The Best Way To Prepare For The Conversation
Self-awareness is key when preparing to share your status with someone new.
“One of the biggest things that I tell people is to remember that you are not the virus,” said Rendi Moore Carter, L.C.S.W., owner of Moore C2 in Georgia.
That sounds easy, but separating your identity from the virus can be difficult for some people. After first teaching yourself the virus does not define you, Carter’s second piece of advice is to do your research, get educated and be prepared to answer questions. Third, make sure you’re choosing a time and place that’s conducive to the conversation and avoid framing it negatively. Instead of saying, “I’ve got bad news,” tell the person you have a diagnosis of herpes simplex virus and ask if they understand what that means. Fourth, and finally, know that how the other person reacts is their decision, and be prepared for them to walk away.
How Will A Partner React
Some may overreact. Some wont bat an eye. Since many people have genital herpes or have heard about it, many people wont be shocked or surprised. From the stories that weve heard at the Herpes Resource Center, most people will react well, and will appreciate your honesty and respect for the relationship and their wellbeing. While a negative reaction is possible, this doesnt necessarily mean a bad ending. If that person values you as an individual and is interested in a relationship, something as minor as herpes shouldnt stand in the way. If it does, then that person obviously wasnt a good fit in the first place.
Whatever happens, try to be flexible. Give your partner time to respond, think about what youve said and absorb the information. Remember when you first found out? It took you time to adjust, too.
You dont have to be overly concerned about protecting a partners feelings. And, you may want to reconsider a relationship where you have to do all the emotional work. A safer sex discussion might help you find out if this partner is a good candidate for your love and attention.
A few people are going to react negatively. It wont matter what you say or how you say it. Remember, these people are the exception not the rule. If a partner decides not to pursue a relationship with you because you have herpes, it is best to know this now. There are many people who will be attracted to you for who you arewith or without herpes.
Hsv Singles: How To Handle The Diagnosis
First, understand that a herpes diagnosis is not a judgement about your moral character or whether you deserve romance and love or not. One in five people are affected by herpes in their life, so it is hardly any great stigma these days. When you reveal your diagnosis to a potential partner, you may discover that they already have experience of their own.
Revealing that you have genital herpes is a must. Have a calm discussion so the other person understands the facts. Let them ask questions. If they get insulting, move on. You do not deserve ill treatment.
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Makeup Can Hide The Worst Of It
If you develop a cold sore that just won’t go away and want to go ahead with your date, all is not lost. While you may not be able to conceal the entire cold sore from view, makeup can work wonders to hide the worst of the visible signs.
You’ll want to refrain from applying a beauty product to an open sore, but by the time the sore starts to scab over, you can use lipstick, concealer and foundation to hide it from view.
Be sure to use disposable cosmetic applicators to avoid transferring the virus to a different area of your body.
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.
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Rejection Is A Part Of Dating For Everyone
No matter if you are just dropping lines on Tinder, or meeting up with a cutie at a bar rejection is a universal part of dating. Putting yourself out there inevitably invites possible rejections. And, we wonât act like rejection is easy. Itâs not. It can hurt. If you disclose your herpes to a new person, and they opt to not take on the risk of transmission, know theyâre just not the right person. And thatâs okay.
- Talk to your partners about this early.
- Know your facts about herpes transmission risks and how to manage your outbreaks. This will reassure your new partner. Donât tell them to âGoogle it.â
- Know that youâre going to find your person. Youâll find someone who wants to work through this with you.
- Who knows this virus is so common you might disclose to someone who is preparing to disclose the same thing to you.
How To Talk To Partners About Your Herpes Diagnosis
Telling a partner or potential partner that you have herpes can be nerve-wracking, but its best to do early on so you can weed out people who have a problem with it, says Stephen Snyder, M.D., sex therapist and author of Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship. You need and deserve the acceptance that only someone who’s truly comfortable with it can give. So, best to advise a potential partner of your herpes status before you fall in love with them, he says. Also, best to tell them before too many articles of clothing get removed. After all, you don’t want anyone to feel pressured or uncomfortable.
Some people may even mention that they have herpes in their online dating profile to weed out people who are uncomfortable with it right away.
That said, you dont need to tell all your dates about your STI status immediately, if thats stressful for you. Snyder recommends bringing it up by the second or third date, or whenever sex is on the table.
Its helpful to provide a prospective partner with as many details as possible, including how often you have outbreaks, what you do for treatment or prevention, and what your preferences are regarding barriers, says Snyder. Have a starter script prepared. Something like, I need you to know: I have the virus that causes genital herpes.”
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What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic
The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:
- ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
- use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing
The test cannot:
- be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
- tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from
Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after youre infected with the herpes virus.
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How Can You Avoid Genital Herpes
Most women get genital herpes through sexual contactwith a person who has herpes sores. You can get thevirus without having sex. To avoid infection:
- Avoid skin-to-skin and sexual contact.
- Have safer sex:
- Reduce the number of sexual partners.
- Condoms, when used correctly, can reduce therisk of getting genital herpes. Each time you have sexuse a condom :
- Before vaginal sex
- Before oral sex
For more information, see Safer Sex.
