POSTED ON: Mar 11 2011 •
Dating is challenging enough without having to tell your partner that you have Herpes and risking rejection. But you can have a fulfilling sex life with Herpes as its not a life-threatening illness. However, Herpes lasts a lifetime and can cause physical, psychological and sexual distress for those who suffer from this virus.
Of course if you’re lucky enough to have an understanding partner and choose the right time (before sex) to tell him/her in a matter-of-fact manner (without being defensive), there’s a good chance he/she will accept it and you.
Educate yourself and enlighten your partner about the clinical facts so there are no misconceptions, misunderstandings or resentments down the road. Your attitude will convey how you feel about yourself and your date; don’t sound apologetic or anxious. You can even practice what you’re going to say beforehand so that you feel more confident.
Try something like this:
“I care about you and like being with you, so before we fool around, I want to tell you what I’ve been tested for and share my results. I do have the human papillomavirus, as well as herpes. Both are treatable and there are means of having safer sex. I want you to feel free to ask me any questions and I’d also like to know what you’ve been tested for.”
Respect their emotions, but don’t tolerate any disrespect to you personally.
Here are 10 facts you should know about Herpes:
Statistics show that one-in-five people suffer from Herpes.
Herpes is caused by Herpes Simplex virus, type I producing cold sores around the mouth and nose while genital herpes is caused by Herpes Simplex virus type II producing sores around the genital area.
Many people are unaware they have Herpes because they may have been infected, but their symptoms went unnoticed. This is called subclinical infection. Even without symptoms or visible sores, the virus remains in the body and may be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
Herpes can be easily diagnosed by a doctor when obtaining a sample from an infected area during an outbreak. The test will detect whether it is type 1 or type 2 of the Herpes Simplex virus. A blood test can also be used.
If untreated, Herpes outbreaks may manifest in sores or painful blisters that can last up to two weeks before they develop a scab and then heal.
Herpes can be activated by general poor health, stress, menstruation, exposure to ultraviolet light or sexual activity, but frequently no trigger can be identified.
To prevent transmission of the virus, don’t touch a Herpes sore and then touch your partner because it’s extremely contagious. Don’t share sex toys without washing them, avoid mouth-to-genital contact including fellatio, cunnilingus and analingus. Vaginal sex and anal sex should also be off limits before or during an outbreak. Finally, make sure no bodily fluids are exchanged.
Pregnant women should inform their doctor if they have the Herpes virus because it could be transmitted to the baby at delivery, causing blindness and other serious illness. This is rare but caution should be taken so the risk of this complication can be reduced.
Although frequent outbreaks and symptoms can be controlled with prescription medications like Zovirax and Valtrex especially when taken continuously, there is no known cure for Herpes. And now experts say that genital Herpes increases susceptibility to HIV by making it easier for the AIDS virus to get into the body.
You can have a fulfilling sex life if you have Herpes. Between outbreaks, as long as your partner understands and accepts the risks that he/she may still get infected. To help prevent transmission always use an FDA approved condom for oral sex and intercourse.
Herpes should not be regarded as a source of shame and guilt, or a serious barrier to a sexual relationship.
For more information on herpes go to www.webmd.com or talk to your physician.