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    Welcome to the Herpes Opportunity Support Forum! We are a supportive and positive group to help you discover and live your Opportunity. Together, we can shed the shame and embrace vulnerability and true connection. Because who you are is more important than what you have. Get your free e-book and handouts here: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook

Disclosing for the first time tonight. Could use a little support!

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Hi everyone,


This is my first time posting to the site, though I've been closely following so many of your stories for some time. Let me first express how inspired I am by all you brave souls out there. I have been so touched by your strength and your vulnerability; two words I have learned are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, they are synonymous.


My story in a nutshell. I'm 25 years old and I have had GHSV2 for nearly two years. Though I've had time to process this and extract the silver linings (yes, there are silver linings!), I would be lying if I said the words genital herpes don't still make me flinch. I got it from a young, beautiful surfer dude while I was living in Australia. Though he claimed he did not know he had it, his behaviour suggested otherwise. I remember getting the doctor's call like it was five minutes ago. My eyes wide, my hand covering my mouth, paralyzed, shaking, silenced, stunned. My world flipped upside down in an instant. I know so many of you can share in that painful moment with me. Herpes split me wide open. It percolated down into the furthest reaches of my being and challenged my self-concept and my self-esteem.


Fast forward. Dare I say I am now thankful for this experience? Don't get me wrong, if there was an easy button I could press to change my situation, I wouldn't hesitate. But herpes helped me realize how fragile my perceived self-worth was. And it forced me to look within, really look within, and connect with all kinds of aspects of myself that are separate from my sexual identity. Turns out I have a lot to offer. And in time, I've come to understand that herpes does not diminish that.


Ok. So. I met a guy. He is sensational. We've been hanging out for about a month. I've expressed that I like to wait a while before having sex, but our chemistry is so natural and electric, that the lack of intimacy is beginning to seem odd. I've written him a letter which I plan on giving him tonight when he comes over. I know some of you may discourage me disclosing in writing but I want to make sure my delivery is clear. I will be with him when he reads it so that there is an opportunity for dialogue afterwards.


I figured I would share my letter here. For one, I'd love some feedback but I also thought this might help other people who are in a similar situation.




I want to start this letter off by telling you how much I’ve enjoyed getting to know you these last weeks. It has been a whirlwind of emotions for me as you’ve come along and truly surpassed all my expectations. You make me feel so at ease with your kindness, your attentiveness and your constant laughter.


It is out of care for you that I need to share something important with you. Please know the amount of vulnerability I am feeling at this moment is beyond words. I will keep this letter brief, as I do want to have a conversation. I just felt it would be easier for me to clearly communicate this with you in writing. Please bare with me as I’ve never had to do this before.


Shortly after I started dating Justin, I found out that he gave me HSV-2, more commonly known as the herpes virus. If your lack of knowledge about herpes is anything close to what mine was when I was diagnosed, you are likely feeling panicked and scared. Most of my beliefs about the virus were saturated in ignorance, shame and widespread stigma. So I understand how you feel and I want to give you as much space as you need to digest this and to get properly informed.


The first thing I want you to know is that you will not automatically contract the virus by being with me. In fact, we can still have a normal and fulfilling sex life, as there are an infinite number of ways to be safe. Here are some stats that may relieve some of your anxiety.


One in seven people have genital herpes. Among that population, eighty percent don’t actually know they have it. Women are more than twice as likely to get herpes than men, with women having a ten percent chance of getting it, and men only having a four percent chance of getting. The use of condoms slashes that number in half, and the additional use of suppressive therapies cuts the risk in half once more. Therefore, with proper precautions, women to men transmission falls to one percent. To put that in to perspective, you have a higher chance of dying in a car accident this year than getting HSV2 from me.

The more I learn about the virus, the more I understand that ultimately, it is nothing more than a manageable, harmless, and common skin condition. It is no different than cold sores (which eighty percent of people have), except that our society insists on stigmatizing anything sexual.


I know this information is a lot to take in. I can tell you a lot more and do my best to answer your questions. I have had more than a year to sit with this and it is still an ongoing healing process. It has taken time to feel sexy again and worthy of connection. Now, I can appreciate, in some way, that this has taught me to be more open-minded, more sensitive and more loving towards myself and others.


One of the first nights you spent in my bed, you said that you love how I’m not afraid to express how I feel. I want you to know that that is a testament to the kind of person you are. You so effortlessly disarm me and make me feel safe. Your mom truly raised an incredible human being.


I can’t predict what you will choose to do, but I know at the very least, you will be kind and respectful of the fact that this is a deeply personal struggle for me. I have not even confided in my closest friends about this. My hope is that you are willing to stick around and work around this because I feel we could be destined for greatness, you and I. But if you decide this is too scary for you, I can understand that and I won’t be mad. Once upon a time, someone didn’t give me the choice to make an informed decision.


I’m sorry if the timing of this letter seems wrong. I think you and I can both agree that things have moved quickly and so it’s been difficult to gauge when to bring this up. I wrote this letter two weeks ago but a part of me so desperately wanted to keep enjoying you and learning about you. However, we are reaching a point where the lack of intimacy is confusing.

