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Terrified to tell my partner of ten years I have herpes!! Please help

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Hi, I have been in a loving relationship with the mother of my two children for ten years. And I’m terrified to tell her that I now have herpes type 2. I have always had spots on my penis since becoming sexually active around 14/15 years old and never thought anything of it because I thought it was just ingrown hairs. I noticed I had one and went to get it heck out after I was I’ll a few month ago with a throat infection turns out what I though was harmless, wasn’t, it was in fact genital herpes.


My questions are, how on earth do I tell her that I have this, she has noticed them a few times in the past and she never said anything about it, probably just assuming that it was an ingrown hair. And also, why have I not passed this onto her yet. She has had a few STD/STI checks in the past and all came back negative. I know in the UK they don’t check for herpes antibodies on the screen but she has had swabs taken as well (due to other lady issues down below)


I can’t/don’t know how to even broach the subject with her because I think she will just assume I’ve been unfaithful which I haven’t and kick me out then I’ll lose her and my kids. She’s noticed I’ve been a bit down recently and keeps asking if I’m ok and she’s also noticed that I haven’t been anywhere near her sexually for months now and I certainly don’t want her feeling rejected because she has no need to, it’s me not her kinda thing.


Just one last thing, she is on birth control internally and I wouldn’t be able to just introduce condoms into our relationship after all these years of never using them and she also wants another baby too at some point in the near future which scares the life out of me because I’ve read some stories online about women and their first outbreak and also about being preganant and giving birth with herpes.


Thanks a lot for reading I hope to hear from someone soon.

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Were you diagnosed by having one of those "spots" swabbed? Assuming these are spots that come and go as herpes lesions might, maybe you could say "I have always had spots on my penis since becoming sexually active around 14/15 years old and never thought anything of it because I thought it was just ingrown hairs." Then better explain what led you to get tested (the part about the throat ailment is confusing). And tell her it turned out those spots are caused by HSV2. Explain that most people who have HSV2 are unaware they have it, either because they have no symptoms or symptoms that are very mild and mistaken for something else (ingrown hairs being a good example). Additionally, HSV testing is not standard in STI testing, even in pregnancy.


Not sure what swabs you are referring to when you say she has been swabbed in the past. If you mean pap smears, that's not the same as a swab test for HSV. I think it's very likely she has never been tested for HSV. I personally found out after asking to be tested following divorce. I was 47 at the time and tested positive for HSV2. My doctor said I could've had it since I was a teen and just never realized it. I still have no idea how long I've had it. Considering I had it for at least some part of my marriage, if not for the entire marriage, it's likely I had it when I gave birth. For women with established infections, the risk of neonatal herpes is extremely low. Those at high risk are women who contract genital herpes type 1 or type 2 during the last few months of pregnancy.

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Thanks for the speedy reply. Really appreciate it. Yes, I noticed one straight after I became ill with a throat infection and googled what it could be. That’s when I went to the doctors and then to an STI clinic (mainly because my doctor was a bit dismissive of herpes her words were “oh it’s only herpes).


I have been beating myself up about it since finding out and feel guilty in case I have gave her this. Do you have any idea as to why she has never had an outbreak?


I don’t know what type of swabs she had done, all I know is that it was part of and STI screen and she also had blood take as well but I know how unrealiable blood tests are and swans without lesions aren’t good either.

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80-90% of people who contract HSV2 do not notice upon doing so. This is especially likely if they already had HSV1 before contracting HSV2. A minority have symptoms obvious enough to alert them to infection. So your wife may be among the 80-90% of people with HSV2 who don't notice symptoms, or she may not have contracted it.


Yes, all my doctors have had the same attitude about HSV. It's a very common virus and doctors tend to focus on treating the minority who have oral or genital symptoms that detract from their quality of life, either due to severity of initial outbreak or frequency of recurrences. They are not focused on screening the general population for HSV which is very common both orally and genitally.


