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!

Jen

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.

Evan

 

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Comments:

  1. 31
    NYC

    I think it’s not fair to say “If a man can’t see through the herpes then he’s not really someone who cares, etc.” Guys, herpes is not medically serious, but for a subset of people it really adversely affects their life. Someone made a comment saying that it’s not fair to judge someone based on height, ethnicity, hair color, etc, so similarly it’s bad to judge someone based on having herpes. I don’t think people are judging or looking down on others. But look – if I marry someone with brown hair or with different color skin, it doesn’t result in painful sores. Herpes usually is mild or not even significant, but nobody knows how their body will react to it. I understand that it’s easy to rationalize “if he loves me then he won’t care too much about me having it” but I don’t think it’s that simple. It’s not simple because it’s something that affects the other partner for their whole life. I would say DON’T JUDGE someone who considers it a dealbreaker.

  2. 32
    George

    I was a virgin (by choice) tll my mid 20’s when i got married. A few years later that went south, and after the divorce was final, on the rebound I started having sex with just about any cute chick I met at the bar. I was the epitome of the male slut… I tried a comdom the first time, but after years of never wearing one, I hated it and was stupid enough to stop wearing them. You’d be surprised how many women out there don’t care, or if you try to wear one, don’t want you to.

    Anyways, then I got into a serious relationship, and we both got checked and were both clean. Then after we broke up, i had a one night stand. Eventually me an my ex got back together, and about a week later I told her I had had a one night stand while we were broken up. Well, we both went to the doctor, again, and yup, i got it from the one night stand. So my gf called my one night stand and it turns out the one night stand knew she had herpes and didn’t tell me. (She thought she had been ‘cured’ of it) Yeah, we thought of suing, but it wasn’t worth the time or hassle. So far the absolute worst part of all of this has been that I gave it to someone else, not knowing that I had it. I can only imagine how it would feel to give it to someone knowing I had it. I would never ever risk it now that I know that i have it. My gf felt like she had just become a second class citizen or a leper and it was all my fault. Try imagining how it would feel to tell the person you love as they sit there crying that you gave them herpes! (I reiterate I didn’t know i had it at the time, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about it).

    Well, now I”m not with my ex anymore (Not because of that, other issues), and am now back into the dating scene, but this time with my new “little friend” :(

    The first outbreak I had was painful as hell, lasted like two weeks and made peeing burn like hell. Now that I’ve learned to deal with the it sin’t so bad. I pop a few valtrex, rub some acyclovir (you can get the creme in mexico for $5 a tube) and it is gone in two to three days tops. As far as having herpes, I could have been a whole lot worse. HIV will kill you, and other stuff like cyphalis will really mess you up if you don’t treat it . To be honest, my getting herpes might have been a good, thing, cause now that I’m single again, I’m not the male whore I was last time I went through a bad breakup. I could have gotten something a lot worse last time, and didn’t. So far I’ve been single for a few months and havent’ met anyone worth more than a one night stand, and thus havent’ had sex since my break up either. And when I do meet someone I’m interested I absolutely plan on telling them before we are intimate that I have it. It is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to date me after they find out, but the alternative of infecting them and then them finding out the hard way is a whole hell of a lot worse.

  3. 33
    hunter

    On post #32,

    You started having sex with almost every cute chick you met at the bar?….You lucky dog!…..You must be very good looking………..Seriously, I have only known one woman who admitted having sex with a man that had herpes. She was a RN, and knew he was infected. She said she never caught it. I never tried to find out if she caught it or not….

  4. 34
    Anon

    George
    You will find an understanding caring soul, who won’t judge you for having herpes. My sis married a guy who had it, and after yrs of marriage she never caught it. If there’s an outbreak, you don’t have sex. You take the Valtrex or whatever to help prevent outbreaks. (Right? I’m not an expert) You don’t use the same towels, etc.
    I’m probably judged just as much for being a curvy girl, and having 2 kids at home.

