Telling someone you would like to date that you have a sexually transmitted disease is not easy. It is natural to worry that a person may judge you for having herpes. However, it is important to remember that herpes is actually just a minor skin infection. With 20 -25% (that’s 60 million people) of the population having herpes, most people have experienced either a friend or a previous partner with the disease.
But each time you have to do it, it is still a bit nerve-wracking. So here are a few tips that the AZ Singles with Herpes group came up with during one of their Pizza Talk events:
1. Know your facts. The more you understand the disease, the easier it is to tell your partner what they will be up against. It may not be as bad as you think. Studies show that approximately 10% of committed partners got the disease from their infected partner after an entire year of unprotected sex, as long as they abstained during outbreaks. Protected sex made the infection rate even lower. For more info on this read this article.
2. Be as confident as possible. This will be easier if you are armed with facts as talked about on step # 1. If you are confident about the details and can convey your interest in protecting your partner's health, they will feel more confident about being in a relationship with you. Also remember that herpes doesn't change all the good things about you. Your partner will very likely weigh the risks against the benefits and realize that you are worth it.
3. Don't wait too long to tell them. It's really up to you, but we've found that the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes. Three months down the road you don't want to be holding on to this kind of secret.
4. Put together a set speech, but make sure it's short and fits the other person's personality. (for a great example of a effective speech, click here) Most of all be honest.
5. Let them ask questions. They may really care for you, but they still need to know how much risk they face. People have many misconceptions about the effects of herpes. Be prepared for strange questions or comments. Knowing your disease is very helpful at these times.
6. No matter what the outcome, pat yourself on the back for your courage and consideration. You did a great job!