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How to tell your partner when you discover herpes after sex?

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Hi. I see a lot of people talking about telling their partner before any sexual involvement happens. However, in my story, my injury appeared for the first time after protected sex.

Me and my partner had nothing different about our genitals. We used a condom, I had a small chafing bruise (I believe it's a vaginal fissure) and two days later I had symptoms.

It's easy to assume that one of us was asymptomatic, but you can't tell who. How can I tell my partner, since if he tests and is positive:

1- we won't know who gave herpes to whom,

2- It is not possible to know where he is infected (mouth or genital) because he has no lesions,

3- there is no treatment for those who do not have lesions.

How important is it for me to tell him what happened? Should I really expose myself considering he doesn't feel anything? If one day in the future he shows symptoms, he'll think I gave it to him, even if nothing guarantees he didn't give it to me now, Since I only had symptoms (first infection) after having sex with him. 

I really don't know if I should tell him because there's nothing you can do about it when you don't have symptoms.

But at the same, precisely because there is the possibility that he gave me, or I gave him, I feel it is my duty to tell. 

Do I need to count when I have symptoms after being with someone?

Can someone help me?


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First, take a breath. You are okay. It will be okay! 🌄

In terms of what happened, I have a couple clarifying questions. First, do you know if you have HSV? Or did you get symptoms after this encounter and you aren't sure if you already had HSV and we're having an outbreak or if he passes it to you? 

If you got tested and it came back positive for HSV,  it would be ethical to tell him, especially if the outbreak occurred right after being intimate. 

If you have not yet been tested, I reccomend doing so. If you are still showing sores, try a swab test. However, they aren't very useful/accurate after 48 hours of showing symptoms. For the blood test, you would have to wait 12+ weeks for the antibodies to be built up in detectable amounts. 

At this point, who gave it to who doesn't necessarily matter. Instead, being honest about the possibly of you or him or both of you having it is the priority. Herpes is really common. Most people don't even know they have it! However, people should vocalize if they think they may have passed it to someone. 

You could tell him that you showed symptoms of a bad dermatological issue after sex, and reccomend he get tested. He should be aware of his health and if he has it not just for his own well-being but for the well-being of the next/future person he is intimate with.

If you are afraid he will be upset, that is not in your control. How people react to us is on THEM. Sex is a mature thing and every time you have sex there is always a risk, so when someone comes up we need to be level headed and calm and rational. If he doesnt understand where it came from, you could explain that it is common, many people (especially men) are asymptomatic, and it can pass from oral cold sores, too. If he preformed oral sex to you, and he has cold sores, you could have gotten HSV that way, if he gave it to you. 

I hope this helps!! Stay calm andbe kind to yourself 🌻. We are here to support you!!

Sending blessings your way! 🌄

-- Grace

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I have not been tested. When I showed symptoms, I went to the gynecologist and she just observed and said it was herpes. She even asked to take a test. It's hard to be diagnosed that way. I'll go back to the gynecologist on 11/19 and ask for tests to prove it, but I often read that just a clinical diagnosis is enough. Furthermore, I believe it's because I got better as soon as I started using acyclovir. 

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Okay, thanks for clarifying!! ☺️

Okay, sounds like herpes, based off the fact that the antivirals helped. It's not great that she didn't ask for a test to be done, although herpes can be diagnosed visually (they are red bumps with a little dimple in the center, they usually ooze a fluid and eventually crust over). 

Have you ever had an outbreak before, or was this the first one? If so, it sounds like this is a primary outbreak. A primary outbreak indicates the infection is new, meaning it sounds like you got it from the guy. 

If you want help on how to tell him and let him know, feel free to ask! If you have a script written we can proofread it, too!!

I hope this helps!! Stay strong ❤️ You will be okay!!! 🌄🌻

-- Grace

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Well you are definitely in a stressful situation. I would recommend that you just be honest with him. I know from experience that keeping secrets eats at your soul eventually. If you want to save face you could suggest that you get STD tested together.  For your own sanity you should get a blood test instead of a visual diagnosis. 

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17 minutes ago, Mercyme said:

Bem, você está definitivamente em uma situação estressante. Eu recomendaria que você apenas fosse honesto com ele. Sei por experiência própria que guardar segredos acaba devorando sua alma. Se você quiser salvar a aparência, pode sugerir que façam um teste de DST juntos. Para sua própria sanidade, você deve fazer um exame de sangue em vez de um diagnóstico visual. 

I will ask my gynecologist to prescribe an exam for me. I hope it's available in my region, because otherwise I don't know what to do.  To your knowledge, is it possible for a visual diagnosis to be wrong?

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@Mercyme I totally agree. Honesty is the best policy! 

@Km_girl Visual diagnoses can certainly be wrong. They are definitely useful, especially from a trained eye, but tests are another way to verify that you have HSV. 

Remember, HSV does not appear on a regular STI panel (since it's not tested for/detected through urine). So, for you to verify you have it you would need to wait 12+ weeks for the IgG test. For him, since it seems he wasn't showing symptoms and/or doesnt know he may have it/contracted it, he would get the IgG blood test also, but wouldn't necessarily need to wait the 12+ weeks. 

So in summary, a visual diagnosis can be incorrect. However, a visual diagnosis + the fact it responded to antivirals + a future blood test all would help strengthen the results. It's like, with each new evidence piece the likelihood/definiteness of HSV becomes more likely! 

I hope this helps! 



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I came back to tell you that I told my last partner about my infection. It wasn't as bad as I thought. Fortunately he treated me decently and calmly. I didn't know what to say, but don't attack me. 

He was worried. I'm too. I will test myself tomorrow with the igg and igm blood test. Now I get the feeling that he didn't give me the herpes. 

He said that he was tested after his last partner (because she had an infection) and that his result was negative. We know that if this test was done too soon, It may have given a false negative. But I believe I'm about to find out that I've been asymptomatic for a long time without knowing it. 

I'm within the herpes immune window. I know if I test negative now, it might be false, especially if the infection is recent. So I will test it again months later. 

But after I found out he was already tested, the guilt returned to me. I may have had that and sex that day was just the trigger to activate the virus for the first time.I pray to God for the truth to be revealed. If I test positive now, guaranteeing that I've had the virus for some time, I just hope I haven't passed it on to it. Wish me luck!

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It is great that you talked to your previous partner. There is power and strength in honesty! 

In terms of HSV testing, here are possible scenarios: 

1. Positive IgM, Negative IgG: this means your infection is recent. IgM antibodies are produced during early stages of infection and then decrease in number as IgG antibodies build up. 

2. Negative IgM, Positive IgG: this means your infection was 12+ more weeks ago and that your body has build up antibodies to the virus. 

3. Negative IgM, Negative IgG: this would mean that your infection is recent, but not too recent (since IgM antibodies occur during early stages of when first infected). Also, negative IgG would indicate your body has not yet built up detectable levels of antibodies yet (it can take 12 weeks or longer). 

Positive IgM and IgG: this isn't really common or possible unless you already had one type of HSV and then contracted another (IgM for the newly contracted strain and then IgG for the one you already had). You don't need to necessarily worry about this combination of test results!

Your former partner should get IgG tested again (12+ weeks from the last time you were intimate) for his own health and wellbeing. Although he was previously tested, the test could have produced a false negative and/or he had the wrong test at the wrong time (IgM too late or IgG too early).

Remember that feelings of guilt and shame are manifestations of fear, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. This is not your fault. You are more than your HSV! Remind yourself of those truths when you feel overwhelmed by fear and guilt. You can and will make it through this!! 🌻

Blessings 🌄!


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