Five months into my relationship with my then-boyfriend, I found a single blister-like sore above the entrance to my vagina. It hurt so badly and was unlike anything I had seen on my body before, so I made an appointment with my doctor for the following day.
“The swab came back positive for genital herpes, type 1,” my doctor told me. I couldn’t breathe. I started crying. My brain was unable to process what had just happened.
“How!?” I asked through sobs. I knew nothing about herpes—just that it was incurable.
I did everything right when it came to sex. I routinely got tested for STIs. I made my partners use condoms. I had open and—as far as I knew—honest conversations with them about sexual health.
Which made me even more confused about my diagnosis. But then my doctor told me that a standard STI panel doesn’t include a herpes test. Many doctors don’t like to test for it unless you have a visible sore they can swab. (Editor’s…