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Allow me to introduce myself..

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Picture a young girl of 11 or 12, making her way to the mall with her friends to try on makeup and perfume. Hey girls, let's get all dolled up before hitting the park! Fast forward to a week later, I've got a suspicious bump on the side of my mouth which resulted in a very stern lecture from my mother about kissing boys. "But Mom, I haven't done anything like that!" She inquired about me possibly sharing chapstick or a toothbrush with a friend. Finally narrowed it down to the free, and unfortunately, tainted lipstick at the mall.


I've been in 2 serious relationships since then, one resulting in a marriage and divorce. Both were aware of my cold sores, but never gave it much thought. We avoided sexual contact during an OB, therefore nothing was ever passed.


Fast forward to the present day, single and ready to enter the dating world with a bit more baggage than I intended to have. I'm currently dating a wonderful man, with whom I haven't been intimate with, but have held hands, hugged and pecked on the cheek. Everything's been going so wonderful, but I'm afraid that we're nearing the point of disclosure and I'm absolutely terrified to have this discussion with him.


When I met my first boyfriend, I was ignorant as to what disclosure meant. It was mentioned during our relationship, and it didn't bother him. With my second serious relationship, I received the official diagnosis halfway through. He was incredibly understanding and actually revealed that he too got them from time to time. We've both since wised up and discussed that it was far more serious than either of us originially thought and disclosure should be absolutely vital before getting physical with new partners. We still to this day remain the best of friends and a support system for each other.


I have questions, so many questions, and I'm not sure where to start. Which brings me here..

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Glad to have you in the community.


Oral type 1 herpes is super common, especially if it's the occasional sore on your lip.

While it is contagious, and can be accidentally spread, there are things you can do to prevent that stuff from happening.


I'm going to get tje anxiety inducing part out of the way first so that I can move on to the reassuring stuff.

First, herpes is contagious. Amy direct contact with the virus results in infection.

Next, you can transmit the virus even if you don't have a sore. This is rare, but it happens. It's called "shedding".

It can spread to your fingers, eyes, ears, bose, throat, genitals and anus.

Direct skin to skin contact is the most likely form of transmission. Sex, kissing, etc.

Washing your hands regularly with regular soap and warm water effectively kills rhe virus, and it doesn't live more than a few minutes outside a host. So sharing drinks is a risk, but shaking hands is not.

Condoms protect pretty well against transmitting or contracting STDs, but they are not 100%, there is still risk.

You can prevent transmission and suppress out breaks with medication like valacyclovir.

But disclosure is still the best way to handle your diagnosis, even though you will find most peoole aren't afraid of "cold sores". It is still important to disclose.

Some people don't disclose. That means just because you have a condition, doesn't mean the other person is "clean". Even if they promuse. The only way to be aure is to see their test results, and that is a perfectly fair request.


You may be surprised to learn that it is possible to have an out break without visible symptoms or sores. So, if you suspect the person you are with might be at risk, say so. It's perfectly okay to abstain if you don't want to get intimate at the moment. It's not rejection, it is the biggest display of kindness and affection. You should not be insulted or shamed for avoiding sex, ever.


Finally, you don't have much to really worry about. Handling the diagnosis is actually easy. It is the self-image that can be hard.

If you struggle with symptoms, or are concerned about your partners health, take suppression medicine and use condoms.

Wash your hands regularly, and avoid touching affected areas.

If you and your partner agree that it's not necessary to take steps to avoid transmission, understand that they are capable of making their own decisions, and should not lash out at you if the risk is known, accepted and stuff happens.

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Thank you so much for all of the information. I was slightly aware of what a cold sore meant, but a lot of people in the community treat it as an annoying skin condition. I hardly ever heard anyone refer to it as an STD.

It wasn't until my official diagnosis that it made a hard and heavy impact on my life. But even less so since my ltr boyfriend at the time was unphased by it.

But now that I'm dating someone new, we're gradually moving closer. I feel like he wants to make things physical with me, and I naturally want the same thing.

I've been really upset as of lately, because shortly after our first date, I stressed myself out and into a cold sore. Which lead me to the realization that I had to have this talk with him. It's quite literally my first time having to do this, and I've been racking my brain for the right words, the right approach, the right setting.

I don't want to lose him, but I know that's ultimately his decision. I certainly don't feel right entering into anything physical with him without being totally and completely honest.

He's old fashioned, a true gentleman, taking things slow isn't out of the norm for him. But I know he'll wonder soon why I won't even kiss him.

After a little soul searching and chatting with good friends I realize that a lot of the emotions that I've been feeling have been out of fear. Fear of being rejected, fear of transmission, fear of having to see him at work afterwards.


Btw, I'm honestly surprised that more people aren't disclosing. Given that legal ramifications are possible from negligently or intentionally giving someone an incurable condition. Are there any articles here that cover that?

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I'm not sure about the legality of transmitting STDs and the like. Not something I ever worried about. For me personally, I never doubted whether I would disclose, nor considered how I would do so.

For one, I'm already in a great relationship and I kept her up to date as things happened. For another, if I were to find myself single and dating, I would disclose during my usual STD / genetic disorder / personality / psychological disorder talk before getting physical.

At any rate,

Cold sores aren't a big deal unless you personally make it so. Most people get them and most people aren't afraid of them.

For that reason, disclosure can be simple.

"Have you ever had an STD?"

"Well, it wouldn't be right to hide it. I've gotten cold sores since X and I realize that it is the same virus that causes genital herpes. I do what I can to prevent transmission, including X, Y and Z. I care about your right to consenr and your health, so I want you to be aware that there is some risk. Even if it's just a small percentage of risk, it matters to me."


You will inevitably meet someone who freaks out, but they at very least won't waste your time pretending you are the one and only.

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