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. 181

    There was a news story earlier this year about a company called Gardisil which had created a herpes vaccine that passed initial human trials and proven safe. “The vaccine is designed to prevent transmission of herpes simplex virus in people never previously exposed, as well as to act as a treatment for those already infected.” There’s still some way to go, of course, plus Gardisil’s HPV vaccine had been effective But came with serious side effects for some unfortunate people, so perhaps pple with milder forms of herpes may be wary of trying the vaccine when it’s completed.
    However it’s still encouraging, and I felt glad seeing the thrilled comments of some pple below the article. I’d read that 30% of pple with herpes contemplated suicide, so this illness has severe emotional effects on some pple.

  2. 182

    I always thought that Herpes or any type of STD to stop from spreading the effected people should do dating with only other effected people, Then the spread rate will drastically come down. I have found some sites like http://www.Sensitivedating.org, http://www.Meetup.com and if you search online there are many more sites.

  3. 183

    To all those saying people with herpes should just join a herpes dating site:

    Have you ever been on those? They are horrible! First of all only 25 percent of the population has herpes. Then 80 percent of the people who have herpes don’t know they have it.  Can you imagine how much that limits your options? Put into account attraction, common interests, and a connection and good luck with finding anyone worth while on there. 

    That being said I’m an attractive, genuine person who deserves love as much as anyone else on this planet. Sorry I won’t limit myself as a leper, but I’ve been accepted before and I know I will be again.  

    1. 183.1

      Those dating sites for STDs are truly awful. I’ve been on one for a while, and it’s been largely a total failure. I cannot put my photos on the site because I have a well-warranted fear of being outed due to the nature of my job, and so I have to have a photo-free profile which obviously gets little attention. When I do send my photos to men that express an interest, they apparently had an unreasonable expectation because they mostly fail to respond, making me feel horrible.

      Nope, I stick with Match and prefer to disclose once dating is going well.

  4. 184

    I started seeing a guy and after 2 months after he told me he had STD test done, he had one partner after that so I took the risk of having unprotected sex with him.  I know he gave it to me since I have no antibodies but my sore turned up positive for GH.  I haven’t had unprot sex with anyone else 4 months prior to developing it for the first time.  And now we are using condoms.  I think coz he is afraid that I might transmit it to him and I am still waiting for him to get tested.  My first OB was last April.  Just curious to read people’s comments about my situation.  Like everyone else, I was so distraught but I have to live one day at a time. 

  5. 185

    When I got Herpes, it was from someone who pretended to be my friend for three years. He knew he had it and he really didn’t give a crap about if I got it or not. He flat out lied to me and told me he had had a clean std test. When I turned up with it a week later, he told me to go to the doctor and ask them for Valtrex and herpes treatment. “You will be fine.” He told me. 

    Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of faith in humanity or men left after that happened to me. When I found this http://www.mpwherpes.com I was too scared to date or to seek out a relationship. I had told several people about my new found curse and had mixed reactions. This site gave me the confidence and understanding I needed to be happy. 

  6. 186

    I was honest and told the first guy after a 30 yr marriage ended and it freaked him out and he ended everything. Very disappointing. Now what ? Almost wish I hadnt. I have been asymptomatic for years and wasnt totally sure I even had it until I got a blood test. My first outbreak in the late 70’s apparently was when I thought I had a UTI. I feel like I am old and will never have sex again for a payback from wild times.

  7. 187

    To the singles who have herpes:
    You are not alone, many people got herpes in USA. To find the hope, the support and the love, you may consider the  <a href=”http://datingsiteforpeoplewithherpes.com/” target=”_blank”>dating sites for people with herpes</a> . You don’t need to have the talk to tell your partner that you have herpes. The first recommended site also has counselor to help you on dating. 

