Civil Consequences Of Transmitting An Std To A Partner
If you have sex with another person knowing you have herpes or another STD, you could be sued for damages if you do not tell the person about the disease before sex. However, the person would need to prove that you knew you were infected and failed to tell them before sexual intercourse.
We all have a duty to avoid causing harm or unreasonable risk of harm to others. Breaching this duty of care can result in a negligence claim. The legal elements of negligence are:
Negligence is failing to act with the same level of care that a reasonable person would have used in similar circumstances. For example, a jury may find that a reasonable person who knew they had herpes would understand that having sex with someone could spread the infection. Therefore, a reasonable person would inform the other person of the herpes diagnosis so the person could decide whether to take the risk.
If the defendant did not inform the other person that they had herpes, the jury might find the defendant liable for damages. Damages in a personal injury case can include medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress, permanent impairment, and other out-of-pocket costs.
Even if you wear a condom, you still place the person at risk. Therefore, if you do not tell a potential partner you have herpes or another STD, you could be arrested for a crime and sued in civil court.
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.
How Do You Tell Someone You Have Herpes
The hardest part of telling your partner may be deciding how to broach the subject. The specific words and phrases you use will depend on what kind of relationship you’re building. In general, though, don’t stress too much about having herpes. Your partner may even divulge that they also have herpes. And if they have the same type of the virus as you, they can’t get “reinfected,” Dr. Baldwin stated.
You could start the conversation by mentioning cold sores, then move into the subject of herpes. You could also start by saying you want to be honest in the relationship, or that you want to discuss safe sex. “It can be a very difficult conversation to have, but you should be honest and straightforward,” Dr. Baldwin recommended.
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Learn As Much As You Can About Genital Herpes First
Before you tell, learn all you can about genital herpes so you can be prepared to answer any questions your partner may have. Stress that it’s very common. Hearing the one-in-five statistic could be a relief. Also explain what it means to have it. Some people get sores on their genitals occasionally, but many others get symptoms so mild they don’t even notice them.
Choose words wisely. You don’t want to load the discussion with negative imagery. Although genital herpes is a disease, saying that you have this “disease” conjures up unpleasant images, so avoid using that word. Watch adjectives, too. Don’t describe your condition as “horrible,” “disgusting,” or “incurable.”
How To Tell A Partner You Have Genital Herpes
MEDICALLY REVIEWED ONOctober 5, 2020
Dr. Aysha Butt is the Medical Director of FROM MARS, and is a GP Partner at Woodcote NHS Medical Practice.
There are probably a few conversations you want to have less than telling a partner you have genital herpes. Its only natural to worry about it. Just the word herpes sounds bad and theres still a strong stigma around sexually transmitted diseases . You might be scared that your partner will see you differently, that itll affect your relationship or that you wont be able to date if you have genital herpes.
But it doesnt have to be that way. Lets start with how to tell your partner.
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How Is Genital Herpes Spread
- Saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection
- Genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection
- Skin in the oral area of a partner with oral herpes or
- Skin in the genital area of a partner with genital herpes.
You also can get genital herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or is unaware of their infection. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a partner with oral herpes.
You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools. You also will not get it from touching objects, such as silverware, soap, or towels.
If you have more questions about herpes, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.
Myth: Herpes Is A Rare Condition
First and foremost, make it clear that herpes is a very prevalent virus.
Additionally, two-thirds of the world population under 50 is infected with oral herpes . That equals more than 3.7 billion people!
Despite its prevalence, there is a stigma associated with a herpes infection, probably in large part because it is sexually transmitted and incurable.
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Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Many people who have genital herpes are unaware that they have the virus because they have no symptoms, mild symptoms, or mistake the symptoms for other conditions such as jock itch, yeast infections, razor burn or allergic reactions to detergents. The infection can be diagnosed by taking a swab from the sores or through blood tests. Those with symptoms may experience a tingling sensation or itching in the genital area within a few days of having sex with an infected person. A cluster of blisters may appear and burst, leaving painful sores often lasting two to three weeks. A fever, headache and muscular pain may occur during the first attack.
After the sores from the first attack heal, the virus goes into a dormant stage, but recurrent outbreaks can occur. Some people have only one or two recurrences in a lifetime, while others have them frequently. Recurrences are typically shorter in duration and less severe than the first episode. Stress, menstrual cycle, illness, fever, surgery, exposure to sun, having sex, pregnancy, and the use of some medications can play a role in the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Herpes can continue to be transmitted to others, even between recurrences when the infected person has no symptoms.
Women’s symptoms can include:
- tender lumps in the groin
Men’s symptoms can include:
- tender lumps in the groin
For both men and women, the sores will usually occur on or near the area where the virus was transmitted.
How Do I Talk With People About Having Herpes
It might feel scary to admit you have herpes, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend that you trust to keep the conversation private. Parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and other family members can also be a source of comfort. Remember, herpes is really common, so its possible the person youre talking to has herpes, too.
There are a lot of online support groups for people who have herpes, and the American Sexual Health Association has a list of support groups that meet in person.
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How To Tell Your Partner You Have Herpes
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Telling your partner that you have genital herpes is a hard conversation to have. But its important to talk about this STI to practice safe sex and maintain the trust in your relationship. Genital herpes is a virus that is caused by the herpes simplex virus-2 or the herpes simplex virus-1 , the virus responsible for cold sores.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source But with the right precautions, its possible to manage your herpes and still be intimate with your partner.
