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I may have transmitted herpes! Help!

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Ah I feel absolutely horrible. Last night (after I had too many drinks) I had a lapse in judgement and had sex during a herpes outbreak. My partner and I have just started talking a couple of weeks ago and I haven't felt it was time to disclose that I have herpes to him. But we had sex, used a condom, and I'm having an outbreak.


The herpes sores are really minor, I can't even see them but the area is just a little tender when it's touched.


I feel absolutely terrible that I may have transmitted herpes to him and I don't know what to do.


I am usually very responsible and I wasn't planning on having sex until we had gotten to know each other further and I had the chance to disclose. I am overwhelmed with guilt. What are the chances of transmitting during an outbreak when using a condom? Where do I go from now?

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Hey Harlow,


There's only one way to go as far as I'm concerned ... You know, everyone messes up about things in life. (It's called being human, dear.) ;) It doesn't help a lick to worry about it and beat yourself up. It does help to learn and grow from it, ask for forgiveness and move on. It's how we deal with our mess-ups that determine our character. Own up to your actions, be wide open to his reaction, whatever it is. But of course you already knew that. ;)


And about your specific questions about transmitting herpes:


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Also, by the way, just so you don't feel alone in this, when I first got herpes, I went through a phase of not disclosing to a few partners. I was as safe as I could be and as far as I know I didn't transmit herpes, but the point was that I was so scared of the reaction that I didn't even want to broach the subject. It wasn't that I messed up that determines who I am. It is what I have done since. It was those times where my integrity was yelling at me that showed me that my integrity was strong. It is that I recognized the importance of following what I know to be right. It was the pain of not aligning my actions with my own integrity that has me dedicated to transparency and disclosure now.

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Thanks Adrial. I know I am going to have to talk to him about it soon. I'm overwhelmed with guilt because I was really going to take my time with this and disclose and then deal with the possible rejection/approval. But now all the plans have changed. I've also read up on the transmission rates when someone is not having an outbreak. But what are the chances if you are having an outbreak? Even if you used a condom? I'm really concerned that I may have given it to him.

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You may have given him herpes. And you may not. Regardless of the chances of giving it to him, he deserves to know that there's a chance. There are so many factors involved, including where your outbreaks occur and if they are covered up by the condom, if there is an easy skin access on his genitals where the virus could enter, etc. Bottom line, there's much more of a risk of transmitting it during an outbreak. And he won't know for sure unless he gets an outbreak or he gets a blood test in 4-6 weeks to see if antibodies have built up against either version of HSV.

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I would just give him the information and let him take the next steps. Outbreak or no outbreak, he should get tested. I know you are scared and want to reassure him, but I think the less you say about transmission rates, etc. the better. Send him here or to Adrial's blog for information.


This is also a helpful link: http://westoverheights.com/handbook.html


I think the best approach is to be straightforward and apologize for not disclosing, point him to resources and let him process it. Give him time to figure out what he wants to do. I have so much compassion for you...I know how it feels to compromise your own values. It's so painful. The only way out of the pain is to take responsibility for your actions. It will also go a long way in helping him forgive you if he wants to move forward with a relationship. Tell him you understand if he is angry or upset and be open to hearing his feelings.


I know you must be hurting, and we are here for you. (((((Harlow))) Just don't let your own shame and pain keep you from telling him right away. The longer you wait, the more angry he will likely be. Yes, you may tell him and he may worry for nothing. But if you wait and he has an outbreak, he will likely have a much harder time trusting you if you choose to move forward with a relationship.


Give him all of the consideration now that you would want to be given to you. After you have done that, you can let go of the outcome and focus on working on yourself. Getting strong within yourself and knowing you will do better next time.


Sending you lots of love,


aka breatheandletgo



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Thanks Kristin. I am going to have to do damage control and treat him the way I wish my "giver" would have treated me.I can't see that there will be a future now since he probably will feel betrayed and manipulated but I have to do what's right and deal with the consequences. Thank you for your responses

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