a test for acidity or alkalinity using litmus.
a decisively indicative test.
“effectiveness in these areas is often a good litmus test of overall quality”
Winning the war in your mind.
“The emotional impact of being diagnosed with genital herpes is often much worse than the condition and it doesn’t deserve the upset it causes.”
‘Well’, thinks Daisy, ‘this isn’t quite the sort of gift I would have liked from him.”
Daisy is thinking of the gift of herpes, the sexually transmitted disease she has been given in the last two weeks by her ‘fuck buddy’ Mr Unavailable. Mr Unavavailable thinks he didn’t give it to her, but if they were in a court of law, the evidence would be pretty damming.
1. He has had cold sores in the past.
2. He has been sick for the past month.
3. He went down on her.
4. They had unprotected sex.
Daisy is not in the business of blame. It serves little purpose unless you are trying to achieve some compensation and in the business of sexual health, once it has gone it has gone.
If the local GUM clinic had a loyalty card program, Daisy would have Gold Card status. She has been, pardon the phrase, anal about looking after her sexual health. A youth spent dealing with the life-changing diagnosis of an incurable autoimmune disease threw her into depression, alcohol and the beds of anyone she thought might maybe ‘love’ her? There was also the eternal search for the elusive ‘orgasm’, found only many years later with the assistance of external aids. And truly, she has been such a good practicer of safe sex. Condoms were her friend. So the total debacle of the unprotected sex she had two weeks ago makes her wonder if she was body snatched by aliens.
“The risk of transmitting the herpes virus can be reduced by about 50% if you use condoms.”
This information is like a hug when she reads it. It makes her feel less stupid and more like if this was going to happen, it was and maybe even condoms would not have saved her. In the last few days, Daisy has learnt so much about herpes she feels almost like she could take it on as her specialist subject on Mastermind.
The ‘New Zealand Herpes Foundation’ is an incredible resource of information on every aspect of Daisy’s new medical issue. The more she reads the more she realises how much of a stigma is attached to this awful disease, which really and truly is just a skin condition.
In many ways, the facial cold sore is worse because you can see it, and no one ostracises people with cold sores. Instead, people are just sensible.
Daisy has ‘ummed’, and ‘ahh’ed about messaging Mr Unavailable back after his nice little accusation that she ‘gave it to him’. It’s taken time but today she feels like this is the moment that she needs to lay her cards on the table. Sometimes you need to call people up on their shit. Sometimes you need to know when to do it.
So she begins…
“I’m really upset by all this.
What do you not understand about this situation?
‘Since the genital herpes virus can be transmitted through oral sex as well as vaginal sex, it is also possible that your partner caught the virus from a cold sore on your mouth or face.
Remember, it is possible you can pass the herpes virus on even if you didn’t have a cold sore present at the time of contact.’
I am sure you are more than aware of how much I care about you as a person and despite what you think happened in the past, I have never wanted or set out to intentionally hurt or harm you.
Assumptions aren’t healthy neither is blame.
The other party is being tested, but until both tests are in, we won’t know and even then we might not.
I am not going to jump to conclusions (like you) but he is a lot older than us and has never had a cold sore in his life. I slept with him for years back when we dated and never had a problem. The symptoms didn’t start until after we slept together (positive because in a worst-case scenario if he did give it to me you might be fine) but odd that it was after you and not him.
So if you get tested and don’t have it – great 👍🏻
If you get tested and do have it and your results come back before his – well the odds are on you but at least you know now and can be aware for the future.
A huge number of the population carries the virus without knowing and it was probably due to the weakened immune system that I contracted it.
There is no point in me being angry.
But my life is changed forever.
That does not sit lightly with me.
Some key points through which I think you should be aware of.
1. Herpes is a skin condition – no different from the cold sore virus – as such the stigma associated with it is wrong and although – yes – I am devastated by contracting this disease I will seek to work towards helping others with this diagnosis in the future and making sure that more people realise how common it is.
2. We were both HUGLEY irresponsible and stupid and are fortunate that this wasn’t something worse. AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. When you go for your test please be tested for everything. I was clean on the 11th of March. Now I am not so sure.
I had my last test on the 11th of March – at the end of the day whichever way this goes I’m the one that so far has born the brunt of the symptoms.
As someone who knows how terrifying it is not to know about the state of your health, I do commiserate at your current situation.
However, please accept responsibility where the carrier or not for whatever the conclusion of this horrid situation is.
Honestly, yes. I think you gave it to me. But what can now be achieved that will benefit me or you now in blame? Nothing. I think this is a moot point on both sides.