  8. 188

    So, I was just shot down. After 4 great dates the guy I was dating called to say he couldn’t handle the fact that I had herpes. I told him on the last date and was honest about the fact that I’ve had it for almost 20 years and have never given it to any of my partners, including my ex-husband and about 5 other long term relationships. He said I was great and loved hanging out with me and that I was sexy, but that from all that he has read about it on the internet made him not want to pursue this relationship. He mentioned something about himself not being more open minded and that I made it out to be less than it is. This is something that really bothers me though. I’ve never had an issue with this before. I’ve never given it to anyone and it’s never been a big part of my life, but I guess the right minded person is important. Man, I’m bummed out right now.

  9. 189
    Ben Kanobi

    Wow, after reading so many comments, I’m saddened to see the enormous amount of ignorance most of the writers convey about their knowledge of viruses. Herpes is a virus folks just like the common cold is a virus. After studying viruses for so many years throughout my academic career, I consider myself an authority on the subject.
    Let’s get some facts straight here. I know for a fact, that person cannot expose a partner to the herpes virus if they don’t have an open sore. It’s not like the virus is just swimming around a woman’s vagina or camping out on a man’s penis for the lifespan of an individual. The virus must have specific conditions to be transmittable. I’ve seen cases where subjects had herpes and never transmitted it to their partners after over seven-years of sexual activity without condoms.
    To ostracize a segment of our population because of misplaced fear is the ultimate  mark of an ignorant society. Get your facts straight before you judge an individual.

  10. 190

    This post has probably been going on for awhile but I wanted to join in. Men AND women are both culprits in not disclosing; and as stated some don’t even know they have it. Are you going to trust everyone based on their word? Don’t trust anyone to make decisions for YOU; this is YOUR life too. Take control and use it as a learning experience. Keep your mind at peace, and before you have sex with anyone exchange test results. It’s the ONLY way to know that you both go into a relationship knowing what the other has, and you both go in with trust and honesty.  Together list everything that can be communicable or that you are concerned about, and ask the doctor to test you for those… even if the doc says you don’t need them, DO IT. Then compare results and go from there. And if you’re too embarrassed to discuss sex or this list or this test with a partner, then you’re not ready to have sex with them… and shouldn’t. (Sample List: Herpes, HIV, Hepatitis (A,B,C), HPV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, etc.)
    In my experience, I’m always amazed at how little doctors and the public know about Herpes. Depending on the doctor and region when you ask to be tested for STDs, they will test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. That’s it. This is done by a urine test or through a swab inside the penis in men or from the cervix in women.
    Sometimes an STD test will include the above and Syphilis, or HIV, and Hepatitis. Most of the time, you have to request these tests and they are NOT part of the STD testing (again, depending on the doctor and the region). These are done through a blood test or a swab over the sore.
    You have to request a test for Herpes. It is not part of STD testing. The best way is to ask for type-specific herpes testing; you then get tested again 6 months later. The test will show you whether you are positive or negative for HSV1 and HSV2 based on antibodies. These two results will give you the most concrete answer. Usually this is done through a blood test or a swab over the sore.
    You have to request a test for HPV. It is not part of STD testing. For women, a pap test will give results. “No HPV test yet exists to detect the virus in men. However, men can be infected with HPV and pass the virus along to their sex partners.”
    According to the Red Cross, you can still donate blood if you have herpes – “genital herpes are not a cause for deferral if you are feeling healthy and well and meet all other eligibility requirements”.
    NOTE that Oral herpes can also be transmitted to your genitals. “You can get herpes by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease. Fluids found in a herpes sore carry the virus, and contact with those fluids can cause infection. You can also get herpes from an infected sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected because the virus can be released through your skin and spread the infection to your sex partner(s).” And if you have a sore in your mouth or he has one in his mouth and you have oral sex, YES one or the other can get herpes.
    Oh, and to side track just a tad you can even pass STDs from kissing. So you probably shouldn’t be indiscriminately going around French kissing everyone on first dates either. (What you can catch from kissing – Meningitis, herpes, hepatitis B, cold and flu viruses, cytomegalovirus, stds, chlamydia, HPV, gingivitis, mono(nucleosis )).
    ‘Hwerks’ is another good dating and support site.
    Sorry for the length, but I felt compelled to share information.
    Good luck everyone! And you’ll find that you are more than a skin condition. It’s the social stigma that makes this worse than it is, and the more we talk about it the more “acceptable” it will be. Don’t be so hard on yourselves. Life is so much more… than a sore. 🙂
    To lighten the mood, the next post has some funnies. J
    For more information on herpes and STDs, you can check the CDC site or the Mayo Clinic site. Here are some other links.


