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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 5:11 pm 

Joined: Mon May 14, 2007 2:44 pm
Posts: 3
I am older, over 50. I have had this thing for over 20 years. My first husband died. I remarried. The second one turned out to be a real jerk, emotional abuser, and I had to end it for the good of myself and my kids. Both of those husbands were told before intimacy about the problem.

I did not date for three years following the end of that marriage. I have always managed the herpes by just abstaining from sex when a leision was present. Neither of my husbands ever got it from me.

I have a sister with herpes, she has been married for 9 years and her husband does not know. I have another friend with herpes, she told her husband before they married but not befoe their first sexual encounter.

When I first got this thing the doctors told me I was safe as long as I abstained during a breakout. I did not keep up with current literature. I cannot take Valtrex, I have bad side effects. I rarely get breakouts anymore.

So what is my problem. I met a man. We dated. He is older than me by 14 years. We became intimate. I did not tell him. I had not had leisions in years. I did not think it was any longer a problem.

It flared up. I thought a leision was coming on so I told him there was something I had to tell him. I told him about it. I honestly did not believe I was putting him at risk due to what the doctors told me and my past experience.

We had been dating for 9 months. He broke it off in an email! He feels I lied to him through omission and that I put him at risk. This is a man who said he loved me and always told me how wonderful I was and how much he missed me when we were not together.

So how do you deal with this rejection? And at my age, there are not that many nice and available men around. I feel like I can never have a good relationship again.

And all this asymtomatic transmission stuff; if it is true, then how is it my husbands did not get it and my sisters husband does not have it, and my firends husband does not have it? And it seems that from reading here you are supposed to use some kind of thing if you have oral sex. So how then is it supposed to be enjoyable?

I got this from someone I had dated for about three years. He was adamant that he did not have it. However, we had oral sex and I remember he said I wish this sore on my mouth would go away. (He forgot about that too) Well it must have been a small sore, because I never noticed it. But within two weeks I had a little present.

Now I feel like I have the plague. If you have to tell someone you have this before you become intimate, or emotionally involved, they are just gong to run for the hills. I am not at all sure that my sister does not have the right idea. She told me she just did not want the stigma of it and that she enjoyed oral sex too much to have her partner examininig all the time.

What is being described here as a "normal" sex life is not in my opinion a normal sex life. I would like to know the source of the data about asymtomatic transmission. Are these people reporting to have gotten it from a symptom free partner certain that the partner was indeed symtom free? And could it be that these partners were not in tune with their own bodies enough to recognize that a flare up was coming on? You know what I mean, certain symtoms come before the actual leision. For myself, I need to know the source of the data. Can you help with this?

And have you guys read the answers to the question posted would you date someone with herpes. 99% of the replies were no. No wonder 60% of the people do not tell. I do not know what is best to do anymore. I need to see that research for myself.


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 1:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
I have no idea what poll you are talking about but I'm guessing it was answered by the youngin's who don't know much about herpes!! We've actually done similar polls over on the herpes homepage and it came up that 3 out of 4 folks who were told that that the person they were dating had genital herpes were accepting of it. I know many folks who have never been turned down because of their herpes. I myself have only been turned down once in 20 years of having hsv2. It isn't an issue for most folks so please do not believe what you read that said otherwise!!! Since 1 in 4 have hsv2 genitally - it's pretty darn hard to avoid dating someone who has it at some point in your lifetime!!!

20 years ago you probably were just told you had genital herpes and that was it. I encourage you to seek out additional testing to see if you have hsv1, hsv2 or both in your body. If you really got it from oral sex from someone with a cold sore then you would have hsv1 genitally and not hsv2 and type really does matter!!! You can't make informed decisions about precautions with a partner until you know who has what type.

Yes asymptomatic shedding really does exist. The old adage of just avoid sex during obvious symptoms and you'll be fine doesn't apply. Studies have found that you shed the same amount of virus each year whether you've had 1 ob or 10 ob's that year ( after the first year of infection - that first year you shed a lot ). That all said - if you have hsv2 you are on average only shedding 45 days total out of the year - it's not a 24/7/365 kind of deal. If you have hsv1 genitally you are shedding even less than that - less than 10 days/year.

You are right on in that it's not that folks aren't having symptoms of herpes infections and are completely asymptomatic - it's that they aren't recognizing the signs of recurrences. Most folks think that if you had genital herpes you'd know it in a heartbeat and have frequently reocurring, painful and obvious blisters to let you know that you are infected. The reality is more likely to be just redness and itching as a sign of a recurrence though even medical professionals unfortunately miss the signs of herpes and misdiagnose it as other causes :( One study found that in folks who tested + for hsv2 on the blood tests but SWORE that they had never had a symptom of genital herpes - with education 80% of them were able to start recognizing the signs of recurrences. so it's not that folks are being incredibly lucky and not having symptoms - it's that they just aren't recognizing them as such.

So if you do have hsv2 genitally - just avoiding sex during obvious ob's makes your male hsv2 negative partner about 96% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from you. If you take daily suppressive therapy his risk would be cut in half. Along with proper condom use and he is about 99% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from you. Pretty reasonable odds for most folks. It's always a good idea for a potential partner to get a type specific herpes igg blood test prior to becoming intimate to know their baseline status and go from there. A lack of symptoms doesn't mean a lack of infections so accepting their word for it isn't good enough. If it turns out that indeed you do have hsv1 genitally then if your partner tests + for hsv1 ( at your age about 60% of adults have hsv1 orally whether they know it or not - most folks don't get obvious cold sores ) then the risk of transmitting hsv1 to their genitals is too low to even worry about - but of course avoid sex during obvious symptoms to err on the side of caution.

