Friday, January 24, 2014

I Have Genital Herpes

I have herpes. I contracted the virus from a one night stand I had over six years ago, and I wasn't diagnosed until five months later. I had no unusual symptoms for the first five months, and had gone to the doctor complaining that it was burning when I pee, and an unusual red rash on my groin and lower belly. I expected to be diagnosed with something fairly innocent, and was not ready to be told I had herpes.

At the time I had no idea about the reality of the virus, and only had the rumors, myths and camp-fire stories in my head. My mind was reeling, and I was on an emotional roller-coaster. I went from feelings of disbelief, to anger at the girl who had given me the disease, to anxiety and fear, and finally to depression. I thought I'd never have a normal sex life again, and I was doomed to become celibate and a social outcast. With all this stress and anxiety taking its toll on my body (I later learned that stress is a major trigger for genital herpes outbreaks) a few days after diagnosis, I had my first outbreak.

Since then I've gone on a long journey of learning and growth, all triggered by this nasty virus. My depression got worse and worse, and I ended up back at the doctor for something to deal with that. Luckily my doctor was one of the good ones, and rather than prescribe me happy pills, he gave me a referral to a sexual health specialist.

After seeing the specialist, a friendly old man named Doctor George Cody, my mind was opened to the realities of the virus. When I told him I have herpes, he kindly and patiently told me the truth about the disease, which I'll now relate to you.

1. Genital herpes is a very common disease. Like the flu or cold sores, herpes is a virus. The virus lays dormant in the body for life, which is a scary prospect, but this is nothing to be overly concerned about. Unlike the ever changing and mutating flu, herpes can be can be easily controlled and prevented from coming to the surface. 1 in 5 Americans carry the virus, and many do so with no idea at all that they have genital herpes.

2. There are now a wide range of treatments for genital herpes, and people have more choice than ever before. If you don't like the idea of pharmaceutical drugs, there are homeopathic remedies that are just as effective, and much cheaper too.

3. Genital Herpes can be easily controlled simply with diet and lifestyle. Eating healthy, avoiding excessive alcohol, getting plenty of exercise and avoiding stress will have a huge impact on herpes and herpes outbreaks.

After talking with Dr Cody about my herpes, I began to feel much better. He told me how the media and myth and rumor have made herpes out to be much worse than it really is. He told me how with treatment and lifestyle changes, I could have a normal life even though I have genital herpes. And a normal sex life too! My depression and anxiety drifted away, and in time I got back my normal life, and my normal sex life too. The keys are: Treatment, Diet, and Lifestyle.

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