If I Have Herpes, How Can I Tell The New Guy I’m Dating?

If I Have Herpes, How Can I Tell the New Guy I'm Dating?

Hi Evan -

Really enjoy your blog. I found out a few months ago that I have herpes. After going through the normal flip out and that my dating life would now consist of Ben and Jerry’s and DVD’s every Saturday night, I’m ready to get out there again.

I have gone through "the conversation" a million times in my mind. I have seen men post on various dating sites where they come right out on their profile stating they have herpes. And before I found out about my little gem, I would immediately think, "not in my backyard". I think that is a TMI on a profile. I thought that if I meet someone, and there seems to be some sort of vibe, I would have the talk pretty quickly, possibly even the first date. And I wouldn’t be dramatic, just simply say, you need to know something, I have herpes. I control it with medication, but no matter how you slice it, it is what it is.

There are "herpes sites" but they kind of creep me out at this point.

I have enough common sense that I wouldn’t casually mention this as we are flinging clothing all over the room.

What are your thoughts? Is there a "right time or wrong time" to have this discussion?

If ok, want to jump on my soapbox for a second, if anyone reading this has herpes, do the right thing, let people know. One of the most difficult things I had to do was call former boyfriends I may have exposed (think it was dormant in my system for quite sometime, I honestly did not know). None of these guys started screaming at me, they THANKED me and said they would get tested – none of them had it -YAY!!!!

This is forever, don’t make it forever for someone else – have "the talk".

Thanks Evan, happy new year!


Important question, Jen. And while I’m not an expert in herpes, per se, I do know a number of people who have it, and continue to lead rich, happy, limitless dating lives. So don’t worry. It’s all gonna be okay.

I do know a number of people who have it, and continue to lead rich, happy, limitless dating lives. 

I think all the readers should take a second to put themselves in your shoes for a moment. Because one second you’re saying “No way” to a guy with herpes, and the next, you’re praying that a guy doesn’t judge you for this one minor thing.

And let me be clear, it IS a minor thing.

According to Herpes.com, 50-80 percent of the American adult population has oral herpes. Ever had a cold sore? Congratulations. You probably have oral herpes. As far as genital herpes goes, we’re talking 20% of the population. That’s 50 MILLION people, a majority of whom don’t even know they’re infected. The scariest part of this whole thing is the staggering ignorance about herpes – a disease that undoubtedly affects someone that you know.

Don’t think so? Well, let’s just say that I have close friends, clients, and ex-girlfriends who have genital herpes, and none of them are traumatized, hospitalized or ostracized because of it. So let’s get past that.

Just know that if you have the disease, you may be entirely asymptomatic, which would mean that you could potentially transmit it without knowing. And if you do have symptoms, they are easily controlled with the use of drugs. The question is how do you explain this to someone else who is freaked out by this kind of stuff?…

I think the best answer is to treat your condition matter-of-factly. The bigger deal you make out of it, the bigger deal it becomes. This should be like talking about how your father died, or how you had anorexia in high school, or how you didn’t lose your virginity until you were 25. All of those things might be sensitive and relevant, but they don’t have to be dealbreaker-type issues if dealt with effectively.

I wouldn’t put it in a profile, I wouldn’t say it on a first date, and I wouldn’t say it when slipping on a condom. I’d wait until you were ready to have genital contact and initiate the conversation prior. Perhaps even a few days prior. Do it in person so your partner can look you in the eyes and ask any questions. And make sure you have your facts ready in case he’s curious. You want to make it clear: this is a fact about you, and it’s something you have under total control. He need not worry.

You can literally have this conversation after dinner or a movie while walking, so as not to make the situation feel too pressurized. And while it’s not quite “Please pass the salt”, you can probably cover what you need to cover in just a few minutes, as opposed to a two-hour herpes summit.

Major bulletpoints:

You trust him and feel he needs the truth if the relationship is to progress.

You have herpes. It’s a fact that he needs to know about you.

You have a handle on the disease and outbreaks are rare.

He will not catch it since you take drugs and carefully monitor the situation.

He can ask you questions, research it, digest it, but understand that it’s not a big deal. 1/6 of the country has it and most don’t even know.

Again, I’m no expert, but I coached one client through this tricky process. She said the conversation with her new guy took less than five minutes and didn’t blow her chances with him at all.

And finally, if there are herpes dating sites for people who aren’t afraid of your condition, maybe you should at least take a peek, okay?

Take care and good luck.




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  1. 1

    I’m saying this is a first-date convo but, let me understand this..it’s not contagious on medication?

    1. 1.1

      Yeah, that’s not correct :/ Even if on medication, and not during an outbreak, one could still be having viral shedding and pass it on. The chance is extreeeeemely low, but it is still there.

  2. 2

    I would guess there is legal liability involved if you know you have herpes and you do not tell a sex partner beforehand.

    Let’s put it this way: If I had sex with a woman, got herpes, and later found out she knew she was exposing me to the virus without telling me in advance, I’d sue the the living daylights out of her. I would try to take every asset she had.