  11. 191

    Here are some funnies I found online to lighten up the mood:

    “You know you have Herpes when….

    Your towels in the bathroom are labeled his and herpes.

    The first question you ask at a new job is “do you have a prescription plan?” and “do you monitor internet usage?”

    When friends bug you as to the reason your single you state “I am just really picky”

    You have tried to use Clearasil on your $%^#.

    You no longer drink to get drunk and get laid; you drink to forget you have herpes… so you can get laid.

    You cover your webcam with a condom before you cyber.

    You only talk to one 1 out of every 4 people you meet.

    You try to look kinky with a strap on so you can hide the bumps.

    You wash other peoples hands after they leave your bathroom.

    You look at the glass half full on a site like this by saying, “well at least I know these people put out”.

    You know that body armor, mace, a baseball bat, and a very angry cat are required to be in your possession before you have “the talk”.

    You know what “the talk” is.

    You refer to HSV1 as herpes simplex, and HSV2 as herpes complex.

    You threaten people with your crotch when they make you angry.

    You start to sweat in a room full of people whenever a Valtrex commercial comes on.

    You hope someone out there with herpes is sleeping with beautiful women so you have a shot.

    You pay for a site like this to talk to someone 3,000 miles away that does nothing but kayak, run, hike, lift weights, and play in the park all day??????”

  12. 192

    I don’t have Herpes. But I might get it. On purpose.
    You see I’ve been dating a very cute girl for a month now and wondering lately why we’ve never gone past 3rd base. So I asked her what’s up. And she told me GH2, hasn’t had an outbreak in over 4 years.
    So I started taking Lysine and ordered some lube that has Carrageenanin it. We’re going to have PiV sex this weekend. And hopefully many more times. Lots more.

    Yes, I am intentionally putting myself at risk. But wait, have I been a wall flower all my life? Hell No. I’ve always taken risks, from rock climbing to having my airplane engine quit to … well you get the point.

    1. 192.1

      Hi PD,

      I commend you for dating someone that has HSV, visiting sites like these, and preparing yourself. People forget to realize that everyone has their own set of issues, it is up to you whether you want to deal with it or leave. Whether it is an STD, drug abuse, etc.  You can’t help who you like and who you love…

      I have had HSV2 for seven years. The outbreaks have been less and less over the years. I have had two partners, been extremely careful, and NONE of them have contracted it. 

      Before you become intimate, please make sure you:
      1. like this person enough to take a risk like this,
      2. remain monogamous,
      3. make sure she isn’t getting an outbreak or has one,
      4. use protection for everything,
      5. clean your toys,
      6. Wash up immediately after sex,
      7. Don’t touch her down there during sex and if you do, don’t touch other parts of      your body.
      8. Make sure you are healthy, meaning your immune system is good. 

      6. If you don’t want to use protection, leave foreplay for the beginning of your hot session, you don’t want her vaginal fluids in your mouth or your bodily fluids in her mouth. And, then you can imagine the rest. Nothing may happen, but don’t take that risk.  

      Just have fun, enjoy this new relationship, and  be careful.

