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Disclosure after non-disclosure?

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Hi guys. I feel like a bad community member, because I only come here when I'm having issues with the H, and I'm sorry for that. But I have a dilemma. I have had genital HSV1 since last November with two outbreaks (the primary and one about five months later). After being in a committed relationship for a while this spring, I became single, and I ended up hooking up with someone that I met online last week. We had sex (with a condom), but I didn't tell him I had herpes, and I feel awful. We've hung out once since then without having sex, and I think I might be interested in continuing a relationship with this guy. Of course, the problem is that I need to disclose to him if we're going to keep seeing each other, and I'm really scared that he's going to be angry/run away when I do disclose to him. Obviously, I should have had the talk before it was ever an issue.


I really don't think that I put him at risk because a.) I have HSV1 and others have told me there that it's not nearly as aggressive in terms of shedding and b.) we did use protection. I know that's not an excuse but I really would not have had sex with him if I thought I would spread it to him. I just got caught up in the heat of the moment, and the disclosure never happened.


I also know this isn't an excuse, but I was on a date the week prior and that guy and I were exchanging online dating horror stories. His was that somebody disclosed to him immediately and he thought it was hilariously gross and wrote her off. Obviously, I didn't see that guy again, but it freaked me out.


So, how do I do this? Over the phone? In person? I had a "great" idea of waiting until my next outbreak and pretending it was new but I can't do that. Any advice?

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No judgments here friend, but you WILL get straight talk and "Tough Love" ;)


You already know what you need to do, don't you? Like it or not, you DID put him at risk - a very minor one, bur a risk all the same ... condoms only reduce your risk by 50% ... now with GHSV1, Female-male, the risk is low, but it's there and as carrier we have the responsibility of giving the other person the CHOICE around that risk ...especially as most of us were never given that choice.


There's a chance that he may have Oral HSV1, in which case, his risk is even less (but not completely gone) ... he may even have it too and not know about asymptomatic shedding and such. But YOU know, and you know what you need to do. ;)


I also know this isn't an excuse, but I was on a date the week prior and that guy and I were exchanging online dating horror stories. His was that somebody disclosed to him immediately and he thought it was hilariously gross and wrote her off. Obviously, I didn't see that guy again, but it freaked me out.


Well, rather than let that freak you out, hows about seeing it as Herpes acted as your Wingman ... showed you the guy is a jerk for being so ignorant (nothing wrong with him not wanting to date her, but his way of acting around it says a LOT about him :( )





http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/3309/successful-herpes-disclosure-but-not-for-the-reasons-you-might-think (Herpes Wingman example Mazedaze818 )


As for how to approach it. I'd say in person, preferably in a neutral place, when you are not likely to let the hormones come into play. Have the handouts from here handy so you have the stats and such for him if he wants them. You may have to eat a lot of crow for awhile, and he may walk more because of the loss of trust than the H. But you have to do it. I'll give you a sample disclosure to help you below:







Disclosing GHSV1 Simplest way is to say "You know the cold sores people get on their lip? I get them down there. So if you've had a cold sore, you may have the antibodies and it would be difficult for you to get it from me. If you are not sure, then we need to be careful ... HSV1 doesn't shed much but I can take suppressive meds and/or we can use condoms until you get tested. 80% of people have HSV1 so you may have it and not know" …so it would be best if you get tested first so you know for sure. Here's a handout that has some statistics if you are interested...


Good luck ;)

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Hi Tangerine,


I feel like I should share my experience, having just gone through (pretty much) the exact same thing.


While Dancer is right, "he may even have it too and not know about asymptomatic shedding and such. But YOU know, and you know what you need to do," when I was in your shoes I was feeling that, not only did he not know my status, but I didn't know his. I felt like I was taking an equal risk and so couldn't/shouldn't be blamed as harshly as say, if I had been asked and just lied about it.


(Which may be true, but it's still not a strong argument.)


I also felt pressured to do things with him that I didn't want to do right then, and so disclosing really was among the lesser of my worries at the time. In cases like this, I think that responsibility for the fact that disclosure didn't happen when it should have is shared. I'm not saying I wasn't, and that you, also, aren't, to blame, but that we are not the only ones to blame.


I did disclose, the next time I saw him, and he decided that continuing to see me wasn't worth the small (but non-zero) risk of contracting a nuisance skin condition. (I didn't educate him well enough, or, the stigma of an "incurable STD" was just too strong to overcome). He said that while he was a little unhappy that I hadn't disclosed earlier (this was only date #2, though), that wasn't the reason he didn't want to see me, it was the H.


It is what it is. I hope that you've found yourself with someone more openminded/understanding than I did. Otherwise, you'll move on and hopefully not make the same mistake again.