    And this is coming from a guy who is not at all materialistic or greedy.

    It doesn’t at all sound like you are irresponsibile like that. But, for anyone out there who is, get ready to deal with a lawsuit if you get ahold (no pun intended) of a partner who doesn’t play nice after getting infected.

    1. 2.1
      Teri Wilson

      I have had this virus for many years. I was not told by my partner. I am a very conservative person. As for me, I don’t even think about it. Sorry, but I consider it no big deal. My experience, I have told every partner. Only 2 men have told me, and that was after I told them. Most men do not tell. I have had 1 partner freak out. And this was before sex. He actually through a fit. I decided not to go out with this person anymore. I am proud of myself for telling. But, what I really want to say to those out there freaking out… you have been with someone that has had it. Period. They just didn’t tell you or didn’t know you had it. I happen to think it is not as easily spread as they say. The drug companies say it can be spread without having an outbreak. But, I think they are just saying this so they cover themselves from being sued. I certainly have never given it to anyone. Lighten up folks. You will be with someone that has it. Worry about world peace or something

      1. 2.1.1

        Sleeping around is how you got herpes in the first place yet you continue to sleep around like no big deal. Do you just keep going until you get a higher lvl STD??

        People today act like freaking animals, as if they can’t live life without constantly having sex. Why not look for the right person and have a great life. This would also stop the spread of all of the STD’s.

        1. Emma

          It’s not a number game. I got from my bf of 3 years that cheated on me! I was a complete wreck! Iam 46 years old and only have been with 3 guys in semi-long term relationships prior. It only takes 1 person to spread it if not treated. I’m not gonna let the past define my future..I’m a good person and taken responsibility for my health. :)

        2. angie

          I got it from a boyfriend, who I had not cheated on and had been living with. He got if from someone he screwed in our bed while i was at work. You don’t need to be a whore to get herpes you ignorant, ridiculous, individual. People are dishonest at times and burn you without you knowing it until it’s too late. think about that before you spew out idiotic, uninformed information…

  3. 3

    And by the way, I wouldn’t call herpes “not the big of a deal.” It is a lifelong disease for which there is no cure.

    I’d call that a big deal. The common cold is not a big deal.

    1. 3.1

      Er. Herpes is not a disease it is a virus. The common cold is a virus. Whilst, yes the herpes virus lies dormant in the body it is very common. Anyone who has had Chicken Pox has the virus as that is part of the herpes zoster virus.
      stop being so dramatic Ron !

      1. 3.1.1
        Karl R

        jac said:
        “Herpes is not a disease it is a virus.” 

        It’s a sexually transmitted disease caused by a virus.

        jac said:
        “The common cold is a virus.”

        So is ebola. So is HIV.

        Do you have a point?

        jac said:
        “Anyone who has had Chicken Pox has the virus as that is part of the herpes zoster virus.”


        We’re talking about Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (more commonly known as herpes), not Herpes Zoster (more commonly known as shingles). They’re two completely unrelated viruses. 

    2. 3.2

      It is not a big deal in that it’s not going to kill you or hurt your immune system, and is essentially just a skin rash in an unfortunate place. Unlike HIV, HPV, or Syphilis, all of which can become debilitating, causing other chronic illness, and even death.

    3. 3.3

      It is not a big deal, Ron. It is a skin infection. There are things that threaten your life out there, only one of which you can get from sex and that’s HIV. It is less of a nuisance IME than psoriasis, port wine stains, plantar’s warts and a host of other skin diseases. If you look at the facts and the stats, this is not a big deal. But if you are afraid, it becomes a very big deal. I am not thrilled I have to have this talk with prospective partners, but I am really glad that I’m 1) honest enough to have it; and 2) not dying from this. It’s not cancer, and it’s not HIV….it’s a skin disease. Teri is right. But I’m guessing, again, that men like you – who know nothing about this and are clearly afraid (wait until you find out somebody you slept with has had it) – are not any HSV positive person’s target audience. No thanks. You could not have possibly have enough charm to offset your ignorance or fear.

      1. 3.3.1

        I don’t think it’s a big deal either, it’s like the cold sore virus. It will come out at times of stress, most of the time no symptoms. I think its hard on ppl with compromised immune systems. It’s prob not deadly like the hpv strains that cause cervical and penile cancer, though I expect the two often go together.
        There is too much stigma connected to stds which ironically leads to more of them as ppl are secretive and don’t get treated.

  4. 4

    Given that 1/6 th. of the population has herpes, I wonder if anyone has actually sued a partner and won. How about the other 70+ STD’s? Since so many of them can remain dormant indefinetly, if someone has had more than one partner in their lifetime, how would you even know who to sue?

    Can herpes, chlamydia, HPV be detected by a blood test like HIV, hepatitis, and syphyllis? It’s a bit scary to think no matter healthy you may think you, or a partner are, there may be something lurking, ready to pop out.

