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This Only Happens to Other Girls

By Hannah

When I was in high school, I was shy and didn’t date much. There were the popular girls with steady boyfriends, and there were girls who were thought of as “easy” or “slutty.”

Then there were the ones like me, who were more comfortable reading in a quiet corner of the library or eating alone in the cafeteria. I never thought of myself as the kind of girl who would get a sexually transmitted infection.

One day I met a boy a few years older than me where I worked part time after school. He was 21 and I was 17. I guess I was flattered that he noticed me and he seemed pretty worldly and cool. We started hanging out and about a month later we were having sex.

So the first time we had sex I insisted he wear a condom. However once we did it for a while it felt different and I realised he had taken the condom off. I was terrified of getting pregnant – that was the only thing I could think of.

A couple weeks went by and I got my period. I was so relieved! I was safe. But then a couple more weeks went by and something didn’t feel quite right. I noticed some discomfort and odours with my body that had not been there before.

By the following month the symptoms had become unbearable. I couldn’t pee without crying through clenched teeth…it was like peeing fire. Finally I went to my mother and she took me to the doctor. When the doctor did a Pap smear it was like being tortured. He said there were lesions and it looked like I had genital herpes.

I was so shocked. I am not the kind of girl who gets herpes! I thought my life was over. It wasn’t, but it took me a while to figure that out.

Still, herpes has changed my life, especially when it comes to relationships. You never know who will be OK with it, and who will freak out. You never know the right time to tell someone, or how they will judge you.

A few months after my diagnosis I started dating a guy from school. When I told him about it he acted like it was no big deal. But the next day he was really distant and then I found out later he told a lot of his friends. One day one of them called me a whore in the middle of class. I ran from the room crying. There were days when I thought everyone was looking at me and talking behind my back.

But the more I read and learned about herpes the more I realize there are many people out there who have it and have normal lives. Yes, sometimes I still avoid meeting people because I fear rejection. But I am getting better about it.

One day I will find someone who loves me for who I am, and they will accept me. Herpes and all.

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