      1. 192.1.1
        Mary Doe Rae Me

        I love your advice (not) especially number 7. What would be the point of a woman having sex if she is NOT going to be touched down there!? Having sex with a partner means you both should be participating. If all a woman is going to get out of sex is “servicing” the man, then there is absolutely no point in engaging in sex. YOU literally are providing a “free” service for him to get off. Who in the hell wants to have a sex life where you give all the pleasure and NEVER receive any back? You’re prostituting yourself AND for what? As I stated earlier in my post, it’s a disease that keeps on giving AND YOU’RE the one who has to “give” whether it’s head or hand jobs or whatever else. Because once you have this disease, you can never fully enjoy all aspects of sex. AND it’s BS if anyone says you can have a “normal” sex life after getting this disease….it’s a crock of shit.

  13. 193

    …if you have to have her, you have to have her….I know a man that caught syphilis from the same woman, twice….he liked her alot…

  14. 194

    For a person dealing with herpes, there is probably no better place than a herpes dating site, where you can not only get the much needed support but also know more about the nature of the virus.Some of the websites under this herpes dating niche give you access to some of the best support groups and an environment that is free of discrimination. Most of the websites offer impeccable privacy options which make you feel much comfort. However, there are a few herpes dating sites that may lack on this front.

  15. 195

    In November 2013. I met a guy and, he told me that he had herpes but, I couldn’t get it if he gave me oral sex. After that I met a guy in December 2013 and, we dated for 8 months and, engaged in unprotected sex the whole time.  In July 2014. After having sex with him. I noticed that my vagina and, rectum was itchy, painful and,  raw. I also felt flu like symptoms.  I thought the vaginal irritation was from my new shower gel. A few days later I told my partner about the symptoms and, he got very defensive but, I didn’t think anything of it.  So we continued to have unprotected sex. Last week the vaginal irritation started up again. I thought it was a yeast infection.  I went to the doctor and,  she tested me for herpes. The results were positive! ! I haven’t told him because,  we broke up in August.  I’m not sure which man gave it to me. I feel i

  16. 196

    I have herpes 1 and 2 and had the talk with my partner before he even kissed me. He seemed ok with it and we had protected sex. After about two weeks of seeing each other he told me that he has herpes type 2 but not 1. We never kissed but we did have sex so I know it was most likely me who gave it to him. Now I feel terrible and he won’t talk to me. He knew the risk and took it anyway and didn’t like the results. He claimed to have been drunk and told me I should have gave him more time but I don’t see that I did anything wrong. Herpes is not a big deal to me. It has never killed anyone it’s just a nuisance. Even some of the curable stds are worse like clamydia because they cause infertility and other problems. My partner basically made it seem like I was a terrible person and I shouldn’t have sex with anyone who doesn’t have herpes. All I said is I told you and you can’t help who you love. This whole situation sucks.

    1. 196.1

      Was he tested before he slept with you? A Virgin? If not, he could have been one of the one in six men who have it without knowing. He could have been infected before he even met you.


      Regardless, even if he did get it from you dude’s a big boy and he made an informed decision to have sex. He sure didn’t mind when he was getting the nooky. This is not on you. I’d say  you clearly dodged a bullet with that guy because he can’t accept responsibility for his own decisions. You’d have spent your entire relationship getting blamed for everything that didn’t go right for him.  He needs to grow up.

  17. 197
    Andrew 2

    Hi everyone,

    I wanted to say thanks and I’ve got a few questions at the bottom here Id appreciate some help with. (Sorry you’ve got to read though this to get to them)

    I’ve had herpes 1 for awhile now. I got it from my first ever sexual partner from her giving me oral sex. She was asymptotic so she never knew and I believe her. We haven’t been togeather for a long time now. Since then I’ve told everyone I’ve the potential to have any intercourse or all that implies that I have it. Sites like these have helped me a ton with advice and confidence.

    I’ve only had one person tell me she couldent get past it. She took a week to really think about it which I appreciated. It made me sad but I felt like I’m a package deal. Not saying it’s a great package I’ve got my issues like everyone.

    Personally the fact that a partner had a std (prior to me getting mine) that wasn’t life threatening I would still pursue that woman. I feel like there are more important issues in a relationship than some std’s.

