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Readers Respond: How Do You Tell Someone You Have Herpes?

Responses: 33


Updated November 02, 2009


I just discovered that someone in my home has it, which is infuriating, considering the situation. Whether or not you should be honest with those around you that you have a highly-contagious, discomforting, lifelong virus shouldn't be a question. Having it just means you have it. Feelings of shame or whatever else are inconsequential to the fact that those around you deserve all of the information necessary to protect themselves. Social stigma vs. respecting peoples' bodies/health? Easy answer, even if the situation is exceedingly complex. Break it to them however you want. If they become irrational and immature, question the quality of the person/relationship, not the decision to share the information.

Will you ever be comfortable sharing

I have had herpes for 8yrs. Last year I met a guy and we fell in love. I never told at first that I had herpes I did not tell him at all, he found out from reading my emails. It caused such a strain on the relationship I was not sure we would make it but we have been hanging in there discussing the whole situation and things have been getting better. He has been doing his research and I have been trying my best to answer his questions but only time, love and education will see us through this. All the best in dealing with your situation but the best way is to be honest as it is more difficult when u also have that trust issue to deal with.
—Guest k

Don't be ashamed

The first time I had to tell a partner that I had herpes, I made far too much of it and freaked him out. My advice to anyone having to tell a potential partner they have herpes is to have their facts clear and not act as if they are ashamed of it or that it is a big thing, because it shouldn't be. There's far too much made of this STD and really, there are so many people with it and it's not a big thing. Just be responsible and up-front. If someone's going to freak out over this then you can't change that. But don't try to hide it and don't make it a big dramatic thing you're telling them. Not everyone will freak out when you tell them! I have been with my current partner for 3 years and we have unprotected sex (we live together). He's never caught it off me. We are just sensible and if I feel like I'm getting symptoms we abstain for a few days. So it doesn't mean you can't have a perfectly normal sex life with someone. All the best and take care of yourself.
—Guest Milae

It not that bad

I have just been diagnosed with herpes and cried for 2 hours. I felt shocked dirty and generally awful! I dreaded telling my partner who is 'the one' and I have been with for 6 months and we are moving in together soon. I did a lot of research, as having only slept with 4 long term partners, all with no symptoms, i wondered where it had come from!! I told him and he was absolutely brilliant and said thank god thats all it is, its treatable and if youve got it I want it so your not in pain on your own. He was brilliant and we actually just laugh about it now! I cant beleive how much better he made me feel. 60% of people carry the virus. BUt only 1 in 4 show sypmtoms, we are just some of the unlucky ones. there are a lot worse things it could be! Its a virus, nothing dirty, nothing wrong, nobody thinks your bad having a coldsore, this is exactly the same just in a different part of your body. (ps cold compresses help, ice in kitchen roll is very relieving) just smile and keep going :)
—Guest Guest 2010

This made no sense

I had an outbreak and had no idea what was wrong, only that I had an immense amount of tenderness, swelling, and pain. So I asked my husband to apply some Bacitracin and he told me I had to see a doctor, I had sores and lesions. When I got the diagnosis, I did not believe it and refused to fill the prescription. When the labl results came back, though, I had not improved any and was desperate enough to fill a prescription. Three pills and I can finally sit comfortably and toilet without too much pain. What doesn't make sense is that my husband of 14 years doesn't have it. I must have gotten it in the three month fling I had before I met him. That man never told me he was infected. I have never heard of this lying dormant for 14.5 years.
—Guest Guest Mar 2010

Like a bandaid... just rip it off!

I found out I had herpes over a year ago and became very depressed and suicidal. I was in a long distance relationship and when I called my boyfriend (crying hysterically) and told him the news he was very supportive and told me he loved me no matter what. The next time I saw him he proposed to me and we are getting married this fall. Some people will be ok with it, and some people will be closed minded and want nothing to do with you anymore. You just have to remember that you did nothing wrong. Sometimes bad things happen to you but that doesn't make you a bad person. Herpes is a virus. Nothing more. Don't let it affect your life anymore than it has to.
—Guest EasyE

the truth

I met a amazing woman who I started gettin feelings for and she cared for me. After a few intimate moments, I told her about my condition and she responded "that's okay I still love you and want only you." This woman is now my wife.

