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For a few years now I have had a few Inconclusive test results that left me unsure of my HSV2 however today marked an actual accurate reading confirming herpes.

As an African American woman I’m finding it extremely difficult to disclose within the African American community.

I have been spending time with this guy for almost two years but we haven’t made anything official. I plan on asking him about the direction we want to go with things but I’m having trouble disclosing.

we’ve both been through a lot especially within relationships and I don’t want to hurt him but I want to be sensitive too. 

Any advice is helpful. Thank you. 

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Hello!!

Although I am a white 22 year old female, I can sympathize with the fear of disclosure. Remember that you have no reason to be ashamed. You are a wonderful, beautiful person, worthy of wholesome love and respect. Herpes is a common virus; it's just so stigmatized that people have been conditioned to fear it. 

Since you been with this person for two years, I would assume there are lines of communication and connection already established, which may help make disclosing a little less scary. You have a foundation of two years. Disclosing HSV shouldn't throw a monkey wrench into things, but if it does, and this person is not kind or respectful, than it isn't meant to be. 

Also, honor yourself. You have a right to know where the relationship is headed! Hold you head high and build yourself up, even giving yourself a pep talk and planning what you'll say when asking or disclosing can help! Also, think about what YOU want. Do you want things to be official? What would that look like for you? What do YOU need moving forward? As my mom has told me, it's easier to lay down the rules of a relationship before getting into than during it, and identifying what we need and want help us evaluate if the relationship is/can work. Since you said you both have been hurt before, this may be good for him too, and he can identify his wants and needs and you can both have an honest and open discussion ❤️.

Also, I am going to tag @livingbeyond as she has addressed the intersectionality of being an African American woman with HSV. She's so kind and uplifting and makes the forum a better place!! ☺️

I hope this all helps. Please know you aren't alone and we are all here to support you! 

Sending blessings your way! 🌄

-- Grace

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@Flowerteacher55 thank you so much for providing such uplifting and kind words. I was actually not as shocked when the results confirmed it because I was so tired of the back and forth of "it is"/ "it is not" and once you are told something as you have herpes and then they say "no never mind" it's not easy to erase out of a person's head, especially mine.

What is helping is the fact that he is out of town right now. He has shared with me before being mentally unfit and emotionally unstable so my biggest fear is this information exacerbating what he already feels rather than me saying it.

I have kind of worked up the nerve to saying what I want to say and I hope to share it with you, maybe in a private message just to see how that sounds. I want it to be direct but I also know people have a choice of what they want to do and I will be fine either way. 

The stigma is just so deeply rooted in the idea of herpes being "nasty" and a person being "promiscuous" when indeed someone didn't share it with me and I was faithful on my end though they were not. 

I'm just ready for him to return so we can have these necessary conversations. I really appreciate your kindness and for tagging @livingbeyond. I hope to chat with her soon!

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Hello! 🙂 

I hope you are doing well! 

It's great that you have time to think about how you want to word everything while he is out of town. 

You mentioned that he has had some emotional stress and instability. Remember, the way people react to us is a reflection of them, and it something that they only can control. Even when we try and word things as perfect as we think they can be, it still isn't up to us how someone else reacts. This is both liberating and frustrating at the same time! But, don't let it get in the way of honesty. If you are worried about his reaction, make sure you choose a good time to share it, as often times other factors influence the way someone reacts that isn't even related to us. For example, stress from work, drama with family, just coming home and someone cut you off in traffic, etc. That's why simply asking, "Is now a good time to talk?" is such a great question! 

If you want to direct message me, feel free! 

I am so sorry that you got it from someone who was unfaithful. You did not deserve that. And, yes, herpes has such a stigma. Plus, the media and everything makes fun of it all the time, and so do most people. It's so inconsiderate. It's a common virus! It doesn't equate to being bad or ugly or sexually 'naughty'... it's a virus. That's it! It's society that demonizes it! 

Stay strong! We are here for you! 

Blessings ❤️ 

-- Grace

 

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@Flowerteacher55, You’re absolutely correct about how someone else responds to what we say and though I have no control over that I do want to ask for permission as to if it’s a good time to talk, one about where our friendship/relationship is going and what we are calling it so that we have clarity and can be on the same page and two about the disclosing.

A part of me wants to be upset because I easily put 2 and 2 together but that’s so much wasted energy and I know it doesn’t change the facts now. I’ve been doing a lot of reading to familiar myself with how common herpes is and it’s not this big scary thing but more so something that comes and goes. 

I will be messaging you soon. Thank you for communicating with me. It makes me feel so much more confident.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello!

I am a 23 year old African American woman and have found myself in a place where I’ve been heavily considering disclosing to someone. I see that you posted this a few weeks ago and I was hoping that now you may have a few tips you could share on how you went about it? This will be my first time disclosing to someone who is interested in me intimately and I’m honestly very, very nervous. I hope that your talk went well 🙂 

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Hello IJWFB, I’m glad that you are considering disclosing to someone. Disclosing doesn’t  have to be difficult but the stigma is so heavy it makes it so daunting to think about what to say and how others will respond. 

I haven’t disclosed yet as this person is actually still on vacation. They return today and I see them Saturday. However what has been helpful is learning from @Flowerteacher55 and @livingbeyond

I found out that this person is actually going through something themselves and while I want to be cautious it’s important to live in my truth and also know my worth along with value and everything that I am besides having HSV. 

I have found it helpful to only tell this person if we decide to move forward in a relationship (since we’ve been friends for almost 2 years). I have also mentioned something along the lines of it on the phone so for me it makes it a little easier to have the conversation (they actually said something about it yesterday and I provided just a bit more information to gauge their understanding). I have a “script” that I’ve prepared but i also want it to feel like a conversation and not a monologue or pity party. So that’s where I’m at with that. I’ve accepted to feel/be hopeful regardless of the outcome. So I’ll see about providing an update soon. 

I hope this helped 🙂

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