In my fear of rejection, I have sometimes considered walking away. But I’ve realized that the pain of ending this without knowing what could have been is far greater than the pain of you potentially backing out, knowing the whole truth.


So there it is.


The last thing I want to say to you is that opening up to someone about this has been the single most important piece to my healing journey thus far and I am beyond grateful for that. So regardless of the outcome, I want to thank you for surrounding me with this loving space where I felt inspired and brave enough to be honest. I’m not sure you will ever understand how much that has meant to me.


Yikes! OK PEOPLE. I will try and update tomorrow. Fingers crossed so tight. Thanks again to all of you for nourishing me with your strength and courage. My spirit is strong and full of love.

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Very well written letter. I got a feeling, without having a clue who/how this guy is, he won't get to the end of the letter before he tells you that this doesn't matter to him and that he wants to be with you no matter what.


Whether or not a letter is the right way to do it, I think only you yourself will know. I have yet to disclose myself (newly diagnosed) but I think it's a personal choice in how to deliver the disclosure. If you feel this is the best way for YOU to do it, then this is the way YOU will disclose.


Best of luck, and definitely give us an update. I am certain it will have a positive outcome!

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k - I'm a woman and I know all this stuff and I felt overwhelmed only 1/3 of the way through when I hit the stats part!. And men are notorious for not being good at overwhelm :)


So - I'd say simplify it. Put all the statistics in a very simple format


15-20% of people have Genital Herpes

80% of them don't know they have it (so you likely have been with someone with it who doesn't know they have it)


Risk of Female to Male transmission is 5% per year

Condoms reduce this risk by 50%

Antivirals reduce the risk by another 50%

So we can get your risk to about 1% ... I'll have a higher chance of getting pregnant on birth control. ;)




OR better yet, print out Adrial's handouts and the Ebook and show him the stats there ... the handout is designed to make is EASY for someone to understand the stats :)


Otherwise, a very well written letter .... and if that is how you need to present it, I think it's great as long as you are there. I understand you wanting to make sure to get all the info out there in a clear way ... but it really is important for him to HEAR you so perhaps you can READ it to him??? That is part of the vulnerability thing ... having him hear how courageous you are being in sharing this with him ;)


And welcome! Glad to have you aboard :)





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Thanks for your feedback @WCSDancer2010. I agree that the stats were overwhelming so thank you for the tip :) I'm also considering your suggestion of reading it to him, though I feel my heart going even at the thought! PS. I've read so many of your responses on here and I think you're incredible at what you do... always so collected, positive, and empowering in your deliveries. I wanted you and Adrial to know this website has been a life saver for me in my moments of desperation.


Ihaveittoo1975, thanks for your encouragement. Sending you positive vibrations along your healing journey :)


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Well written! Dancer is probably right about the simple stats, even if I don't appreciate how simple that makes us guys seem :p


It's a very personal letter so it needs to be written in your own way with your own feelings. I think the truth is that the wording won't really matter all that much - it's about his current feelings and his instant reaction to the overall message, which is 'I have herpes but it's not as bad as it sounds'.


If you do read it out and your heart is pounding, that will be so endearing. It will show your vulnerability and be much less formal. His heart melting will override his brain calculating.


Anyway don't overthink, it messes us all up. Expect nothing and you can't be disappointed. I really wish you the best of luck, it'll be fine.

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Beyond touched by all your support.


I am so happy to share good news. I had him read the letter and his first words to me were "You poor thing. I'm really starting to hate this guy." He laid next to me in bed and wiped every tear, kissed my cheek, expressed how much he cared about me and how strong he thought I was. He said he doesn't want to lose me and wants to be here for me. He also told me that he had a scare once and so he's pretty well-informed about herpes... understands it is not as big a deal as societal stigma would suggest.

After about an hour of chat, he asked if i wanted make some dinner and curl up to a movie. He even spent the night and was very sweet and affectionate with me. I kept waking up to little kisses on the back of my neck. Yikes! This one's a keeper.


We've agreed to go to the doctor together so that he has all the information he needs to make a decision he feels comfortable with. Nothing is certain right now, I have no expectations... it's only been a day. But I woke up feeling lighter today, and more hopeful.


Yes!! There are sensational people out there who won't flinch when you bare all. Herpes is a good way of weeding out the boys from the men.


Sending out some peaceful happy vibrations tonight xo



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@Sil88 PS. I used your advice on swapping out the words "normal and fulfilling"... Who wants to have a normal sex life! I appreciated your feedback and found it really insightful/perceptive. I liked the fact that you were coming at it from a guy's perspective :) cheers friend

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This is really great news to hear, and so happy that he was so understanding about everything. The release of all your pent up feelings must have been like dropping a heavy bag from your shoulder, the kind that makes you feel like you might float away because the burden has been released. Once again I am really happy for this news.

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Hi, i just want to say that your post is very inspiring and it brought me to tears (good tears). I am going through a similar situation and i need to disclose to the person i am dating. Your letter is very well written and I plan to do something similar because words fail me sometimes when i need them most. This is terrifying but its something that absolutely needs to be done. Thank you for sharing your experience, it truly gave me some hope :)

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