I have had regular Exams for about fifteen years.
I was with a man who had STI tests regularly and for the first five years, too. In the following ten years, I no longer had any stable relationships. I’m more of a one-night stand person (rare, drunken one). I usually avoid saying it because, let’s face it, everyone has genital herpes (ok, one in five people doesn’t mean “everyone”, but if we also count oral herpes…
I have seen numbers that were close to 80 per cent.
In all sincerity, considering the medical relevance and the tiny possibility of an STD-verified contagion, it seems to me to be the equivalent of mild acne (it carries risks during pregnancy and for immunosuppressed people, and I know that it is not up to me to decide what could be serious for the others). These are the justifications I give myself when I decide not to say that I have multiple positive STI tests, but I know it is wrong from an ethical point of view. The times I happened to say it, I felt myself being treated like a leper by people who, up until ten minutes earlier, were begging me not to let them use a condom.
I feel very bitter about having this stupid virus and feeling guilty about not telling you about my positive herpes test. I suspect that my tendency towards casual sex is partly due to a desire to avoid the conversation, which brings us to the present.
What I thought would be a back-and-forth has become a story that has been going on for months.
I admit with amazement that I have discovered a person I like and respect (I know, I know: if I respected him, I would have told him before that I was STI tested Positive, yet I discovered that I respected him). What do I do? I have to tell him. But how? Is there any justification for what I did? I can tell him: “Wow, I noticed something; I went and got tested for Herpes at home and guess what?”. It would just be yet another lie. There is no way to create a relationship based on trust with this man, right? I fucked up, and now I have to let it go, right? Am I destined to remain alone forever? You are not human waste, DTBA.
You didn’t reveal something you should have revealed, but you didn’t have to. The problem with not saying things, as you now know, is that casual sexual partners risk becoming long-term partners. And by the time you realize that a person has the potential to stay, the stakes have become so high that letting go may seem like the easy way out. “In our opinion, DTBA shouldn’t let it go,” Momo and Felix wrote together after reading your letter. “And we don’t think she’s destined to remain alone forever.” Momo and Felix, the creators of My Boyfriend, have a herpes test regularly.
An Instagram account has gathered over 15 thousand followers in a few months.
Using simple and direct language and Momo’s delicate illustrations, Momo and Felix provide information on herpes by telling their story as a couple: the first meeting, the moment in which Felix made his revelation, and Momo’s initial hesitation at the idea of bonding with a person with herpes. “Our policy is always to reveal it, but we know that not all people can do it,” say Momo and Felix. “Unfortunately, one of the pitfalls of not telling is that it complicates a potentially lasting relationship.
While we don’t agree with DTBA’s decision not to say anything to its partners, we understand why it might have taken it. Herpes Testing is surrounded by very heavy prejudice.” Momo and Felix think – and I with them – that you must be completely honest with this man, even at the cost of causing the end of the relationship. But it might not end, DTBA. Maybe he, too, has something to reveal to you – perhaps that he has herpes – or your relationship could end for other reasons.
You’ve only been dating for a few months. And he could call it quits for reasons that have nothing to do with the revelation you’re about. Explain to him that you didn’t make it sooner. Or maybe you, later on, might discover something about him that you find unacceptable (have you checked to see if he has any hats at home that say MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN?).
But how do we approach the discussion?
“It is clear that she cares for this man,” write Momo and Felix. “He made a mistake, and now he wants to fix it. DTBA must take note of his actions (talking to him) and their consequences (exposing the partner to HSV Herpes risk without obtaining his informed consent). Her partner is likely to feel betrayed or deceived at not being told about herpes.
He might want to leave her, and he would be right.
DTBA, unfortunately, cannot help but recognize his mistake, making himself vulnerable and accepting his reaction.” “But no matter what, she doesn’t deserve to be alone,” they add. “We all make mistakes. We all have the opportunity to improve.” I’m a 24-year-old bisexual, and the person I recently started seeing just revealed to me that he has an STI test, which is a positive genital herpes test. I liked this person and was ready to have intimate relationships. But this revelation changed my mind. She understands, but she is sad. And I feel guilty as hell!
She did the right thing, choosing to be truthful, and in return, she was punished.
Getting tested for the STI disease Herpes is not dangerous. It is usually even asymptomatic, and the worst effect is the prejudice that accompanies it. There is a possibility that a person like me will say no to you. I understand everything about HSV rationally. Yet, I would still prefer not to risk becoming someone else. For example, who inevitably has a love life complicated by the stress of talking about STDs? Is it for those ready to make judgments like myself? Am I fueling the prejudice about herpes type 1 and 11 because I’m afraid of ending up in the “life is a little more difficult now” category?