    The positive singles sites don’t make you any more “segregated” then any other dating site does. The way you fill out your profiles on all these sites puts you automatically into a algorithm or “segregates” you to potential mates that you could be more likely to get along with. So anyone who thinks that positive singles sites are for “freaks” your a dick.

    I actually met my wife on one of those sites. And being able to be free and clear about (still have to pay attention) about unprotected sex again is great when you both have it and know it prior to meeting.

    We were married two years and are getting divorced just because we are no good togeather anymore. That being said here is a few questions I’m hoping some of you might be able to help me with (I’ll be going to the doc also).

    Having no condom sex is great, and I’ve been seeing this girl who it’s getting to the point that I tell her. Now let’s say everything goes fin and she is accepting or hell maybe she has it too and is nervious about telling me, who knows. So a physical relationship forms along with everything else.
    1. Since the sore is on my genitals. (only been one maybe once a year) used to be sores but it gets more manageable over time. Now if we move forward I know there is a risk if she performs oral sex on me which I wouldn’t allow unless I was convinced she understood the risk. And we would of course use a condom. Can I perform oral sex on her without risk? Again any sores are on my genitals. Anyone know?
    2. Condoms suck, at least that’s how I feel. Has anyone had sex for a long long time with just condoms? Do you get used to it? I know this is just me and I know most women I’ve been with don’t like the condom either. So I’m wondering if any of you have any insight on that also.

    Thank you for reading this. If I come off as naive I apoligize but I’m actually curious about these things


  18. 198

    I literally just found out today that I have herpes. I’m so upset I thought of suicide. I just got out of a 12 year relationship, been with him since I was 16. New to the dating scene at the age of 29 and started seeing a new guy who wanted me to be his girlfriend. I feel like he knowingly infected me in hopes I would be with him. I think this because of his reaction and how he is saying things like he wants to run away together and be in love. I barely know this guy. I feel so destroyed. I have always felt a sense of self satisfaction knowing I have slept with barely any people, and now I feel so dirty. I feel like I think a prostitute might feel. I feel like nobody will want me now. I feel like I would rather have cancer than this. At least you can treat cancer and it isn’t disgusting.

    1. 198.1

      It’s not the end of the world and yes that guy sounds like a creeper. I felt like killing myself when I infected another person but you just have to roll with the punches. Herpes is common and no you shouldn’t feel dirty or like a prostitute. I know what your going through and it is hard but there are people out there who will accept you std and all. The guy who gave it to you on purpose sounds like a sicko just like the guy who gave it to me. I’m so sorry for your situation however there is nothing you can do about it now except move forward. You will find a new ( sane ) boyfriend soon enough just remember to open honest and up front with him about herpes and let him educate himself about what herpes is. Educate yourself as well so you know what to tell people you meet. You can do it!

  19. 199

    Some guys will run and some will stay around. Have the talk after taking weeks/months to get to know someone. Do not have sexual contact (except kissing I feel is fine) before letting your potential partner know. Bring it up when discussion of making the friendship into a committed relationship. I had sex without being on medication or using a condom for the entire relationship (lasted a year and half before I ENDED for reasons unrelated to herpes), and he never caught it from me. 6 years later he just married someone else. I assume he is still herpes free. I got it in 2008 and I’m just now December 2014, experiencing my second outbreak. I have HSV-Type 1 (had a culture done the first time) on my genitals and it sucks but I won’t let anyone bring me down. Just be discreet. Don’t tell anyone, not even close friends. I only tell people who need to know…men I trust that are really falling for me and deserve to know. Ones you feel you can trust not to blab your business if they decide they can’t take that chance on you. You’ll be fine Jenn. It’s a skin condition that comes and goes and does not kill you. People comparing it to HIV and he Ebola virus need to get a grip.

