Last week, I was reminded of a reality – I will at some point get infected with HSV2. For some of you, this may seem like a pessimistic view, but being married to someone who is infected with HSV2, I know it is only a matter of time.
Last week was a flurry of testing – nine months after the initial round that led to the diagnosis of G. Last time, it was stressful – it was life changing – it was full of a lot of re-examination. This time, it was stressful – but it was what it was. I have accepted that it is a matter of time before the results are positive for me. And I’m okay with that.
Last time, I was a scared person in the doctor’s office. I was treated with kid gloves. I was reassured constantly. This time, I was educating the staff – and left feeling like it was time to find a new doctor. This time I got and gave lectures.
They tell you after a diagnosis that the #1 issue they watch for in someone with HSV2 is depression. Having to tell partners of the news and react to the stigma is hard to bear. Life changes – significantly – and you have an infection that people react to as though it is HIV or the like. A friend wrote about his own HSV1 like this – HSV1 is the classy one to get while HSV2 is like its frat brother counterpart. HSV1 is from chaste kissing – people have it and deal with it all of the time without judgement. HSV2 is careless, it’s dirty, it’s caught by risky people who don’t use condoms.
The reality, of course, is that they are the same infection – the same risk – the same treatments. Yet, the location of the outbreaks is different – one the mouth, the other the genital area. The total prevention of contracting the infection is the same – avoidance of the area entirely. Condoms are interesting, but not a sure thing as virus shedding occurs around the genitals as well as on them. A fact I had to remind my doctor and her staff last week.
And as I was telling them this, I realized she was not going to get it my situation now or in the future. I realized that I could not explain to her why, in my situation, condom use would not be 100%. I could not have the conversation how condoms were killing our sex life – how they represented the infection – how that little foil package became a barrier to our intimacy despite our dependence on it before we had kids. I could not explain how throwing it away – how accepting the when had brought us back together – had reignited what we were losing by constantly being reminded of that disease through that little foil package.
So, in the end, I demonstrated via my lecture that I was not some idiot who was living with her eyes shut – then made note it was time not to come back. It was time to find someone who would understand the situation, understand the open relationships my husband and I have, understand those were not going to change, and, ideally, understand I am kinky and may see her with bruises on my body.
Because I am not freaked out at the idea that I will test positive at some point. I hate the idea of daily medication to keep it in check, but that is all I hate if truth be told. Well, I hate the stigma too….but that’s why I write about it, to hopefully get people to understand it IS just a stigma.