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my new partner just told me he has herpes

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Hey everyone... So I've been friends with this guy for over a year. Recently, we started dating and things got intense really fast. We slept together, with protection, until 2 weeks ago. Last week, he sat me down and told me that he has genital herpes and that he hadn't had an outbreak in 9 years. However, the day after we had unprotected the unprotected sex, he started to have pre-outbreak symptoms and then had an outbreak. He was so upset and nervous to tell me, he avoided me for a week. I honestly thought something was wrong with me or that he didn't want to be with me. He felt horrible for putting me at risk and thought I was going to bail when he told me. At first, I was a little shocked. More than anything, I was bummed that he didn't tell me before we had unprotected sex. BUT, I can also see how hard it was for him to tell me.


He is an amazing person. I really, REALLY like him a lot. After researching all about the virus, I'm not as scared. I feel like he is worth the risk of getting it. Obviously, if I don't have it already, I would prefer not to! But I also recognize that it's not that big of a deal.


I guess now I'm just trying to get answers about what to expect. It's been 2 weeks and I haven't had any symptoms yet, (I don't think). He was in a relationship with another woman for 9 years and they had unprotected sex. She has never tested positive, never exhibited any symptoms. But he also never had an outbreak with her. I read that the chances that I will get it is much higher in the pre-outbreak and outbreak times. But that I could get it even when there are no visible symptoms. What do I do now? I know a test won't show that I'm positive this early. So now I feel like it's a waiting game. In the meantime, I want to be with him, I want to continue with what we have going. Do I just make sure to use protection? (which I also read isn't a 100% either.)


I guess I just want to feel normal with him. To feel like there's not a big fat virus in the middle of the room when we're together again, preventing us from connecting. Any advice from anyone? Thoughts? Just some good, positive feedback to my situation??

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I'm so glad you're asking these questions from the other side of things. And it says so much that you're already seeing through the cultural stigma and seeing the great guy that he clearly is to you. And yes, there is always a risk. (Isn't love risky regardless of whether there's a virus in the way or not?) AND with a partner who knows his status and the prodrome symptoms, you can still stay supremely safe. For example, my now-ex-girlfriend and I were together for 3.5 years, had unprotected sex the whole time — I took daily suppressive therapy with Acyclovir — and she never got herpes. (Don't take this as meaning that it won't happen to you, but it is my story.) I attribute it to a whole host of things: My awesome immune system, my awareness about when my outbreaks were coming and when asymptomatic viral shedding was occurring (itching, slight burning sensations around the area where my outbreaks normally occurred), the daily suppressive therapy I took, her solid belief that she wasn't going to get it, our overall health and communication in our relationship.


There is so much to consider in relationship. And when it comes down to it, the main question to consider for yourself is ... Do you feel good when you're with him? If so, all else is just logistical considerations. ;) Congrats on finding a great man, froggygurl.

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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Like Adrial said, it's so nice to have you asking questions on the other side of things.

You are right about the risk being higher when your partner has symptoms, and I just came across information a couple weeks ago that asymptomatic shedding cannot be predicted but is known to occur on at least 5% of days during the year.


I really like that you acknowledge that it must have been difficult for him to share that information with him. You're kind heart gives me warmth.


much love,



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Hey honey...awesome you are being so supportive, fearless and responsible...and that you see him past this virus. I was like you and chose to be with a guy who had HSV2, that's how I got it. I didn't have my first episode until we had been apart for 6 months. We had some unprotected sex but he hadn't had an episode for years either. As my ex husband had coldsores and in 28 years together I never contracted it orally or on my lady bits I thought my immune system was pretty good and I probably wouldn't contract the HSV2.


But I did and while it has been really difficult at times, it has also been amazing and now I have an amazing man who is accepting my H too...it is all the sweeter as I KNOW he REALLY likes me :-).


As for getting tested, I would. You may already have it and not know (if you have had previous partner/s) and also I would get tested in 6 months. It just means if you have it then neither of you have to worry about it anymore as you are in the same boat...and if your sexual relationship ends get tested again so you fully know your sexual health status.


You are awesome froggygurl - enjoy your man :-) x

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