Dating a person with genital herpes
They do not barter or keep score, or make a pros and cons list when it comes to asking you on a third date. Hi Ella, Thank you for your vulnerability on here. I truly appreciate it. I had such a horrible experience this week. In , I was told by a doctor in an email versus a result ugh that I had been exposed to herpes 2 not verbatim I had it. I was with a long term partner. I recently began dating again after 7 years and did the whole sti panel with this partner. He and I touched one another naked, made out, with some saliva exchange obvi.
I then went on to gain more clarity with a doctor that it means i have it. I was in disbelief and angry. I turned that hate at situation inward and got really depressed and luckily have a great social support group and amazing therapist. He and I have since talked and came to more closure which I am so thankful he was open to.
I just may not have gotten the closure and would need to forgive myself for an honest mistake. I wish I remembered and told him when kissing: I have a lot of anger at doctors for not being explicit and towards myself for my ignorance.
I mean obviously your story speaks to it. When we are kissing? This process is so new to me so any support and guidance is appreciated. Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring me to do the same. I hope this can be healing. Your story has really impacted me for the better and my shame is slowly diminishing. This was a good, interesting and funny read. Ella, So beautifully well written.
I have Herpes 2 and am currently dealing with shame around it. Just gotta say fuck it and move on then! At a point I stopped divulging my situation until I was sure I could trust my partner with my humiliating reality. I was always careful, never sex when I get that tingling, had to lie on my menses sooo many times. Someone just broke up with me after 5months of dating. We moved kinda fast but I knew him from my past and thought it was safe to tell him right away.
I had already had sex with him when I told him about my condition. He stayed for a few months but eventually left, said he fell in love with me before I told him. I get his position. We just have to be strong and patient. My heart is with you. This is the kind of hyperbole we should check them on for the sake of being factual and not allowing ourselves to be demeaned.
I really admire you…We need more voices more people to speak about Herpes honestly and openly. Do you have any more blogs? Thank you a million times over for being the voice we all have, but feel too stigmatized to use. The world needs more people like you. I just met a beautiful, amazing girl that makes me truly happy but she shared she contacted herpes as a kid, HSV Your blog reinforce my decision. This post has really helped me form my decision when it came to dating someone with genital herpes.
My head was spinning when I first told to say the least.
My girlfriend opened up to me after a month of dating and copious unprotected sex that she had genital herpes, that she was on suppression medication and that she had not had an outbreak for 3 years. I myself have cold sores and to be perfectly honest I definitely did not know as much as I do now about the disease.
I thought it to be very very contagious even when dormant. So, she told me and I freaked out. I was torn because I do love her and I could see myself spending the rest of my life with her but, even the best laid plans go awry. I would then have to try and find love with an STI which frankly scares a lot of people away. These scenarios are still a possibility but after reading your personal experiences about opening up to potential partners before you slept together has made me feel much better about taking the risk.
In the past I thought I would have ran away from someone who were to tell me this, but in reality it did not phase my attraction to her at all what so ever. Yes I did have questions and concerns but I feel we are closer now than ever and are able to talk about anything without criticism or judgment from each other. I have never experience this type of relationship before and perhaps that is why so many have failed for me in the past. I care about her deeply and hope to continue to grow our relationship much further. But, in reality, it is no big deal. The chances of their having something passed to them from one of these other women is probably better than from me, because I take suppressive drugs and am careful.
Good for you for educating yourself! Dawson, Well written think these and I applaud you for tackling this head on. As a person with HSV1 common cold sore i.
Why Should I Date Someone With Herpes? – Ella Dawson
Herpes I believe I most likely contracted it from my mother as a child. I am obsessive about protecting my partners. I would not rule out a partner based on an STI. Your observation about distilling someone down to an infection was spot on. Thank you for taking the time to write this piece it was insightful. I have cold sores to and I afraid talking about it with my partner and on dates.
How and when do you tell them about it? Oh, I hate to see you limiting yourself like that! For me I hated that it looked like someone had given me a fat lip. But I see no more reason to tell someone about cold sores than anything else.
