Herpes Advocates: Nicole’s Story

Hi, my name is Nicole and I have always thought of myself as a good person. However, sometimes, life can throw you into a dark corner that you never even dreamed imaginable. My experience with HSV2 has been devastating. I am ashamed that I allowed this to happen to me and I turned around and infected someone who absolutely adores me, who is innocent and didn’t deserve this curse. Living with HSV2 is extremely taxing, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually – it unfortunately impacts every part of my life. I know what it feels like to feel good, confident and clean, no pain, no itching, because prior to being infected with HSV2, I felt this way. I believe a cure must be an option because I cannot imagine living like this for the rest of my life-I just cannot. I struggle at times with severe depression and anxiety. Antivirals only help in a small way, for me to manage outbreaks 50% of the time, if that. I have to take the antivirals daily, without fail, and especially around my menstrual cycle, which triggers outbreaks.

Years ago, when I first started having symptoms, I sought out clinics – two different medical clinics as I knew something was wrong with my body – down there. Both times, I was either given a prescription for a UTI or for a yeast infection. Even the medical professional didn’t think it was herpes or maybe they didn’t know that when there is viral shedding it can mimic the appearance of a yeast infection…I didn’t know that then, but now I sure do after 13 years of living with HSV-2.

Living with herpes is like having the joy & happiness taken away from the most precious & sacred moments; My husband and I are tentatively planning a wedding vow renewal and I am afraid to plan it as I don’t know ( I cannot say with confidence that I won’t have an outbreak at that time, how horrible would that be!) I have the beautiful dress, but I long for the security of knowing that I will be able to wear it confidently…also, it is extremely hard to see myself with pride as a woman, when I feel as though I wear a scarlet letter on my chest. It’s hard, very hard. I long for the days when I felt clean. 

HSV-2 is more than a virus, it steals your joy. It feels like a dark cloud of impending doom lurking, always lurking. How can anyone live a good life with this looming anxiety? The outbreaks are so painful – ulcers, pain, shame, guilt – the cycle does not end. I pray for a cure, for with a cure, there is hope.

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