    Also, the commercials say medication doesn’t prevent passing herpes to a partner. Condoms don’t claim 100% effectivness against the spread either.

    Big deal I suppose is defined by one’s own perception. The common cold can kill people with a weak immune system. That could be considered a big deal to those affected. While having a herpes sore could be considered more of an annoyance.

    1. 4.1

      Yes, herpes can be detested in a blood test and is the only way to confirm infection if there is no active outbreak. But I doubt it can be “tracked” like HIV sometimes can be. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a lawsuit involving someone suing over getting it, because I don’t think there is a way to prove who you got it from (even though certain tests can give an estimated time on how long you’ve had it, but not specific enough to hold up in court).

  5. 5

    I’ve had herpes for many years and have had to have the conversation. Not one time was it a deal breaker and each time I was thanked for letting him know in advance.

    Having herpes is personal information and you are not required to tell anyone until you know that you want to take that next step into the wonderland. If you know that soon, then tell soon. Absolutely.

    I have never given it to anyone. I have always been careful and respectful of my partners. I was very unhappy to get it but I have a lot to offer and what I have to offer by far supersedes herpes.

    I have told my partners with a face to face convo, letter or email titled disclosure. The usual response is–not an issue–if he knows something about it or he may ask questions to know what he can expect.

    It is unfortunate thing to have, no doubt, but, as time goes on it lessens. I have an outbreak every 2 years or more. So, look at it this way: you have coldsores in an unfortunate place that puts you out of sexual contact for a week or so once a year, or two years, more. geez. And, if you care to, there are certainly other adventures you can provide that your partner can enjoy during that week.

    Be strong, be sure. The guys who would not see beyond this and care for you anyway, in fact, appreciate what it says about who you are as a responsible woman, aren’t the guys you want anyway. Who wants to be with someone who can’t be rational about his fears?

    1. 5.1

      Thank you. I just told someone and I have not heard back from him since and am very sad about it. I really appreciate what you said. It helped me a lot.

      1. 5.1.1
        not jane

        Well according to Jane that guy “can’t be rational about his fears” whatever that means in her sugar coated world. The same world this author is in who thinks you simply take medication and are suddenly not contagious. Great advice. Facts: it sucks, I’m in the angry stage, and I’m really sorry you’re bumbed. 

        1. Mary Doe Rae Me

          I agree with you “not Jane”. It completely sucks. Without sounding like I’m full of myself, guys ask me out all the time. I’m good looking, have a great body and am full of energy, drive and ambition. I’m very successful in my career. I’m also 55 and was given this “great gift” when I was sexually assaulted two years ago. I’ve been with 3 men my whole life. One, my ex-husband and two after my divorce – count that 3 in my lifetime. Whenever I have gotten close enough to wanting/having sex and have told my “boyfriend”, I get rejected. That’s the REAL facts about this disease! JANE and anyone else out there…..there is not much hope in having a “normal” sex life after you get this MONSTER of a DIS-EASE. Because being DISEASED is all you are! It doesn’t matter about anything else you have to offer. WHO wants to ever take the risk of getting it from you…..I wouldn’t. If I guy had told me before I got it, would I have had sex with him?….HELL NO!!! It ruins….absolutely ruins your life. I’m tormented by the fact everyday.

      2. 5.1.2

        Jane is correct. I am H- and have been seeing a guy a few months. We have been using condoms and decided to do an STD screening so we could clear ourselves and go condom free. He was surprised by an H+ (type 2) result. I didn’t freak out, but he did. I told him we just needed information. Turns out that in discordant couples (one positive, one negative), without taking any precautions–such as condoms or suppressive medication–just avoiding sex during obvious outbreaks), the transmission rate is between 8.5 to 10% PER YEAR with an average of 2 sex acts per week. Add a correctly and consistently used condom, and you cut that rate in half–to 4-5% PER YEAR. Add suppressive meds and you cut that rate in half to 2% PER YEAR. This is the same rate as pregnancy risk with condoms, that people take ALL THE TIME. And it’s better than the HIV protection rates–which at their highest are 95% protection. Anytime you have sex with someone using a condom without an STD screening (and know that the screening won’t show recent infections–so even that isn’t perfect), you put yourself at all these risks. The only way to have no risk is to not have sex at all. And even with a “monogamous” “disease-free” partner–you’re assuming they’re not going to cheat–because, nobody in a committed relationship ever cheats, right?

        If a partner agrees to this low risk of transmission, and does end up infected, they will have a viral infection that is so benign that 90% of the time people don’t even realize they have it. So, a 5% chance of catching a disease that only causes noticeable symptoms in 10% of the people who contract it. And even then the symptoms aren’t usually severe. In most cases–by a country mile–it poses no serious health risks to anyone who contracts it.

