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I need help with my disclosure

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Hey everyone,


I'm very new to all of this and have been lurking for quite sometime. I was so impressed with the support I finally decided to join the group. So here goes:


I was recently diagnosed for genital HSV. I've had cold sores since a child but up until I got genital HSV, I was completely unaware that I was contagious, let alone putting people at risk. In my most recent LTR, he too had HSV 1 oral and was just like me in the knowledge department. Well he went down on me either during or not log after an outbreak and I got HSV genitaly. To fast forward that relationship has ended and now I am considering hooking up with the person I was seeing before him. With this guy we were FWB. That same expectation is being set but I have no idea how to disclose this to him...or talk about the fact that when we were seeing each other previous to this relationship, I had a history of cold sores.


Side note: When we were previously together we had safe and unsafe sex...as well as oral


Side note 2: When I was diagnosed I got a fulll std screening done and passed everything else and that is up to date. I IMMEDIATELY went on suppression therapy and have not had a breakout since. I also plan on using condoms.


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When I first showed symptoms I went to my OB and she swabed me. The results came back inconclusive but the Valtrex worked. My OB said if it worked, you have HSV. She didn't offer a blood test and at the time I was still very unaware of the facts. I am trying to work on getting a test to determine the exact type of genital HSV I've acquired.

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@Phoenix_Rising85 I see. Personally, I would not assume it is HSV without a positive swab test or IgG blood test. Visual diagnosis is often inaccurate.


If the swab test was inconclusive (I assume you mean inconclusive for HSV in general, not inconclusive to determine which type) and you don't have another outbreak that can be swabbed, your next best option is an IgG blood test, but if you've contracted type 2 genitally, it will take a few months for antibodies to build enough to get an accurate IgG blood test result. I believe 95% of people with HSV2 test positive by 16 weeks post-infection. However, I've read that starting antivirals immediately at the time of infection might slow that process a bit.


If instead you are a rare case of someone who had a long established oral HSV1 infection and much later contracted HSV1 genitally, the blood test may not help much as it won't tell you whether the new genital symptoms were due to HSV1 or something totally unrelated to HSV. Given the long established oral infection, a positive HSV1 result would be expected and might just be a reflection of that oral infection.


You mentioned you believe you contracted this through oral sex. If you don't mind me asking, is this assumption based on the fact that you only had oral sex and not intercourse with this partner? Or is this assumption based on the fact that your partner had oral symptoms but not genital symptoms of HSV? I ask because 80-90% of people with genital HSV don't know they have it, and this may be true even more often in cases in which someone has both HSV1 and HSV2 (like if he had HSV1 orally and later acquired HSV2 genitally).


As for how to disclose, I think it will be much easier when you know what you're dealing with and can articulate that to a partner. In the meantime, you could tell a new prospective partner that you recently had a test for genital herpes that was inconclusive and you plan to do follow up testing to either confirm or rule out a genital herpes infection and determine the type. And you can share that you take antivirals and expect to use condoms to reduce risk of transmission.

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@optimist That is some amazing insight you have. Thank you. So my former partner had a history of HSV oral. I am unsure if he also had HSV genitally. I remember him having an outbreak and he normally just waits a few days after the end of and outbreak to resume kissing and oral sex. He gave me oral sex and shortly thereafter I had symptoms. I assumed that it was oral simply because of the timing. Mu initial OB happened June 13th. I was swabed and prescribed Valtrex 1000mg and about a week later was clear. My results came back inconclusive for HSV period but because the medication took the OB away my Doc said it was safe to assume I have it. I will definitely be getting a blood test to determine my status as well as type. With regards to my disclosure, I had HSV 1 oral and I never disclosed that to him previously due to lack of knowledge. What are your thoughts on how I can incorporate that into this discussion?

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@Phoenix_Rising85 It's hard for me to advise you on that because, IMHO, societal expectations around disclosure are often more based on stigma than logic. For example, IMO, some people assume genital herpes is rare and always obvious and debilitating and therefore should always be disclosed while cold sores are often perceived as a minor and ubiquitous inconvenience that need to be disclosed only if/when there is an active lesion. So if your concern is that your previous partner will be upset that you didn't previously disclose a history of cold sores, I think that would be an unlikely reaction. OTOH, if you are saying you would feel more comfortable disclosing your oral HSV1 to him, maybe you could say something like "I'm pretty sure I've had HSV1 for years because I've had cold sores before and cold sores are almost always caused by HSV1. A few months ago, I developed what might have been symptoms of genital herpes, as well. I went to the doctor to get checked out but the test results were inconclusive and I plan to do follow up testing to try to determine if my symptoms were caused by HSV."

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That makes a lot of sense. For now I'm taking Valtrex and it is helpin with the symptoms. Now I'm embarking on being ok with myself. This has changed my life in a huge way and I lost my job due to the stress from it. I isolated myself pretty badly and was very depressed and up until finding this forum I was also suicidal. I have since neglected those ideas and have replaced them with education empowerment. This will be my very first disclosure so I am trying very hard to get all of this together in my head so I don't blow it.

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@Phoenix_Rising85 I understand. I remember how I felt when I was diagnosed. I thought my sex life was over. I felt very alone and occasionally suicidal. Time helped, talking about it helped, and educating myself helped. Once I was able to process things enough to (mostly) get over the stigma, things got so much better. Like you, I take an antiviral daily and that also helped me feel more confident in disclosing and considering new relationships.

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