People With An STI Reveal How They Broke The News To Their Partner.
AskReddit users living with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) open up about how they did (or did not) discuss the implications of having an infection with their partner(s).
Source list available at the end.
My buddy Tony got herpes from his unfaithful ex-girlfriend. He went into a deep depression, drank a lot, and stayed in a toxic relationship that was visibly killing him. All because he figured he couldn't be with anybody else. Finally, he snaps and tosses her out, and begins drinking even more. I visit him one day, in the dank cave that he called a home, and mused that there had to be a dating site for people with herpes.
We found one. He met a really awesome chick who got burned by her older CEO ex-husband. She figured she was damaged goods because she had two kids, and one was extremely autistic. Tony happens to be a special ed teacher with a focus on autism. So, she is pretty hot and very well compensated from the divorce (house, cars, $$$). Now, Tony volunteers with disabled kids and plays 30 hours of video games a week. Best herpes ever.
I have genital warts.
I have only ever had to tell one person. I told my current girlfriend towards the end of our first real date. By this point, there had been some kissing, but nothing else. We were sitting around talking in a private setting with a glass of wine.
I told her, "You should know this before we get too far into anything. I have HPV, and there have been symptoms, but they haven't come up for quite a while." I came prepared with a bunch of statistics and whatnot as well.
Her response, "I'm a cytotechnologist. I look at pap smears all day. 80% of the world has HPV in some form. I probably do too."
Been together for 5 months now.
I was recently diagnosed with herpes. Been having what turned out to be outbreaks for probably two years, but got tested, and it came back negative, so I figured that something else was going on. Had other relationships, never infected anyone even though I had unprotected sex.
About 5 months ago, I met the woman of my dreams. Incredible, lovely, awesome person. A couple months into the relationship, she suggested that we both get tested just to make sure that everything was okay. I got tested, and it came back positive. The day I got the results was one of the worst days of my life. True, the physical symptoms of herpes are pretty negligible (I may get three outbreaks a year of small blisters that itch sometimes), but it's more the psychological aspect (people with herpes are treated like lepers, outcasts).
Obviously, I was petrified as to how my S/O would react. I called my mom crying. Didn't know who else to talk to. Thought my life was over, that she would leave me, and that I would never find anyone to love me again because of the disease.
After a few hours, I worked up the courage to tell her. She called me from work, and we had a pleasant conversation for a few minutes. Then, I swallowed my heart and told her. Her response was the sweetest, most graceful two words I've ever heard, "So what?"
So to those of you who think there isn't any hope, don't get down. Herpes does not (and will not) end your life. When you meet that person, they will accept it as your burden and work with you to mitigate it. A month after, I asked her to marry me, and she said yes.
My boyfriend and I had many discussions about it, and he did research to determine his parameters. He decides what he's okay with, and what he's not. For example, he doesn't like going down on me, which is actually quite safe, but I don't want him doing anything that makes him feel uncomfortable, so it's completely fine. I will never bring it up.
The thing is, there's treated and untreated HIV, and in terms of contraction, they are very different things. I have undetectable levels of the virus in my blood. Some untreated people can have a million plus copies of the virus in every drop of their blood. That person would be far, FAR more contagious than I am.
I got it by being sexually promiscuous. I was a mess and extremely irresponsible.
A very good friend of mine has the herp, but she doesn't know that I know. One day, after deciding that I really like and could see committing to said awesome friend, we ended up in the sack after a long night of drinking. Skipping the finer details here, she mentions not to worry about using a condom at a certain point. "I dunno," I said. "I've always been paranoid about STDs. I know that I'm clean though. Are you certain that you are?" Then, she lied to me and told me she had no STIs, no chance. The thing is, I was already okay with it, up until that point, but was massively offended that she would lie to me, a long time friend, about something as serious as a chance of a permanent viral infection.
She still doesn't know why I suddenly lost interest in dating her. Had she just told me, we might have lived herpily ever after.
Ever since college, whenever I started a relationship that I thought might be going somewhere, I would always insist on myself getting all STI tests for the girl's peace of mind, and told them that I would pay for them to get them too. I even said that we could go at the same time.
Some girls were offended, most weren't and were actually happy that I was willing to do it (even if it was for my own selfish reasons, I doubt any girl wants to sleep with a guy who might have an STI either). We still used condoms, but there is a lot less anxiety involved when you know that you're both clean. Tends to lead to more copious coitus too.
I was dating a girl and about a month into it she said that she had to tell me something. Basically, she waited until a commercial for Valtrex came on the T.V. and said, "I have that" which explained why I got turned down with trying to slip my hand down her pants while we were messing around one night.
I didn't know what to think, but I just said okay. It didn't matter anyway since we broke things off a couple weeks later.
I dated a guy in college, and after about six months, I was in town visiting him, and he developed sores on his penis after having sex. I had an infection from a VCH piercing at the time that I mistook for symptoms, but I never actually had any sores (just a lot of inflammation and pain from the infection). Went to the gyno days after his sores appear, swab test comes back negative. In the meantime, I remove the piercing because it's so painful and within days everything goes back to normal. He saw a doctor too, but he never told me the results. He convinced me it was my fault, and even though I hadn't been with anyone else, I assumed that I had just always had it and didn't know. I felt terrible. Like, more horrible than I've ever felt in my life.