  5. 35
    Bella

    As a carrier with no symptoms, I try to be open to whatever reaction I may get when I disclose. Yes I’m on medication and yes I’m honest and upfront. Is it easy? Hell no. Is it uncomfortable and nerve racking? Absolutely. It has never been a dealbreaker and it has never stopped a man from pursuing a relationship with me. I’m sure for someone at some point it won’t be worth the risk and I respect that (although it may hurt and be dissapointing). These are the choices and the realities of dating. The conversation is never easy but it is necessary.

  6. 36
    moonsical

    Good lord, what a loaded topic. Of course you MUST tell a potential intimate partner. Of course it is NOT first date material (duh.)

    Herpes, to my understanding, is much more serious for women, putting us at greater risk for cervical cancer. I’ve only had one partner (that I know of) with herpes and he DID NOT feel the need to tell me about it, because he had no outbreak at that time. A mutual friend who had gotten herpes from him told me! Nice, huh? Lucky for me (ever vigilant with the condoms, for one thing) I seem to have dodged that bullet.

    Wait until the time is right but yes, TELL YOUR PARTNER. ALWAYS.

  7. 37
    CB

    Actually, it’s Chlamydia that puts women at greater risk for cervical cancer. I don’t think Herpes does, but it still is an awful thing to have. By the way, do you use condoms with oral sex, moonsical? I believe it can be passed on that way as well.

    I was honest with the guy that I have been dating about having Herpes. At first, he said that he did not care (which was wonderful…), but now we think he might have gotten it on his face. Now, he’s afraid to have any kind of sex with me. I think I am going to have to go on the preventative med, Valtrex. I did not believe it would be that easy to pass on, if I didn’t have an outbreak, but I guess that shedding thing really happens, big time. Ugh!

  8. 39
    CB

    Sorry if I was wrong, but it would be nice if you weren’t so condescending, Cynthia. I have done research and talked with my gynecologist. Also, look more carefully at the 3rd and 5th paragraphs of the article you sent. It actually notes that HPV is what is associated with the increased risk of cervical cancer, while herpes is often an accomplice. Regardless, it sucks to have any of these conditions and I am in agreement with moonsical that partners should respect each other and tell.

  9. 40
    The InBetweener

    I think we would ALL agree, no matter what the outcome or the risk of losing a potential partner, it’s ALWAYS best to inform the partner before hand. (even if it’s RIGHT before)

    The worse thing anybody could do, no matter HOW minor a deal you think it is, is to omit that type of information before hand.

    I think Kat Wilder nailed it, always give the potential future partner the FACTS and a choice to decide for themselves. It really could be a deal breaker for some people but I think they have a right to decide on whether it is or not, even if you feel you were not given that same right to decide.

  10. 41
    Truth 1st Sex Later

    Hi ALL,

    I read all the comments and I’m glad I did before sharing my story with the internet world. I’m 100% negative as of today (3 yearly PAP and Blood Tests) from any STDs but I still think that one day I will eventually get a genital outbreak even though I’ve been sex free since my last relationship.

    Here is my story:

    I dated someone for several years and prior to dating them I always tested negative for HPV/Genital Warts and any other STDs including HIV (yearly HIV tests and PAP Tests). During our relationship, about 5 yrs into it she was diagnosed with HPV and had visible warts. She went to OBGYN and it was confirmed. She stated that her OBGYN said it is very common that I could be the carrier and didn’t know and have an outbreak yet. I went immediately for testing the following day.

    I was 100% negative of all STDs including HIV. I continued dating her for about 6 more months and tried not to have sexual contact with her until I could confirm that she was being unfaithful. It eventually caused problems and we broke it off. I still can’t confirm if she was ever unfaithful during our relationship.

    Since our breakup, I have found out that she has had 2 sexual partners (no protection used) and did NOT inform them of her Genital Warts/HPV. I confronted her and she admitted to it. I also threatened to out her which I haven’t as of yet. I feel as though I’m condoning her to continue this behavior and putting others in danger.

