Telling Someone

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Telling a Potential Partner

Telling someone you that you are interested in dating 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 considered nothing more than a viral skin infection by the medical community. With 25% of the population having herpes, most people have experienced either a friend or a previous partner with the disease... some times they didnít even know it. So you are being honest and open with them where others may not have. 

But each time you have to do it, it is still a bit nerve-wracking. So here are a few tips that one stateís ďFriendsĒ group came up with during one of their 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 and suppressive therapy made the infection rate even lower. For more info click here.

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 partnerís 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. Donít wait too long to tell them. Itís really up to you, but weíve found that the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes. Three months down the road you donít want to be holding on to this kind of secret.

4. Put together a set speech, but make sure itís short and fits the other personís 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!

For examples of what to say click here.


When not to say it:

  • When he, she or you call for a date.
  • When youíre only seconds away from the point of no return. (i.e. donít let it get that far.)
  • When you donít intend to move the relationship forward. If theyíre not worthy of you anyway, why spill the beans?
  • At a party or other really public place.
  • On the phone.
  • As an excuse to get out of a date.
  • Anytime you are uncomfortable.

What not to say:

  • Donít say you have something horrible to discuss. Thatís sure to scare yur partner right out the door.
  • Donít apologize. It is an unfortunate situation, but stuff happens.
  • Donít diminish yourself in any way. (i.e. telling yourself or others that you are somehow not good enough now.)
  • Donít demand that they accept this or tell them how to feel or what they should do. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions.
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