How To Tell My Partner About Genital Herpes
Dont be embarrassed and be frank. Herpes. Of course, make sure you select an appropriate time and location for telling your partner, as this discussion may take a while.
Start with a general discussion of herpes, stressing how common the virus is and that it doesnt harm the body or kill you. Mention how a healthy immune system will go a long way to protect you from an active herpes outbreak. Then talk about the risks and how to manage them. Then its time to talk about your own infection and for how long you had it. Again, this is also a good occasion to suggest your partner getting tested as well.
If you are too afraid of telling your partner on your own, you can take him or her along to see your gynecologist. In such a professional setting, and upon hearing the reassuring arguments from the doctor, your partner may find it easier to accept the news. Your partner also can ask questions right away.
Have a plan ready for how to minimize the virus effect on your relationship, including steps you can take to protect against transmission. Discuss these with your partner and, if needed, give your partner a couple of days to think about the issue. He or she will probably come up with some new ideas, too.
Before You Tell Them Practice
The one person youll definitely need to have the chat with is your sexual partner/s. This is very important even if you rarely experience herpes outbreaks, as genital herpes can be spread from an infected person into an uninfected person even without any visible outbreak symptoms.
Coming out as herpes positive can feel stressful and difficult, especially when its directed at a person you care about and with whom youd like a romantic or sexual future. Luckily, dating with herpes doesnt have to be such a big deal if you know how to address it.
One way to get over the nervousness of telling a partner you have herpes is to practice ahead of time. Make note of the key points you want to include and practice the script a few times in front of the mirror until you feel comfortable talking about.
Case #5 She Got Genital Herpes Through Oral Sex
A 23-year-old woman, Jill, came to the office with a genital rash. A swab test confirmed genital herpes. She immediately suspected her current partner, Joe, of giving it to her.
The next day they showed up together. Joe denied having been diagnosed with genital herpes.
After being asked a series of questions, Joe remembered having sores around his mouth as a kid. But heâs not getting them anymore. All his previous STD tests were negative for âeverything.â
Joe was very hurt and swore that he wouldnât hurt Jill because he loves her.
Joeâs blood test came back positive for HSV-2. This is the virus that Jill has genitally.
Jill got HSV-2 from Joe via oral sex.
Dr. Fâs Explanation
- Jill got the infection from Joe. Joe most likely has the HSV-2 virus in his mouth and passed it to her by giving oral sex. Itâs not common to have HSV-2 in the mouth, but weâve been seeing it more often.
- Joe passed the infection to Jill via silent shedding .
- Most likely, Joe got HSV-2 in a nonsexual way from his parents or friends.
- Since Joe has had this issue since childhood, he thought of it as only minor fever blisters that he wasnât having anymore. He didnât realize it was an STD and didnât hurt Jill intentionally.
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What Else Should I Know
Genital herpes is a lifelong condition, but there are ways to manage it. If you have genital herpes:
- Take medicines to stop outbreaks or make them less frequent and less severe.
- Help reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to others by taking medicines, always using a condom during sex, and avoiding sex during outbreaks.
Articles On Genital Herpes And Your Sex Life
You must tell your partner you have genital herpes. If you pick the right time and say it the right way, theres a good chance things will work out OK.
Think about how you want your partner to take the news. Do you want it to seem like a huge problem? Of course not, so dont present it that way. If you say, I have some awful news for you, your partner will likely take it as awful news. Instead, be casual, direct, and unemotional.
Also avoid suggesting how they should react, especially in the negative. If you say, Youre going to freak out when you hear this, or Dont freak out, but, you are setting your partner up to panic either way.
Simply say you have genital herpes, and ask if they know what that means. Be prepared to present the facts.
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Why Do I Need To Tell My Partner
This risk factor changes depending on the frequency of sex and what protective steps you normally take. For example, if you strictly avoid sex during an active herpes outbreak , the risk will be lower. It also matters for how long the infected partner has had the virus since the latter gets weaker with every year in the body.
So, given that theres an undeniable risk of contagion but also that this risk can be reduced with the right steps, you owe your partner a frank discussion. If your partner really loves you, he or she wont leave over something as trivial as herpes. After all, its not a harmful disease, you can do a lot to lower the transmission risk, and the outbreaks, if they occur, are treatable.
And theres absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. 8 out of every 10 people have a herpes virus in their bodies. So, having herpes reflects neither on your character or lifestyle. In fact, its very likely that your partner already has HSV-1 or HSV-2, perhaps even without his or her knowledge. So, once you have told your partner about your own herpes infection, encourage him or her to also get tested for herpes. Its a simple and reliable test.
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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Make It A Conversation Not A Monologue
A great way to freak out the person youre dating is to say you need to talk about something serious and launch into an emotional confession. Instead of taking the I have something important to tell you route, treat this as an opportunity to discuss how you want to approach sex and dating. Ive used the disclosure conversation to discuss what I want in the relationship more generallyam I looking for something exclusive, or would I prefer to keep things casual? This is also a good time to ask how recently they were last tested for STIs, and to discuss what forms of protection and birth control you want to use together. Saying I would rather we use condoms if we have sex because I have HPV and want to keep you safe, is much more reassuring than I hate to tell you this, but I have HPV.
Dont be surprised if opening up about your STI invites them to do the same with whatever it is they struggle to tell new partners. Disclosing that you have an STI demonstrates youre an honest, nonjudgmental soul, and that will often encourage your partner to lower some of his or her walls too. Some of my best relationships were built on that first conversation when I let my guard down and my partner followed me to that place of emotional vulnerability. These are the moments of trust and vulnerability that become the foundation of the best relationships.
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.