I am praying you to come back clean, even if this makes me the ‘baddie’. I care more about your health than being the baddie in this horrendous situation.
Please see the below information.
“Your partner may have caught genital herpes from you. It is possible that you carry the virus without knowing that you have it since up to 80% of people who have been infected with HSV-2 have either no herpes symptoms or such mild symptoms they are unaware they have the herpes virus. So it is very easy for you to have unwittingly transmitted the infection to your partner. The symptoms of the infection vary greatly between individuals – it might be totally unnoticeable in you but cause severe blistering in your partner.”
And just in case you missed the first part.
“Since the genital herpes virus can be transmitted through oral sex as well as vaginal sex, it is also possible that your partner caught the virus from a cold sore on your mouth or face. Remember, it is possible you can pass the herpes virus on even if you didn’t have a cold sore present at the time of contact.”
Finally, as an afterthought, she adds –
“I hope you are feeling better – I can’t remember if you have asked me how I am, or if I am in pain or discomfort. :(”
Yes. It’s totally too long for a Whatsapp message but he wouldn’t give her his email, so quite simply – fuck it. This is the litmus test of Mr Unavailable. If he really doesn’t care about her then this will be when it shows. Or rather doesn’t. Daisy fell in love with what this man projected but now, she is seeing the light. Beautiful things and people are often in some way tarnished below the surface and far better to know now than later. In a way, this nightmare is a blessing. Firstly Daisy is becoming incredibly educated on a subject which has a huge stigma, and secondly, she is seeing people for who they are.
Her bestie C was honest about her family and how common herpes is, and then even Tom was supportive and got educated so he could be her friend about this. The other possible offender is saying he will make the effort to sort this and the one person she wants to be an adult is being, unfortunately, a bit of a twat about the whole thing. Yes. It does make her sad, but at the same time her new diagnosis has given back Daisy some of her balls and gumption. Life is too short to be with people who don’t care, don’t take responsibility, or aren’t honest when push comes to shove.
He is just as much responsible for this as her and she is still upset. Daisy is trying to not being impetuous, but her heart outweighs her head. He has not once made an effort to ask about her throughout this and maybe it is time to move on. It’s with a heavy heart that Daisy presses ‘SEND’. But she knows that in life she only wants the very best, most positive people and if he isn’t going to be one of them so be it.
[2:19 PM, 5/4/2019] Daisy: I hope you are feeling better – I can’t remember if you have asked me how I am, or if I am in pain or discomfort. 😦
[4:23 PM, 5/4/2019] Mr Unavailable: Hi darling-
(As if everything can be made better by adding ‘darling’.)
I’m really not in the mood for all of this right now.
(Does he think she is? Does he think she wants to have this STD? Or be bothering him, with calling him up on his shit? NO. NO. NO!)
To be brutally honest I’m getting a bit fed up with your general attitude; normally I just brush it off.
(What fucking attitude? Honestly? Christ this man is delusional. Calm yourself, Daisy. Attitude? Perhaps he is referring to how unlike the other women he has met in his life she isn’t just let him walk over her, and onwards without the truth being pointed out? Whatever, which way, Daisy is trying not to seethe.)
But right now the pressure I am under I’m not prepared to put up with it.
(At this moment Daisy realises she is being treated like a naughty, badly behaved child. She is in disbelief. Utter disbelief.)
I’ll message you again when I am back-probably two/three weeks.
You can take some time to look after yourself and I will be in a better place.
(The land of reality?)
Keep well, and I’ll message you soon.
(I won’t hold my breath thinks Daisy. Two to three weeks? Brilliant. In that time, which might be considered ‘another’ ‘reset’ to their ‘non-existent’ relationship she is going to focus on her writing, her art, her body.
As Frank Sinatra said, ‘the best revenge is a massive success’.)
Winning the war in your mind? Winning the war with your heart maybe too. Daisy will always love Mr Unavailable, but maybe now she needs to get on with her life. There is no guarantee he will get back in contact. Indeed if he does test positive it could go one of two ways, and really unless he actually wants to be her friend will he bother? Daisy takes a deep breath and lets her inner voice remind her of the truth.
If he can’t make time for her in his life, what does that really say?
Not that she needs him to, to be honest, but every sign just seems to be pointing out his flaws.
Daisy makes a decision. If they can get through all this miscommunication and misunderstanding then maybe there will be a ‘them’, an ‘us’.
If they don’t, the writing is on the wall. End of.