I still don't understand the connection between your throat ailment and your decision to have a genital lesion swabbed as those things seem unconnected and it sounds like you'd had these genital lesions many years. I mention this only because you're asking how to share this news with your wife and I would personally find that explanation confusing.

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Yes, I have had codsores all my life and I know that the hsv1 strain can offer some sort of protection from hsv2.


There is a connection between when you are ill and have outbreaks. But I’ve had outbreaks without being ill.


I do hope she hasn’t contracted it. Actually talking to somebody who is/has been the in the same boat as me is a little comforting. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to me.

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I know it can be transmitted but I have both types. The STI nurse said I probably have hsv1 on my mouth and hsv2 on my genitals. Think I got hsv1 off my mother she suffers with them really bad because she has a weak immune system. I’ll have to print off some literature to hand to my wife to back up what I’m saying to her.

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You say, "Hey you know those spots I've had on my penis all these years? Well, I got around to googling it and they sounded a little like herpes so I went and got tested and it was. Crazy huh?"


I just had my first outbreak 15 years into my monogamous relationship. I was SHOCKED to put it lightly. I thought my husband cheated. He didn't. We've been solid for 15 years. I tested IgG negative so the assumption is that my my husband is an asymptomatic carrier. Anyway, it's actually brought us closer going through this together. And the joke between is is that there is no one I'd rather get or give heroes to then him.

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Yeah. I can tell she’s get frustrated with me. My thing is it’s easier said than done telling someone something like this. Wish it didn’t have this awful sigma around it because at the end of the day it’s a cold sore and I’ve had them all my life on the lips. Doesn’t change who I am, still the loving husband I’ve been for the last ten years.

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Nothing changes. You're still the same father and husband you were before the test. The fact that you've had ten years together with the virus unknown is a testament to how innocuous it typically is. Just because you now know what the spots are doesn't turn them into something bad. It changes nothing. Go back to being close with your wife. Don't let the stigma of HSV affect your relationship a second longer.


Show your wife this thread. I can understand your fear but it is unnecessary. When I first noticed symptoms I freaked out and sat my husband down to ask if he cheated. He was just as dumbfounded as me. After our conversation I knew he hadn't cheated so I assumed it could not be herpes. But as symptoms progressed nothing else fit. When I started researching HSV I learned that it could indeed occur after 15 monogamous years. I was devastated. I couldn't eat or sleep and I felt like I had failed my children. All the while my husband kept saying it's not a big deal and reminding me that nothing changes. When I went to the doctor she said she was surprised that so many couples are caught off guard by this. She even said it's a waste of time to test my husband because it shouldn't change anything after 15 years nor is the virus clinically significant.


The more I learned the less freaked out I've become. And now (just a few weeks later) it's business as usual. The only reason why genital HSV is stigmatized over oral HSV is because no one can hide cold sores so society has to accept it. If HSV were tested as part of an annual exam everyone who carries the virus without noticable symptoms would know they have it and more and more people would realize it's no biggie. My doctor said she won't test unless someone has symptoms because so many people come back positive only to freak out over something they've likely had for years with zero symptoms. She said it's just not worth stressing people out over. That being said, I think we'd all be better off if it were routinely tested so that symptom free folks could a) spread the word that it's a non issue and b) not walk around thinking they don't have it refusing to date symptomatic people.


For us married folk though, nothing changes. Let me know how the conversation goes.

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That’s what the sexual health nurse and my doctor said. I’ve read so many threads since finding out and most of them say it’s a non issue which now I realise that is the case. Just wish I knew what this was before we got together so I could of informed her before we got into a relationship and gave her the choice to be with me or not. I’ve waited until after Christmas so it doesn’t become something that’s spoilt the day, let’s face it nobody wants the disclosure talk especially not at Christmas.


I will show her this thread and also let you know what happens. Wish me luck!

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Good luck!

It's a really tough deal, but if you demonstrate patience and understanding, she will wrap her head around the situation and realize you are the same great guy you always have been!

She will probably have a lot of questions to ask you, and some of them may trigger a defensive response in you. Be prepared to calm the emotions you feel and be open, honest, and caring. That's literally all it takes!