        I have zero fear about continuing my relationship with my new partner as long as we continue to properly use condoms. And in some studies, couples who reported consistent and correct use of condoms had zero increase in transmission rates connected to each protected sex act (whereas every unprotected act came with significant increase in risk). I think people are highly irrational about HSV, and it’s mainly due to ignorance and prejudice and just the fact that many people are emotionally, rather than reasonably led. Fear is hard to overcome for some people–it simply controls them. They are OK taking this risk if it’s unknown to them–every time they have sex, even with a condom–but tell them their partner has HSV, and suddenly they’re not “willing to take that risk.” Newsflash, if you ever had sex with ANYONE with a condom that didn’t show you an STD screening after a few months of abstinence with any other partner–you DID agree to take the risk.

      3. 5.1.3

        That’s the response I got. …click!  Scared to tell the new guy but I know I have  to!  Scared to fall in love because of the possibility of rejection. But I am more than herpes.  It sucks when guys don’t see that. 

  6. 6

    Well, I’ll tell you about one experience I had. I went out with this guy, things started to get hot & heavy, and he says “before we do this, I have to tell you something.” Let me say, I was GRATEFUL that he had said something, but it also was NOT the right moment! At that moment, it was a deal-breaker for me because I was not able to find out anything about it before I took that step with him.

    When I did do some research, I found out that it *can* be transmitted, even while properly medicated. The chances are slim, but still there. I decided I didn’t want to risk it, with him. The perfect guy out there for me may have herpes, and I may see things differently. But for now, and with that one particular guy, I’m not willing to risk it. That’s just my opinion.

    1. 6.1

      Yes, women tend to be complete cowards about the issue and run away at full speed.

  7. 7

    I think the most critical phrase mentioned in this post is that of “staggering ignorace.” I am relatively symptom-free “carrier” of herpes and was unknowingly infected by my ex-husband, to whom I was married and faithful for 20 years. He was also unknowingly infected, because he was symptom-free when he met me. This was in the early 1970’s when not as much was known about herpes. If you didn’t have symptoms, you were told by vd clinics that you were not infected and therefore could not infect others.

    But I’m always amazed by what many people think herpes is, with some even thinking it’s a life-threatening, “flesh-eating” disease. Even more amazing is the hypocrisy — singles will have non-safe sex, trusting a new partner’s word on being HIV negative, and yet launch into a victimization freak-fest if they later find out their new partner may have herpes. This ignorance of facts makes the most rational people become very judgmental about the ethics, morals, and even hygene of those with herpes. It’s ridiculous, it’s demeaning, and I’m tired of it.

    I do disclose early on if I think the relationship has any potential in moving into sexual intimacy. I’m ready with accurate information but also advise that the man not take my word for it and that he gather independent information, on-line or through a doctor, if he feels at all ambivalent; however, be aware that there is contradicting and mis-information out there.

    I would like some clarity, though, on this issue of whether I can infect someone else if I am symptom-free and on medication. According to my own physician, if I plan to be sexually intimate, I should start medication; otherwise, I would take medication only if I am symptomatic. I have read differing opinions on this.

    And to Ron — who posted earlier — and anyone else who follows his line of indignant, self-righteous thinking: Get over yourself. Good luck trying to sue anyone for possibly spreading herpes symplex to you. And before you do, get yourself tested just in case (horror of horrors!) you, yourself are infected and unwittingly spreading it to others. The majority of people with herpes have no idea where they got it, and you can be pretty sure they didn’t choose to be infected.

    Fortunately, I have only had one negative reaction from a man I’ve disclosed to, but it was so extremely negative and shaming that it stopped me from dating for quite a while because I feared a similar reaction from the next guy I might get close to. But I’m heartened by what I read here, and I believe that if a man refuses to seek a relationship with me based on my disclosure of herpes, it’s certainly his right, but it’s also his loss, because judging anyone based solely on factors out of their control (like color of hair, height, ethnic background, etc.) is going to eliminate someone who may potentially be a very good partner for you. But if you do decide against an intimate relationship with someone you’ve met, based upon their having herpes, at least do as a result of having all the correct information and without condemning or being judgmental.

    Thanks to all who’ve shared their experiences.

  8. 8

    You make a very good case for getting to know someone at least fairly well before being intimate with them. Conditions of any kind, sexual or otherwise, are more easily accepted with someone you’ve come to care for, rather than just barely know.

  9. 9

    I would have to agree with the guys ….herpes IS a big deal. This is information I would want to know by the third or fouth date…b/c if you’ve made it that far you probably have good chemistry and want to take it to the next level. Even if you can’t catch it when on medictaion you have to disclose it!

  10. 10


    there was nothing in my post that made a moralistic judgment about those who have herpes. Obviously, you are projecting onto others by calling me self-righteous.

    Perhaps you have some issues you are dealing with. If you want a self-righteous post, I’ll be happy to give you one. But that comment by me earlier was not self-righteous.

  11. 11

    What are the risks to a man who is performing oral sex on a woman? If the woman does not have a visible outbreak in the vagina, is it OK?