Pick The Right Setting
In addition to language, the setting can affect the outcome, too. Don’t interrupt what your partner is doing to break the news. That is, don’t call them at work, or barge into a room and say, “Hey, we have to talk.” That’s how you might deliver news of a death in the family or start an argument.
The right setting is a relaxing one, just the two of you, where there won’t be any distractions. A conversation over a quiet dinner or a walk in the park is preferable to a bowling alley or the supermarket.
The worst time to tell, other than after having sex, is during foreplay or when your clothes are already off. That would not only spoil the mood, but it could also annoy your partner.
It is usually best to let the topic come up naturally in conversation. That way, it will seem less like a bombshell and more like any other development in your life. For example, you could say, “Just so you know, my doctor called me yesterday with some test results, and said I have the virus that causes genital herpes.”
If you’ve never slept with the person before, it’s not impolite to ask if they have any sexually transmitted diseases. You could start the conversation by being the first one to ask. It’s possible that they might start giving you the same herpes information you had been preparing to give.
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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.
Your Partner Has A Right To Know
It’s better to disclose your diagnosis before you plan any type of sexual intimacy. This will give your partner time to digest the information. That way you can avoid either one of you doing anything you’ll regret in the heat of the moment.
Herpes does not have to be a dating nonstarter, but it’s important to be honest with your partner so they are aware of the potential risks posed to them and can take proper precautions.
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Tips For Disclosing In Person
Whether its a proposal, pregnancy announcement, or even a breakup, sharing big news often feels worthy of an in-person delivery. But when someone utters the ominous phrase, We need to talk, its not always clear to us whether the outcome will be good or bad. So how do you approach in-person disclosure of an STI without sending your partners heart racing in panic?
Choose the setting. Meet somewhere you feel comfortable. It could be a quiet bench in the park, or the corner booth in your favorite coffee shop.
Set the tone of the convo upfront. Its up to you whether you choose to preface the meeting with some words that convey your purpose. While this holds you accountable, it may also instill anxiety in your partner depending on how you phrase it. Instead of framing the conversation with, We need to talk , go for a more lighthearted approach like, Hey, want to meet for coffee tomorrow? I have something important to share. Looking forward to seeing you!
Once youve met up with your potential partner, its time to do the actual disclosing part. It always helps calm the nerves a bit if youve practiced what youre going to say beforehand. You should come prepared to answer common questions and offer helpful statistics or other resources that can help educate your partner about herpes.
Reasons Why Its Important To Tell Your Lover
Since we just dug deep and went into reasons why we didnt tell our partner we have herpes. I now want to discuss why its important to tell your lover. As you know, for me honesty is super important. Maybe this is the start of your relationship, starting off with a huge secret can be like waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Also, if you keep one secret then its easier to keep more secrets and then pretty soon it’s a house of cards. I know Im getting pretty deep here, but put yourself in their shoes. Wouldnt you want to know? On a positive note, talking to your partner can help prevent passing it to him or her. This can be great news! The idea of out of sight out of mind doesnt really help when it comes to preventing the transmission of herpes. In fact, its just the opposite. The more often the two of you can talk about it the better chance you have of protecting them from it. Again, put yourself in their shoes.
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First Decide If Its Worth Telling
Before you start practicing how to tell someone you have herpes, consider whether its information that needs to be shared at all.
Most people in your life dont need to know about your herpes diagnosis. Friends, colleagues and family members arent at risk of catching the virus from you, and you dont owe them the information.
Its more important to share this information with potential sexual partners before you sleep together. Genital herpes spreads mainly through close sexual contact, even if youre not experiencing an active outbreak. For this reason, its essential to share that you have herpes before your partner faces the risk of infection.
Weigh the pros and cons of whether its best to tell your partner before you get too involved, or to wait until after youve dated for a while and may begin sleeping together. This choice is entirely yours and will be influenced by your own comfort zone, the personality of your partner, and the dynamics of your relationship.
How To Bring Up The Topic Of An Sti
So youre calm, in neutral circumstances, and ready to break the news. Do open by letting them know that you respect them, have been enjoying your time together, and have something you want them to know, even if it might be a little awkward.
Dont say you have terrible news. And you dont have to use the blunt, I have herpes, either.
Instead, you could say something like, I test positive for antibodies for HSV-2, which is a type of herpes.
A really great tack that might be easier and less awkward is opening the conversation by asking them if they have been tested or know their STD status. This takes the focus off of you, and onto the both of you as mature adults who care about their sexual health.
This could give you insight into whether they are conscientious with their own sexual health, or give them the nudge to get tested themselves.
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Dont Overthink It Be Cool Calm And Collected
Most people may feel stressful and difficult, especially when itâs directed at a person you care about and with whom youâd like a romantic or sexual future. Luckily, itâs rarely as big a deal as people make it out to beâin practice, it usually goes very smoothly. The herpes talk is a nerve-wracking moment. confidence helps it go as smoothly as possible. If you appear to be ashamed and traumatized by your diagnosis, donât expect them to want to risk feeling the same way themselves. They will take their cues from you. It really is true that a person takes your lead on how to react to something. If you catastrophize it, they will too. If you speak with confidence and downplay its significance, they will often follow.
If you have learned the facts about herpes and accepted yourself and are taking good care of yourself and know how to reduce your risk of spreading herpes to your partners, you can confidently present the situation as it is to your potential partner. They can make a decision to proceed or not, based on learning the facts and not seeing you become emotional and upset.
Here is a good Ted Talk we highly recommend you watch it. It will really help you to rebulid your confidence.