You know herpes is the virus behind lots of things, right? To manage your cold sores , ask your doctor for a valcyclovir or acyclovir prescription. It cures them fast. I think the way nick handles his outbreaks makes a lot of sense. I think that in addition to the social stigma, there is this very lizard-brain level fear response to the idea of infection, even outside of a sexual context.
That tension and desire to hold my breath I get when I hear some kid coughing in the supermarket. The visceral horror people have about leprosy, which is also sort of a skin condition. Even the whole genre of zombie movies. Something about contagious disease itself is inherently frightening.
To clarify this a bit! I also have HSV So does my mom. She got it from kissing family members at a Christmas party. There was nothing remotely sexual about it for me, and most of this was before I even knew what sex was. I just found the idea of catching something you have for life scary. I later had outbreaks, as an adult.
I could have had it from years, from some asymptomatic shedding kiss. Be prepared with information from ASHA and other reliable sources. Once you feel ready to open the discussion, you might want to look for logical ways to broach the subject. Sometimes public service announcements about sexual health or subjects closely related can open doors to discussions about herpes. So even though a movie trailer seems to provide the perfect lead in, a crowded theater is probably not the best venue.
Whatever happens, try to be flexible. Remember when you first found out? It took you time to adjust, too. 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. 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 are—with or without herpes.
Most people react well. They appreciate your approach, honesty and maturity in addressing an important health issue. Remember to put herpes into perspective: 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.
If you find yourself whispering, mumbling, or looking at the floor, stop for a moment and try to speak calmly and clearly. Look your partner in the face. Your delivery affects your message. The following opening statements represent a variety of nonthreatening ways to prompt discussion about herpes. They are not intended to be regarded as scripts. Try not to be melodramatic.
This is not a confession or a lecture, simply the sharing of information between two people. Avoid negative words and keep the dialogue simple and factual: Could we talk about what this means for us? Look for logical opportunities to bring up the subject. You might even be surprised to learn that your partner has been equally concerned about telling you that they have genital herpes or another sexual infection. In fact, the probability of this is reasonably high, given the statistics on HSV. People may just need a little time to assimilate the information.
This is where having good written information helps. Consider giving them reading material or referring them to a Sexual Health Centre, the Herpes Helpline. Whatever the reaction, try to be flexible. Remember that it took you time to adjust as well. Negative reactions are often no more than the result of misinformation. It takes a lot more than the occasional aggravation of herpes to destroy a sound relationship.
Some people react negatively no matter what you say or how you say it. Others might focus more energy on herpes than on the relationship. These people are the exception, not the rule. This is not a reflection on you. You are not responsible for their reaction. If your partner is unable to accept the facts about herpes, encourage him or her to speak with a medical expert or counsellor. The majority of people will react well.
They will respect the trust you demonstrate in sharing a personal confidence with them. With the proper approach and information, herpes can be put into perspective: Regarding the relationship overall, know that you can have the same level of intimacy and sexual activity that any couple can.
It is true that in an intimate sexual relationship with a person who has herpes oral or genital , the risk of contracting herpes will not be zero, but while there is a possibility of contracting herpes this is a possibility for any sexually active person. And the person may unwittingly already have been exposed to the herpes virus in a previous relationship. All relationships face challenges, most far tougher than herpes. Good relationships stand and fall on far more important issues — including communication, respect and trust. Whether or not this relationship works out, you have enlightened someone with your education and experience about herpes, correcting some of the myths about herpes that cause so much harm.
You have removed the shroud of silence that makes it so difficult for others to speak. And you have confronted a personal issue in your life with courage and consideration. 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.
Genital herpes is a common infection generally transmitted through sexual contact. It is caused by one of two members of a family of viruses which also include the viruses causing chickenpox and shingles, and glandular fever. Usually, genital herpes is caused by infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 , and studies suggest that in some countries, one in five people are infected with this virus.
Genital herpes, for most people, is an occasionally recurrent, sometimes painful condition for which effective treatment is now available. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of catching genital herpes, regardless of their gender, race or social class. Genital herpes can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected blister or sore, usually through sexual contact. It can also be transmitted when there are no symptoms present.