    1. 11.1

      There is a small risk, but there haven’t been any studies done, so there are no numbers/ stats on it. So we don’t know how possible it is compared to sex with a condom vs sex without a condom, etc. Just be aware, and use a dental dam is the safest option.

    2. 11.2

      Dental dams are generally prescribed to stop HSV-1 spread to genitals. In HSV-2, the instance of transmission orally is so rare we don’t even have reliable stats on it. In researching this, I found some clinics reporting patients presenting this in the single digits, and some doctors who called HSV-2 oral infection a myth. While I might not go as far as to agree it’s myth, HSV-2 is simply not well suited to oral transmission, and is nearly unheard of. And this goes for both ways–people with HSV-2 passing it to a partner orally or giving it to a partner through the H- partner performing oral sex. I mean, I’d avoid it during an outbreak–when a person is most contagious–but I’d avoid any sexual contact during that time. Still, it’s exceedingly rare to even see an HSV-2 oral infection at all. And in one study of college populations, they found no instances of it at all, even though oral sex was prevalent and both HSV-1 and 2 were in the population. Google “Lack of oral HSV-2 in a college student population.” And don’t take anecdotal stories as “evidence.” I have seen several online forums where people posted to claim they had HSV-2 oral infections, and when questioned or tested further, discovered it was type 1, not type-2–which makes FAR more sense. So, to answer your question, it’s theoretically possible (and RARE at best), but HIGHLY unlikely there would be an HSV-2 oral transmission.

    3. 11.3

      Well, let’s just say you need a LOT of friction to spread herpes. And oral sex does not meet the standard, at least in MY case. Not only has nobody contracted from performing oral on me, but in my own masturbation, which can include genital to mouth contact for lubrication, I have never gotten a canker sore. And I’ve had this ten years maybe. So….again, men are considered more potent transmitters because of their plumbing. I’d say it’s safe. I’d say it’s even safer with antivirals. I think oral sex with a dental dam is …well unrealistic. Again, just me. If you care for this person, let that be the deciding factor. Again, it’s just a skin infection. Responsible monitoring and abstinence can make the disease entirely manageable between even discordant partners.

  12. 12

    “He will not catch it since you take drugs ….” Evan can you confirm whether someone with herpes on medication CANNOT infect a partner? There seems to be some confusion over this, esp given that this is a public site.

    Also, does anyone know the ratio or men to women who contract herpes? I heard that women have more frequent outbreaks and/or have a greater chance of being infected than men because of our physiology but men are more frequently carriers. I know this is true with genital warts… not that this will change anything but I’m just curious.

    1. 12.1

      Actually, the medication helps to prevent another person from catching it, but it is not 100% and they could still get it, and anyone with Herpes should make your possible partner aware of this, too.

  13. 13

    For the great majority of people, Herpes is as big or as little a deal as you want to make it. Technically its a skin condition that often, but not always, is spread sexually. I found out that I was infected w/ type 1 & 2 herpes many years ago, no idea for how long because although I had taken batteries of STD tests several times over the years, these had not previously included the herpes test.
    Never had an outbreak, so for me its not a problem. Never had a lover reject me because of it either. And to my knowledge I’ve never infected anyone else either.
    To T and anyone else that wants to know what the risks are, what is the % chance you can catch it from a particular sex act, the truth is no one can tell you. I’ve gotten greatly different answers from different doctors (some have even told me that since I don’t have symptoms I don’t really have herpes, I’ve just been exposed to it, whatever that means), so even the experts aren’t clear on it. Any skin to skin contact with friction can potentially spread herpes; do a Google search for “Herpes Gladiatorum” if you are curious.
    For most people sex is important enough to take some risks; if you really care about the person you’d be a fool to let an annoying skin condition come between you.

  14. 14

    Great question. You are not alone. I also have genital HSVII. Since testing positive I have told 3 men. All 3 were fine with it. Despite my anxiety, the conversations took a few minutes. I found some advice on telling at the website http://www.racoon.com/herpes/. Evan got it right. It’s about your attitude while telling and about having accurate facts.

    Since others have asked, below is some basic herpes info. There is a lot of misinformation out there and many doctors are not up to date. (Bernie you have herpes—there is no such thing as being a “carrier”)

    There are 2 different viruses. HSV1 and HSV2. As Evan wrote 50-80% of the population has HSV1. HSV1 most commonly presents itself orally as a cold sore. It is possible to have HSV1 genitally.

    1 in 5 people have HSV2. 80% of those infected do NOT know!! When you ask your doctor for STD screening, you will NOT be checked for Herpes. This is because it’s so common the medical community has decided to not routinely screen. (if you want to be tested ask for a type specific herpes test- this tests for type 1 and 2)

    Transmission Summary:
    Female to male Transmission
    No condoms, No antiviral 4% chance of transmission.
    Condoms, no antiviral 2% chance of transmission
    Condoms + antiviral

    1. 14.1

      Such nonsense. Men don’t care, and women do… In general.

