If you've recently been to your doctor and discovered the unfortunate news that you've been infected with Herpes, one of the first instinctual panics is... how will I tell my partner? Or, will anyone want to have sex with me again? Some even go so far as to pretend they don't have the virus, and hide it as long as possible.
There are millions of people, exactly like you, who have been in that exact situation. It's an understandable, and completely valid, feeling to have. But because of how common the virus is, there's a good chance that your partner has already been exposed to it, or has the virus themselves. Plus, because of how common it is, you may be surprised as to how few people really think that having Herpes is the end of a sexual relationship.
The truth is, having Herpes isn't the end of anything. Because the virus is so understood, there are a lot of ways for you and your partner to work around it while still living completely fulfilling sex lives.
The first thing you need to do is have a conversation with your partner about the situation. Even if it makes you feel uncomfortable doing so, you should let them know that you've been diagnosed with the virus. Then, the conversation about moving forward happens. Fortunately for you, if you're already here, you've taken measures to learn about how you can protect yourself and your partner, and you're off to a great start.
There are a number of ways to protect your partner from the virus, but the first step is telling them. This article will guide you through a conversation about how to tell your partner about your Herpes diagnosis.
Do You Need To Tell Your Partner if You Have Herpes?
Absolutely. This is because herpes is a sexually transmitted infection, and having unprotected sex with someone who has herpes puts your partner at risk of contracting the virus. If you're not comfortable telling your partner that you have herpes, then you're not ready to have sex with them.
Having sex with someone without telling them about your herpes infection is not only incredibly unfair to your partner, it's also incredibly dangerous. If you're not honest about your infection, you're putting your partner at risk of contracting the virus. Herpes is a serious virus that can cause serious health problems, and it's not something that should be taken lightly.
Remember that one interaction with one person can become a pyramid of cases if the right people aren't careful. Many people with weakened immune systems, such as those with cancer or HIV, can develop complications from herpes. So not only is it important to be honest with your partner for their sake, it's also important for the sake of public health.
The First Step is to Know the Facts
When you confront someone with your Herpes diagnosis, they may not be as well-informed as you. Media, such as movies, as well as myths and misconceptions, often depict herpes as a very serious, sometimes deadly, disease. The reality is that while herpes can be serious, it is a very common and manageable virus.
So the first step to telling someone about your herpes diagnosis is to be prepared with the facts. Here are some important facts to keep in mind:
There are two types of Herpes: HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital herpes). HSV-2, genital herpes, is fairly common. In fact, about one in seven people in Canada have genital herpes. Even more common is HSV-1, the herpes that shows up as cold sores around the mouth.
Herpes is not deadly. It is a virus that can lie dormant in your body for years, and then show up as a cold sore or outbreak. The virus is more of a nuisance than anything, and while it can be passed on to others, it is not considered a serious health risk unless you have a weakened immune system.
There is no cure for herpes. However, there are treatments that can help lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of an outbreak. There are also treatments that can help prevent outbreaks from happening in the first place.
You can still have sex with herpes, just use protection. Herpes is passed through skin-to-skin contact, so using a condom or dental dam will help protect your partner from getting the virus. There are also treatments that can help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus even further.
Telling someone you have herpes doesn't have to be a big deal. In fact, once you get over the initial awkwardness, it can be surprisingly easy. Just remember to be prepared with the facts, be honest and open, and be respectful of your partner's feelings.
Telling Your Partner You Have Herpes
It is an incredibly anxiety-inducing thing to be honest and vulnerable about something that could potentially scare away a romantic partner. However, being open and honest is the only way to maintain a healthy, happy relationship. If you have herpes, it is important to tell your partner as soon as possible. This will allow them to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to continue the relationship.
The conversation can be difficult, but it is important to be upfront, honest, and respectful. You might say something like, "I wanted to let you know that I have herpes. I'm being treated and I'm taking medication to manage the virus. I want to be honest with you because I care about you and I want to have a healthy, happy relationship."
If you feel stuck, we've created some simple ways to begin telling your partner about your diagnosis. These tips can make the conversation a little bit easier.
Choose the right time to talk - Choose a time to talk when you're both relaxed and not distracted by other things. This will help make the conversation go more smoothly.
Be honest and direct - It can be tempting to try to downplay the significance of your diagnosis, but it's important to be honest with your partner. They deserve to know the truth so they can make an informed decision about the relationship.