  20. 200

    Wow. In reading this, I see some kindness, some understanding, some good information and some awful bad information leading to (also) horrible attitudes and comments here about people who, through whatever circumstance, have contracted HSV. I have to say the only thing that strikes me consistently here is that after losing several of my friends to HIV, which does eventually kill you, and also to cancer, which will also kill you, I am shocked that some people would actually ditch real love or a long term relationship because of this. When so few things in life are guaranteed, even that we’ll see forty, or that we won’t end up in a car accident with a loss of limb….it just seems like a really petty concern. Now, I say this as a person with HSV, but I felt this way before I contracted it, too. I don’t know. Priorities, I suppose. I’d take real love, even with a terminal diagnosis, and yes, even with HIV. I just think the real deal is incredibly rare and worth some level of risk. And if all that’s on the table is a skin infection…well…small beans in the grand scheme of life. Puh-lease.

  21. 201

    I’ve had it for over 20 years. I was misdiagnosed at first and so I didn’t know for 5 years. When I did know for sure I cut myself off from men for a few years. Then I started dating someone and told him I wouldn’t have sex until there was a ring on my finger (mostly cause I didn’t want to tell) then I fell into the habit of just performing oral on him for 4.5 years because again I was too afraid to tell him. I know it was dumb. Then I ventured out into dating from online because I figured I wouldn’t meet anyone that was in any way connected to my work life so if I told them it couldn’t get back to anyone I worked with. That situation gradually went in the dumper after I told him. Then I tried dating several times after that. I was always dumped once I told them so I eventually gave up. So now I have been celibate for 16 years and don’t plan to rectify that.

  22. 202

    In response to #114 in regards to point #2 the statistics of transmission. It is basic statistics. The way you determine risk of transmission mathematically is you actually have to invert it. If you have a 2% transmission risk per year then that means you have a 98% chance of not getting it. Thus, the risk mathematics are .98^(years). So .98 * .98 * .98 = 94% risk of NON-tranmission after three years or 6% risk of transmission.

    The valtrex study quoted presents the transmission as a risk per year based on 100 sexual episodes per year. Thus, you can take the transmission risk of HSV+ female to male using either antivirals or condoms which is 2% per year (aka per 100 episodes). You can work backwards to determine x, which would be x^100 to determine the per episode risk of transmission. The math is basically 0.02% (0.0002 decimal) risk of transmission per episode.

    To extrapolate that out, the risk over 10 years would be about 18% chance assuming you had sex 100 times per year for 10 years. Most couples I know aren’t having sex 100 times per year after 10 years, so the risk is arguably lower.

    The lowest risk, female HSV+ to male HSV- using both condoms and anti-virals is 1% of transmission per year or around 9.5% over 10 years, again assuming sex 100 times per year consistently for 10 years.

  23. 203

    I think all these people that are freaking out about about herpes should go get tested, a lot of people have it, that don’t know they have it. I don’t wish this on anyone but I guess if they found out they did have it they would realize how everyone else to learned to deal with it.

    1. 203.1


      I was once talking/casually meeting with a man I’d met online for a few weeks. When he began to move to the point of intimacy I disclosed my genital HSV 1 (received from a former partner — who did not disclose they  used to get cold sores — through oral sex). His response was less than polite, alluding to getting involved with me perhaps ruining his musical career (he was a horn player and worried  — if we engaged in oral sex and he got it — he’d never be able to play music again. (??) Never mind the hundreds of women he’s probably kissed and never asked of their HSV 1 status). I noted his ignorance and moved along.

      A year later he emailed me (several times as I ignored each message.) After a few I responded. He’d recently been tested and turned out he not only had HSV 1, but also HSV 2 and probably had for years.  He then proceeded to ask me to sleep with him.

      I, again, moved on along and let him know, politely, where he could take his offer for sex.

      Moral of the story is, get tested people, for both HSV 1 and HSV 2.If you’ve ever had a cold sore in your life, disclose this to everyone you both kiss and have sex with.

