know if he could have given it to me when he had no symptoms or if it's more likely that i got it from intercourse.

I've been having a hard time finding consistant information about this disease and what it means for me. My doctor just kind of brushed it off saying it's a "nuisance disease" and not really harmful, but i can tell you that mentally it is vey harmful to me and i've contemplated suicide a couple times since finding out. In my head i feel like no one will ever want me again and that at 30yrs old i will be single and sexless for the rest of my life and i'm terrified of that feeling. I've watched people treat me like a leper when they find out about my disease and it hurts so much (emotionally).

I'm not a bad person, i'm not promiscious or dirty but i feel like that's how others see me now and i've lost all my self esteem and self worth. I want to know who infected me and don't know how to deal with the fact that i may never find out. I want to know if it is most likely that i got it from oral sex or if it could have been from vaginal sex. I want to know why i just now had my first outbreak (in May 2011) when i hadn't been with the boyfriend that had cold sores for 6 months (nov 2010).

Every guy i've slept with i've also kissed and performed oral sex on but i have never gotten a cold sore from it, so why is it that i got it genitally only (not that i want to have it in both places - i'm just curious why it chose that place to take up residence).

I just want help understanding this disease and what it means for the rest of my life. Can i still have sex, can i still have children (as it's hard to get pregnant while using a condom to prevent transmission). If no one i've ever had sex with has ever shown any signs of Herpes but still infected me how do i know when i'm most contagious? Even my doctor didn't think i had herpes when she first tested me because i just had a few small bumps that she said looked like razor burn. So now how do i know if (when i get bumps) it's an outbreak or razor burn or a pimple or ingrown hair as my outbreak didn't even look like herpes to begin with. She only tested me because i had swollen lymph nodes as well.

I realize this is a lot of questions and i apologize. I'm just so overwhelmed right now and feel so alone and scared and don't know where to turn. Any advice or help you can offer would be very greatly appreciated. Thank you.
25 Responses
1174003 tn?1308164419
The first piece of advice I want to give you is to take a breath.  

Now on to your questions.  The big thing I see you repeating is who gave it to you.  The question I have for you is will it change anything?  The answer is no.  You will still have HSV-1 and you will still be yourself.  For example if you know who gave it to you will they be able to take it back?  No.  You have it.  So the best thing for now is to get over that and focus on well yourself.  

You aren't "dirty" it isn't like you have some big black mark against you.  The fact is you could have gotten herpes from any oral / genital encounter.  Though chances are more that it was an oral encounter in which you were infected.  I am assuming that by your message your doctor did a test on the bumps and that is what came back positive and typed as HSV-1?  You won't know and you aren't going to find out which person gave it to you.  Could have been anyone of them.  

Being this way you need to look for a professional counselor to help you achieve getting over the fact you won't know.  This isn't worth killing yourself and if you feel that need please get some help.  I am sure your local area has some services avaiable to treet you.  I am not familure with your acroymns NS and NB so I don't know where you are coming from.  

Lets get to the basics of this diesase.  HSV is a cowards virus.  Like your doctor said the virus isn't harmful just annoying.  Its a skin condition is a way to think of it.  HSV-1 genitally is less reoccuring in people (in some it doesn't even reoccur) and it has less asymptomatic shedding (shedding of the virus with no symptoms present).  So the good news is that really your precautions are just to avoid sexual contact anytime you have something genitally going on.  

You can get pregnant and have children naturally.  If you have an outbreak during delievery they will do a c-section to avoid transmission possibilities.  You and your partner can work on the precuations you want to take.  As I said the fact it reoccurs less often and doesn't shed as often as HSV-2 in the same area makes it less likely you will have transmission.  But your partner should be aware of it.  

Your outbreaks may look similar to what you had.  The best thing to do is see your provider when you have something going on to be tested for herpes and that way you will learn what the outbreaks look like.  

Finding a partner who will accept you is all about the person sadly.  There is no easy way to tell people you have herpes.  Though you should put it in context.  About half the population has HSV-1 orally that we got as kids.  If your partner has HSV-1 as well they are unlikely to get HSV-1 in a new location as they have antibodies to fight the infection off.  Though you can still get HSV-2.  