telling the truth

i met my soon to be husband on the internet on tag well we started talking over the phone and making plans to meet each other but he told me straight out that he had herpes as long as you are honest with people most of them don't care as long as you are careful with the outbreaks so plz just be honest and tell them straight out that you have it tell them on the phone or in person or in a letter what ever you feel is best for you just be honest and tell them
—Guest in love for the last time


My husband and I remarried a couple of years ago. I was very reluctant to remarry him considering the problems we had the first time around but I thought after years passed things changed. Well the beginning of last year I had my normal check up as I usually did. Only to find out that I had herpes. I was devasted. I told him about it and he claimed he didn't know but he knew he had break outs when he was with another woman. I told him that he was selfish and I feel like he ruined my life. When we get in arguments, I tell him that I didn't ask for him back he wanted me back and look at what I got from him. I have my moments about it, and I'm not at all satisfied. Knowing what he has done to me, he should kiss the ground that I walk on everyday.

How to tell him

Ive decided to be honest with the person only if im interested and they show the same interest back. I recently went on a date and he wanted to get more intimate. My refusal to accept his advances threw him off and he asked me if i even liked him. I really like this guy so i told him about what I have and he said its no problem and there are ways to protect each other. I still havent had sex with him. And he doesnt seem like hes going away.
—Guest 24herp

Wut do I say exactly

My ex and I are finding eachother mentally for the first time. I dont want to tell him, but he knows smthng is wrong. My delima is that we are hvng the 1ST OUTBREAK @ the same time. Its been 3wks since we slept together. Is it wierd that we are both having symptoms at the same time. I really have to think about how we got this. Maybe he cheated right before we slept together or (this may sound strange) I think sm1 might hv put semen in my food. I complain a lot if my food isnt right @ a resturant. But that's just gross, isnt it? But anyway how do I break it down when I dont understand and was only diagnosed yesterday. Please help!
—Guest new2herp

How do you tell them?

If you are going to have intimate contact, you must be responsible and tell the person. I was diagnosed with it at 21, that is how I found out that the man I was living with was cheating on me. I thought my whole life was over, but thankfully, it was not. I am very fortunate, as I have not had many outbreaks, the last one was at the end of my pregnancy with my last child, and that was over nine years ago. The man I married, when I told him, he was fine with it and I have never spread it to him. We have been together for over 18 years. You need to be able to answer any questions that may be asked and be honest about it. More people have it than you realize.
—Guest 21withherpes


I've had herpes for eight years and I was rejected for it for the first time this summer. We'd been dating for a month, and in that short time I felt we had some real potential, and so did he, until we had that talk. Afterwards he started to distance himself and said he was "scared to death" of what I had. We tried to keep dating but eventually he quit calling and coming over. Having it drag on like that was worse than if he'd been upfront with me. It took a long time to get over because I believed we weren't together because of my stupid mistake. But (unrelated) it turned out he thought life's problems would go away if you just ignored them, which is not the kind of person I'd want to be with anyway. I've started dating someone new recently and being burned like that has made me scared to tell this new guy, but I have a responsibility to tell him. Having faith helps, because I know even if this doesn't work out, God has a plan and everything will happen in its own time.
—Guest Suzanne

Ask the right questions

I have had herpes for 20 years and I have dealt with it in many ways. When I was dating, I would ask questions to kind of get a feel for how they were about safe sex and STD's. One guy I dated told me that he had a serious problem with STD's, even if it was something that was taken care of with meds. That was easy to not say anything and just break it off with him. I told him he was obsessive and that many people have had curable STD's and good luck with finding someone. My husband was a blind date. I told him after we went out a couple of times that I wanted to share something with him that I have been dealing with for several years. When I told him about having herpes, his response was that I was a responsible person and that he knew I wouldn't do anything to put him in danger of contracting it. He was fine with it. Get your facts straight before you reveal yourself. It isn't a death sentence, I've had a baby with no problems! Just be prepared to answer questions!
—Guest KLH


I told my roommates I got herpes from my boyfriend, while still having the hymen. Later, they decided to move out.
—Guest hidden

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