Q: I’ve been seeing this girl and we’ve really been hitting it off. But my gut reaction is to ghost and never look back—I don’t want herpes! – Jason, San Antonio A: Finding out your partner has herpes can be a bombshell at any point in the relationship. But it is not nearly as unique or earth-shattering as you think it is. I know there a lot of thoughts and anxieties swirling in your head—about your partner’s health, about your health, about your partner’s fidelity, about your future (or lack thereof) with your partner—and we’ll get to all that. My head tells me to handle this like a mature gentleman.
A woman in her early 30’s wrote to us saying that, “I disclose my HSV2 (genital herpes) status in my dating profile.I was getting many messages before putting HSV2 on there, and I’m still getting many messages, only now at least I have a sense of freedom and honesty.Most of those sexual partners, however, won’t know that they are infected and therefore might not be taking the right precautions to minimize transmission, such as using condoms, abstaining from sex during outbreaks, and perhaps even taking antiviral drugs.One therefore might consider it less risky to sleep with someone who knows she has HSV2 and takes the right steps to protect her partners rather than the other women out there who don’t know they’re infected and are spreading the virus around.Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause infections anywhere on your body, and both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are more common than you think. The prevalent statistics you encounter in drug commercials, sex ed, and PSAs are inconsistent and often confusing.
That’s because herpes infections are much more complicated than we paint them in our SNL sketches and stand-up routines. It’s from Project Accept.org: Around 75% of Americans carry HSV 1 or HSV 2 somewhere on their body.
I see the potential benefit of waiting until you know you like someone to disclose your HSV2 status.
If they’re attached to you too, they may be willing to work around it.
The thing is that many infected with genital herpes experience mild to no symptoms and may never realize it.) If you were getting no messages, you might want to reassess how you do this and maybe hold off until you’ve gotten to know each other together or until you’re ready to be intimate (but before you get in bed).
Since you’re still getting plenty of messages regardless of your admission, this sounds like it’s a win-win situation.
Many men, in particular, don’t read profiles carefully or at all, and you should still have conversations about safe sex to protect yourself and your partners from any complications that could arise, herpes-related or not.