  15. 15


    Condoms + antiviral

  16. 16


    You ask a great question, one that I have dealt with myself. I am a 43-year-old woman that has had herpes for over 15 years. I *always* told my partners about my “gift that keeps on giving”. Evan is right… the bigger deal you make of it, the more likely you will freak out the person you are talking to.

    Most of my partners were very grateful to hear what they would be exposed to, and there were no adverse side effects. Only one man was hesitant – to the point of breaking it off with me – but he still thanked me for letting him know before we got physical.

    It all comes down to this… we both have a disease for which there is no cure. It isn’t an ideal situation, but it could be so much worse – and you are deifinitely not alone. Above all else, please know that it is your absolute responsibility to let potential partners know about your condition, and let them make that final choice without judgement.


  17. 17
    Kat Wilder

    When it comes to any kind of STD, you have to let a potential partner know. Period. He/she needs to have the right to decide what’s OK and what’s not for him/her (and any sexually active person should already know all about STDs and HIV so there are no “how do I handle this?” moments that’s just being smart and safe.)

    If it’s a deal-breaker, so be it.

    But this speaks to the bigger issue of getting to know someone before getting intimate. Sharing something as complicated as “I have herpes” involves a level of trust and honesty, and that takes time.

  18. 18

    Thank you to Jen, Evan, & all of the fellow herpes carriers who were brave enough to share their experiences and advice. I found out that I had herpes over a year & a half ago. I told my ex-boyfriend, who did not react well, but was also tested & did not have it. I have finally met someone who I like & need to tell, but it is not easy. After reading Jen’s letter & all the responses, I am prepared to tell this guy at our next date and not make such a big deal out of it. Thanks again & happy new year to all of you!

  19. 19

    I have had herpes for over 20 years. My ex-husband transmitted it to me early in our marriage. He was unaware he had it. As noted above, the most reliable information does not come from the medical community who I have found to not be up to date.

    For those of you who were confused about the “antiviral”, there is an antiviral gel that has been developed for use with a condom and can protect areas not covered by a condom for both men and women. Please see the following website:

    This can also protect against other STD’s not just herpes. Also, herpes can be transmitted even when on appropriate medication.

  20. 20

    Telling is what you make it. I’ve had this over 25 years and always had a positive results.

    Herpes is NOT part of the standard STD tests…Many that have it don’t realize they have it. The idea of suing is ridiculous as one would need to PROVE they never had sex with anyone else and show for a fact they did not have it. Herpes can lay dormant for years.

    To me it is NOT a big deal and only a minor irritation. It is INCORRECT to say there is NO chance of spreading it while on anti-virals. There is ALWAYS the risk.

  21. 21

    I have herpes and had sex twice with someone I want to continue to have sex with. I just can’t tell him. This is a purely sexual relationship, he’s much younger than me. I just can’t do it I’m too embarrased and the fear of him rejecting me consumes me. The fear of giving it to him is great also. I’m torn.

    1. 21.1

      u should join a herpes dating site and find a guy who also has it.

  22. 22

    Please Note: The person who posted the last comment – #21 – is not the “J” who has posted voluminous comments under other subjects. There is nothing wrong with what this person has posted using the same “Name” as me – and certainly “J” is not an original name on my part -but given that theirs is a very personal comment that is theirs alone and does not reflect my experience or my health condition (in this case, that would be lack of, for me) I felt the need to clarify. Guess I will need to find myself a different moniker to post under … I do hope the person who posted comment 21 figures it out. Though I don’t believe you can have something like that and not be upfront. Difficult as that would be, if he finds out and he knows you knew and you didn’t tell him, you may well lose him anyway and chances are he will be angry. Then you will be hurt and embarrassed and rightly so on the embarrassed front for not telling him something that clearly affects his health and welfare (for now and his future) too.

  23. 23
    Formerly J

    Hi – also left comment 22 (about not being the poster in #21) – I did want to clarify that I am not dissing people who do have herpes – I think it may well be more people than not it is so hard to detect and is so prevalent now. It is the no disclosure policy of someone that does know they are infected who doesn’t inform someone they are intimate with – preferably ahead of time – that I don’t condone. I give anyone who is upfront about this a great deal of credit- especially anyone who has also notified past partners upon diagnosis. And I think the posts on this topic were very helpful as well as informative. I appreciate the candor of these folks.

  24. 24

    I have had HPVII since I was 19, the very first time I had sex. After I was diagnosed, I talked to my “first” boyfriend and he denied it. He said I got it from some one else! Yeah what a jerk! He knew he had it and then denied it when he given it to me.

    Since then, I am 37 now, I have only had one man that didn’t want to be bothered. You may ask yourself when do you tell someone…well the answer is when you feel ready to. ALWAYS BEFORE SEX!!!!