    I would like to say to Jen:
    Please share your STD with all potential partners. You need to do it before sex and it has to be at your comfort level. No one should tell you when or where. Only you will know when it’s the right time. After all this, I would consider dating someone with an STD if they were honest and how they approached me with the news. Btw men can’t be tested for HPV until an outbreak occurs. So are we ever certain?

    Please comment replies are welcome!

  11. 42
    Dan

    The medical profession is lying to people about the SEVERE life threatening effects of genital herpes. Let me share with you my story. I contracted HSV2 from the first girl I ever had sex with. It was in 1986 and I was 26 yrs. old at the time. As a devout Christian, I had decided that I would remain a virgin until I married but unfortunately I failed to live up to my expectations. Anyway, I met this cute girl, we dated for a couple of weeks, and then she invited me to spend some time with her at her house in the country. On the way to her house we bought some wine and ended up drinking way too much. I had no intentions of sleeping with her but after the wine was pretty easily convinced to stay the night. I was a 26 yr. old virgin, so I didn’t really know much about sex or sexually transmitted diseases for that matter. Anyway, we were both pretty tipsy and ended up having sex. The next morning she awakened me with the news that she had both Aids and Herpes. I was in complete shock. I was too ashamed and embarrassed to even begin to know what to do. This is back in the 80s, little was known of these diseases back then. I just swore to God that I would recommit my heart to Him and and asked Him to forgive me for having had sex and please to protect me from having something. For the next seven years, I never even went on a date. Although I never had any outbreak or anything like that I would tend to have a persistent sore throat. Anyway, after 7 yrs or so, I met this girl that I found simply irrestible. Knowing what had happened to me I decided to go to the doctor and have a full battery of tests for all sexually transmitted diseases. Gratefully I did not have Aids but I tested positive for genital herpes. I risked my relationship with the girl I so deeply adored and told her of my findings. We went to three more doctors together to confirm my diagnosis. I had to release this girl who I loved so much because I could never subject her to herpes. Unfortunately, and this is the bad part, over the past 10 years I have developed severe peripheral neuropathy in my feet and hands. Some days I can not even walk the neuropathy in my feet is so severe. I have been diagnosed with herpes phyringitis, evidently from when me and that girl had oral sex so very long ago. I am taking Lyrica for the neuropathy and Zovirax for herpes suppression. Both of them are very expensive and I am uninsurable because of the neuropathy. Up until about 10 yrs ago my immune system had managed to fight the herpes pretty well but now for the past 10 yrs my life has been complete hell on earth. Had I known what I know now back in 1986 I would have sued that girl for everything she had or ever would have. That just something you should think about should you think about not informing a potential sexual partner that you have this disease. I also spent a short time in law school and know for a fact that people have been sued for this and suffered not only extreme public embarrassment but heavy financial judgments. If you are an unfortunate victim of this insidious disease, my prayers are with you, yes, even that girl of so long ago, my prayers are with her. As a Christian I do believe in Jesus’s eternal mercy and power for physical healing here on earth. I pray that you can find your consolation in Him. Be blessed.

  12. 43
    Cynthia

    Oh for flurk’s sake. First of all, spare us the morality play. IF you really contracted Herpes from having sex once ever in your life, you are the RARE exception. What you seem to be implying is that unless everyone believes exactly what you do about Christianity and morality, and reserves sex for marriage alone, we will all immediately get an STD and suffer all the health consequences you have suffered.

    Your ploy is transparent and unconvincing at best. Just take a look around, talk to the people who acknowledge they have Herpes, you will hear very few of them indeed with such an over-the-top story.

    LOTS of people have herpes with few effects at all, or with effects that are much more manageable than what you describe. IF you really have the health problems you claim to have, and IF such problems can really be traced to Herpes (I am very skeptical about both of those points), you are the exception, not the rule.

    You refer to supposed “heavy financial judgements” in cases where a sexual partner has not told someone they had Herpes. Please reference these cases as I was unable to find them in a Google search. Otherwise, it just looks like you are puffing up your argument by resorting to hard evidence that you haven’t actually provided.

