I knew enough about sexually transmitted diseases to know that I had herpes, but I didn't know exactly what to do.

As I sat in the college health center waiting to see a doctor, I watched my very short-lived social life drift by.

The whole experience made me more comfortable with the fact that I have herpes and gave me the confidence to begin dating again.

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My friend said I was too much like a sister, and he couldn't continue. I worried about how that incident would affect our friendship.

Little did I know my worries would extend far beyond that concern.

I had always insisted on using condoms, which can reduce the risk of transmission.

My selling point, however, was telling him that approximately one in four people has herpes and, statistically speaking, he undoubtedly had slept with someone who had herpes. He thought about that for a minute and then realized he might not know.

Then, while surfing the Web for information on the latest herpes medication, I stumbled across a web site for people with herpes.

There are dozens of web sites that provide online support and information for people with herpes.

Less than a week later, I found myself in excruciating pain.

It hurt to walk, and I couldn't use soap anywhere near my genital area.

(At the time, many doctors and other health care providers believed this to be the case, although a number of research studies had already suggested otherwise.) So, I decided to keep quiet.

For three years, I had a boyfriend who never knew I had herpes.

I was thinking that I'd probably never go on another date, or get a boyfriend for that matter, and I'd certainly never have sex again.