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Well it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. :( she’s really upset that I’ve waited a month to tell her but it was out of fear, didn’t know what to do. Just wish I’d of gone straight to her when I found out as I think she would of took it well. Just hope that the next few days will be ok and we can get through this. The thought of losing her as my life partner is scary, really scary.

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Oh no. Bummer. I'm sorry. The crappiest part about this is that if we all had better sex education these things wouldn't be so shocking to us. I fell apart when I first got symptoms. I could not understand how I could get this suddenly after 15 monogamous years. If you and your wife had known more about HSV 1) you'd have known what was going on all these years, 2) you wouldn't have been scared to tell your wife, and 3) she wouldn't be upset.


Please keep us posted.

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Sorry to hear that, man. I think you are right that some fear about disclosing right away. It may have shaken her trust, but it is definitely not hopeless. You can demonstrate that you are still capable of being trustworthy, honest, supportive and strong for her!

She will come to you looking for compassion and she will also read your behavior to sense whether you are capable of being positive and happy.

You got this, dude! Keep being the great person you have always been! Picture a future where herpes doesn't define you, or your relationship!

Stay tough and don't get defensive when she comes at you with hard questions, or some negativity. She will be feeling a lot of the same things you are, and you can use that common ground to build trust and cohesiveness.

But try to maintain the kind of positive conversation you have always had with her as much as possible. Try not to let herpes be the last word of the conversation, keep the dialogue going until you can naturally turn things to a more 'normal' subject.

She will see that you haven't spontaneously transformed into a different person.

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What difference wold telling her a month earlier have make? Your reason for not telling her immediately weren't malicious and you haven't put her at any additional risk.


You are obviously a caring, loyal and wonderful husband and dad and this has no way changed that. Okay, you cold have had these spots checked earlier. However, in no way am i'm i asserting any blame, but we are all responsible for our own safety and health and if she had noticed the spots also then she herself would have had as much reason as you to ensure things were checked out further.


To say she is upset that you didn't tell her right away may be true, but that's a different issue to anything connected to herpes ... telling her straight away was the only aspect of this that you had any control over but you only delayed out of fear of losing and hurting her.


Time is the best healer and i'm ore than sure your wife will have a completely different outlook once she's had time to find out more about what it all means...or what it doesn't actually mean as the case may be.


Good luck and keep us posted xx



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Feeling really low and upset today. Having an outbreak in a completely new location (under the head of my penis) and I haven’t a clue why. Normally on the outside on the shaft. Tried getting an appointment to see my GP to get some treatment but having no luck as they are backed up from the Christmas period which is frustrating. My partner hasn’t really asked me what HSV exactly is and she doesn’t seem to bothered either. But since finding out I’ve had major low self esteem. Do any of you know any herbal treatments for an outbreak? I have been taking olive leaf extract to try and prevent an outbreak and also reduce viral shedding but obviously that hasn’t worked.

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Sorry to hear you are going through hard times.

I don't know about home remedies (personally, I am skeptical about any home remedy in general...) However, if your insurance is decent, you should be able to get a prescription from a walk in clinic. They generally make the process quick and painless, too.


I know the self-esteem game in regards to herpes from my own perspective, and it can be a real problem sometimes. Keep in mind that you will start to feel normal more often, and for longer periods, but it won't be a constant trend of improvement. Some days will be easier than others.


As far as how your s/o is handling things, it seems like all you can do is keep making effort to be strong and supportive when they need you, and to give them rook to breathe when they need it.


Good luck, dude.

Remember you haven't spontaneously changed, and things will feel like they once did again.

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I don’t have any insurance as we have the NHS over here which in turn means I can’t get a prescription off a doctor until they open on Monday. So have to deal with this the whole weekend without treatment.


I’ve been fine since I told my other half and everything has been back to normal until yesterday when I noticed a lump in said area. Wish they would hurry up and find a cure for HSV.


I’m going to look into if I can get private healthcare insurance over here.


Thanks again for reading and replying.

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