    You are exactly the type of person whose hysterics makes people who don’t know much about Herpes think it is the end of the world. What you’re doing makes life harder for those of us who actually live with Herpes (I doubt you do).

  13. 44
    Selena

    I suspect poster #42 has a psychological disorder he is choosing to attribute to HSV2.

  14. 45
    blueeyes

    Thank you Cynthia!!!!!
    The facts are if have herpes, use condoms and obstain from sex during breakouts your partner has a less than 1% chance of contracting. 1 in 5 adults have HSV2. Talk to your partner before becoming intimate. I do, and I’ve never had a guy walk away and never had a partner contract.
    Life with herpes is not the end of the world!

  15. 46
    Dan

    Dear Cynthia,

    I drew an overbroad generalization in my first message. I should have said the POTENTIALLY severe life threatening effects of genital herpes.

    I am very sorry if you were offended by anything I wrote.
    My desire was to simply state the truthful experience I have endured for the past 22 or so yrs. It wasnt until about 10 yrs ago that I began to experience the severe complications which unfortunately in the past 2 yrs have almost crippled me. My monthly expense for the Lyrica and Valtrex now exceeds $400 and I have been denied medical insurance because of the neuropathy. Without the Lyrica I am unable to walk.

    I believe that every person’s heart and life is unique to God, I was just explaining what happened to me. For me I know I betrayed my better judgment at the time and subsequently have endured very severe consequences. However, i also believer that the only absolute standard of good or bad is Jesus Christ, for that I make no apology.

    Something which I did not reveal in my first message is the following. The girl that I was so much in love with and had to give up on because I was willing to be truthful with and reveal I had herpes was recently diagnosed with the disease. Her boyfriend cheated on her after many years of them being together. She was recently awarded an out of court settlement for $200,000 against him. We are now dating each other again and I still love her exceedingly. My prayer is that we can soon marry.

    Here is some reference information for you to peruse regarding potential life threatening complications of herpes pharyngitis.

    http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm

    The article is issued by the National Institute of Health and is dated Dec. 2008

    highlighted excerpt follows:

    Infections and autoimmune disorders can cause peripheral neuropathy. Viruses and bacteria that can attack nerve tissues include herpes varicella-zoster (shingles), Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex-members of the large family of human herpes viruses.

    These viruses severely damage sensory nerves, causing attacks of sharp, lightning-like pain.

    Postherpetic neuralgia often occurs after an attack of shingles and can be particularly painful.

    And also the following:

    http://www.endquest.com/click.php?value=22561&keyword=medical,malpractice

    highlighted excerpt follows:

    The issue of consent was discussed in depth in 1986 U.Il.L.Rev. 779 Paul Murray & Brenda J. Winslett, The Constitutional Right to Privacy and Emerging Tort Liability for Deceit in Interpersonal
    Relationships.

    One must give knowing consent for it to be an effective legal defense; consent is vitiated if it is procured by fraud or concealment. Id. at 793. As noted: One may also commit a
    battery in the case of consensual sexual [intercourse] as to the nature of the contact. An action for battery lies in the herpes transmission cases, for example, since consent to sexual
    intercourse cannot be equated with consent to infection with a `vile and loathsome disease. (emphasis supplied) Id. at 809.

    And some cases you can easily google.

    A woman who contracted genital herpes from her husband was awarded $630,000 by a Manhattan jury on Friday, culminating a legal dispute that lasted nearly a decade.

    Jane Maharan, 64, who divorced Robert Maharan in 1986 after 34 years of marriage, was awarded $400,000 for his negligence, $100,000 for future medical expenses and $250,000 in punitive damages.

    A civil jury this week awarded Michelle E. Rudolph $475,000 for assault and $475,000 for negligence after Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Jose Lima was found guilty of infecting her with genital herpes, attorney Chad Dunn said.

    Meany v. Meany, 639 So. 2d 229 (La. 1994) (genital herpes)
    Jury awarded $ 125,000.00 in damages to compensate Mrs. Meany for pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent disability, medical expenses, and loss of society and enjoyment of life:
    The wife had recovered a judgment from the trial court against the husband for the negligent infliction of a venereal disease.