I found out the hard way that it's best to talk about my herpes before I am intimate with someone ( didn't do it once and I"ll never, ever, ever do it again ). They respect the honesty and concern for them even though the risk of contracting it is so low. I'm guessing that the man you didn't tell until after you had been intimate with is hurting as much from that you didn't care enough to talk about it before hand and give him a choice whether to take the small risk or not more so than he is from the fact that you have genital herpes. To me it's about respect for the person you are attracted to. Also in general folks over the age of 50 aren't very educated about std's and don't know how to protect themselves from them :( I'm sure he's very fearful when he hears herpes and other std's out of a lack of knowledge. I don't know if you can ever salvage your relationship with him but you can try apologizing until you are blue in the face - be honest with him that the info you had was very outdated and you've since learned that. You can try forwarding him the link to asha and the herpes handbook ( www.westoverheights.com ) so he can learn more. Not sure any of it will work but if you want to try to work on rebuilding the trust in your relationship with him it's a place to start.

as for your other friends who don't tell - they are just needlessly setting themselves up for heartache too. It's much easier to talk about it from the gitgo then to bring it up later on. Our partner deserve our respect - if we aren't giving it to them they have no reason to give it to us.

feel free to ask any other questions you have and we'll try to give you a hand with them.

betsy


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 3:13 pm 

Joined: Mon May 14, 2007 2:44 pm
Posts: 3
I am sure that he does feel hurt that I did not tell him in the beginning. He also did not ask me. I honestly did not feel I was putting him at risk because of what I had been told and the history of neither husband getting it over a total of 16 years of marriage. I knew nothing about asymtomatic transmission.

I guess I just got rusty on how to handle it on the dating scene. I have been re-educated. Not even sure I want to date anymore.

For several years it was not even clear that I had it. The doctor was not able to diagnose, it was inconclusive. Then he died and I got a new ob/gyn. He did a culture. He verified that I did have it but did not tell me the type. I could be that the type is in my records. I will call that office and find out. If not, then I guess I do need to be re-tested. I have so few outbreaks now it may be hard to get a culture.

Back to asymtomatic transmission - are you saying that there is absolutely no symtom at all present during asymtomatic shedding? No strange sensations, nothing? That being the case, I guess I just may as well put a healthy sex life behind me. At least sex as I have known it to be. The thought of dental ditches and constant condoms is very unappealling.

It is not that I did not care about him, I thought I was handling it safely. I know now after reading all this stuff that I should have told him and let him participate in the decsion making as to how to handle things. Sort of had my head buried in the sand.

Now he is like totally gone and there is nothing I can do. It does not do any good to be sorry, applogize, express remorse, explain, etc. If he had asked me, I would have told him. If I had an ob sooner, I would have told him. And there is a part of me that wants to say he is at least half responsible for us not having a talk and not using protection.

So now that hearts are broken, how does one proceed to put ones life back together? And how does one accept that from now forward the only sex one can have is through plastic whether married or single, oral or vaginal? And if it is unappealing to me, how is it apealling to a potential partner? I am having a really hard time with this.


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 6:44 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
You just need to put it in perspective - you have 320 days of absolutely no risk at all of transmitting the virus to your partner!!! That's certainly more than enough worry free days to keep you from throwing in the towel just because of herpes ( I'd throw it in because men are well you know - men - long before I threw it in because of herpes!!!! ). Let's look at it just from the standpoint of avoiding sex during obvious symptoms - 96% likely NOT to contract hsv2 from you each year. Very reasonable odds with very little effort right there ( not much different from how many times a year we have to tell our partners if they even think about touching us tonight we'll throttle them right? he he he ). can you be sure he'll be 96% likely to pick up his socks and do his own laundry? Sure that's not contagious but it's just as annoying if you ask me as having reocurring lesions in my genital area!!! and if you go on daily suppressive therapy you are taking it down to about 10-15 days out of the year that you are contagious on average!!! What are the chances that you'll have sex on one of those dozen or so days of the year when the virus is active and you don't have an obvious ob to know you need to avoid sex? very slim honey. You don't even have to use condoms unless you want to - the difference in transmission isn't that huge by using them - but of course be sure there aren't any other std's in the picture to worry about.

Don't let herpes be the reason you are sitting at home at night ( let me introduce you to my mom - she's one step away from being a crazy cat lady - 16+ years without a date is taking it's toll on her trust me!!!! ). Yes it can seem rather overwhelming until you break it down and realize that it's really not the issue it sounds like it could be. You are not a walking biohazzard by no means and your partner is always far, far, FAR more likely NOT to contract your herpes than he is to contract it. It wasn' t a big issue in your life before this - no reason to let the IDEA of herpes bring you down now.

betsy


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 6:57 pm 

Joined: Mon May 14, 2007 2:44 pm
Posts: 3
Thank you for the encouragement. It took me three years to date again and then another 6 months to tear down my brick wall. I am just discouraged right now. Ellligible nice men are few and far between for a woman with a little age on her. Plus I work all the time and have two teenagers.

Probably do need to put it into perspective. I guess if this is a deal breaker, even after I have explained everthing, then perhaps there would have been something else down the road that would have done it. I think for him it was a trust issue. Then again, he is very prevention oriented as far as health is concerned.

At least now I am reoriented as to how to handle things. Had not dated in quite a long time and had not had sex outside of marriage since 1986. Sort of out of sinc with the correct protocol. This is a hard lesson, but I am going to have to find a way to move on with my life.


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