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While I agree with you 100% @Moonrise that there is a shared responsibility around the STD conversation, when you KNOW you have something, integrity would require that you make sure that the conversation happens... AND, I totally understand the issue of pressure to do things and hormones (and alcohol, loneliness, and many other things) will make us do things that we KNOW we shouldn't do.... at which point we need to clean up the mess and live with the consequences ;)


Never mind, as you said, you end up taking an "equal risk" if you don't have the conversation... and given that there are FAR worse things you could get, why would you risk getting HIV just because you want to avoid an awkward conversation??

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Thank you both. Dancer, I did need that bit of tough love because I felt like what I did was justified, but it wasn't. I had the conversation with him tonight, and it went pretty well. He was (in his words) disappointed, but not angry with me. I feel much better about myself now that I've come clean, and things seem to be okay with us. Time will tell I guess. I think I'm also lucky that I have HSV1, not HSV2, so I can always say "I have herpes... BUT it's not as bad as you think!"


I still have complicated feelings about casual disclosure though. While I don't think I would wish this on anyone, everyone here characterizes the H as a minor annoyance (which I believe it is). Is that any different from having a sore throat and kissing somebody? I agree that integrity is important, Dancer, I do. But if you take appropriate precautions, is it always necessary to disclose?

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Yes. It's always necessary to disclose. You do not have control over asymptomatic shedding. This means non-disclosure takes away your partner's choice to make an informed decision. Because despite all your precautions, it's still possible to transmit the virus.


I got it from someone who didn't feel like she needed to disclose because she was asymptomatic. I was unsure of that relationship. Had she told me I would have declined to have sex because of how uncertain I was of the relationship. My agency over my own health decisions was taken from me. I'm not happy about that. She didn't have the right to make that choice for me. Now I have a permanent medical condition that I have to inform all potential partners about. Now I have to go into relationships with the expectation that some people will judge me as a result of this and walk away.


In California this can be considered a felony. It is unlawful in many places to not disclose the presence of a communicable STI to potential partners before sexytime. There is case law supporting this. A woman in California was awarded nearly $4 million because her boyfriend decided not to tell her he had herpes. He also ended up in prison, I believe.


Quite simply, not disclosing is selfish and cowardly. Having an informed partner also improves the odds of avoiding transmission. Fact. It is not your right to make that decision for anyone and it pisses me off to high heaven that anyone would even suggest non-disclosure is acceptable just because you're "responsible." It's impossible to negate all the risk with this. Impossible. As a result of that, your partner has a right to make his or her own decision.

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Hey @Tangerine, glad you had the talk and it went well :)


I would say though that by saying you have hsv1 instead of hsv2 so it's not that bad is perpetuating stigma for those of us that do! I don't think anyone should be putting us hsv2ers down to make themselves look better... If I have read your post wrong apologies but I felt I had to address what you said!

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Is that any different from having a sore throat and kissing somebody?


Well, personally, I wouldn't kiss someone if I had a sore throat ... and if they asked, I'd tell them that I had a sore throat and didn't want them to get it...even tho that is a very minor issue by comparison to H. And yes, H isn't a "big deal" in all reality, but why pass something on to someone if you can avoid it? You never know if they will be the person who remains asymptomatic and thus passes it on to many others, or if they will have one minor OB and then be symptom free, or if they will be one of the unlucky ones who has a rough first few months and misses a lot of work while their body gets it under control. Never mind the mental anguish (which IMO is FAR worse that the virus itself) that many, many go through.


But if you take appropriate precautions, is it always necessary to disclose?


IMO, yes, for all the reasons @Thisismenow mentioned.


IMO whether you have H or not you should have the STD conversation for YOUR safety as well as theirs... just remember that YOU run the risk that they are lying OR unaware of their H status (and could thus give you H2 or HPV even with a condom on) ...


And there are I think 16 states where you could be taken to court if you don't disclose I believe.


In the end, the more you live in Integrity, the better your life will be, even tho sometimes that means talking about something that is uncomfortable and doing things you don't want to do. AND, I've heard of people who routinely still have casual sex and disclose to each one ... and rarely get turned down, but if they do, they don't take it personally. The "good" thing about casual sex is that it should just be something that you both agree to do, and if either of you has something that is a "deal breaker" (sexual preferences, difference of opinion of what "casual" means, etc) then there will be someone else who is ok with that. I have 3 casual sex stories I'll post here so you see that it's not at all impossible to be able to have that experience/lifestyle.


http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/2056/semi-success-i-dont-know-just-read-it thiisgoingtobeok


http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/3271/first-disclosure-was-a-success-i-can-breathe-now- Rogue1313

