DEAR CHRISTINE: Afraid to tell potential beaux about herpes
I read with interest the letter on November 11 regarding the 20-year-old with Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2 (HSV Type-2) and the subsequent response from GJOY and yourself.
I too have a similar experience where I believe I was intentionally infected by my partner at the time. I too was 20 years old at the time; I’m now in my 30s.
When I found out sometime after (we had broken up by then) and I spoke to my doctor, she told me that sometimes a man can also have an outbreak on his scrotum and when contact is made with a partner, the virus can also be passed on that way.
So even though you may be using condoms, which I did, the possibility of contracting the virus is possible if an outbreak is happening on the scrotum.
That is why I wrote this letter to make people aware of that fact.
So although it is good to always use a condom, it appears that you also have to physically look and inspect, which, of course, can take away from the moment.
Or you can have a medical (done by the same doctor) before becoming intimate.
Sometimes people really don’t know they are carrying HSV, while others know and just do not disclose this information – which is very unfair.
My subsequent partner was very supportive although we have now parted ways (not because of that).
I found out after we had become intimate and it was very difficult for me to build up the courage to tell him, but after telling him (after a long time) we continued our relationship which lasted a few years.
My current problem though is having the courage to share this information with my future partner (I am currently single).
The thought of telling is killing me. I know I must do the right thing (disclose this information) but the fear of rejection, betrayal of trust, scorn – and the list goes on – has been a major reason why I have not sought an intimate relationship with anyone for a very long time.
How does one go about sharing this information with someone who may be a potential partner and when is the right time to do so?
I do not normally have outbreaks (maybe once every few years) which makes the entire situation a bit more bearable but still, is there a support group?
Your fears about rejection are understandable. Stigma and discrimination play a significant role in the spread of disease.
After all, why would people admit they have a serious sexually transmitted infection when they know they would be scorned. Instead, some people infected in this way have intercourse and only confess when their partner confronts them.
Thankfully, you recognise you would need to admit to your boyfriend that you have HSV Type-2 before you become intimate.
This is an indication that you know what your personal responsibility is.
I sincerely hope that you are successful at finding a trustworthy partner to enable you to enjoy mutual honesty in your relationship.
As to when is the right time to share this information, you need to use your intuition here. I would advise that you foster good communication between yourself and the person you would like to be your partner so that you have an insight into his views on a variety of matters.
This would help you know if he is indeed the one and gauge when the time is right for you to discuss this very personal matter.
I hope this helps.