Should You Tell A Partner You Have Herpes
Disclose your HSV status to anyone you’re getting involved with. “I encourage everyone to share their diagnosis with their partners so that everyone can make the healthiest decisions for themselves,” Dr. Baldwin said.
You should also inform your partner about your herpes status for legal reasons. “There are so many lawsuits of people suing someone else for giving them herpes,” said Terri Warren, ANP, a nurse practitioner at Westover Heights Clinic and spokesperson for the American Sexual Health Association. By not telling your partner you have herpes, they lack the information needed to protect their health.
Tips For Disclosing To Casual Sex Partners
But what if youre just casual sex partners meeting for the first time? No problem. While you likely wont have as much time to prepare for these conversations, you can still prepare a go-to disclosure statement.
Maybe you’re comfortable disclosing at the bar or intimately whispering in your partners ear. If you are in a crowded bar or loud club and choose to disclose in person, just ensure that the other person can fully hear you so that consent is established before moving forward. If you prefer somewhere quieter, maybe ask if they want to take a walk outside to chat. If you are in a group, be sure that others in your party know where youre headed.
You can even use the texting method when youre meeting a potential partner for the first time at a bar if you cant find the courage to say it aloud. For example, if you strike up a flirtatious conversation with someone, asking for their number may be the key to your disclosure. Then you can text them something like, Hey . Im having a lot of fun tonight, and Id like to go further. But before we do, I need to share with you that I have genital herpes. You can offer a statistic, personal story, or maybe even weave some more flirting. That way, they can think things through before they give you a response.
Im Pregnant How Could Genital Herpes Affect My Baby
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, prenatal care visits are very important. Some research suggest that a genital herpes infection may lead to miscarriage or make it more likely to deliver your baby too early. You can pass herpes to your unborn child before birth, but it more commonly passes during delivery. This can lead to a deadly infection in your baby . It is important that you avoid getting genital herpes during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a genital herpes diagnosis or symptoms. Also tell them about any possible exposure to genital herpes.
If you have genital herpes, you may need to take anti-herpes medicine towards the end of your pregnancy. This medicine may reduce your risk of having signs or symptoms of genital herpes when you deliver. At the time of delivery, your healthcare provider should carefully examine you for herpes sores. If you have signs or symptoms of genital herpes at delivery, a C-section is likely to occur.
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How To Recognize Herpes
This article was medically reviewed by Lacy Windham, MD. Dr. Windham is a board certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist in Tennessee. She attended medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and completed her residency at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2010, where she was awarded the Most Outstanding Resident in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Most Outstanding Resident in Oncology, and Most Outstanding Resident Overall.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 646,027 times.
Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. It has two variations, the HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 usually manifests as a cold sore, or oral lesion, but may sometimes appear on the genitals. HSV-2 refers to genital herpes. HSV-2 is the most common viral sexually transmitted infection in the US and causes infections of the skin and mucous membranes, rectum, eyes, and central nervous system. Herpes is a lifelong and incurable STI.XResearch sourceA Wald, Genital HSV-1 Infections, Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2005 June, 82, 189-190 If you think you may have the virus, follow a few simple steps to recognize if you have herpes.
Reduce The Risk Sex Will Spread Herpes
One of the things that scares people when theyre thinking about dating with herpes is the risk for potential partners. Theyre concerned about the possibility that they might spread herpes to someone they care about. This is a legitimate concern.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the likelihood you will spread herpes during sex. Suppressive therapy, for example, can lower the risk of transmission significantly. Its not just good for reducing the number and severity of outbreaks.
Using condoms consistently, even for oral sex, can also make a big difference in your partners risk. Condoms and dental dams dont just make intercourse safer. They also make it less likely for you to spread herpes from your genitals to their mouth, and vice versa. Practicing safe sex is always a good choice.
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What Should You Discuss About Herpes
Talk about when it is safe to have sex. “Some important information to share would be whether or not you have frequent outbreaks, which is the highest risk time for transmission,” Dr. Baldwin said. Avoid sexual activity during a symptom outbreak, or if you have pain or tingling in the areas you get lesions since that can be a warning sign of an outbreak.
