Each time I had an outbreak, which for me consisted of a very small cluster of blisters that lasted two or three days, I'd pretend I had a yeast infection and say I couldn't have sex until it was gone.
By the time I finished college in 1994, the possibility of spreading the virus even when you didn't have an outbreak had become more widely accepted by health care providers.
(At the time, many doctors and other health care providers believed this to be the case, although a number of research studies had already suggested otherwise.) So, I decided to keep quiet.
For three years, I had a boyfriend who never knew I had herpes.
Many people are unaware they have it, because they don't experience symptoms or because they attribute the symptoms to something else. Years later, I've come to the realization that he knew he had herpes, and that is the reason he stopped in the midst of our sexual adventure.
During an outbreak, blisters or sores appear on or around the genital area. The nurse taught me how to manage the virus, but managing my personal life was another story. Our friendship, unfortunately, ended as quickly as the act.
I was still uncomfortable about bringing up the subject, but now I didn't have much of a choice.
I didn't date for awhile, but inevitably, I met someone.
The stigma still persists, however, and this can make dating very challenging for people who have the herpes virus.
They become afraid that no one will want to be with them, or that they’ll spread their infection to their partner, or that they’ll never be able to have sex again.
I held off on sex for as long as I could, but it got more and more difficult.