DEAR ABBY: I recently got genital herpes. I am very depressed over it and am experiencing a lot of difficulties, not to mention the expense.
The man I caught the virus from, "Jack," claims he didn't know he had herpes. I don't know what to believe, except that I should be compensated. My life has been destroyed. I hate the fact that this happened and, to top it off, Jack has changed his phone number! Is this a criminal act? Should I take action? -- OUTRAGED IN MISSOURI
DEAR OUTRAGED: Please do not allow having herpes to define who you are. Your life has not been "destroyed." You contracted a virus, as millions of other Americans have. While inconvenient, it is not the end of the world. What you need is emotional support, and it's as near as your computer. There are support groups for people who have herpes -- just Google "herpes support groups-USA" and you'll find groups galore.
As to whether to take legal action against "Jack," please remember that lawsuits can be expensive. And to determine whether he knew he had herpes at the time he was involved with you, you would have to get a hold of his medical records -- which could be complicated. Your time and money would be better spent in other ways than looking backward, and that's what I recommend.