Latrice was 23 when she had her first outbreak. She felt angry and betrayed by her boyfriend at the time because only he could’ve given it to her. How could she have failed to notice her boyfriend’s cold sore outbreaks? She felt betrayed that he didn’t tell her he got cold sores, and decided to confront him.
When she did, he said that he’d “never kissed her when he had an outbreak” and that he intentionally avoided spending time together so she wouldn’t contract oral herpes.
This sounded like what a reasonable and caring boyfriend would do, so she couldn’t stay angry with him. Frustrated and confused, she turned to the internet looking for similar stories to her own, but didn’t find much. She wanted reassurance that it wasn’t a big deal and that things would be manageable, and wouldn’t affect her quality of life.
She spent a lot time thinking about it and wondered why so many people with HSV-1 rarely spoke up. She wanted to believe that it wasn’t a big deal physically, but accepting her diagnosis was psychologically and emotionally draining. She felt a newfound responsibility to tell anyone in the future that she planned to kiss or have oral sex with that she had herpes, and felt embarrassed about her status. She was also afraid to share drinks, or even cough in close proximity to those around her. But as time passed by, she accepted it and began to stop feeling guilty. She had to learn to live a normal life with the virus. Later, Latrice discovered what it was like to have supportive friends and family, and her boyfriend’s genuine attempt to keep her from contracting it allowed her to forgive him. Nothing is impossible because you have herpes. Latrice became more grateful for her health, more cautious with sexual encounters, and stronger as a person. This experience made her realize that she needed to stop being negative about the disease and appreciate the health and well-being she experiences despite her diagnosis.