Read over the free herpes handbook at www.westoverheights.com.  It is a great resource and keep asking us questions!
1726082 tn?1309929142
Thank you for your reply and advice, i greatly appreciate it and am feeling better. Some days i feel calm and somewhat at peace with the situation and other days i can be really depressed. In answer to your question - i think the reason i want to know who gave it to me is because i don't think they realize they have it or if they do, they never bothered to tell me, so i want to know who it was so that i can tell them and hopefully they would take precautions against infecting someone else.

I'm trying to look at this disease as a skin condition as you suggested. The truth is a know a few people with HSV 1 orally - infact both my parents have it as do some of my friends. Unfortunately it doesn't stop some of them from treating me like i've got the plague which is really frustrating because it's the exact same disease just in a different location, but oh well - i can only control my own thoughts and feelings.

Oh yeah those acronyms are NS (Nova Scotia) and NB (New Brunswick). And yes you are correct that my doctor tested the bumps, but even she was surprised by the positive result because it didn't look like any herpes case she's ever seen - yay me, i always have to be different, lol.

Anyways i do feel better after reading your reply and i'm going to try to keep a positive attitude about all this. As far as my future relationships go - if someone can't love me inspite of this disease then i guess they're not really worth it anyways :)  I'll check out that website you mentionned as well. Thanks again :)
1 Comments
Hi CursedGirl. I stumbled upon your comment after myself being diagnosed in a very similar way. With the tear and then positive for HSV1. I also had a very tough times coming to terms with it, especially during the outbreak (which is still happening actually), but I am feeling much better reading other people's experiences with type 1. Could I please ask you to share how you have been in the last few years? Did you choose to do suppressive therapy? How many outbreaks have you had? Were you in a relationship? Did you transmit the virus?
101028 tn?1419606604
unfortunately even the best blood tests still miss 1 out of every 10 hsv1 infections. odds are the partner you were with when you had your first ob 2 months ago really is infected and it just isn't being reflected on his blood testing he had done. if you never had symptoms previously, odds are it was a newly acquired infection for you and not just a recurrence from a prior partner.

Hsv1 genitally on average  is only active less than a dozen days out of the year. Since at your age, 1 out of every 2-3 people has hsv1 orally , odds are that any partner you find, is going to have it whether they know it or not. If they have it orally, they are incredibly unlikely to contract it genitally from you. Even if they don't have it before meeting you, odds are they aren't going to contract it from you either. Recurrences will also most likely be few and far between so there shouldn't be many disruptions to your sex life either.

In time, it will get easier to talk about your genital herpes with potential partners. it's all still new and fresh and not easy at this point. Always remember to talk about all std's with potential partners, not just the hsv1 you know you have.

keep asking questions :)

grace
1726082 tn?1309929142
I have a few more questions and was wondering if either of you might be able to answer them. First of all the boyfriend i was with when i first tested positive has since left me after months of no sex as he refused to touch me. He's still adamant that he doesn't have it because he tested negative and refuses to believe that there is such a thing as a false negative so i have simply learned to let it go - i have no control over anyone's thoughts or feelings and refuse to fight over it.

So i guess my question is this, on the off chance that it really wasn't him and i caught it from someone else before him, it is possible to have a first outbreak months after catching it? Can a trauma to the area bring about an outbreak? See when i had sex with him, he was quite rough and i tore quite badly - that was actually why i went to the doctor's in the first place because i had such a severe tear, it was shortly after receiving the tear that the little bumps appeared.

Also, i know it is possible to have HSV 1 orally and genitally at the same time, although somewhat rare, any idea what causes a person to have it in two different areas? Would they have been likely to have caught it in both places at the same time or seperate transmissions over years?

I read that having HSV 1 orally is supposed to help reduce the chance of catching it genitally but yet it still happens. It was mentionned that most people are exposed to HSV 1 orally as children and it made me start to wonder. Both my parents have HSV 1 orally - my dad had it first and passed it to my mother before they were married, so it seems as though i should have been exposed to it through them as a child as they would have kissed me goodnight most nights as an infant.

