Herpes - The Gift that Keeps on Giving

At the conclusion of a presentation, a teacher shared with me her personal story.

“After being happily married for six years, I woke up one morning with sores – down there. I knew enough about STDs to know what I was experiencing had all the symptoms of genital herpes. When I went to the doctor, he confirmed my fears; I had genital herpes. My immediate response to the doctor was, ‘Then that means my husband’s been cheating on me.’”

“Not necessarily,” the doctor quickly replied. “Were the two of you involved with other people before you were married?”

“Well, I was with one guy before we got married and my husband was with two other girls before me.”

“So, that could be the explanation for your outbreak of herpes,” the doctor replied. “You see most people infected with genital herpes never have any signs or symptoms. But for those who do have symptoms, it’s usually one or more blisters around the sexual area that appears within a few days after becoming infected. However, occasionally a person can be infected with no symptoms and then one day, maybe years later, the blisters suddenly appear. Which may be exactly what happened to you. Obviously, one of you brought herpes into your marriage from a previous partner and no doubt you’re both infected. Until now, you’ve both been asymptomatic. This might be your first and last outbreak or it may continue the rest of your life.”

That evening the lady sat down with her husband and told him about going to the doctor and finding out she has genital herpes. The first words out of his mouth were, “So who are you involved with?”

“No one!” she quickly replied. “But let me explain what the doctor told me.” She then repeated what the doctor said about one of them getting this from a previous partner years ago and it’s just now showing up. She also told him the doctor said he might end up with blisters in the near future or he may never have symptoms.”

She then suggested they both promise to believe the doctor’s scenario and never question each other’s faithfulness. He agreed. Then she said, “That was five years ago and my husband has never had any symptoms. I on the other hand have an outbreak every month or two and, with each outbreak, I can’t help but wonder deep inside if my husband has been unfaithful. Of course, I’m sure he’s secretly doubting me as well. As a result, this has taken a real toll on our marriage.”

She went on to say, “The reason I’m telling you my story is because I want to encourage you to continue telling teenagers the importance of saving sex for marriage. Would I have listened if someone had talked to me about waiting for marriage? I don’t know. But I feel cheated that no adult ever had a serious conversation with me about the many advantages of having one lifetime partner. It’s as if all the adults in my life expected me to have sex – and I did. And what a price I’m paying today.”

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