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Can I Be Treated To Prevent Genital Herpes Transmission To My Partner
Yes. A large study showed that if one partner has herpes and the other partner is uninfected, treating the infected partner with suppressive therapy can prevent transmission of symptomatic herpes in over 90% of cases. This is an option for couples who are interested in having unprotected sex or who are planning to become pregnant.
If you are entering into a new relationship and are aware that you have herpes simplex infection, you owe it to your partner to notify them before having sex.
Managing Your Physical Relationships
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Can You Handle Peoples Uneducated Reactions
All you need to make sure of is that you can handle peoples uneducated reactions. If youre ready to date then you should be ready to face your Herpes. It isnt exactly a life-threatening disease but its certainly something you have to deal with. Be ready for how you are going to talk about it when the relationship turns more serious. And how you are ready to face and deal with someone who may well, sadly, be ignorant about such issues.
What You Need To Know
- Herpes simplex virus , also known as genital herpes, is most likely to be spread when an infected person is having an outbreak, but it can also be transmitted without any symptoms being present.
- Medications can help reduce your symptoms, speed up the healing of an outbreak and make you less contagious.
- If you know you have genital herpes before becoming pregnant, your physician will monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy. If you have an active outbreak at the time of delivery, cesarean section may be recommended.
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Whatever You Do Dont Look Up Pictures Of Herpes
For your own peace of mind, please dont do this. Just dont. Ok, you probably already did so we thought we would mention it. The herpes images you will find are horrific and probably for shock value. They are the absolute worst-case scenarios and probably from someone with an immune disorder or some other underlying medical condition. Totally, not typical. A herpes outbreak can consist of a small bump to several or more that last a few days to a week. It may last longer or be more severe for a recent transmission until the body starts producing antibodies against it.
Learn How To Treat Cold Sores Fast
When you feel the tingling of a new cold sore in the morning before a date, you don’t have to cancel your plans! You can learn how to treat your cold sores as fast as possible. If you spring into action right away, you’ll likely be able to shorten the outbreak.
Cold compresses and ibuprofen can be used to minimize swelling. Get lots of rest, eat nutritious foods, and stay hydrated. Red light therapy can also significantly shorten the duration of an outbreak.
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What It Means For Partners
Your partner has genital herpes. Your support is very important in helping you and your partner to understand what this means. When your partner goes back to the doctor, you may wish to go too, so that you can find out more about the herpes infection. In the meantime, here are answers to some questions you may have.
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What If A Partner Has Herpes
In a new relationship there is always risk. Usually this risk is emotional. When a partner has herpes, there is additional risk that you could get it, too. You may have concerns about risking infection for a relationship that may not last. Youll want to understand how to lower the risk for infection and ways to talk with your partner. Remember, if you have been sexually active you may already have been at risk for herpes.
You may have it and not know it. Because herpes can be spread without symptoms it can be hard to know when a person became infected and who infected them. In fact, if you and your partner have had sex, its possible your partner got herpes from you.
In an intimate, sexual relationship with a person who has herpes, the risk of contracting the infection will never be zero. Some couples have sexual relationships for years without transmitting herpes just by avoiding sexual contact during outbreaks, using condoms regularly and using suppressive antiviral therapy to reduce outbreaks.
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Myth #: Your Sex Life Is Over
While theres no cure, herpes treatment is simple and can shorten or prevent outbreaks, so you can still have a love life.
People have a disproportionate fear of herpes in relation to any other STI, Grimes says. They feel like their sex lives are ruined forever and thats in no way the case.
If you have the virus, your doctor may prescribe a medication like Zovirax or Valtrex to keep on hand in case of a flare-up. And if you experience outbreaks often, your provider may recommend daily dosing. However you treat it, its worth remembering that herpes is a condition to manage it doesnt define you.
If you have to be perfect for your new partner, that partner will be looking a very, very long time to find a match! Grimes says. Everyone has something, and since one in six Americans between 14-49 have HSV-2, odds are very high that your next partner is in the same boat. The main issue is to have productive conversations around these issues.
So theres no reason for all the stigma and secrecy surrounding herpes, since its safe to assume more people have it than you think. And if youre diagnosed with the virus, your provider will help you find a treatment plan thats easy, effective, and fit for your lifestyle.
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Can Genital Herpes Come Back
Yes. Genital herpes symptoms can come and go, but the virus stays inside your body even after all signs of the infection have gone away. The virus becomes active from time to time, leading to an outbreak. Some people have outbreaks only once or twice. Other people may have four or five outbreaks within a year. Over time, the outbreaks usually happen less often and are less severe.
Experts do not know what causes the virus to become active. Some women say the virus comes back when they are sick, under stress, out in the sun, or during their period.
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They Might Be You Above All
Yes, finding out that the people you may have a crush on has herpes are a challenging tablet to consume. No body can pin the blame on you, it is completely typical. Herpes has become the butt of numerous jokes for many years. Once you search past it you will observe a real individual, perhaps not herpes. They feel an adequate amount of one hold their own information. Obtained real thinking, aspirations and aspirations exactly like you manage. These are generally someones mama or daughter, dad or son. They might be an essential person to somebody. Herpes will not define who they are. They just accidentally own it.