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Living with Herpes: Dating, Treatment, and Intimacy with HSV-1 and 2

What are Genital Herpes? (Sexually Transmitted Infection)

It took years for Davis, founder of The STD Project , which encourages awareness and acceptance of various sexually transmitted diseases, and spokesperson for Positive Singles , a dating site for people with STDs, to come to terms with the diagnosis she got at age When she was diagnosed with herpes almost three years ago, Whitney Carlson, 29, a social media editor in Chicago, had a similar reaction. The infection, which is caused by the herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2 viruses and passed via skin-to-skin contact, can show up as a cluster of sores on the mouth area or genitals. Around two-thirds of people worldwide under age 50 have herpes simplex 1, according to the World Health Organization , and around one in every six Americans between ages 14 and 49 has genital herpes, usually caused by herpes simplex 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both Davis and Carlson eventually moved past their initial panic and saw herpes for what it is: an infection many people have that happens to usually get passed through sexual contact.

Fortunately, it turns out that most of the time dating with herpes isn't nearly as scary as worrying about it. Here's why:. People often worry that friends and future partners will judge them if they find out they have herpes. Truthfully, sometimes that happens. People can be quite cruel to someone after herpes diagnosis. However, they're just as, if not more, likely to be kind.

The truth is that herpes is extremely common. Genital herpes affects at least 20 percent of the population at some point during their lives.

That's one in five. Because of how common it is, most people already know one or more people with herpes. They may even have it themselves.

If you've recently been diagnosed with HSV-1 or HSV-2 (genital herpes), you might feel confused, scared, and possibly angry. However, both. 10 tips to dating after receiving a herpes diagnosis. to 49 in the U.S. has HSV-2 , the virus that most often causes genital herpes, so you're far. Find out what it's like to date with genital herpes from this woman who's breaking the STD stigma one disclosure at a time.

By and large, no matter how "icky" you may think a disease is, it's hard to be judgmental towards someone you love if you find out they have it. As for potential partners, if they start getting mean, you might want to ask them if they've been tested. If they haven't, they may have the virus and not know about it. When people realize how common herpes is, how often people don't have symptoms, and that they could be infected without knowing it It makes them much less likely to throw shade.

Having herpes and dating

The next trick is not judging yourself. After you've been diagnosed with herpes, it may be difficult to think about anything other than the fact that you have a disease. But that's all it is - a disease. It isn't who you are. One of the toughest things to remember when dating with herpes is that mostly it's just dating. Dating is an activity fraught with the potential for drama, pain, and heartbreak for pretty much everyone.

Herpes is just one factor in the equation.

With few exceptions, people don't date solely because they want to have sex. They date because they like each other and find each other interesting and attractive.

When those other things are true, a herpes diagnosis often doesn't seem like that big a deal. If you like someone enough, herpes can be just something you have to work with. Just like you have to work with a partner's snoring or their affection for mornings.

4 Questions You Probably Have About Dating With Herpes

One of hardest things about dating with herpes is deciding when to disclose your diagnosis to your partner. Although I generally try not to speak in absolutes, it is always a better idea to do so before you have sex.

That way, your partner can make an active choice about what risks they are and are not comfortable taking. If you wait to tell your partner that you have herpes until after you've had sex, the revelation may feel like a betrayal.

She and her husband Bill worked together for six years before beginning to date and were married in November I told him and cried on his shoulder. He told me that everything will be ok and that he considered me family so if there is anything I ever needed, I should call him.

Alexandra says that it depends on who you are and what you want from the relationship. Or sometimes people just want to lay it all out on the table to weed out prospects. However, you do have to tell them if you are going to expose them to it.

If you are ready to take your relationship to the next level then yes, you absolutely need to tell them. The key rule for herpes sufferers seems to be behaving responsibly when it comes to making potential sexual partners aware.

Alexandra goes to on to explain that for her, it all depended on what her intention was with the date. Sometimes it would be three-to-four months before disclosing. But keep in mind, I never slept with anyone without disclosing that I had herpes. Can you still have a satisfying sex life when living with genital herpes?

When and how should you tell a partner you have genital herpes or oral herpes, and how can you prevent herpes from spreading? Learn more. Now that you know you have genital herpes, you're out of the dating game, right? Absolutely not. There's no reason to stop looking for love and. I was thinking that I'd probably never go on another date, or get a boyfriend for Genital herpes is a contagious viral infection that remains permanently in the.

However, the risk of transmitting the disease is always present. Further Google searches opened my eyes to the powerful and invisible stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases. Stigma is what keeps people from chatting about herpes the way they discuss allergiesówe associate genital herpes with liars, cheaters, and the rampantly promiscuous.

How Contagious is Herpes?

Despite being a sex-positive writer and activist, I wondered if this was some karmic punishment for my values and the way that I had lived my life. On a logical level I knew that getting an STD had nothing to do with my actions and didn't say anything about my character; it was simply luck of the draw. But this was easier to know than to actually believe. The next six months were a bit like learning to walk againóI stumbled around like a baby deer, too heavy for my own body.

How to Live and Date with Herpes

Rebuilding my sense of self was harder than getting over the symptoms of my first outbreak, which only lasted about a week and a half, thanks to Valtrex and a ton of Extra-Strength Tylenol.

After a few weeks of isolating myself from the world, I made my first foray into dating and the conversation it now required. A soft-spoken and adorable nerd on OKCupid invited me out for drinks, but we parted ways when I brought up the fact that I'm herpes-positive on our third date.

Jenelle Marie Davis, 34, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, will gladly explain why having herpes isn't the end of the world. But she didn't always feel. The thought of dating with herpes can be overwhelming. Fortunately, most of the time dating with herpes isn't as scary as people expect. I'm not religious at all, I'd describe myself as an atheist, but when aged 21 I started getting sores around my penis, I must have prayed 50 times.

I was devastated, and it felt like getting diagnosed all over again. I developed a crush on a new friend back at school, and we went for a long drive through the woods on a Thursday night, about a week into our budding relationship.

We chatted about the health center on campus, and with my eyes fixed firmly on the road, I told him about my experience getting treated for genital herpes.

He asked me without any trace of judgment what having an STD meant for my sex life, and I answered that condoms were a must. He nodded contemplatively before changing the topic. It helped to not have to look at him and watch as he processed the new information.

It was also easier for us to talk about herpes in the context of my general health, as opposed to our possible relationship.

He felt less pressure to decide immediately whether or not he was comfortable proceeding, and I felt less like a freak asking someone to decide if sleeping with me was worth contracting an incurable illness. I was worried he would change his mind, and as our relationship progressed, I was convinced that each night would be the last time we hooked up. There was a rift between my mind and my body.

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  1. I can not participate now in discussion - there is no free time. But I will return - I will necessarily write that I think.

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