You should also tell your partner if you are on any antiviral medications. Taken daily, drugs like acyclovir and valacyclovir , can significantly reduce the risk of herpes transmissionbut not 100%. You should use condoms even while taking these drugs, but condoms cannot fully prevent the virus from spreading because the virus can spread on genital areas not covered by a condom.
As long as you’re honest and safe, herpes shouldn’t kill a budding relationship. “From my point of view, I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker,” Warren said.
Herpes Disclosure Is Necessary
Although it can seem overwhelming to do, telling partners about a genital herpes diagnosis is necessary. Although the risk can be managed, the fact remains that there is always a risk of giving it to your partner. Although herpes seems blown out of proportion in the public eye compared to what it really is, partners should still be informed.
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Fortunately, things like antiviral medication and condom use can mitigate that risk. Antivirals and condom use can bring the rate of transmission rates by 75%, according to studies done by Valtrex . And according to the CDC, 1 in every 6 Americans between 14 and 49 has genital herpes .
Those are just two research-backed talking points you can use in your discussion about a herpes diagnosis. Combine factual information like this with a calm mindset to make your talk go well, using the pointers below.
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Don’t Push Your Partner To Make Decision
Some people have responded immediately with an incredibly surprising, âYou mean, thatâs all you had to tell me? So what? This doesnât change how I feel about you. Others have needed more time to digest, to come back and ask for questions, and then to digest some more.
Some partners will likely have questions, and you want to be able to provide them with accurate, nerve-quieting information that makes your status feel as normal as it really and truly is, so come armed with some facts.
People may just need a little time to assimilate the information and decide if they want to move forward with the relationship. This is where having good written information helps. You might want to print out some pages from our website and give them to him/her as a starting point. Try tell him/her where to find the reliable resource to verify the information youâve given them.
Ask him/her to take whatever time they need to go over the information and to feel free ask you any questions if they want. If they care about you enough, they will take the time to learn the facts about herpes. As a result, itâs nice to let them know they can have as much time as they need.
The Most Important Piece Of Advice Know What Youre Talking About
OK, first things first. You have to be clear in your own head about what genital herpes is, what causes it, what the symptoms are and how its transmitted.
Your partner probably wont know much about it, so you need to be able to explain it clearly to take the mystery and the fear out of it. You have to able to answer any questions they have simply and with confidence if youre going to be able to reassure them. If youre unsure about any aspects of genital herpes here are a few pointers to get you started.
Before starting any conversation get tested and make sure you definitely have it. You should go to your doctor or a sexual health clinic while you have symptoms. Theyll get you tested and can also explain the infection to you and give advice on talking to your partner.
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Choose The Right Moment To Chat
One of the hardest aspects of telling someone you have genital herpes is choosing the right moment. Perfect, distraction-free one-on-one conversations rarely play out like they do in the movies, meaning you might need to improvise a little in this category.
If you need to tell a romantic and potential sexual partner that you have herpes, its essential that you do this before you have any sexual contact. Herpes can spread easily, and theres a real risk of transmission even if you arent experiencing an outbreak.
Generally, the best time to explain to your partner that you have herpes is when you start to think that sexual contact is on the horizon. After a date, your partner might invite you to their home, sending an obvious signal that theyre open to the idea of escalating the relationship.
Once youre alone and comfortable, its generally the best time to get the herpes conversation out of the way. In the next sections, weve provided some techniques that you can use to help make the conversation a little more manageable.
What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Herpes
Its normal to have lots of different feelings after you find out that you have herpes. You might feel mad, embarrassed, ashamed, or upset at first. But youll probably feel a lot better as time goes by, and you see that having herpes doesnt have to be a big deal. People with herpes have relationships and live totally normal lives. There are treatments for herpes, and theres a lot you can do to make sure you dont give herpes to anyone you have sex with.
Millions and millions of people have herpes youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having herpes or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person it means youre a normal human who got a really common infection. The reality is that herpes can happen to anybody who has ever been kissed on the lips or had sex thats a LOT of people.
Herpes isnt deadly and it usually doesnt cause any serious health problems. While herpes outbreaks can be annoying and painful, the first flare-up is usually the worst. For many people, outbreaks happen less over time and may eventually stop completely. Even though the virus hangs around in your body for life, it doesnt mean youll be getting sores all the time.
