First Time Telling Someone I have Herpes

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    I’m new to the pinktent. I’ve been really struggling with HSV2 – I’m 19 and I got herpes this summer (when I was 18) from someone who lied to me about getting tested for STI’s. That person was the second person I’ve ever had a sexual experience with, and the first person I ever had a sexual experience with raped me. Up until now I’ve been pretty scarred from these experiences and I’ve completely cut off all means of sex – oral, vaginal, anal. Recently, I really liked this guy and ended up staying the night with him, though I thought I was preventing the spread of herpes by not having any form of sex. I didn’t realize it could also be spread through genital contact. When I realized this, I immediately told him to get tested (even though I had no recent outbreaks) and tried to explain herpes to him. This was my first time ever having to tell someone I have herpes and I felt so scared and so “dirty”. I really liked the guy and even thought he might accept me with my herpes but he completely cut me off and stopped talking to me.

    If any of you could answer some questions for me I’d really appreciate that: How have you learned to accept herpes? As a 19 year old, I feel like my dating life is over and I feel like anyone who knows I have herpes won’t want me. How do you know when to tell someone about the herpes? How do you continue to have a dating life? Are there any tips you have about living with herpes?

    Thanks and have a good day!


    I contracted herpes 2 from someone who didn’t disclose it 2.5 years ago. I’ve had monthly outbreaks which recently turned to non stop. Going back to dating scene with herpes is very stressful. I had mixed reactions. One guy said he wouldn’t risk his life and his kids life and treated me like I had leprosy. I had another guy who said he admired my honesty and still wanted to get to know me but there was no attraction on my end so we just remained friends. A couple more guys admitted they had herpes after I brought it up but “didn’t know it was contagious” yeah right…
    Lastly, this guy I recently met turned out to be a carrier too but had no idea until he got tested after I told him I had it. He never had an outbreak in his life. Bottom line is I never met a person who volunteered to bring it up first. But we women are so stupid to tell our business to strangers. My outbreaks are non stop and out of control so for me it’s either not go on dates at all and stay home all alone depressed or disclose it to selected people after a few dates. But hun if you don’t have outbreaks don’t feel obligated to tell anyone unless you’re 100% positive they’re clean. How would you know? Next time you meet someone say let’s get tested before getting intimate and you’ll be surprised how many will come back positive. You can always say you had no idea when yours come back positive.
    I’m 44 btw, and wish I knew what I know now when I was your age. Good luck!


    My advice is to disclose early. Before your heart is in it. He’s not man enough to handle a skin condition, well, he’s not man enough to handle you, period.

    The disclosure and the sex actually get all wrapped up in our minds, but they don’t need to be connected. Disclosure says “hey, I recognize some people can’t handle this. Obvs I’m able to deal and live an awesome life, you want in?”. This allows you to make the choice about sex just about sex, and not wrapped up in anything but how that person makes you feel.

    Like honestly:

    Don’t waste your time dating little boys who don’t deserve the best of you.*

    * if you date women or gender non-binary folks, sub “little boys” for “weak humans”.

    I also use a website app for folks who are already positive, which to be honest is pretty slim pickings (but I’m in a small town) but that cuts back on the anxiety for sure

    You ARE worthy of love. And the person you find it with is going to be so grateful to have found you.


    Great question, I love the “Let’s get tested together” suggestion for bringing up the topic. I was just recently diagnosed a month ago. My boyfriend has it but had no idea, had never had any symptoms, or reason to suspect anything. He feels awful but maybe if we would’ve done that from the beginning we could’ve prevented it being transmitted.


    Hi everyone,

    I was diagnosed with HSV-2 over 11 years ago from someone who failed to disclose it to me. After a year of not dating and deliberately cutting myself off from meeting people i met my husband. I wanted to be honest with him from the start as i immediately felt a connection and thought this relationship had legs so i told him and he was so understanding! i remember thinking “happy days, i’ll never have to go through that again….” Fast forward 7 years later and i am now divorced and back on the dating scene again. I have met a lovely man and enjoyed a couple of dates but things are definitely starting to heat up and i’m sick to my stomach about the thoughts of telling him about my diagnosis. He is ex military and health and fitness are such a big part of his life. I’m worried that he won’t be as understanding or empathetic as my ex husband was and after being badly hurt through my divorce i’m petrified of being so vulnerable and opening up to essentially a stranger and the fear of being rejected. Has anyone any advice for me please? I really feel like something could progress with his guy but yet again, the stigma of herpes stands in my way!


    Hey ladies! I have been positive for about three years now, and these are just some of my experiences.

    My advice for disclosing to someone new is to be calm and matter-of-fact. If they see that you can handle something like that, then it makes it seem less “scary” to them. The first time I disclosed my status to a new partner, I made it a big deal, made a scene, cried, etc. I was obviously still very emotionally sensitive, but it also reinforced their preconceived notion that herpes is something scary and overwhelming. Now, I just keep it short and simple: “I carry the HSV-2 virus, genital herpes. It’s not something that affects my life very often, but it is something I feel you should be aware of at this point in our relationship. I have done a lot of research on how to maintain an intimate relationship with my diagnosis in a safe manner, and I’m totally open to addressing any questions or hesitations you might have.”

    Just leave it at that; don’t get too worked up, you don’t need to tell how you got it, and you definitely don’t need to apologize for anything! Let them see you can talk about it openly and confidently and they’ll want to too.

    Specifically @mccooz, since your new guy is so health-conscious, I might open the conversation with that framework, like “I respect how well you take care of your body and health, so I’d like to discuss an aspect of my own health with you, so you can have all the facts as our relationship moves forward. I was diagnosed with HSV X years ago…etc.”

    Good luck!! 🙂

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