At the age of 39, *Lisa had made the decision to re-enter into the “dating scene” after having been celibate and dateless for nearly five years. She had made the decision following her divorce to take time to get to know the person she had become through her near nine years of marriage. Lisa believed she had done everything “the right way.” She read nearly every self-help book available, rediscovered her new likes and dislikes, her desires versus the desires she had several years ago. She now had strength and wisdom on her side. She was ready to take that plunge and could now be a compliment to someone’s life rather than a weight that carried excessive emotional baggage from relationships passed.
Lisa followed the path of many singles in today’s world of technology; she entered the single scene on the Internet. Lisa placed a well thought out profile and photo. The flood of responses began. After carefully weeding through the mass of responses, emailing and asking all the right questions, she had narrowed it down to one man she would take the time to get to know. She proceeded forward to phone conversations. After several nights and hours, of what seemed to be an interviewing process, she realized this was a man she would like to meet in person. Plans began to form for a real date. The anticipation and excitement of meeting *Jeff in person, the man that would break the five year social drought was overwhelming and thought consuming. Everything was going to be perfect, she thought to herself. After all she had wisdom on her side.
With high expectation, Lisa would plan her meeting down to the finest detail. In her new wisdom, Lisa realized men are visual creatures. She would set out on a mission to the local mall to piece together the perfect look of appeal for the first first date she would experience in over 10 years. Lisa felt like a teenager again and was enjoying this little high that life had bestowed upon her.
Finally, the day had arrived when she would take that step back into the land of the social living. Jeff arrived, and with a knock at the door, Lisa opened the door to find this handsome man bearing the most beautiful bouquet of spring flowers she had seen. With a small kiss to her cheek, Jeff took Lisa’s hand and the perfect date began.
Everything about this particular date flowed with sheer perfection; from the restaurant, the conversation, to the walk in the local park. Everything just clicked.
As night fell on Lisa and Jeff’s date, they returned to Lisa’s house to continue getting to know one another, not wanting to let go of the feeling they both had for this perfect date. As with most couples in today’s world, one thing led to another. Passion and desire took over. Lisa found herself facing a choice she had been so careful not to make in the past. After giving little thought to the moment, she threw caution to the wind and gave into her passion and desire.
For the next five day’s, Lisa and Jeff would continue calling one another and making plans for a second date. It seemed all the time Lisa had taken to gain wisdom had finally paid off.
On the fifth day following her perfect date, Lisa began to feel as though she was coming down with a cold or flu. As the day progressed, she began to have different pains. Puzzled by the pains, but believing they were linked to this cold or flu, she took a dose of cold medicine and curled up on the couch for a nap. When she woke, she felt an excruciating pain in and around her genitals. Over the next few hours, the pain would worsen. It became impossible to urinate and the pains throughout her body were unbearable. In curiosity, Lisa grabbed her mirror to examine the pain more closely. In shock she sat looking at a mass of blisters and sores that covered her vaginal area. Quickly she held onto the thought most women do who try to grab the truest glimmer of hope and told herself, “It’s just a bad yeast infection.” Lisa made a call to her physician who was able to see her immediately.
Lisa found herself setting in the examination room as the doctor uttered the words, “you have herpes.” The physician proceeded to tell Lisa how common this social virus was, but Lisa heard little else beyond that life-changing statement. “How could this happen to me? I was so careful, I had remained celibate for five years, I did everything the right way, I just want to die” were now the thoughts that echoed through Lisa’s mind as she clasped the prescription her doctor had given her and made her way back to her home that would become the cave where she would begin to hide.
The next several days would feel like a personal Hell. Lisa would feel that somehow she was being punished for having natural desires and for giving into those desires. What had she done that was so horrible, to deserve such punishment? How could this man have done this to her? In hopes of finding solid answers, she began to research the Internet. This research would only raise further question. Had she contracted this from this man? Had she contracted it years before and it was just now showing symptoms? Did this man knowingly subject her to risk? The questions grew in numbers and the answers were appearing further away.
Finally, Lisa found the courage to speak with Jeff on the phone about what had taken place over the last several days. In her discussions with him, she learned that he had a history of cold sores and he had recently treated a cold sore he had developed from prolonged time in the sun. Jeff had no idea that this “cold sore” was a threat to anyone other than himself and could not believe the words he was hearing.
Sadly, this is an all to common scenario in the world today. It is estimated that 30% of all newly diagnosed Genital Herpes cases are caused by a common cold sore. In is a common belief that oral sex is safe sex and this is simply not the case.
Many singles today take the time to become “emotionally” charged with knowledge and wisdom, never giving thought to educating themselves on the social aspects that could come into play that can alter life, as they know it.
Such strong focus is placed on the theory of the proverbial soul mate, emotional healing, and avoiding unhealthy relationships where little focus is placed on common social disease that can ultimately lead to a much deeper emotional trauma than most people could imagine.
Genital Herpes is not a topic to be silenced. Anyone who engages in intimacy to any degree is at risk. Statistically, 1 in 4 adults over the age of 13 carries the virus that typically causes Genital Herpes, and as many as 80% of the entire population over the age of 3 carries the virus that causes oral herpes that can be transmitted genitally via oral sex. With numbers such as these, it is more important than ever, that people truly discuss their risk.
Circumstances like that of Lisa and Jeff could have been avoided, had Jeff been properly educated on that “cold sore” caused by excessive exposure to the sun and had Lisa taken the time to nurture her knowledge just a bit deeper than the surface of her emotions.
*Names changed for confidential purposes