And tell anyone you have sex with that you have herpes. Its not the easiest conversation, but its an important one. Here are some tips:
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Be Upfront Well Before You Have Sex
One of the hardest things about dating with herpes is deciding when to disclose your diagnosis to your partner. Although I generally try not to speak in absolutes, it is always a better idea to do so before you have sex. That way, your partner can make an informed choice about what risks they are and are not comfortable taking.
If you wait to tell your partner that you have herpes until after youve had sex, the revelation may feel like a betrayal. You will have denied them the opportunity to make an informed decision about risk. You may also have implied that your herpes diagnosis is more important than the other things they find attractive about you.
If someone is really interested in you before you tell them you have herpes, they probably will be afterward as well. It just helps to tell them early. That makes it less likely that theyll feel exposed and/or betrayed.
How early? You dont have to do it on the first date. The timing really depends on the people involved. If youre worried about how your partner might react, talk to them about it in a safe place.
You could bring it up over dinner when youre getting near the going home together phase. Or you could have the talk while youre out for a walk, and perhaps a make-out session.
When you do have the talk, its best to be straightforward about it. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes
If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner about their risk. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.
You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your health, sex life, and relationships. While herpes is not curable, it is important to know that it is manageable with medicine. Daily suppressive therapy can lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options.
A genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships. Knowing how to talk to sexual partners about STDs is important.
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To Tell Or Not To Tell About Genital Herpes Or Cold Sores
It’s natural to be concerned about telling a new partner that you have genital herpes. Fear of being rejected and perhaps being uncomfortable about sexual health concerns makes it a tricky subject to bring up. However, it is more likely that your partner will respect your openness and honesty and it will be an opportunity to take your relationship to a deeper level of trust and understanding.
There are no black and white rules for telling your partner you have herpes, and everyone needs to make their own decisions depending on the situation, but the fact is more people are accepted by new partners than rejected for having genital herpes.
Some people choose not to tell casual partners. They don’t have sex during an outbreak and practice safe sex by using condoms. And this is an OK decision.
In a relationship, “not telling” can cause anxiety and stress affecting your emotional and sexual health.For most people the anxiety over not telling is worse than the telling itself and they find their partners both supportive and understanding. By telling your partner, you are opening up the opportunity to have an honest and shared discussion about other sexual health concerns.
Is It Illegal To Not Tell Someone You Have Herpes
No, it is not illegal to not tell someone you have herpes. However, if you are in an intimate relationship with someone, it is best to let your partner know that you have an STD. This will allow you both to take precautions to minimize the spread of the STD.
It is also unlikely that you would win a case if you sued someone for infecting you with herpes. Oral herpes is often transmitted through non-sexual contact. Many people who are infected do not even know they have the disease. Unlike many other states, Arizona does not have specific laws that criminalize the spreading of an STD. While there have beensome attempts to make it a crime, as of 2020, the action was still not criminalized.
While you are not legally required to let people know you have herpes, it may be possible that you could get in legal trouble for speeding the disease in certain circumstances. InArizona, it is amisdemeanor offense to knowingly expose someone else to a contagious disease or infection in a public place. This means that you have to knowingly expose others and it has to be in a public place. This is unlikely to be the case for herpes, where most transmissions of the disease occur in a private setting.
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Give Your Partner Time To Think
Some people need time to process whether or not they are comfortable getting involved with someone who has an STI. I once dated someone who disappeared after I told him over drinks that I had genital herpes. He resurfaced after a week to ask me out for dinner, and when I teased him about his vanishing act over artisanal grilled cheeses, he admitted that hed needed time to do his research.
Having someone vanish while they make up their mind may be irritating and nerve-wracking, but it isnt necessarily a bad thing. Some folks need space to noodle through what an STI would mean for their lives if they were to contract one. People with compromised immune systems may need to speak to their doctor. If theyre a good person, theyll pop back up eventually to move forward or let you down nicely.
That being said, occasionally youll stumble across someone who Googles transmission statistics while youre in the bathroom and is good to go as soon as you get back to the restaurant table. Those ones are my favorites.
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