4 Ways to React to a Herpes Diagnosis
So, you found out you have herpes. You may be feeling confused, frustrated, and a bit overwhelmed. Many people also feel embarrassed and perhaps angry at themselves or their partners. However, herpes — and sexually transmitted infections in general — are incredibly common, and there is no need to be ashamed.
Nonetheless, you may wonder what to do now that you are diagnosed. While a million thoughts might be racing through your head, it’s important to slow down a bit. Taking things one step at a time keeps you focused and helps you address all your needs. Below are some actions you can take after receiving a herpes diagnosis.
While there isn’t a herpes cure, you can take medication to treat and reduce outbreaks. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, daily treatments can also help prevent the sores that come from the virus. You can get genital herpes treatment online once you visit a doctor and have a diagnosis.
The process is fairly easy, and you don’t need insurance. After answering a few questions and having a medical consultation, you can get a prescription that lasts up to a year. Your meds arrive at your home in the mail, and refills come every three months.
Antiviral treatment works by decreasing the number of times you experience an outbreak. The medication also reduces other symptoms, such as pain or tingling and itching sensations. If you want to prevent attacks, you can take antiviral meds each day. Treatment can also reduce the chance of passing the herpes virus to a partner by 50%.
Talk With Your Partner
While herpes is a medical diagnosis, many raw emotions can also come with it. You might initially project some of those emotions onto a partner. You may be feeling hurt, betrayed, or worried. But keeping those feelings and thoughts to yourself could damage your relationship and build resentment.
If you’re in an intimate partnership with someone, you should tell them about your diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 572,000 new genital herpes infections happened in one year. You may be one of them, but it doesn’t mean you got the infection from your current partner. That’s because the herpes virus can remain dormant in your body for several years.
Pointing fingers at each other can be just as damaging as bottling up your feelings. Plan to have as many open conversations with your partner as it takes. Get your feelings and concerns out on the table and what you’re doing to treat the virus. Herpes doesn’t mean you can’t date or remain close to someone. However, it does require honesty and knowing how and when to take certain precautions.
Know Your Options
Educating yourself about the facts and ways to manage your condition is just as critical as processing your emotions. Sometimes knowing the concrete details can help you deal with reality: Doctors and other medical professionals are reassuring you that having herpes isn’t the world.
Speaking with your doctor or another medical professional will give you an overview of what to expect. For instance, physicians will probably tell you that herpes isn’t a life-threatening condition. Some people experience more outbreaks and symptoms than others. Those symptoms can also lessen the longer you live with the virus.
Conversations with your doctor are the time to ask questions and learn how to prevent spreading herpes to others. Treatment can help, but you may also want to avoid intimacy during outbreaks. Learn how the virus can spread and when there’s a greater risk of that happening. Women who can have kids may also want to discuss how herpes impacts pregnancy and childbirth. Knowing how to manage your condition empowers you to make informed and practical decisions.
Receiving a herpes diagnosis gives you a lot to process. It can help to speak to others who are going through the same thing. Joining a local or online support group gives you an outlet to express all the emotions you may be feeling. Licensed professional counselors can also talk to you one-on-one if you’re uncomfortable joining a group.
Some people take the two-prong approach when it comes to counseling and support. They participate in support groups and see an individual counselor. You may prefer to discuss the more sensitive aspects of what you’re going through in private. However, you can also get beneficial insights and validated feelings from speaking with others.
Whichever way you decide to go about seeking support, the most important thing is that you do it. Trying to process your experiences and thoughts yourself may feel challenging and isolating. The counselors that lead support groups and private sessions can give you tools and strategies for dealing with your emotions. As a result, you’re likely to experience less stress and know you’re not alone.
Taking the Next Steps
Finding out you have herpes probably isn’t the highlight of your life. You might be feeling many things, including uncertainty and panic. However, herpes is a condition you can manage by taking certain steps to address its physical and emotional effects. Those actions include getting treatment, talking with your partner, seeking the facts, and reaching out for support.