A few years ago, back when I was regularly trolling OKCupid for dates, I received a message from a potential paramour. He’d been scanning through the survey answers associated with my profile, and one response in particular gave him pause: when asked whether I’d consider dating someone with herpes, I’d responded no. It wasn’t some carefully considered stance on sexual transmitted infections, or grand statement about herpes. For him, however, it was a potential deal breaker: As you’ve probably figured out by now, my suitor was a member of that vast group of sexually active adults who’ve been infected with herpes. The internet was supposed to be transformative for people with incurable, but highly preventable, STIs like herpes simplex virus HSV who wanted to date while being open about their status. There’s no question that these sites which have even spawned their own Tinder-like apps are a fantastic demonstration of how innovative online dating platforms can be. But even as they bring together a number of people living with STIs, they don’t seem to do much to improve general education about living with herpes and other STIs. And as a result, people going online in search of connection and support often end up feeling stigmatized, isolated, and more alone than ever.
Living with Herpes: Diagnosis, Management, and Dating Advice
I am a woman living with herpes. And while common stigma has taught us to think of herpes as “gross,” that’s far from the case. My thoughts following my diagnosis were wrong on so many levels. I thought I was being punished, that I wouldn’t find love again.
Does anyone have any good resources for dating someone with herpes? for a cigarette at a concert (god I miss those days), and the guy who was my neighbor in the dorms that I dated for 2 years, Not my usual type but he’s cute, looks fit.
This is a debate that I often have with my colleagues. The medical community does not agree on the answer to this question. If someone has a painful genital sore, we all agree that testing is appropriate. It also makes sense if someone reports periodic genital sores to confirm the diagnosis, so a person can talk to their current or future partners about safer sex.
I believe people should know their herpes status, but I respect that there are other opinions. We know that if a person has genital herpes, they are at greater risk of acquiring HIV and other STDs , if exposed — particularly during an outbreak.
How exactly does herpes spread? Despite the millions really! Regardless, the end result is that dating with herpes can feel daunting. You’re probably wondering at least three things: if you need to tell a potential partner that you have genital or even oral herpes, and when and how to do so. Plus, you’re probably at least a little curious about safer sex precautions.
For more on herpes, check out our Herpes Simplex Condition Center.
There is no cure for herpes, but medication is available to reduce symptoms and make it less likely that you will spread herpes to a sex partner. More. Highlights.
HSV-1 is the herpes virus associated with oral herpes, such as cold sores and fever blisters on or around the mouth, but HSV-2 refers to genital herpes. However, you can get either strain of the virus on other parts of your body. You can have either type without exhibiting any symptoms, yet still pass it on to other people via genital secretions or skin to skin contact, which makes herpes a prevalent STI. But for some, the stigma around herpes can be worse than any of the actual symptoms.
While practicing safe sex is crucial, condoms are not foolproof methods condoms can break , the virus can be on skin around the genital area, people may not know they have it, etc. All in all, it comes down to getting tested and being honest with your partner about your STI status.
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Last Updated: August 4, References. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 51, times. Learn more It’s likely that you will date someone with herpes at some point in your life.
Hear one woman’s story, plus get answers about safe sex, dating, and more. new cases of genital herpes caused by the herpes simplex-2 virus. So a person with one type of herpes can give another person the same kind of herpes on a different part of the body. How do I tell someone I have herpes?
Even after his friends hype him up, Jamin Peckham still backs out sometimes. Due to this, Peckham said that he has to work harder than ever to secure a romantic relationship. Some think of people like Peckham as immoral, assuming only people who sleep around get genital herpes. The stigma of the virus, which exists at the heart of this faulty mindset, is usually worse than the symptoms themselves, as it affects dating, social life and psychological health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one out of six people in the United States aged 14 to 49 have genital herpes caused by the HSV-2 infection the herpes simplex virus often responsible for genital herpes. The overall genital herpes statistic is probably higher, the CDC stated, since many people are also contracting genital herpes through oral sex caused by HSV-1 the kind of herpes usually responsible for cold sores.
According to the National Institutes of Health , many people with genital herpes never even have outbreaks or their outbreaks decrease over time one or two outbreaks a year is not uncommon. The virus can lie dormant in your system for years without coming to the surface. The initial outbreak is often the worst, occurring a few days to a couple of weeks after being infected. Symptoms may include a fever, headache, and muscle aches for a few weeks. But for the most part, outbreaks consist of painful fever blisters or sores on or near the genitals or, in less common cases, sores appearing elsewhere for a few days, as well as burning, itching, swelling, and irritation that may be triggered by stress or fatigue.
The virus never goes away, and some take antiviral medicines to relieve or suppress outbreaks. Genital herpes is contracted during sexual contact, usually spread through fluids on the genitals or mouth. You can only get genital herpes from someone who already has it, can get it during just one sexual encounter, and can get it with or without a condom.
Why Should I Date Someone With Herpes?
The best way for couples to deal with herpes is to talk about it openly and make decisions together. According to one study of discordant couples where one partner had genital herpes and the other did not , there was a significant delay in transmission when the positive partner disclosed his or her infection. But make sure that you keep your own health and risk in mind as well.
You might be surprised. This may be the point where you discover your partner has herpes too, and has been waiting for the moment to tell you. In the grand scheme of things, genital herpes is an inconvenience for most couples—nothing more than that.
The best way for couples to deal with herpes is to talk about it openly and make So this conversation should be a two-way street, where you discuss your partner’s and knowledgeable before you can explain the infection to someone else. This doesn’t mean you have to launch into this on the first date necessarily.
Can you have herpes but never even know it? And how do you navigate the maze of sex and dating when you know you are infected with herpes? Those are among the questions recently posed by readers of the Consults blog. Here, Dr. Peter A. Leone, associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Public Health, provides advice about symptom-free herpes, telling your partner you have herpes and more. I wish this article would mention that it is possible to have herpes but never suffer any symptoms, and to discuss for what percentages of those infected for whom this is true.
B, New York City. Great point. We know that nearly 20 percent of adults in the United States have genital herpes due to the type 2 herpes simplex virus, or HSV-2, yet only 10 percent to 15 percent are aware of their infection. Rather, many patients do not seek out their infection status and should be better informed. Among those who are infected with the herpes virus, about 10 percent remain symptom free and have no outbreaks after acquiring infection.
Indeed, most genital herpes outbreaks cause minimal signs or symptoms and can be mistaken for all sorts of other problems not related to sexually transmitted disease.
Living (and dating) with herpes
Sexually transmitted diseases Main Page. Epidemiology and Demographics. Asymptomatic Shedding. Recurrences and Triggers. Natural History, Complications and Prognosis. History and Symptoms.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It’s caused by either Herpes Simplex Virus type one (HSV-1) or Herpes Simplex Virus type two (HSV-2).
However, both strains of the virus are very common. Navya Mysore , family doctor and primary care provider. One of the first steps most people take after a diagnosis is to inquire about treatment options. While there is no cure for herpes , sexual health expert Dr. Bobby Lazzara says you can manage it enough to reduce the number of outbreaks and minimize the risk of transmission to future sexual partners.
He says herpes outbreak prevention may involve taking a once- or twice-daily antiviral medication, and the treatment of active outbreaks involves topical treatment, an antiviral medication, and sometimes a painkiller. Since this news can come as a shock, it can be difficult to process all of the diagnosis and treatment information in one appointment. Between your appointments, create a list of questions you have about your diagnosis.
Here are a few tips to help you tell a sexual partner that you have herpes. The conversation needs to happen before having sex and hopefully not in the heat of the moment.