i’m 19. i just got diagnosed with genital herpes after a summer of heartbreak and sadness. is there anything you can say/provide to put things in perspective? you seem wise and calming.

Literally every human on earth has Herpes. It’s a retrovirus that built itself into your DNA eons ago.

Really, genital herpes is precisely the same as cold sores, chicken pox, and shingles. In actuality, certain viruses and the like can cause the Herpes retrovirus to unfold from inside the human genome and result in sores in specific areas.

It isn’t a scarlet mark against you. It is simply a medical condition that you can treat and manage.

Genital herpes tends to erupt if the immune system is weak – in times of other illness, stress, and exhaustion. Do your best to keep your immune system healthy. There are wonderful medications now that very effectively suppress the herpes simplex to prevent discomfort. I recommend that you obtain one as soon as possible.
Inform all partners that this is an issue. Learn how to manage it so that your sexuality is not effected.

I am sorry you are going through it, and I imagine that because it is a sexually transmitted condition, all the old Puritanical notions that have been shoved into your brain from a young age are coming to the fore. Tell them to be silent. You’ve done nothing wrong. Your partner was incautious. You won’t be. Keep yourself healthy. You owe that to yourself, since you have been so unfairly dealt with.

You are not “tainted”. It is simply a medical condition and, so long as you manage it and are otherwise healthy, it is completely safe. Think of it that way and ignore social stigma. Humans are irrational. They ascribe artificial values to things. Do not let those idiots define you.

Take care of yourself.

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