HSV-2 infection is usually passed on during vaginal or anal sex. HSV-1 is usually transmitted by oral sex mouth to genital contact. If your partner has only just been diagnosed as having genital herpes, this does not necessarily mean that he or she has been unfaithful to you, or sexually promiscuous in the past. Your partner may have caught genital herpes from you. So it is very easy for you to have unwittingly transmitted the infection to your partner. The symptoms of the infection vary greatly between individuals — it might be totally unnoticeable in you, but cause severe blistering in your partner.
Since the genital herpes virus can be transmitted through oral sex as well as vaginal sex, it is also possible that your partner caught the virus from a cold sore on your mouth or face. Alternatively, your partner may have contracted the herpes virus from a previous sexual partner, perhaps even several years ago. The herpes virus can remain inactive in the body for long periods, so this may be the first time it has caused symptoms. If your partner is having a first episode of genital herpes, he or she is likely to feel generally unwell and have fever, headache, and general bone and muscle aches, as well as irritation in the genitals.
This may last for several days, during or after which reddened areas may appear on the genitals. These may develop into painful blisters. The blisters then burst, generally to leave sores which gradually heal, usually without scarring. The severity of this first herpes episode varies between individuals, but for some people it may be severe and last for up to three weeks if not treated.
These symptoms should quickly resolve with treatment. The doctor should have given your partner a course of antiviral treatment. This is an effective medicine which, although it does not cure genital herpes, can speed recovery and reduce the severity of the herpes episode. There are also other steps which your partner can take to relieve the pain of genital herpes. However, for many people who have genital herpes, the physical symptoms are far outweighed by the emotional stress relating to the diagnosis.
There are many misconceptions about genital herpes, including the belief that it is associated with promiscuity, and these have given it a reputation which may cause your partner to feel angry and shocked by the diagnosis. Anxiety, guilt, loss of assertiveness and fear of rejection are also common emotions. Your support can be very important in helping your partner to deal with these feelings and to minimise the effect of genital herpes on his or her life.
Until recently, diagnosis could only be made by clinical symptoms and swabs from an active herpes episode. However, there are commercially available blood tests becoming available which can distinguish between herpes simplex virus type 1 HSV-1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 antibodies.
Why Should I Date Someone With Herpes?
The time taken to develop antibodies is usually two to six weeks after infection, but can be up to six months. It is also important to know that false positives and false negatives are common in these tests. Because of the limitations of a blood test to diagnose herpes, it is recommended you discuss the implications of the test with someone who has experience with them.
If you think you might be showing signs of the infection, consult your doctor. The symptoms of genital herpes may reappear from time to time. This is because once the herpes virus is acquired, it stays permanently in the body. Most of the time it remains inactive, but every so often it may reactivate and cause another outbreak. Each individual is different — some people never have a recurrence; others may have recurrences several times a year. However, recurrent outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first herpes episode.
Certain events or situations can trigger recurrences, and you may be able to help your partner avoid or reduce the trigger factors, which may include stress at work or home, fatigue, ill health, loss of sleep, friction due to sexual intercourse, and menstruation in women. If your partner has frequent or severe episodes of genital herpes, or if the recurrent outbreaks are causing a lot of anxiety for your partner, then he or she may benefit from suppressive therapy taking oral antiviral tablets continuously , which prevents or reduces recurrences.
If you take the necessary precautions, the chances of getting the herpes virus from your partner are reduced. Genital herpes does not mean abstinence from sex or a reduced enjoyment of sex. The continued use of condoms in a long-term relationship is a personal decision that only the couple can make. Most find that as the importance of the HSV infection in their relationship is seen in perspective, that condom use becomes less relevant if this is the only reason condoms are being used.
However, most couples choose to avoid genital skin-to-skin contact during an active episode of herpes because this is when the herpes virus is most readily transmitted. This period includes the time from when your partner first has warning signs of an outbreak, such as a tingling or burning in the genitals, until the last of the sores has healed.
Also, sexual activity prolongs the healing of the episode.