  24. 204

    I don’t know how old this thread is, but all I have to say is herpes is a curse. I have only been with three men my whole life and I contracted herpes from the second man I was with for three years. I didn’t find out until after we had broken up for other reasons, but now I am stuck with herpes for the rest of my life. I have dated one guy since (for two years) and though he was okay with it, it was a very hard conversation to have. Having herpes is like leprosy to most people. It’s very embarrassing. So if someone you’re dating or thinking of dating tells you they have herpes, please let them down easy if it’s a deal breaker for you, because trust me, they don’t need help feeling alienated. Also, fun fact, men are more likely to transmit herpes. Also, don’t assume someone doesn’t have herpes because they say they’ve never had an outbreak. Blood specifically testing for herpes is really important if you’re adamant about avoiding herpes. Chances are, you’ve already slept with someone who has herpes and you could already be a carrier. Dr’s don’t test for herpes unless you ask. 

  25. 205

    I have Herpes and am completely asymptomatic. If I hadn’t specifically asked for a blood test I’d never have found out. My husband did cheat on me but the doctor said either of us could have had it for decades without knowing. I checked with my OBGYN because they routinely do STD testing as a part of the annual exam and was shocked to discover that, even if you ask for a full panel, they often do not include herpes testing. You have to ask for a blood test. Doctors do not consider it to be a serious health risk, just an annoyance. That, combined with the staggering number of people who are infected, is why they don’t bother to test. So, even if you or your partner think you’ve been tested you may not have been.



    The CDC now estimates that one out of every four women ( a quarter of the female population) and one out of every six men are infected with HSV2 (traditionally considered genital) and as much as 80 -90 percent of Americans are infected with HSV1 (traditionally considered oral). Most people have no idea they are infected, which is part of the reason this is one of the fastest spreading STDs around.


    Now here’s where things get interesting, doctors no longer  distinguish the two as separate anymore. This is because they are essentially genetically identical. A very minor difference in the DNA causes HSV1 to prefer to live in the nerve cells near the base of the neck while HSV2 prefers the lower spine. Still, either version CAN exist in either place. So, HSV1 can produce genital breakouts and vice versa, depending on where exposure occurred. With people engaging in oral sex with frequency the distinction has become useless. This is why “cold sores” are really no different at all from genital herpes, though the social stigma is far worse for the latter.


    I’ve had “The Talk” with many men and have discovered that very few care. The number of men who also confessed to me that they had it lined up pretty much perfectly with the one in six estimation. What disturbed me was that all of the guys who confessed (only after I did first) were pushing for sexual contact prior to our discussion. I strongly suspect that they had no intention of telling me. One even admitted outright that he never told women he was infected until AFTER he slept with them because then they’d be more invested and less likely to bolt.


    The truth is that it hasn’t altered my life in the slightest except for the complication of having to bring it up to a potential partner. I don’t wait long to bring it up because I don’t want anyone to feel deceived. Usually, I do wait a few dates in just to see if there’s even any potential for a romantic connection. Otherwise, I’d rather not put myself through the hassle. The magic number for me is the third date, just to get it out of the way.


    I actually really do like the STD specific dating sites. I’ve met some great guys on those, though there aren’t nearly as many as on Match. Most of those guys do also have Match profiles as well.  What some others on here have said is spot on. With one in four women infected and one in six men, chances are, most people have already slept with someone who has it or will at some point without even knowing.

    1. 205.1

      Oops. Didn’t realize this thread was so old when I posted. Sorry!

  26. 206
    akon watson

    Don’t hesitate to discuss about it and notice symptoms of herpes,they are fever, blisters and ulceration on the cervix,pain while urinating and vaginal discharge,cold sores around the mouth and as blisters on the genitals.Then go for a full blood checkup to make sure that you are suffering from that disease.