    At first, I would tell a potential lover that I had it on the first date. All of them were cool with it. Then internet dating came along. I had been talkin to Tim for about 6 months. We met, great chemistry, only kissed. After we met, he wanted to see me more and explore other levels of our relationship. I told him. He broke up with me over a text message. I was hurt for a while, but I got over it.

    Now that I am internet dating, not just looking for sex, I disclose it in my first email. I look at it this way, no time is really invested in him, if he isn’t comfortable with your “situation” he can dismiss it and you can move on. However, it ultimately comes down to preference. I have told potential lovers in person as well, it almost seemed as if they were saying to me….ok, can we move on now.

    Yes HPVII is uncurable, it can still be transmitted even when you are on medication and no signs of an outbreak. Always practice safe sex PERIOD!

    The chances of some one suing your becuase you have HPVII is slim to none, but, if you are involved in a realtionship and it ends up in marriage and you did not disclose that information about you beforehand, YOU CAN BE SUED and divorced in a hearbeat!!!

    There are also special dietary supplements that can keep your HPVII at bay along with Valtrex and Famvir, and of course a lower stress level! Good luck with the latter.

    Don’t be afraid to have an “adult” conversation about your HPVII, it is only RIGHT to tell a potential partner. Be there for them when they have questions, sending them to a website can freak them out! Yes you may have to modify your sexual repitoire, but, your partner will have respect and trust for you in the end.

  25. 25
    Ed Farnsworth

    Speaking as a man who has never had a cold sore. The reason 1/6 of the population has herpes is because of the attitude of some of the carriers on this site. I always ask potential partners before any sexual contact if they have ever had an std. If they answer affirmatively… fine, I’m gone and they have my sympathy. But I was lied to once by a woman who thought that putting me at risk for this incurable disease was “no big deal.” What scum! A warning to the healthy. Women who have herpes will lie to you when you ask them if they have it.

    1. 25.1

      Have you been continually and specifically tested for HSV? If not, then you could be one of the 80% of people that don’t know they have it. Never having a cold sore doesn’t mean diddly : /
      But let’s say you are tested for it regularly (even though it’s not included in your standard STD panel, so if you’ve never asked for it, you’ve never been tested) and you don’t have it.
      So ONE woman lied to you, so you make this sweeping accusation that women who have it WILL lie? Sorry, that’s utter bullshit. That was ONE PERSON.

    2. 25.2

      > I always ask potential partners before any sexual contact if they have ever had an std. 

      That’s your screening process? Do you realize 90% of HSV2+ people don’t know they have it and show no symptoms (but are still contagious)? And you consider yourself safe/responsible? I’m not afraid of HSV, but you can bet I don’t take anyone’s “word” on whether or not they have an STD. I demand a screening, and I supply one–paperwork to their face. I do not do it in order to find a reason to reject a partner. I do it when I think we’re ready to move on to a more intimate space in the relationship and I like the person. At that point, I’m willing to work with them to have safe sex, based on the results of the screening. My current partner tested HSV-2+, and had no clue he had it. I told him I’m not freaked out, and I’m not going anywhere. He currently isn’t sure he’s OK continuing to see me, because *he* is scared of infecting me, despite low transmission rates if we’re careful. I’m trying to convince him to calm down and be more rational, since I know there will always be some risk if I’m sexually active, no matter how careful I try to be. In his case, we’re aware and can take steps to mitigate to acceptable levels. And the fact he’s concerned about possibly infecting anyone else only makes me more aware of what a great guy I’m dealing with.

  26. 26
    Jared Meyer

    “Drug and Disease Free”

    I’ve had my eye on the profiles of single woman online and I’ve never seen any of them include the notation of “drug and disease free.” Then again I’ve rarely be proactive and searched for them.

    Are addictions and health conditions so personal that most people don’t share this intimate information until after hopes have been built and care has been developed?

    From a romantic/love development standpoint, it makes sense to wait until it’s right to talk about health. From a humanitarian standpoint, however, to me – it makes sense to put all the cards on the deck to determine the best match of two candidates. We’re often not as selective as we really could be and our efforts are sometimes extended due to lacking information we “could have used yesterday.”

    Within our online profiles, we share income, religious beliefs, our diet, and smoking habits. What’s holding us back from sharing more information like addictions and health conditions? Fear and embarrassment.

    Imagine a nation where most people provided more understanding, forgiveness, and acceptance – essentially more love. We’d be less angry, ignorant, and mean-spirited, and could make better decisions with regard to all areas of our lives beyond health and love.

    I hope to read more posts with less ego and more compassion. Have you ever considered that no one is right and no one is wrong? We just are who we choose to be and that we want to know or believe whatever we feel is best for us.

  27. 27

    Jeez. I am *so* envious of those of you who have had decent reactions from those you’ve told. I have told three men now since I was diagnosed a couple of years ago. All three have had varying levels of poor reactions to it. I’m starting to feel like a leper.

