Love & Dating | March 12th, 2021
I Thought I Had Herpes For A Month
For four long agonizing weeks I felt worthless.
A simple proactive check-up of my body went completely left. Trips to the gynecologist can always be nerve-racking even when you don’t suspect anything is awry. In my case, I hadn’t noticed any abnormalities concerning my body; I had no symptoms of disease or anything suspect occuring downstairs. No itching, no burning— no, nothing.
The nurse drew my blood and collected my urine, simple routine procedures when you are sexually active. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
At the end of the appointment the lady at the front desk said: “Your results should be back in three days. If something is wrong, we will call you. If not, you’re good.”
That statement didn’t resonate well with me because it’s FAMU, for crying out loud.
“They’re not going to call me back regardless,” I thought.
Sure enough I was correct. More than three days passed, and I hadn’t received a call, so I thought everything was fine. No news is good news right?
No. A recurring voice in my head pressed for me to get my results from the clinic. So, while I on my way to the mall with a friend to find an outfit for Valentine’s day, I stopped at the clinic. I thought the encounter was going to be a quick walk-in-walk-out situation; It was not.
The nurse brought me to the back and flipped through my file. When she got to the results she started rambling off a series of negatives— then a positive.
“I see here you tested positive for herpes simplex virus 2.”
A whirlwind of emotions and thoughts ran through my head. Questions of who and thoughts of partners from the past shot through my head. I couldn’t fathom that just out of the three partners I had ever been with, I contracted this disease.
I don’t sleep around, and I am not that person…so I thought, but it only takes one time. I had been abstaining from sex for over a year, prior to my current relationship. I had not been with anyone and had previously had an exam before coming to FAMU and nothing was wrong.
The nurse asked me if I had been having unprotected sex with my partner, and I couldn’t help but be truthful. She responded by explaining that Tallahassee has a high rate of STDs and that I always need to be protected. I have heard that since my middle school’s sexual education class.
“Stay protected!” and “Use condoms.”
I knew I had been irresponsible. I had allowed myself to be so trusting and comfortable with my partner— something I had never done before.
I had never been so intimate with my previous partners, and I felt that I had been punished for allowing myself to become so close to someone. I felt betrayed by someone I had put so much trust in, but I couldn’t find it in my heart to be angry with him. Some may call that stupid, and maybe I was, but I also loved him.
After realizing I contracted this virus that I could never get rid of, I felt like my life was in shambles, along with my relationship. I felt inadequate and unwanted. The nurse told me to come back in two to three weeks for a follow up and then I left.
Just three days before Valentine’s Day, I walked out of the clinic with a herpes pamphlet in one hand and a tissue soaked by my tears in the other. Later that night I told my boyfriend the news with tears in my eyes, and he took full responsibility for the pain I was in. He cried with me and assured me everything was going to be okay, but I still was not alright.
The person I wanted to talk to the most was my mother, but I couldn’t find the courage to even tell her.
One of my roommates, my mentor and my boyfriend became the basin for my tears the following weeks. I didn’t want to get out of my bed or communicate with anyone for at least the first week after finding out. I had gone into a dark place. My grades slipped and unproductivity became my first name.
Eventually, however, I came to grips with the fact that a situation like this could happen to anyone and it’s normal.
It is normal to want to become intimate with your significant other and not use a condom. Disease is common and I knowingly opened myself up to it. I had accepted that lesson, realized my life was not over and had gone back to using my faithful condoms.
I went back to the clinic in about three weeks for a follow-up. When the nurse brought me to the back she tried to convince me not to waste my money on another $80 blood test. She explained, again, that there was no way that the disease was going to disappear, and even if my numbers went down, I still would have it.
I almost bought into her spiel, but that same recurring voice pushed me to take the test anyway. On the way out the lady at the front desk told me when to expect results and when they would call, like the previous time.
Once again, three days passed, and no call. So I went to Foote-Hillyer. The nurse called me to the back, got my results faxed and began to read my results. She rambled off a series of negatives…no positives.
“This test says you tested negative for everything, including herpes.”
My immediate response was, “What does that mean?” She couldn’t give me a clear answer so I waited for the physician to come in. After the physician looked through my results she came to the conclusion that my first test was a false positive test.
My heart dropped again. I could not believe that over the past weeks I had been beating myself up on the verge of giving up just to be perfectly fine.
After leaving the clinic I immediately contacted my boyfriend and the few people who knew of the situation with so much relief.
The main two takeaways from this ordeal was, not to give up on myself when situations go awry and always protect myself.