About the organiser of H Friends New Zealand
Hi, I'm Sue. Born and raised in England, I emigrated to NZ 11 years ago with my husband. The second I set foot here, I knew it was the home I'd always been searching for. And my life here in NZ has been (almost) all I could want. I have a loving husband, I’ve made several close friendships, my career has flourished (I'm a nurse specialist working with stroke patients), and I'm just about the graduate with my Masters. Life is good. So why am I writing this to you?
Well, it hasn't all been plain sailing. Never is, is it? My husband and I were separated for a year or so, and in that time I fell for someone. We dated, then had one of those on/off relationships for a while. Only problem being he had HSV2 and didn't know. Shortly after one of those reunions I came down with symptoms. Many people only have mild outbreaks, but as one doctor put it, I had a ‘humdinger’. I got the bad news New Year’s Eve 2014. It was not a Happy New Year!
Initially, it was a devastating blow – I felt like my future had been stolen from me. Worst of all I felt so isolated. But I was lucky on two counts. To start with one of the first people I told said: “me too”. They had never told anyone, kept it a closely hidden secret. Needless to say, we became the best of friends. Secondly, I had the good fortune to meet Jo, a woman the Foundation put me in touch with. She has lived with herpes for over 30 years and gave me a fresh, much more hopeful perspective on things. Talking with others who are ‘walking the walk’ makes a real difference – I know. That’s why I started this support group. So if you feel alone in this, you don’t need to be.
New Zealand H Friends is a support and social group for those with genital herpes (HSV-1, HSV-2) living throughout Aotearoa. Our primary focus is to offer advice and empathy within a safe, confidential and non-judgemental forum. But we also aim to promote friendship and light relief! Current membership spans all age ranges and includes people at different stages of their H journey, many with a wealth of experience to share. We are fully inclusive and all are welcome.
The group is embedded within Meetup.com, and as such, the emphasis is on getting together within a relaxed social environment. However, the website does also provide a discussion board and secure messaging facility. So even if you don’t feel up to group gatherings we can see about offering one-on-one help where possible.
We have members throughout the country and aim to facilitate similar Meetups elsewhere. We have an assistant organiser in Wellington, and those from other regions wishing to start up locally are encouraged to approach us to discuss. We will do everything we can to guide you through the process. We eventually hope to create a collaborative H community spanning Aotearoa. Unfortunately, we are unable to extend our support to those based overseas.