    None of the three expressed any regret that I had H, concern for my well-being, nor respect or appreciation for the fact that I cared enough about their welfare to tell them. It was all about them! *Their* risk, how this would effect *them*. If someone tells you they have a disease, for god sake part of your reaction *should* be to say that you’re sorry to hear that! I can’t imagine someone being told that their friend has cancer, and omitting any sense of concern for that person and just focusing on how it would effect them (“Damn! I guess that means I’ll have to be inconvenienced by spending time at your sickbed!”).

    A couple of the men I told immediately took intercourse off the table, without asking question one about H (and they weren’t educated about it) but just presumed I would do other sexual activities with them. Hello?! I am a partner in this relationship as well. You don’t just get to dictate to me what we’ll be doing and presume I’ll be fine with that. And if someone isn’t even open to the possibility that I am worth taking a small risk for (and having protected sex with a person who is not having an outbreak IS a small risk), if I’m so unspecial and unimportant to them and our relationship is not meaningful enough to be worth it, then I don’t want to be with them in any capacity.

    One of them initially said he was ok with it, but then got cold feet *without telling me* (couldn’t be bothered to reciprocate my honesty) and instead of having intercourse and/or cunnilingus as we’d talked about, I just gave him a BJ, he fingered me, and that was it. Leaving me confused until I pointedly asked if that was the reason.

    One of them actually critiqued the timing of when I chose to tell him! The way I see it, you cannot win. If you tell someone “too soon” they may consider it TMI; if you wait too long, they may feel strung along (the actual words used were “left it waiting like a time bomb”). And there is no getting inside that person’s head and knowing exactly when they’d want to be told. Critiquing someone’s timing is an unbelievably tacky way to respond to someone who has been caring and daring enough to have this difficult conversation.

    In short, I am still waiting to be treated as honorably as I have continued to treat my potential sexual partners.

    Yes, it’s important for those with Herpes to tell their potential partners, as this article points out… but I’d like to see it stressed that it’s just as important for those potential partners to react with compassion and open-mindedness. The reason there are people out there who don’t tell is because they are tired of being made to feel like lepers. Respect and concern is a two way street. Or should be!!

    1. 27.1

      I recently told a girl and she started to cry. She had had it in her head that we were going to be in a relationship, but this had killed it for her. Seriously, wtf is wrong with people?

  28. 29

    I got it from my girlfriend. She didn’t tell me she had it when we started dating, she didn’t tell me she had it when we moved in together. When I found a bottle of Valtrex she had stashed, the sores on my package made sense and I visited my doctor. He told me yes indeed I had the Herpes. At which time I confronted her about her Valtrex bottle, and she denied it was for herpes, she attempted to tell me she had Valtrex for shingles and the occasional oral outbreak but no way did she have genital herpes. She even tried to push it back on me and say how did I know I didnt have it and gave it to her. Now I am not stupid but for a moment I pondered the idea. I have stayed with this woman for 4 years since finding out, more or less I am afraid to try to find someone else. Those Valtrex commercials are complete lies for a guy to have it and a woman who doesn’t? He might as well have AIDS. So recently, this nasty woman decides she isn’t getting her way and we should break up. I want to take her to court, she has ruined me. Just to make sure, I called my ex girlfriend I had before this woman and guess what? No herpes–never had it she is even going to go get tested and send me the results to take to my lawyer.

    1. 29.1

      Truth is, you could have had it before you even met her. There is no way to prove you didn’t. It sucks that she didn’t tell you, regardless of if she actually infected you. Just dump her lying ass, and move on.
      On the other hand, it is nothing close to like having AIDS, stop being so fucking melodramatic. Herpes isn’t going to kill you, it’s a fucking rash. It’s annoying, and she should have told you. But seriously, get over it.

    2. 29.2

      You stayed with her? Good god

  29. 30

    Hello, I am 28 year old female. I am pretty much scared. I’ve known I’ve had herpes for about 2 years now and as much as I read about it, it freaks me out and scares me because I plan to have kids. I’ve only been with 4 guys my whole life. I have friends who sleep around often and can never quit figure out “why me”. I have child hood friend of mine, more of a friend of the family. I’ve known for years that he was interested in me however, we just never connected. I was always with someone and so was he. Recently I found out he’s in the army and we’ve connected. We’ve been talking every day and I can’t believe I never got to know him better. We have grown very close and he talks alot of us moving to be together after If finish college at home. He will be making a visit in a few months. I don’t know if I am to tell him via email, over the phone or face to face. I am soo scared he will look at me differently and hate me.

    1. 30.1


      I would recommend telling him face to face or by phone. Don’t do it via text or email, you don’t want this information out there. When I was dating my husband, I told him that I had to tell him something while we were on the phone. He got so nervous that he made me tell him; so that’s how I ended up telling him. 

      Make sure he likes you alot and vice versa. You don’t want to tell him your business if you are unsure. 

      As for having children… I use to be scared too until I became a Labor and Delivery RN. You wouldn’t believe the amount of ladies that have a natural delivery even though they have HSV2. But, this is only allowed if they don’t have outbreaks.  

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