Be prepared for questions - Your partner is likely to have a lot of questions about your diagnosis. Be prepared to answer them honestly and patiently.
Respect your partner's decision - Ultimately, it is your partner's decision whether or not to continue the relationship. Respect their decision, even if it isn't the one you were hoping for. You may be either elated or unhappy with the decision, but try to remain respectful. The most important thing is that you were honest with them and gave them the information they needed to make an informed decision. And keep in mind that by telling them, you're actively building trust in the relationship.
Try to stay positive - It can be difficult to stay positive after disclosing your diagnosis, but try to focus on the fact that you're taking steps to manage the virus and protect your partner. This can be a positive experience for both of you if you approach it with openness and respect.
How To Start The Conversation
There are a lot of people who simply don't know how to approach the conversation that they've been diagnosed with herpes. The following is a various set of ways that you can begin talking with your partner to help make the conversation go as smoothly as possible.
"Can we sit down and talk for a moment? I want to tell you something important. I found out that I have herpes. But I have done a lot of research on it, and I think that if you're willing, we can still make our relationship work with the proper precautions."
"Hey, I need to tell you something. I was recently diagnosed with herpes. I know it's not the most ideal situation, but I'm still the same person you fell in love with. If you're willing, I'm confident that we can make this work by using protection and other precautions."
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but I've been diagnosed with herpes. I know it's not what you want to hear, but I am willing to take every precaution possible to make sure that our relationship can still work. If that doesn't work with you, I understand."
"Do you remember that time we talked about STDs and you asked if I had ever been tested? Well, I recently found out that I have herpes. I think that with the proper precautions, our relationship can still work. But if you're not comfortable with that, I understand.
"I have something I need to tell you that's kind of hard for me to say, but I would be really grateful if you could hear me out. I've been diagnosed with herpes. And even though it's not what either of us wanted, I think we can still make this work as long as we're both willing to take the necessary precautions. If you're not willing to take our relationship to the next step, I understand. Ultimately, it is your choice."
"I'm not sure how to say this, but I need to tell you that I have herpes. I would like to discuss with you how you would like to move forward in our relationship."
These simple but honest conversation starters can help to begin the discussion about herpes in a relationship. It is best to be as open and honest as possible in order to maintain communication and trust in the relationship.
You should never pressure your partner to continue the relationship if they are not comfortable with it. Ultimately, it is their decision whether or not to have sexual relations with you.
How to Safely Have Sex With Herpes
Herpes is not the end of sex. In fact, millions of people have sex with herpes and still enjoy fulfilling, healthy sexual lives.
Still, it’s important to take some precautions if you or your partner have herpes. Here are a few tips:
1. Use condoms.
This is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of transmitting herpes or any other STD. Condoms provide a barrier that can help prevent skin-to-skin contact and reduce the risk of transmission. However, they are not always perfect. You need to make sure that your condoms are properly fitting, so they do not slip off during sex.
2. Don't have sex during an outbreak.
With genital herpes, it’s best to wait until the outbreak is over before having sex. This is because the virus is most contagious during this time. Sexual activity can lead to the breaking of herpes blisters, which increases the chances that the virus will be passed on.
3. Use dental dams for oral sex.
Dental dams are thin sheets of latex that can be placed over the vulva or anus to prevent skin-to-skin contact during oral sex. This can help reduce the risk of transmission. Dental dams can be bought online or at some sex toy shops.
During oral sex, you can also use a condom. This will help protect you from getting herpes on your lips or in your mouth.
4. Get tested and tell your partner.
If you have genital herpes, it’s important to tell your partner. This way, they can make an informed decision about whether or not to have sex with you. It’s also a good idea to get tested for other STDs, so you can both be sure that you’re healthy.
5. Talk about your herpes.
It’s important to have an open and honest conversation about your herpes with your partner. This can help make sex more enjoyable and reduce the risk of transmission.
6. Be prepared.
If you or your partner have an outbreak, it’s important to be prepared. This means having supplies of condoms, dental dams, and antiviral medication on hand. This way, you can still have sex even if an outbreak occurs.
7. Take any medications you're prescribed to manage your outbreaks.
There are a number of antiviral medications that can be used to manage genital herpes. These can help reduce the duration and severity of an outbreak. They can also help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your partner.
8. See a doctor if you have any concerns.
If you have any concerns about your health, it’s important to see a doctor. This is especially true if you have any other STDs.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.