DEAR CHRISTINE – Don’t let illness get you down
Last Thursday, November 11, we presented a letter from a 20-year-old infected by herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-Type 2) and how that has complicated her life. The following is a response to her letter from another reader.
My heart goes out to you as I know and feel your pain. I just want to share my experience with you in the hope that it would comfort and encourage you in some way.
I have had HSV-Type 2 for approximately ten years now [and I am in my late 20s]. The truth is, it is a miserable, uncomfortable and annoying disease if you allow it to run your life.
The more you worry about it, the worse it will become. Thank God for the gynaecologist who I went to when I first discovered I had contracted it. I hope you have already been to see yours.
The medication prescribed (Valtrex) worked wonders in controlling it (I only took it as necessary and I am no longer using it). But I also do my part to control it.
That is, I exercise, eat well, drink plenty water, get adequate rest, live a decent lifestyle and avoid stress/worrying and this reduces my outbreaks to maybe once or twice a year. There are quite a few informative/supportive websites such as http://www.cdc.gov/std/ and http://www.datingwithherpes.org/index.htm.
I would suggest you go on these sites, if you have not already done, as the information is invaluable.
From your letter one can tell you are quite devastated. Please, please, make an effort to stop focusing on it. The fact is, you already have it; nothing can change that.
There’s no point in seeking legal action against your callous ex-boyfriend which may possibly result in financial retribution, but still will not change you back to the way you were. Leave him in God’s hands.
Instead, put your heart and your all into this current relationship which to me seems to be going well. Don’t ruin it.
From all reports you have a decent man by your side who is supportive of you, is not scorning you and is more than willing to settle down with you and have a family.
I have a healthy, energetic, intelligent three-year-old son. Sadly, his father and I are no longer together, but this is not because of my illness – it’s just how it is.
So once again I beg you to relax and live your life to the fullest. With God’s help you will make it through. To your present boyfriend, continue to support, encourage and love “A” as you are doing so far. Not everyone is fortunate to have someone like you in their life.
Your words and inspiration are most encouraging, and I’m sure that “A” would find hope in them. Thank you very much for sharing your experience.
Only those who have walked this journey can truly appreciate what “A” is going through and has to face. As you have gone through this for a decade and continue to do so, your insight is critical.
Can you let me know via email if there is a support group for persons, primarily young women like yourself, who are infected with HSV-Type 2? I will pass that information to her.
I note, and with great pity, that this is the third letter in six days of young females contracting herpes which I would have published.
From experience I recognise that when a problem is featured that other people facing the same challenge feel more assured to write in to explain their situation and seek advice.
My concern however is that the contracting of sexually transmitted infections can be minimised through the use of condoms. Don’t allow the pleasure of a moment ruin your life forever!
I say this because as individuals we need to recognise that it is our responsibility to protect our own health.
And when we have intercourse without condoms with a partner whose infection history we know nothing of, we put our lives at risk.
Of course I recognize the power of sex, especially when one partner is in love with the other, and how this can entice the most sober and level-headed among us to do things out of character.
So ladies, it is best when you have determined that you will be intimate with your partner to do so using a condom.