Interviews like these give me hope for folks who are recently diagnosed with herpes. Although it took me years to get over the stigma and to realize that herpes doesn’t define me any more than the color of my hair defines me, I know it doesn’t have to take that long for others.
In the span of 2 months time, this interviewee moved past the initial shock and shame and came to the realization that even though herpes will impact her relationships, anyone who is truly interested in her will be able to look past her diagnosis. And that is brilliant. Not just because it’s how I wish everyone felt after a diagnosis, but because it didn’t take her long to get to that point.
So, if you’re reading this interview, and you’re not quite there yet yourself, this should be reassurance that you will be eventually too.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
3. What STD/STI do you have/have you had?
4. How long have you had or known you have an STD/STI?
5. Do you know how you contracted this STD/STI?
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD/STI?
When I found out I thought, that’s it. I will never be able to be with anyone again. I will never have anyone to hold me or show me human affection again…
I was very depressed and told no one, not even my best friends.
Recently, I came to the realization that if I have a caring relationship with someone, they should find me worth the trouble of dealing with herpes with me, and if they don’t, then at least I won’t be wasting time on a non-caring person. I realized that I wouldn’t stop seeing someone for that reason, so there must be some people like that.
It isn’t who I am, it is something I have, and I refuse to be defined by it.
7. Do the people who know you have an STD/STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
I have not told any of my friends. I am just coming to terms with it.
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STD/STI? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
I have zero symptoms, so nothing yet, but now that I have a boyfriend, I am going to the doctors to see all that I can do to reduce the chance of transmission.
9. Has having an STD/STI hindered past relationships?
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD/STI affected your partner?
He couldn’t have been kinder. He said I was way too wonderful to let that change things for him. We are going to work through it together.
I told him after about 5 dates, when I knew we were really interested in each other.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD/STI whom you did not tell you had an STD/STI?
No. That would go against everything I believe in.
I feel like, if I can’t trust someone enough to tell them, then I shouldn’t be sleeping with them (my own moral code, so I am not judging anyone else).
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD/STI?
It’s quite a bit harder to feel sexy. But I feel grateful for my life, and it could be so much worse. At least this condition will not kill me or debilitate me physically.
It has made me realize that I have been careless about a very important aspect in life. I have been pretty selective, but too trusting.
People often don’t know they have it, and I don’t know if I gave it to anyone. That thought makes me sad.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I think it is helpful to know we are not alone, or bad or anything. This is not who we are and doesn’t prevent us from being helpful purpose-driven people in this world… We still have so much to offer.
Can you relate to this interviewee? Did it help you to read someone else’s story? Have you experienced something similar or do you have some feedback to share with this individual? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
- Would you like to share your STD story?
- STI? What Now? Your Reference Guide
- How to Tell Someone
- Information About Herpes
- Posts about STD Stigma
- HSV2 Resources and Stories