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What Should I Tell My Boyfriend About My Herpes Before We Have Sex
Talking about sex is something that in general we dont feel comfortable about. As adults we get all uncomfortable when a sex topic comes up and its like we turn into little kids. Its so funny. But at the same time its a real problem. We need to learn how to talk to our partners about sex and that includes safe sex, birth control, desires and so on.
Today were talking about how to talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend about having herpes before you have sex with them. This entire idea sounds absolutely terrifying and scary. Ive said it many times that when were diagnosed with herpes one of the biggest fears is to tell our partner that we have herpes. But its the inevitable and its totally worth it when you have the right person in your life.
How To Tell Someone You Have Genital Herpes
Medically reviewed by Michele Emery, DNP
Whether youre telling a close friend or a romantic partner, letting someone else know that you have herpes can be a nerve-racking experience.
Luckily, it doesnt need to be an event you fear or feel anxious about. Herpes is a very common virus, withan estimated 11 percent of the population infected with the HSV-2 form of the virus and the majority of people infected with HSV-1 .
Below, weve provided a range of tips, tactics and techniques to help you tell other people you have herpes without fear, anxiety or other common issues.
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When Should You Disclose Your Hsv Status
You don’t have to bring up herpes the very first time you talk to someone new, but you should at some point before you have sex or exchange body fluids. “You are more likely to have a positive reception to that news if you have built some sort of relationship. If you tell too early and there’s no reason for this person to be invested in you, then you may get a negative response very quickly,” Warren said.
Tips For Disclosing Via Text
Communication is hard. No matter how strong a relationship is, theres something about being vulnerable that tends to make us stressed and uncertain. If disclosing in person isnt something you think youre ready to tackle, texting is always an option.
While ideally we would be able to have these kinds of discussions in person, its understandably daunting. So know this: Texting your partners that you have herpes does not make you a coward. It does not make you less than someone who chooses to disclose in person. For many, texting is its own type of comfort zone.
“Communication is hard. No matter how strong a relationship is, theres something about being vulnerable that tends to make us stressed and uncertain.”
You might say something like this:
Hey . I really like you and the time weve spent together. Before it becomes something physical, I want to let you know that I have genital herpes . Ive learned that the stigma is more difficult than the infection itself. I understand that you may have some questions and uncertainties, and Im happy to share some resources that have helped me.
One benefit of texting is that you can give your partners links to helpful articles right when you disclose. Here are some other helpful articles you can consider sending them:
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Learn More About Dating And Sex With Herpes
Genital herpes affects hundreds of millions of people around the world, many of whom have no problems enjoying a normal, fulfilling sex life.
Our complete guide to having sex when you have herpes covers everything you need to know about sexual activity if you have genital herpes, from the most effective antiviral medications to lower your transmission risk to signs and symptoms your partner should be aware of.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standardshere.
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Tips For Dating & Cold Sores
Dating, or starting a new relationship can be one of lifes most exciting times. Its kind of like a really long road trip with the windows down and plenty of Instagram-worthy sights along the way.
But if youre like the majority of the population, you have probably had a cold sore and you get them from time to time. However, that shouldnt make a new relationship feel like its beginning with a big bump in the road. You may be feeling afraid of talking to your partner about having a cold sore, or even dating someone with a cold sore. However, dating with cold sores is possible, if youre open and honest about it.
In fact, telling your boyfriend or girlfriend about cold sores is only as big a deal as you make it. Because the truth is:
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Remember That Assholes Dont Deserve Your Time
No matter how misplaced herpes panic may be, it exists, and it may mean your partner reacts in a less-than-satisfactory way when you tell them about your status. Please realize that others may be afraid of the virus, its not you! Loanzon stresses, while also calling out one notable silver lining: Herpes can be a natural filter for dating, and eliminate those who will not surround you with support and love.
If someone responds negatively or ignorantly, Watson notes, you might not be able to change their minds with information. Let them go. You have to be vulnerable in this moment, and while you can do your best to educate your partner, you shouldnt have to try to convince them to stick around if they get hung up on the herpes.
Because if someone acts immediately hurtful or offensive, or if theyre scared off by your diagnosis, theyre probably not worth your time long-term anyway.
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Do You Need To Tell Them
Before you tell anyone that you have genital herpes, its worth asking yourself whether or not they need to know. Your friends, colleagues and family probably dont need to know about it, as theres minimal risk of them catching the virus from you through sexual contact.
If you have close friends and the subject of herpes comes up in discussion, feel free to tell them about your HSV-1 or HSV-2 status if you feel comfortable. Just remember that you dont owe an explanation or confession to anyone youre not putting at risk of catching the virus from you.
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Sex Question: How Do I Tell My Partner I Have Herpes
Dear Dr. H,
I did something very wrong. For 18 years I knew I had herpes and still had sex with guys just for affirmation. I wanted a good relationship but couldn’t be honest because of the stigma. My current relationship is only 6 months old and I know I have to come clean with my boyfriend but don’t know how to tell him. Do you have any advice? I’ve slept with too many men to count but don’t want him to know anything he doesn’t need to know. I know it sounds terrible but I made a lot of poor decisions when I drank too much.
Read on for Dr. Hilda Hutcherson‘s response.
A. I am happy that you have made the decision to come clean. It is important to let your partner know about any sexually transmitted diseases that you might have, preferably before you have sex for the first time. I know that it can be embarrassing and you may fear rejection, but it is the right and fair thing to do. My advice would be to begin the conversation outside the bedroom when you are both relaxed–not in an argument or tense scenario. You should tell him in a matter-of-fact way that you were exposed to herpes and carry the virus. Let him know that you have educated yourself on how to decrease the chance that he will become infected . There is no need for embarrassment–herpes is common in sexually active adults, and it is quite likely that he has had this conversation before.
Readers, do you have any questions about STDs? Let’s talk about them here!