    Anyway I would still recommend telling a potential sexual partner.
    It is just not fair to the other person.

    May you or the other posters be always richly blessed.

  16. 47
    CN

    I have to comment on the above post. Again, I agree with the other posters that you are misleading people with your comments. While you comment that the virus you have is a member of the herpes virus family, it is not HSV2.

    For example, shingles is very different in symptoms and manisfestation than HSV 1 or 2. You should take more care in how you present your “facts”. There is enough disinformation about HSV.

  17. 48
    Cynthia

    Dan:

    As I stated previous to your post, I do believe a person who knows they have Herpes should tell their potential partner before they become sexually involved. That doesn’t mean that I agree that Herpes is as huge of a deal as you are making it out to be.

    If, as you claim, you want everyone who has Herpes to tell their potential partners, then you are actually hurting your own cause by overstating the risk and effects of Herpes.

    There are already many people in the world who are ignorant about Herpes and who respond to being told their potential partner has it with judgement and overreaction rather than understanding and compassion. We need more people to be educated and realistic about it. Having folks such as yourself jumping up and down about it just causes more problems for those of us who actually have to live (and love) with it. And, ironically, the more people habitually overreact, the less likely those with Herpes are to tell and expose themselves to that overreaction. So you are hurting your own cause with this hysteria.

    I’ll make another point again since you may have missed it: oral Herpes is still Herpes. And over half of adults in this country have HSV type 1 (the type most commonly found in oral Herpes), according to the most recent research (http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/296/8/964).

    I’ve never once had anyone warn me that they had oral Herpes before kissing me. Have you? Have you even *heard* of anyone who does this? Should I go sue all of the men I’ve kissed whom I find out had ever in their lives had a “cold sore” (i.e. Herpes lesion around their lips), for not telling me before kissing me? If not, why not?

    Oral Herpes is considered as much of a health risk as genital Herpes, if not greater (because on rare occasion it can infect the brain). http://www.herpes.com/hsv1-2.html The reason we don’t consider a cold sore around the lips as being as big of a deal in our society as having genital Herpes (whether there are active lesions or not) seems to be that anything associated with the “genitals” is automatically “bad”. You and your zealous ilk are in part to thank for that.

    Simply stating that someone won a $200,000 out-of-court settlement is not proof. Discussing personal experience or opinion is fine as long as it is clear that’s what it is, but trying to support your argument with statistics and “facts” you haven’t backed up is not a fair rhetorical tactic. Please either show proof of this $200,000 settlement, or leave it out of your argument. By juxtaposing this claim with the cited court cases, you imply that it has the same credibility. And by citing a personal experience with a monetary award for contracting Herpes from a partner who did not tell, you imply that such an experience is commonplace. If you really believe in what you are claiming, you don’t need such dirty rhetorical tricks.

    Frankly, I don’t believe anything you’re saying about your personal experiences. I continue to believe that your posts come from a religious zealot who will use any tactic to try to make people so hysterical about the risk and effects of Herpes that they will be afraid to have sex.

    It’s the rare person who gets Herpes the very first time he ever has intercourse. It’s the rare person who has such bad health effects from Herpes as you claim. And it’s the rare person who is awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars for anything, let alone having contracted Herpes from someone who didn’t reveal that they had it. Combine all those rarities together, and you get a statistical probability so low that I’d be willing to bet large sums of money that you’re a fraud.

    Speaking of large sums of money: I did some more Googling and also found a bunch of cases that were dismissed. It’s interesting that you don’t include those in your short list. You seem to be implying that because a handful of people won large settlements, that means that getting Herpes is in fact the end of the world, and that the court recognized that fact and compensated the plaintiffs accordingly. But sometimes people are awarded settlements that are all out of proportion to the crime committed against them. The whole movement of tort reform exists because of these unreasonable judgements.

