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The Explain, Educate, Answer, and Time (E.E.A.T) Method to Herpes Disclosure

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Hey Friends! 

Talking to someone about herpes is really scary and can cause us to delay telling someone, which is just not a healthy way to start a relationship, and it is dishonest, taking away that person's freewill to make a choice. 

I have had the "talk" with numerous straight men; I am a straight female. I have received different reactions, but I always remind myself that I cannot control the reactions of others, but I can control what I tell them and how I handle the situation. 

I am very big on open communication, so talking about my Genital HSV1 (GHSV1) is one of the first things I do with someone who I am considering getting serious with or dating. I complete the talk using three key point: Educating, Answering Questions or Concerns, and Giving the Person Time to Process with "Homework".


First, I open up the discussion by explaining my experience. I ask the person to listen, not to make comments or question just yet, but instead first let me explain what I need to. Remember, you can decide how much you want to share about the origins of the herpes (if it involves abuse or trauma, you can omit the parts that could bring up PTSD or triggers). I explain to my partner how I got it, the impact it had on my life, and how it affects me today. 

Now, validate their feelings. You can say "I am sure that this is not something you wanted to hear, and I am sure that you have many questions, and you can ask them in one moment."


Make an educational statement to analogize herpes:  You can say:  "I know that society and the media makes herpes sound really scary, but actually cold sores are herpes, HSV1!" 

Educate them on what type of Herpes you have:  This is one of the most important steps, because it takes extreme honesty, and it is scary to talk about the "yucky" medical stuff that goes along with HSV1 and HSV2. 

If you are on medication that is preventative (you take it daily to avoid outbreaks) mention this now, but make sure to be honest: "There is always a chance that you could get it" is a key sentence to say. You can also explain how you handle your outbreaks (medication, etc).


As a future teacher, I know that questions are good, and although the questions might seem really really painfully absurd to you, your partner may really need to start at basic levels of foundational herpes knowledge, including addressing stereotypes and myths. If you do not know the answer to a question, DO NOT make up an answer! Instead, tell them that you will look into it (call your doctor or check on a reliable website SEE "TIME" below)

You can also ask them questions, about their sexual health, too. Remember, you need to protect yourself, and asking to see their "sex report card" (STI testing results) is 110% appropriate. 


This part is definitely stressful, because we are now taking a step back and giving the person time and space to think about everything you told them. If you are worried they will drag it out, you could even ask if you could reopen the discussion in x amount of days (I'd say 4 or 5 is a good amount, but you do what works for you and the other person!) If the person needs more time, let it be. It's okay, and honestly it is good that they are really thinking about it (versus immediately rejecting right off the bat). 

For further reading (HOMEWORK!) You totally can send the person some RELIABLE WEBSITES or RESOURCES that can help educate them.  (This HerpesOpportunity website is a great one!) and so are the ones below:

GENITAL HERPES (HSV2): https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/facts-brochures.htm 

ORAL AND GENITAL HERPES (HSV1 and HSV2): https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus

ANAL, ORAL, & GENITAL HERPES: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/genital-herpes/symptoms-causes/syc-20356161

NOTE: Many articles (including the ones above) use the terms men and women to describe people with penises or vaginas, respectively. However, not all men have penises and not all women have vaginas or ovaries, so I apologize for the lack of biologically and socially correct and inclusive terms and classifications presented in these articles! 

And During the Time You Give Them... PREPARE FOR RESPONSES:

This step is key for you. Prepare yourself for responses of acceptance and dating (yay!) or responses of no (it's okay, it wasn't meant to be!) Remember, do not try and persuade or counter the person and their decision, because this is like asking someone to be with you although they don't want to be, and living a lie like that is just not what you (or anyone!) deserves! I know rejection is scary, but it isn't the end-all be-all. With each person you tell, the more disclosing practice you gain. And with this experience you can help others. Hooray!

I hope this helped!!! Let me know if you have any suggestions or edits you would make to the Method!  

Love & Wellness to All 😇


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@NJRunnerMom I am so happy you found the post useful! Good luck with the conversation 🍀❤️

Another point I meant to make in the post is that you can tell SO MUCH by the follow up questions and responses the other person has. I remember one person who I thankfully didn't end up with was like "yeah I like sex a lot so we wouldn't work out." I personally do not think that way, a relationship is a lot more emotional intimacy for me so I realized that maybe this person and I were not compatible and had different priority values. Just because someone thinks differently doesn't mean they are 'bad', but it certainly is awesome to see the real side of someone during the herpes talk. 

Sending Love and Light! ☀️❤️

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