November 17, 2014 at 1:50 am #1868AnonymousInactive
To whom it may concern:
I have been reading your site and the medhelp site and I am overly concerned with the information concerning African American woman and herpes. Its just heartbreaking! I am shocked with the statistics that nearly 50% of Black women between the age of 14-49 are more then likely infected with HSV. I am also nervous about being tested myself.
I am not unlike any other woman, despite being Black and I have had my instances of unprotected sex, more so when I was in my early 20s vs. today. No doctor has ever seen any lesions on my labia and I have been screened for all other STDs aside from Herpes.
I have had some questionable symptoms, mainly vaginal itching and irritation after my menstrual cycles and vaginal dryness. Even though I have not seen any lesion, I am just starting to think, as a Black woman and having had 10 partners, 1 Latino, 1 white, and 8 black, I am screwed in terms of Herpes.
As for my partners, a couple of them did get fever blisters on their mouths, especially during an illness or during a time of great stress. This is when oral sex and kissing was limited. I am not sure if they had type 1 or 2.
Legitimately what are my odds. Having lost my virginity at the age 20, to wising up at 25, to enforce condoms. What are my odds. Is it really more than likely that I have Herpes.
Why is it that Black women are more likely to get Herpes?
November 17, 2014 at 6:13 am #1871
You are asking excellent questions and I’m not at all sure that I have the answers that you are seeking. The statistics that you cite are correct but why they are correct we are not certain. There may be biologic factors or there may be social and sexual factors. It may have to do with the sexual behavior of AA males. We know that with the same number of sexual partners as white women of the same age, black women are more likely to have HSV. We also know that with one of the herpes medicines, Famvir, AA people are less likely to respond than white people. That has to be a biologic factor.
Whatever the reason, I think it is a statistic that we must pay attention to. You don’t say your age, but the farther you are away from 14, the more likely you are to be infected.
If people you were with had cold sores, that is most likely HSV 1, not HSV 2, statistically.
The symptoms that you are experiencing around your menstrual cycle could be many things and not necessarily herpes. Are you scared to test because you might be positive? What would that mean for you personally? Stigma? Childbirth? Telling new partners? Perhaps I can help you walk through some of those concerns.
Sometimes it helps to remember that was is, already is. It’s just knowing what is. If you knew that you had herpes, you could do things to reduce the risk of infecting others. If you knew that you didn’t have herpes, it might spur you on to protect that status. Let me know what you’re thinking, we can talk about this together.
November 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm #1883AnonymousInactive
Wow! I have been perusing the forums and I see there is another African American woman on here, who, like me is nervous about testing as well. It just feels like the odds are so stacked against us on the basis of our race and the fact that we probably both have had relations with Black men. I know I am going to get tested, however, I do not in anyway feel that the odds are in my favor. Based on the statistics, they are not. If it is more then likely that my testing will be positive based on whom I have chosen to have relations with, I will do my best to embrace the use of medication and abstinence during potential break out.
I am been addicted to WedMD, Medhelp, this forum, and I have been looking up every symptom because I just think, if I am feeling this way then I must have overlooked some symptom. It seems like everything that is listed for HSV2 is what I have experienced in the past, without lesions, and maybe there were lesions that I failed to notice or overlooked as irritated skin.
I will see if I can get tested this week. However, unlike other responses, my risk level feels the highest because of the racial background I am from. It sucks!
I will keep you posted, however, I am not having a positive about the overall results.
November 18, 2014 at 1:34 am #1886
Did you see that the other African American woman tested negative??
Yes, looking at the statistics it is scary, I know.
Do you know that you can order your own test online, you want ONLY the IgG HSV 1 and 2. No IgM, nothing else but the IgG type specific antibody test.
I think it is better to know, in the big picture, but I think you should prepare yourself for anything at this point.
Yes keep me posted please, I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.
November 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm #1979AnonymousInactive
I did suck it up and went to kaiser. Here are my results:
Component Standard Range Your Value Flag
HSV 1 IGG, EIA <0.90 0.15
HSV 2 IGG, EIA <0.90 0.20
I feel foolish though because I slept with my ex boyfriend today and it was condom protected. He is a vet and he just had paperwork come back that said all his blood work was satisfactory for STD s and other blood tests for other diseases. He said he has not had sex in about 5 months. He gets tested for all common diseases every 6 months because he claims it is a military rule. He is a stickler for washing after sex and he has been respectful with using condoms correctly.
I think I am in a panic with the statistics of African American women. I also saw a small circular scar on his back and thought is that a herpes lesion the he has been scratching.I started thinking about how condoms do not cover the scrotum and the doom and gloom feeling flooded my being.
I will look at his actual tests today when we go out to dinner. I have shared my results openly as well.
If HSV was not included, I will request he get tested before we continue having any more intercourse. I am just so scared.
I read an article by J. Rosenberg-Condoms Reduce Women’s Risk of Herpes Infection, But Do Not Protect Men.
Keep in mind, this was my regular partner from April-June. We always used condoms, not for oral sex though. Even though he claims he has not had sex, you never know and he could have picked up this disease. Given the nature of using condoms today, are my risks significant.
I am 32 and he is 42. We are both Black.
November 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm #1981AnonymousInactive
PS, his lips looked like there were shedding skin. I was not sure if it was herpes lesions or just from the dry climate in CO. This has be messed up. I know it does.
November 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm #1982
Good for you for getting tested, and great news for you.
I don’t think this one experience put you at significant risk, honestly. But it will be good to look closely at his test results tonight and see if herpes testing was actually done. Even if it was not, and he happens to be positive I do not think this one experience is high risk for you. You are wise not to assume there have been any other partners during this time. You really just never know.
Condoms do provide better coverage for women as the site of shedding for most men is the shaft of the penis. Yes, there could be virus at the very base of the penis but those odds are still low in one contact. I’m not all that worried about scrotums. The skin is a bit thicker and honestly, I see lesions there infrequently compared to how often I see lesions on the shaft of the penis in men.
A scar on his back or his backside? I wouldn’t expect herpes lesions on the back but we do seem them on the buttocks, for certain.
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