So then i started questionning how accurate the swab test is - i know it's more accurate than blood tests in determining where the HSV is located, but i was wondering if you could test positive for it anywhere you are tested for it in your body. For example if they did a blood test on my arm - that should show up positive because it's in my blood, even though it's not from the actual infection site. So is it possible that when they tested the little bumps (that my doctor was sure was not Herpes before they were tested) they could have simply been little bumps due to trauma or irritation and that they tested positive for Herpes simply because by scraping quite a bit in order to get the bumps to bleed so she could test them - it showed up in my blood? Sorry if that doesn't make sense, i keep trying to reword it but i can't seem to get my words to work :(

I've never had a cold sore in my life, but from time to time my lips will burn and i'll get a tingly sensation on my upper lip that might last for a day if that and then go away - i had that long before i ever tested positive for HSV 1 genitally. Is it possible that i already had it orally and it's just asymptomatic and that when i tested positive it simply showed that i have it in my system but it's not necessarily genital or am i grasping at straws and more likely have it in both places, just one has symptoms and the other doesn't?

It's just that if it wasn't the most recent boyfriend and was in fact the one i know for sure who has HSV 1 orally that i dated almost a year ago - why would i have caught it genitally and not orally? Isn't it easier to catch one or the other type in the area they are more common too - HSV 1 on the mouth, HSV 2 on the genitals? And for that reason, if i was to have unprotected sex, not that i plan on doing so, but if i did would i be more likely to spread HSV 1 to a partners genitals or to their mouth (if they performed oral) due to the fact that HSV 1 prefers residing in the mouth area.

I don't mean to keep bothering you with so many questions, it's just that i find getting answers isn't always easy and my doctor just kind of brsuhes it off cause it's just Herpes, no big deal - easy for her to say cause she doesn't have it, lol.  Over the months since i tested positive i have found moments of peace and acceptance and other times it causes me a great deal of stress - hence the reason i keep asking questions as it makes it easier for me to understand and find peace again. Thank you both for all your help thus far - it's means a great deal to me :)
Avatar universal
"It's just that if it wasn't the most recent boyfriend and was in fact the one i know for sure who has HSV 1 orally that i dated almost a year ago - why would i have caught it genitally and not orally? Isn't it easier to catch one or the other type in the area they are more common too - HSV 1 on the mouth, HSV 2 on the genitals? And for that reason, if i was to have unprotected sex, not that i plan on doing so, but if i did would i be more likely to spread HSV 1 to a partners genitals or to their mouth (if they performed oral) due to the fact that HSV 1 prefers residing in the mouth area."  GREAT QUESTION!

"my doctor just kind of brsuhes it off cause it's just Herpes, no big deal - easy for her to say cause she doesn't have it, lol" - HOW DO YOU KNOW, LOL!
897535 tn?1295210035
I have had genital HSV1 for about 3 years now (or, is it 4??). So, I understand some of what you're feeling (although, any of the feelings are way in the past). I remember crying when I found out in the doctor's office, of course right away thinking "oh my god herpes", but fortunately that lasted shorter than the length of my outbreak. Once I became educated, and realized I was no different a person with herpes than I was without, moving on was pretty easy.

Sounds like you're struggling a lot with something you may never have the answers to. In the end, you know you have genital HSV1, and the healthiest thing you could do for yourself is try to move forward from the who gave it to you and when and why and all of those things that clearly are causing great distress for you. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's frustrating not knowing, but if it's impacting your life like this, consider working with someone to overcome it. Wouldn't it feel great to NOT have this herpes burden on your mind? You can get there, but it may just take time and finding a good counselor to do so.

A couple quick answers: blood pumps throughout our body. Where it's drawn from makes no difference. Your swab/culture was positive, that's what matters. I've never had a cold sore either; my infection was a primary one on my genitals. Could I have got it orally at the same time? Possibly. But I don't worry about it, there'd be no point. But to answer your question, folks may get it both places because usually during a sexual encounter you kiss in addition to (in this case) having oral sex.

As to HSV1 orally and HSV2 genitally, well yes statistically that's usually how the two go. About 1/3 of all new genital herpes cases are HSV1 though, no doubt due to oral sex. As to your question, Dr. H explains that stats here:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/STDs/HSV1-Questions/show/1393887

And another good post:
http://www.medhelp.org/posts/STDs/Recently-diagnosed-with-Genital-Herpes-HSV1/show/969931

Fortunately most folks my age (46) already have it, so it's been a non-issue with dating over the past couple of years. Relationships are tough to come by, herpes is easy compared to the other stuff you have to work through to find the right partner in life.
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