  27. 207

    I was diagnosed with HSV2 a few days ago. I’ve never had symptoms and was totally clueless. The problem is I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost two years and we haven’t used protection every time. Now I have to tell him and he’s going to flip out. I’m so scared and confused. I had a swab test (not sure what it’s called) done by my OB and it was negative but blood test was positive so now I’m in a state of shock. My boyfriend’s tests were negative a few months back so I must have got it before him and never knew it. He doesn’t understand why I’ve been avoiding him and sex, but I can’t fathom having sex with him again until he knows and he makes the decision to continue seeing me. I’m so scared he’ll accuse me of cheating or knowing but I didn’t. I would never intentionally hurt anyone. Ugh…

    1. 207.1
      Karmic Equation

      Did you cheat on your bf in the last few months after he got tested?

      If you were faithful since you both started sleeping together then I don’t understand your assumption that you got it “before him”. Or you’re not telling the whole story here.

      If you cheated on him, yeah, you need to come clean fast and take the lumps.

      If you were faithful, then (1) you shouldn’t blame yourself (2) you need to tell him and (3) you need to make sure he gets RE-tested now. If he has it also, then you guys might need to have a talk to make sure he didn’t cheat on you and contracted it in the months after he was first tested.

      1. 207.1.1

        No I did not cheat on him. We broke up for two weeks after his results and I didn’t even go on a date with anyone. He swears he didn’t either. I’m having the talk with him tonight and am just really nervous. He has a tendency to overreact.

        1. Karmic Equation

          If you didn’t cheat on him, then don’t act guilty or apologize. You did nothing wrong. Just be matter-of-fact when you talk with him. Tell him he should get tested now, just to make sure of HIS STD status. And then after the results decide how y0u both want to proceed.

          I believe HSV has a dormancy period, who knows when it happened. If he also has it, then that decision should be easy if you both believe in and love each other now.

          If he’s still negative, while you’re positive, that is harder to predict.

          Kick his ass out the door if he blames you in any way.

          Being apologetic when you’ve done nothing wrong is going to add fuel to his fire.


  28. 208

    Thank you. This is all so new to me and my feelings are all over the place. I have a strong feeling he’ll get angry and say mean things but I will not apologize. I’m so scared of the talk and the aftermath.

  29. 209

    You need to check your state laws. Each state actually has different laws on whether or not you have to tell someone whether you have herpes 1 or 2. For example it is a law in florida and a misdemeanner if you do not tell.

  30. 210
    a Jane

    Hi… I am the 1of 4-5  that cRris this virus.   It freaked me out for the longest time about how to “explain” to my potential new guy.   One time I just busted out… I have herpes.  Which I’m sure sent many scary images blasting him.    Following that experience ( which was very scarring)  I decided that this virus was NOT going to OWN ME .  I  have only had 1 active case in 7 yrs (the initial one) ,  I stopped being being bitter towards the person who infected me and I take the antI viral medication which I don’t even take daily.    I decided to be open and honest with my potential guy … it’s not a first or even second date topic ( unless u are getting hot & heavy which I don’t encourage) .  Once comfortable with a guy I reinforce his great traits and in that he may find mine.  It’s at the time I decide to explain  and I now lead with  ‘I have a virus, the virus that can cause herpes”  … by saying it that way I am disclosing but not sending a sharp mental image of blazing sores and whatever else an individual might envision.  Once I decided that this didn’t “own me” then I was able to discuss it more freely.

    Listen… it’s not a “life sentence”… you can take back the power  by not letting it own you!  It’s a true case of being more responsible with sexual encounters,  loving yourself and your body enough to protect it and another’s.

    Be proud when you disclose….   for you are a step closer to stopping the spread of this virus.  Don’t be ashamed… shit happens !  Most likely it’s the someone wasn’t honest with you.  Think… “do I want to be that person”  No, No you don’t. … we all appreciate honesty.

    I guess the biggest part of my message here is to relieve anyone reading of the shoe and guilt that comes with this.   Just remember…. DO NOT LET THIS DEFINE OR OWN YOU!!  You are a beautiful person and have lots of potential.  Your future partner will appreciate your honesty… just as mine has 😉


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