The disclosure

My friend has been dating a new guy for a month and it was going well. He’s emotionally mature, good looking, financially stable, fun and treats her well. They had two activities planned for the weekend near his home, an hour away from her.

He invited her to stay overnight so she didn’t have to drive back and forth. His guest room was offered as an option so she said yes.

As they hung out the first day, the conversation drifted toward sex. Then he made this disclosure.

He had herpes.

My friend had never been with anyone with herpes so didn’t know how to react. She asked him questions. How frequent were his outbreaks? Would he always wear a condom? (Yes.) She realized she didn’t know enough to ask more questions. She told him she wasn’t ready to have sex with him and would have to learn more about the disease. They had a great sex-free weekend.

When she shared this conversation, I sent her to the Centers For Disease Control site. I also suggested she discuss it with her doctor as I was certainly no expert.

Her challenge is what to do next. She will educate herself, of course, and discuss the issue with him. One report I said said that the majority of non-infected partners get herpes even when using protection. That’s not a path she wants to go down. She hates to give up a great guy, but she also doesn’t want to be infected. And she doesn’t want a sexless relationship.

Have you been in a relationship with someone with herpes? How did you decide to keep seeing him — or not — if he was a great guy? What advice would you give someone in my friend’s situation?

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Brenda:

    I have not heard the statistic you mention about people being infected with herpes even though using protection. I think her physician will be very helpful in this area. Kudos to him for discussing a sensitive topic before being intimate. In my mind, that makes him a very good man!

  2. Cathy Severson:

    He sounds like a good guy and I wouldn’t write him off. But, I can understand your friend not wanting to contract herpes. I agree with Brenda, she should get as much information as she can, as she continues to see him. When they are ready for a more intimate relationship, explore different ways to pleasure each without intercourse. If and when the relation moves towards a serious commitment, I would think it would be worth it to take the risk.

  3. Anastasia:

    I have herpes. Got it at 22 now I’m 36. Have outbreaks 3-4 times a year that last 4-5 days. I take no medicine, just live with it. The less you worry about it the faster it goes away. And believe me it is not so dramatic as it may sound. Its like a period – it comes and goes. i told all my partners about this virus, none of them said no I won’t have sex with you. We never have sex during the outbreaks and do not use condoms on other days. None of my partners ( i had three of them) ever got this virus from me. So please don’t worry. If a guy has herpes it does not mean that he us a bad man and does not deserve your love.

  4. Janet:

    I remember being told by a Dr at least 15 years ago that 80% of people have herpes but dont know it. This is a well known Stanford Dr. Aren’t there varying degrees of herpes? .OK, I just looked this one up and copy/pasted part of an article.

    Myth #7 My doctor routinely screens me for herpes.
    No she doesn’t. There are no current guidelines for routine herpes. If you want a herpes test, you need to ask for one.

    Myth #9 It’s shameful to have herpes.
    This is the myth we’d most like to bust. Herpes is incredibly common. Let’s stop stigmatizing this common virus.

    Myth #10 When you have herpes, you know it.
    80% of people living with herpes don’t know they have it. Symptoms may not appear or can be very subtle. The only way to know if you have herpes is to get tested. If you’d like to know if your status, get tested.

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