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussion/3368/my-one-night-wonder Willow


I also agree with @New_Moon - be careful of playing down H1 as the "lesser of the two evils". It can still be passed genitally and it still IS Herpes. However, because many will have had cold sores, they will have some immunity to it .... that is fair to point out ... as well as the reduced asymptomatic shedding. If you use the example I gave you for disclosure, you are stating the FACTS and then the person can't come back later and say "I thought you said I wouldn't get it" or something to that effect ... And it's a really great way to help to educate others about H, including the facts that if they have had a cold sore, THEY could be spreading it around .... you may find that you have a lot of people who are grateful to you that you had the talk because odds are they are ignorant about the facts of H transmission ... ;)

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Hi guys. Thanks for the input. @New_Moon and @WCSDancer (and especially to New_Moon), I absolutely did not mean to stigmatize HSV2 more than HSV1, but HSV1 IS less aggressive. I used to post under ClementineK, and Dancer herself told me that it was indeed less likely to pass it on, and that the risk is less than with HSV2. I 100% understand that it is still transmissible, but I don't think it's necessarily stigmatizing to explain the reality of my own infection being "better" or less risky because it objectively is. I never told my partner that he wouldn't get it; I told him that the risk was less than if I had HSV2. I hope that doesn't come across as being insensitive, because I don't mean to be, and I sympathize with anybody that has the H regardless of type.


Regarding disclosure, I recognize that I expressed a very unpopular opinion. I think a part of me is still angry at having the H and I'm having some trouble dealing with it. I'm mad that I have this thing that doesn't currently cause any symptoms and I still have to have "the talk." I think what irks me most is that I was a risky sex-haver when I was younger and escaped unscathed, but I contracted the H in a committed long-term relationship after I had "reformed." It seems unfair. But I do agree that disclosure is best, and I would not want my agency taken from me if I were in the opposite seat.


@Thisismenow, I will take the selfish and cowardly, because I know I was, but I completely disagree that having an informed partner reduces transmission. How is this possible? If I have sex with an un-informed partner and use a condom, is he more likely to get the H than somebody who is informed and uses a condom? The only difference here is that the guy in the second scenario has a choice, and I agree that that is important. I am beyond sorry that you were deceived and I feel bad that I could have done the same thing to my partner. That's why I came here for help. I can understand tough love, but the judgment here has been a little rough. I have good intentions and I'm trying to deal with my condition as best I can.

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True, an informed partner won't change the numbers in that if you have sex with a condom, the risk is the same whether they know or not. But an informed partner will be easier to work with if/when you DO have a prodrome and have to abstain from genital sex .... which takes the pressure off you to do something that might not be in their best interest ;)


And yes, H1 sheds less and has less possibility of being passed on because of that. But when a person is first diagnosed, that doesn't mean diddly squat to them. They just hear Herpes. I don't think you or anyone else would want anyone to go through the emotional turmoil (forget about the physical for those who experience it) of the H diagnosis, eh?


In @Thisismenow's case, he said he was unsure of the relationship, and if he had known, he likely wouldn't have had sex with her, at least at that point, or he would have at least taken more precautions. I agree that his wording was harsh, but you say yourself that part of me is still angry at having the H and I'm having some trouble dealing with it. I'm mad that I have this thing that doesn't currently cause any symptoms and I still have to have "the talk." .... This is what causes most people to not disclose ... feeling that it's unfair that they need to discuss this ... which comes from a place of fear and not wanting to be rejected. So while I don't condone his selection of words (we try to encourage people to use a more positive way to get the point across), I understand his feelings on this point.


From reading your reply, I think you DO get the need to disclose .... and I would encourage @Thisismenow to try to come from a place of a bit more compassion in the future with his choice of words. (And I get it, he is still very much hurting, as you are, from his diagnosis so that anger sometimes comes out on here ;) ).


One of the reasons I state that Herpes can be your Wingman is that it makes us slow down in our relationships so we get to know the other person better before we get intimate. And when we DO disclose, if the other person isn't really THAT into us, it will make them take pause about getting physical. We actually have a story on here of a person who disclosed, the H- partner asked for time, and came back and gently told her he realized he had already been somewhat on the fence about a LTR with her, so he bowed out because the disclosure made him get REAL about his true feelings. So often we get physical and then figure it out later and that can cause a whole lot of emotional pain ... and when H gets in the middle of those relationships, the pain is doubled by the feelings of betrayal if the other person didn't know about it. I just had a HUGE revelation about Disclosures that I blogged about the other day that may help to clarify the whole "Disclosure" conversation ... because I realized that we ALL have fears about letting people see anything about us that we see as a "fault" or "blemish" on who we want to be ;)








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