Learning you have genital herpes can be devastating. When someone is first diagnosed, the thought of dating with herpes can fill them with horrible anxiety. They may wonder if they will ever find love again. Why is dating with herpes so stressful? After herpes diagnosis, people may worry about being judged. They may be scared they could spread herpes to their partners.
How to Live and Date with Herpes
I felt more like, damn, of course, I got herpes. The strangest part was not knowing when exactly I contracted it : Herpes can lie dormant for years—sometimes, forever. Basically, if you went out for drinks with herpes, it would play hard to get.
Herpes prepared me to have tough talks with my dates during the pandemic But there’s something else that can make dating hard for me: I have herpes. talk to two “Unladylike” listeners about their experience with herpes.
Skip to Content link. Telling your boyfriend or girlfriend about cold sores is only as big a deal as you make it. Because the truth is:. The fact is, one out of 4 people have recurring cold sores. Relationships can become quite serious, but having a cold sore is not considered a serious health condition. Cold sores are much more common than you think.
Those were the first words my doctor said to me after telling me I had herpes. I was just post-divorce, in excruciating pain, and I thought I would never date again. I think crying was an understated reaction, all things considered.
I did not, however, anticipate how much stigma I would experience when I on how to disclose my diagnosis or advice on dating after herpes.
Herpes during pregnancy is a common concern. Because one in every five women is infected with the herpes virus, it is likely that herpes may be a topic that will be raised during a prenatal class, or afterward in private. An expectant mother who has a history of herpes may have concerns about protecting her baby from this virus. She may also have concerns about her own health, relationship issues including the support of her husband and family, or how to communicate with her health-care provider and make the best choices for a safe birth experience.
Her childbirth educator can be a source of support and empowerment. Recently, a mother in one of my childbirth classes asked me about herpes. I told her that it was a medical question, so she should talk to her doctor about it. Now, I am reconsidering whether I gave her the best answer. Is herpes a medical issue that I should send to the doctor, or should I have given the mother some information in addition?
What it’s really like to date with herpes
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. But I did find love again.
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. Keep this fact in mind and keep your language positive. Your attitude will also have a lot of influence on how the news is received.
Dating Someone Who Has Herpes: This Common STI Doesn’t Have to be a Deal Breaker
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.
Dating when you have a cold sore may seem hard, but it’s more common than you think! Here are some tips to help you educate your partner about cold sores.
And I have herpes. I have sat with patients after a herpes diagnosis, giving them the pep talk I would end up wishing I had received. I did not, however, anticipate how much stigma I would experience when I was diagnosed. It started with the diagnosing provider, who seemed to suggest that I should have known better, that I should have been more responsible given my profession. This did nothing to lessen the internalized shame I felt.
I labeled myself a professional failure. My doctor was right, I should have known better. And like one-in-five sexually active people, I contracted genital herpes. At the time of my diagnosis, my doctor did not take a sexual history, and we did not discuss how I might have acquired the virus or how I could prevent transmitting it to any future partners.
There was no counseling on how to disclose my diagnosis or advice on dating after herpes. There was no concern for my mental health, or how I was digesting this news that so many find devastating. And, as the provider hurriedly left the exam room, I was left to navigate this new and unexpected reality alone. My experience with stigma continued as I made a point to inform partners of my diagnosis. One person nervously insisted he tested negative for the HSV-2 antibody and promised to send me his testing history.
Herpes myths and misconceptions
The herpes virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, two out of three people under the age of 50 are infected. Oh, and once you have it, you have it for life. Since being diagnosed with genital herpes in , she has dedicated her life to breaking down the stigma around herpes and providing resources for people struggling to come to terms with their condition.
Discover all the facts on genital herpes (HSV-2), facial herpes (HSV-1) and relationships including sexual partners, children, babies and during pregnancy.
Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first. The online dating world for most is overwhelming when it comes to options, but if you have a sexually transmitted infection or disease, the pool can seem a lot smaller. Most people are introduced to these infections and diseases as a consequence of having unprotected sex or having multiple partners, Pierce says, and this further adds to the stigma.
On top of this, some people just have infections and not diseases. Pierce says for starters, anyone with the disease or infection should know exactly what they have. This is a good first step to find people who have gone through the same experience, she says. In turn, someone with an STI could meet someone without an infection, but who is open to the idea of being with someone who does. In this situation, education is key, she says, and you have to be direct and confident to bring up the conversation as it comes.
This, of course, is something only people with that STI would know. For example, herpes is If you want people to know you are STI- or STD-positive, add it your profile page to weed out people who consider it a deal breaker.
Dating Sites for People with Herpes Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up to Be
Online dating in pre-pandemic times was hard. In the middle of the coronavirus, it can feel impossible. There is a lot of misinformation around it, which makes it scary and at times, isolating. Then I feel anger, followed by shame, quickly followed by guilt for feeling ashamed. Talking to someone you just met on an app about mask-wearing, how many people they are in physical contact with, and if they are high risk can be difficult and awkward.
Talking about all of it is important for your health.
Please stop emailing me and asking me to endorse your dating site!! My site editor Gabe Rosenberg and I read that cover story about herpes and it was.
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.