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3 years asymptomatic, first time disclosing herpes since diagnosis...scary

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I tested positive for herpes 3 years ago after a really nasty encounter with one of my college classmates. The experience was embarrassing, painful, and left me with a lot of shame, to the point that I didn't even consider dating for over a year afterwards. I met my last boyfriend and we both got tested before sleeping together, I tested positive and it was a huge shock since I'd never displayed physical symptoms of any kind. Thankfully, he was incredibly understanding and after discussing it with my doctor, we both decided we could handle it. And in all honesty, nothing about our sexual relationship was any different from the ones I'd had before I was diagnosed. We stopped seeing each other a while ago, and since then I've been dating a few people and it's been a lot of fun. However, there's always a nagging voice in the back of my head that reminds me, "you have to tell them and they probably won't be okay with it". That voice has kept me from opening up to people on an emotional and physical level, but I'm trying to come to terms with it. I started seeing someone more seriously two weeks ago, and it's been great. I set up really specific physical boundaries for two reasons: first, I didn't want sex to distract us from really getting to know one another, and second, I didn't want him to find out and then feel I'd been careless or put him at risk in any way. He's been incredibly respectful, hasn't pressed the issue once and I think that says a lot about him...but there's still no way of knowing how he'll handle the news. Having the conversation is all I can think about lately, trying to find the right time, analyzing possible reactions, it's the worst. I'm asymptomatic, in the three years since I tested positive I've never had an outbreak of any kind, my diagnosis exists in this weird grey area and it makes things confusing for me. The statistics I've found all apply to people with regular outbreaks, and I just wanted to know if anyone has any accurate information for people that are asymptomatic. I'd also really appreciate suggestions on the best way to phrase my disclosure, a man's perspective would be greatly appreciated.

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Well, I'd say you're doing alright, and that you've got a pretty good handle on how to live with herpes and keep it from being a negative in your life. It also sounds like you've found a pretty good guy and want to see how it develops.


So, from a guy's perspective. Worst time to have the talk? Right after the deed is done. Nothing like having that post-coital cigarette and hearing "Hey, got something I forgot to tell you." Oh, that's bad. That'll kill the afterglow very quickly.


Now, a better approach is to be completely honest, calm, and self-assured when you disclose. Get your facts together, get a list of sites together he can do his own research on if he wants, and just let things roll out when you feel it's the right time. Before you do, make sure your values, goals, and personalities line up; ask lots of questions and get to know him really well. That'll give you clues into who he is and what he thinks about things like everything from herpes and other STD's to children. Once you have all that, that's when you should have the talk. Do it in a private place, like a park or somewhere comfortable; Don't do it at home, either yours or his; those aren't neutral, and you want to do it in a neutral place.


As far as outbreaks and stats? Well, everyone is different. You can have "silent" outbreaks and never know it; you can also shed and never know it. Thus, if you're in an intimate relationship, suppressive therapy and condoms will go a long way towards preventing transmission. Do you know if you have 1 or 2? You'll want to find out (it's also a good thing to bring up in the disclosure as about 80% of American adults have 1).

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I have HSV-2.

Like I said earlier, I've been really strict about limiting our physical contact. After doing more research on the website, I've probably been more cautious than necessary but I didn't want to do anything that would make him feel uncomfortable after I told him. For example, the statistics I read about for risk of transmission from female to male during oral sex are very low but I wouldn't considering doing that before we discussed my status.

What constitutes a silent outbreak for HSV-2? In my research it seems like an outbreak is the type of thing you'd notice, and seeing as I've known about it for 3 years I feel I have pretty good body awareness.

I also talked to my doctor about suppressive therapy and she said in light of my going 3 years without symptoms, she didn't feel it was necessary. She didn't give me a hard no on taking it, but rather, left it up to me to decide.

The real grey area for me is viral shedding; if the situation was reversed and my partner disclosed a herpes diagnosis I would find comfort in concrete statistics but viral shedding is really up in the air. Like you said everyone is different, and it's not as if I'd know when it was happening. That uncertainty, especially where viral shedding is concerned, is part of what I grapple with when it comes to planning my disclosure.

Also this is a bit silly (or maybe it isn't) but my birthday is this Friday and we made plans to spend the night together on Saturday (I made it clear we wouldn't be having sex). I know there's no deadline for disclosure but as we spend more time together I can't help feeling a little bit like a fraud, I just want to get it over with. And if it isn't my birthday, I'm assuming there will always be some reason why the timing isn't ideal. I feel like at a certain point you just have to bite the bullet right?

Thanks for support!

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the statistics I read about for risk of transmission from female to male during oral sex are very low but I wouldn't considering doing that before we discussed my status.


My friend, if you have HSV2 genital you can't transmit it to him orally ;) The virus lives in the nerve ganglion and doesnt' travel through the body. AND HSV2 reall, REALLY doesn't like the mouth - only 1% of all oral Herpes is HSV2 ...


Now,F-M transmission of HSV1 oral to genital is a LOT higher ... 50 of all new genital HSV cases are H1 from oral...


