Being Diagnosed with Herpes Later in Life (40s, 50s, 60s,...)
Somebody once said something along these lines: Maybe that's easier when you're diagnosed at a younger age, but I'm over 40, it's so hard for me to accept this now.
It's easier to be diagnosed with herpes in your 20's. It's easier to get diagnosed with herpes in your 50's. These are all things I hear on a weekly basis. We always think the grass is greener on the other side.
I want to talk about this today because I've had a lot of people recently come to me and say that it would be way easier 'if I was younger', because it's harder to accept it at this point in my life.
The bottom line is it's always hard to get diagnosed with herpes! It's because of the stigma. This is a virus that does not go away, you have it for life and the stigma says that you slept around. Also what is assumed is that you get herpes when you are young because you are promiscuous and irresponsible. It's assumed that when you are older, these things are not happening and your partner would be mature enough to disclose to you.
In my opinion what is happening later on meaning as we get into our 40's, 50's and even later is a lot of things. One being that most people in that demographic have been married and are now single. The safe sex talk was something that hasn't happened in a long time or maybe it never happened. Not to mention the idea of the safe sex talk back then looks very different as it does today but also concerns are different. Probably in your 20's your safe sex talk was more about birth control and making sure you didn't get pregnant. Well, after a certain point that's not a topic any more. Other thoughts are that I've made it this far now, how did it just happen?
Lots of people come to me in their 50's, 60's and 70's and they are embarrassed, surprised and realize that they weren't educated in the safe sex realm. At the end of the day it's always hard to be diagnosed with herpes. I feel that at this point in your life you'll have the tools and resources to help you cope. I mean back when you are 19 or 23 a lot of times you just don't have the life experience to grasp the situation. The other good news is that as we age and as we date people who are ageing they have had lives misfortunes and have dealt with real life problems. We are typically more understanding when it comes to acceptance or accepting someone with herpes. Opposed to the teenager who is just thinking that they'll move onto the next person.
Again, being diagnosed is difficult at any age. What we have to do is realize that we are not part of the stigma. Once we can educate ourselves and detach ourselves from the stigma we can begin our healing process.
If you are just diagnosed and are looking for a community or people who just get you, I'd like to introduce you to the Secret Society. This is something I created back in 2017 because I didn't have a resource or people to talk to. I felt so alone and without support you can get caught up in to the woes and go down a bad path. So I'd love to invite you to the Secret Society.