30 Million with Infection 2 is a reality!
Fun fact. Herpes Test options are all around you. About 2/3 of the global population has HSV1 or 2, about the same in the US. If you’ve ever had a cold sore- that’s herpes. STD Test Kits for him or the Clinic are within reach of 99% of the global population at a free or affordable price.
You didn’t say what strain he has. If 1 – half of new genital herpes cases are from HSV1 now- good chance you already have the same strain. If not, then 2/3 of your dating pool can technically give you genital herpes.
Not a single male can ever proclaim with 100 per cent certainty that they are STD-free.
The fact that he’s told you, while early – you haven’t even met yet – is a good sign of a good MAN. He cares and respects his partners enough to risk losing someone to do the right thing. Green flag. Most people, myself included, got it from someone who knew (my ex-girlfriend) and didn’t disclose. People who disclose are generally not the ones passing it on.
By no means are you obligated to sleep with him? But I wouldn’t let it stop you from getting to know him and asking questions. If he’s a good man, he should be doing a good job of making you feel comfortable.
If you’ve never had this talk before and have slept with over ten people, you’ve slept with several people who have this. Again, he’s the only one who’s told you. Feel free to DM me regarding transmission rates.
Oh yeah, a herpes test and the disease wasn’t even classified as an STD until the early 1970s. Before then, EVERYONE had the virus, and the location wasn’t seen as important. So this fear-mongering and stigma it has is pretty recent. I’m not a dealbreaker (I’m biased) if you have a good connection.
Dating is about getting to know someone and seeing if you could be good partners and have STD Tests regularly. Someone who is honest and communicates with you even if it may cause them to lose you- that’s a sign of a good partner. Herpes Testing isn’t due to a moral failing. It could happen to anyone. You probably have several friends now that have it.
It’s interesting to me that genital herpes can inspire such fear and stigma.
When I was 22 and working in my first professional role, another woman I worked with constantly had active cold sores. I’d never had one before; no one in my immediate family did either, and there was a stigma about them in my family.
My colleague wasn’t a thorough washer of coffee cups or shared kitchen cutlery. I Got extremely sick (a week off work, fever, flu symptoms, and my first active outbreak of cold sores) at one stage, and I confirmed it with a Herpes test. My doctor does believe that was likely the first time I was infected because of how strong the immune response was. It’s possible I’d had it all my life, and it just reactivated at that time. The herpes virus hides down nerve cell pathways and can reactivate under stress or when your immune system is low.
I’ve now, in the past 20 years since that Herpes infection, had more cold sore outbreaks than I can count. I got std Tests to confirm this every time. And I had a particularly terrible time with them and my health more generally in the last 2 years, such that 2 months ago, I asked for daily oral antivirals to try to get them under control. Also, I haven’t had one in that time, but without the meds, I would likely have only had a few days break between outbreaks lasting 10 days if my previous track record was anything to go by.
How to handle it
I’d been with my now husband for 4 years. Now, 24 years at the time, I had my first outbreak. I might hate accidentally infecting him anytime in the last 20 years. Oral sex at the wrong time would have turned it into genital herpes for him. Of which he could have passed back to me. Hell, touching my cold sore and then my genitals. Using the same towel for my face and then my bits when I had an active outbreak or was shedding (which happens several hours/days before a sore makes itself known, right up until it’s fully 100% healed again) could have turned it into genital herpes for me. And we haven’t used condoms since his vasectomy in 2018.
I don’t feel shame in having cold sores/herpes. I am VERY careful, though, especially when having an active outbreak. We don’t kiss when I’m sore. I use a different towel for my face that gets washed after every use. Then, the rest of my body, not just when I have a sore. I warn him when I feel one coming on. But we both know he may already have the virus and that we may convert it to genital infection for one, either, or both of us at any time.
Communication is key
It’s entirely manageable. It’s not something I asked for or wanted, but I am responsible.
This guy is communicating clearly with you. He values your right to make decisions about your sexual health. He may or may not be a good guy otherwise, but he’s been completely ethical. You don’t owe him a relationship or sex on that basis, but his actions are respect-worthy in this particular situation. It may speak to his character more broadly; you would only find out if you allowed him to prove this.
Even if he’s careful, there’s still a chance you may end up with it if you engage in sexual behaviours with him. It’s not a death sentence. A painful event that needs to be carefully dealt with. You should already be doing this, given you have cold sores. You are doing the same as him and disclose YOUR herpes-positive status to potential partners. The Virus causes cold sores and genital Herpes Simplex tests 1 and 2 damage. I have no idea which I have, only that – for now – they only affect my lips/mouth. That may change.
Not the end of the world
It’s also worth noting that whilst a herpes Test is helpful, the disease doesn’t have a cure; there is evidence to suggest things. Eventually, your immune system will put it back into fairly permanent hibernation, where it becomes undetectable again, and you no longer get active outbreaks and are no longer positive in an STD test.
The only times they’re dangerous are if you’re immune suppressed. Or when you are close to giving birth with an active genital outbreak. There are treatments and medical management options to mediate the risks in both instances and just overall. Be informed and take steps to reduce the risk of infecting others.
The misinformation around it all is pretty disturbing and disheartening, to be honest.