"Silent OB" ? ... well, I assume Herry means you are shedding enough to pass it on, without symptoms.


So - regarding shedding - the facts are on the Handout (link below) (which I would print out for him when you disclose) ... and we have more facts on a Youtube video (link below) ... I would get to know them well before you disclose...and give the links to him too. As Herry said, have some of these links (including this site) and the handout and tell him to stay the hell off Google Images ... if he wants to see what it looks like I have a link below you can send him...its more likely to look like the one here than the horrific worst-case-scenario photos on the web :(


I *personally* would say go on the anti-virals while you are getting to know the guy... maybe for the first year, (esp with HSV2) to reduce the risk of his getting it from you ... after that time, have a conversation about his feelings about the risk reduction (from 5-2% F-M transmission.. down to 1% with condoms) and if he isn't as worried about it, you can discuss your feelings about going off of them.


I'm going to also give you a bunch of Successful Disclosure links to read - it will help you to figure out how YOU want to approach it. As Herry said, confidence is key... if you are ashamed, then of course he's going to take that as a sign he should avoid it. As for when? One of the "good" things about having Herpes is we tend to slow down the process of getting to know someone ... to see if they are worthy of being privy to something so private. AND, if they walk away, well, do you really want someone in your life who walks so easily...rather than saying, "lets keep getting to know each other and see where we go and I'll get educated in the meantime"?


The better educated you are, the easier disclosure is - both in the actual talk AND with dealing with their reaction. An "unsuccessful" disclosure isn't about YOU, it's about THEM and their "deal-breakers" - I won't date a smoker or someone with kids below college age .. it doesn't mean they are "bad" people ... I just know what I want. And anyone who is a germphobe or very body conscious may put that over the possibility of love. And that is their prerogative.








Disclosure e-book:





Successful disclosures


http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2390/update-on-my-for-my-h-opp-peeps nic4897

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2445/my-success-story simplyme24

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2495/a-coming-out-story- DanieM

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2544/disclosure silentstandoff

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/1644/having-the-herpes-talk-with-a-new-partner Daisy

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2689/first-time-disclosing-herpes-and-very-very-nervous paleogardenerkika

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2789/about-to-have-the-herpes-talk Empowered 74

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2833/this-was-a-first kitcattat

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2892/first-disclosing-talk-with-a-new-guy-so-relieved Figuringthisout

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2879/rekindling-an-old-flame Valkyrie

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/3021/successful-herpes-disclosure Starsinhereyes

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/3036/i-had-the-herpes-talk-and-he-said- thisisgoingtobeok


Herpes facts video



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thanks for the response!

I *personally* would say go on the anti-virals while you are getting to know the guy... maybe for the first year

By first year are you referring to our first year of dating or my first year of having HSV2? I've had it 3 years now and as I understand it frequency of shedding goes down as your body builds up immunities over time.

How accurate are the statistics for HSV2 female viral shedding? I was also a bit confused one fact on the sheet said it occurs 5 to 10% of the time and the other said 15 to 30% weren't sure if they were in reference to risk of transmission vs frequency of shedding.

Also if I've never had symptoms and it's been this long, how likely is it that I'll ever have an outbreak?

I got lucky out of the gate with my last boyfriend, he was very understanding, but I'm trying to prepare myself for the possibility of this new guy not reacting the same way.

The crazy thing to realize is that having HSV2 isn't that radical of a thing, like I said before, very little about my life is different. The biggest change since being diagnosed is I'm waaaaay more informed than the average person (which is a really great thing). It's people's assumptions about herpes and the stigma associated with it that's much scarier to me than the actual risk of transmitting it.

The oral sex thing is great news but I'll save that till after we've talked about it, still it's a great silver lining to the whole thing :)

Thanks so much for taking the time to listen and offer advice and info.

I'm slowly working my way up to disclosure, whatever the outcome I know I'll be okay.

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I would say 1st year for both -


My point for you was your first year of dating ... while you are getting to really get to know one another, and ascertaining if you are likely to commit in whatever way works for you for a long term relationship. The first 6 months to a year of a relationship is a time where those things that you initially loves will eventually drive you crazy and you then have to decide if you can live with it ... where you go from being on your best behavior to doing things like burping or farting or cursing and that may be a deal breaker for the other (esp in the presence of other possible deal breakers). So IMO, when you are in that phase, I'd want to be extra cautious ...


How accurate are the statistics for HSV2 female viral shedding?




Viral shedding stats are for female AND male ... TRANSMISSION rates are another thing. Females are more likely to get it because of our lovely thin skin in our vaginal area.


H2 sheds 15-30% of the time


F-M transmission is about 5%

M-F is about 10%


How likely is it you may have an OB?? Can't answer that one. Some people never have one. I have a client who was married 30 years when she had her first OB. We have several on here who had their first OB's after 15+ years. Herpes is a slippery devil and it doesn't play by hard and fast rules. The main thing is to do what you can to keep your health up. Stress (mental and physical) is the #1 cause of OB right after a compromised immune system.


You seem to have a good outlook on it ... and THAT is the most important thing ... both for your mental health and for disclosures :)




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