    Your own information shows that peripheral neuropathy can be attributed to a variety of causes. The Epstein-Barr virus is what causes mononucleosis (“mono”) and is extremely common. The vast majority of adults in this country have had it. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/ebv.htm

    And the “large family of human herpes viruses” includes such things as chicken pox!

    So your own words show that you do not know that genital Herpes is what caused this rare disease in you. Why you are here demonizing Herpes rather than on some other board preaching against kissing (which is what transmits mono) is beyond me. Or maybe you do in fact spend all your time warning everyone not to ever touch another human being in a romantic or sexual way.

    For you, I actually think that’s good advice. For the rest of us, not so much.

  18. 49
    Cynthia

    So I looked at your link http://www.endquest.com/click.php?value=22561&keyword=medical,malpractice and was amused to find that this case didn’t deal with Herpes at all, but with genital warts, and that it wasn’t a finding in favor of the plaintiff, but rather just a remand–meaning she could go ahead with her case in another court.

    Oh yeah, and, I’m still waiting to hear why any of the effects you claim to have had are “life threatening”. In what way is your life threatened by having tingling in your hands and feet? Nah, nevermind, I suppose I shouldn’t continue to feed the troll.

  19. 50
    Mandy

    Hi everyone,

    I am glad to have read this board. It is very helpful as I have had HSV II for about 5 years now. I didn’t worry about it too much because I got it from my boyfriend at the time who then became my husband (He didn’t know he had it either). Anyway, we have since separated, and recently, I have gotten close to a young woman who I really care about. We talk a lot with sexual undertones and we make out all the time. I know it can lead to sex (my first lesbian sex) and I want to tell her within the next few days because I don’t want to waste anymore time with her not knowing. Does anyone have any examples in this case where it is a same sex relationship? Thanks for any comments you might have.

  20. 51
    Karl R

    Mandy: (#50)
    I can’t see how a same-sex relationship changes thing. It’s one person talking to another person.

    The next time you’re in private, sit her down and tell her, “Before things go any further, there’s something you need to know. About 5 years ago …” Then tell your story from there. Keep it simple and keep it factual. Answer any questions she has.

    She may be understanding. She may not. Those are the same possibilities that exist if you were telling a man.

  21. 52
    kat

    I’m so glad I found these posts on this topic today. I don’t have a lot to add – I’ve had genital herpes for approximately 6 years, I always struggle with when to tell a potential sexual partner about my condition and have found that the only “good time” is before things get hot and heavy — once things are rolling he may not take the time to make an “informed choice” before we become intimate. I am 43 and find that many of the men in my dating pool are somewhat recently out of long term marriages and seem to know nothing about herpes…..consequently the fact that I have herpes is generally not received well and has been a dealbreaker several times. It is hard to handle that kind of rejection, as it often comes with a judgment about me and my character. I thank those of you who do not have herpes for your expressions of support for those of us who do. I did find one comment (well, more than one, but I’m exercising restraint) pretty outrageous:

    A warning to the healthy. Women who have herpes will lie to you when you ask them if they have it.

    Ummmm, I can’t tell you how many times I have sucked it up and made myself completely vulnerable to a potential partner by disclosing my condition only to have them (MALES) say “Oh, don’t worry, I’ve ‘been exposed’ to herpes, (or even tested positive)(or had an outbreak “once”) but I don’t think I have it because I’ve never had symptoms, never had another outbreak, etc.”…… Clearly these men are not proactively disclosing the fact that they may have herpes, and, frankly, the chances are that they do have herpes, and that they are spreading it with impunity and no guilt because they are naive enough to believe that they don’t have it because they haven’t had “symptoms”. Alert to men re: “symptoms” — they vary, and according to lots and lots of literature, men often believe that they have an abrasion on their genitals when, in fact, they have a herpes sore. Please, please, please don’t take it lightly when a Dr. tells you that you have tested positive for herpes simply because you don’t “feel” like you have it. You need to be as upfront with your partner as you want her to be with you.

    OK, I’m rambling, but to the man who warns “the healthy” (please…) that women who have herpes lie – you’re making a gross generalization about “women who have herpes” – in my experience some men have no problem lying about or minimizing their condition.

    #42 — Your medical condition sounds awful – if it is somehow related to genital herpes I’m sure we will be reading about you soon in some medical journals soon. In the meantime I hope your doctors are exploring other potential culprits (auto-immune disorders…….) in order to address your symptoms.

  22. 53
    Sayanta

    I’m going to be honest- those of you who said you’d still continue to date people with herpes are way kinder than I am. I want to say off the bat that I sympathize a great deal with people who have it- it sounds awful.

    At the same time, I’m not going to put my own health at risk, even for ‘love’. I think the first and foremost concern people should have is respect for their own bodies (it goes to knowing how to take care of yourself before you can take care of others), and if you KNOWINGLY sleep with someone who can infect you, that respect’s gone. If someone told me they had any kind of STI, I’d honestly have to walk. I hope it never happens, because it would suck to meet the man of my dreams and find out he’s infected with an STI.

  23. 54
    CN

    To poster#53: Thank God there are many great people in this world who don’t think as you do. Having an STI is like many long-term health conditions. Have you ever been tested? How do you know you don’t have the virus? Wouldn’t it be ironic if you were tested and found out you had it without knowing as a high percentage of people who have and don’t know it.

  24. 55
    Sayanta

    “Have you ever been tested? How do you know you don’t have the virus?”

    I’m a virgin- that’s how I know. STI’s (meeting men who have it)are one of the reasons I’ve stayed that way.

    I understand why you’re upset by my comment- but I still stand by what I’ve said. As for other long term health conditions- they’re not contagious so it’s different. For example, I’d date someone who had diabetes or high cholesterol.

  25. 56
    Sayanta

    This is NYC’s post #31

    “I think it’s not fair to say If a man can’t see through the herpes then he’s not really someone who cares, etc. Guys, herpes is not medically serious, but for a subset of people it really adversely affects their life… But look – if I marry someone with brown hair or with different color skin, it doesn’t result in painful sores. Herpes usually is mild or not even significant, but nobody knows how their body will react to it. I understand that it’s easy to rationalize if he loves me then he won’t care too much about me having it but I don’t think it’s that simple. It’s not simple because it’s something that affects the other partner for their whole life. I would say DON’T JUDGE someone who considers it a dealbreaker.”

    I just saw NYC’s post- THANK YOU! My sentiments exactly. Interesting how no one responded to NYC’s post. I think we’re so politically correct now that you have to say you’re willing to date anyone no matter what the adverse effects on your own life is. Well, sorry- that’s not happening. If I found out every single male in the universe is infected with an STI, I’d join a Buddhist nunnery.

  26. 57
    Michael Ejercito

    I’m a virgin- that’s how I know. STI’s (meeting men who have it)are one of the reasons I’ve stayed that way.
    Sex is not the only method of spreading STI’s, contrary to popular belief.

    Herpes (both types) can be spread by kissing.

    Syphilis can be spread by touch.

  27. 58
    Sayanta

    “Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying. Syphilis cannot be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.”
    from this website
    http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/STDFact-Syphilis.htm#spread

    It says specifically that transmission occurs during sex.

  28. 59
    Michael Ejercito

    It says specifically that transmission occurs during sex.
    This is true.

    But it can also be passed through the umbilical cord. And in second stage syphilis, sores appear all over the body, providing another venue of transmissions.

  29. 60
    Mandy

    I just wanted to update everyone. I spoke to my girlfriend about HSV over the phone because it came up at that time. She didn’t even flinch. She said her sister has it too and it got passed to her from their mother at birth. It did literally take about 5 minutes. I am so happy that is over with and it eliminates some extra unnecessary stress that I was feeling just thinking about telling her. I also did realize that a lot of it had to do with how my demeanor was when we discussed it. I am happy that she really likes me for more than just a sexual relationship and she still wants to pursue the relationship. Just for the record, we have not had sex yet, but when we talk about it, it doesn’t seem like anything has changed. Thanks for a wonderful message board!

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