I never had any other problems after I removed the piercing. No outbreaks or anything funny happening down there, so it didn't really come up again, and I started having doubts about whether I really had herpes at all. Flash forward six months after the breakup, my new bf takes me to get my VCH re-pierced. Within days, the same symptoms as the first time come back, and I automatically think it's definitely proof that I have the virus, and this must be a second outbreak. I immediately see my gyno to try and finally diagnose this. After multiple swabs and blood tests come back negative, my doctor is at a loss, and I'm still in pain, so she tells me to have the jewelry switched or removed and prescribes an antibiotic ointment. Within a day, it clears right up. Turns out, I'm allergic to surgical steel, but I don't have herpes.
I am relieved, but I am also angry that my ex had me convinced for so long that I might have an STI. I'm even angrier that I was at risk the entire time for contracting the virus thinking that I already had it. For almost a year, I had to explain to potential boyfriends that I was pretty sure I had herpes, which was probably even harder and more confusing than just knowing if you have it and being able to explain it to someone.
I'm a guy with HPV and, for the longest time, I'd make up reasons why I couldn't have sex until I had spent a considerable amount of time with the person and was sure that they genuinely cared about me then they wouldn't mind. It worked out pretty well, but now I just tell people up front if we're in a situation that might lead to sexytime. It's actually pretty shocking how most people don't seem to care.
My sister has herpes from when her long term boyfriend cheated on her. Since their break up, she has had a couple of serious relationships and a number of hook-ups. She has chosen to not tell any of her partners about her STI, and when any relationship turns serious, and her partner starts suspecting she suggests, "Let's get tested together." In all of the cases, her boyfriends have shown positive for herpes. My sister then attempts to interrogate them.
"Have you cheated on me?"
"Who do you think gave it to you?"
She fakes a big upset. Somehow, her manipulative behavior has convinced them all that they were the original carriers OR that they had herpes as well the entire time, unbeknownst to her. It baffles me as to why you would continue to pass on this horrifying illness with no concern for anyone you love. The sex world is a SCARY place.
I have HPV, and I haven't had sex in 2 plus years. My self-esteem is blown out. I don't even want to approach women, for the pure fact that, they are basically signing their death sentence- if they have relations with me.
I'm broke and cannot afford treatments anymore since I am graduated from school. So now, I just live as independently as I can and don't even mention women, sex, or the thought of it. I am almost positive some people think I am gay because of it, but I really don't care. It is obvious this is not the healthiest thing to do, but what else can I do. I don't maintain relationships, instead I avoid them. Basically, I have lost all hope of ever dating someone again unless they already have HPV, but chances are then that they are probably in the same boat as I am about being apprehensive in dating.
I had a curable STI, and I told my current GF right during the first week when we were getting to know each other that I used to have one. I would not delay it because I don't want to trap someone. I'll lay all of my cards out, and I hope that they do the same.
My ex decided to tell me only after she had first tried accusing me of possibly giving her something. When she realized I had been tested recently, she came clean and tried telling me that her doctor said it wasn't necessary for her to inform all of her partners about her genital herpes. I regretfully stayed with her and have since been informed that she sleeps around quite often. A friend of hers told me that she may be bipolar and experiences hypersexuality. I'm scared to get tested again, but I'm going next week.
My sister used to tell guys on the third date. Then, she'd know if the guy was interested or not. (I mean 20% of women have herpes- just saying). She said they normally didn't care. It's kind of comforting knowing that if I ever get it (hey, it's called asymptomatic shedding, and you can get it even when wearing condoms- just look it up), I will still be able to find a decent guy. She's totally getting married next week.
I was with my fianc (now ex) at a time, before I did a deployment to Afghanistan, and my ex knew that she had herpes. I had no idea about it. She kept it a secret our entire relationship. While deployed, I receive an email saying that she was leaving me, and I had a week to get my stuff and move out once I set foot on US soil again. I got myself a place, got my stuff, and move on with my life. I met someone new a few months after I got back (she is now my wife). I get a phone call from the ex saying how she knows that I have herpes because she had it and didn't tell me. I get tested and find out that I have herpes. I let my now wife know the entire process of what happened, how my ex kept it a secret and everything. I was lied to, and that's the worst part. My wife accepts the fact that I now have herpes from my horrible ex. We do everything we can to be safe, so my wife now doesn't get it, if she doesn't already have it. If she does have it, she accepts that fact. She was loving and supportive the entire time I was going through the testing process. The best thing I can say is, to be honest about it and ready to answer any questions your S/O might have about it. Know your facts about that STIs. I think I have a pretty good life now with my new wife, and we love each other dearly, with or without herpes.
I've had the herp for 5 years now. I've had very few partners because I believe they should know before getting into bed with me, but I also have to trust them. I usually start by just telling them what I have, what I know about it, and the steps I take personally to keep myself healthy and outbreak free. Every guy I've told has said they respect me greatly for telling them, and that it's no big deal. I even dated someone for 3 years, and he still doesn't have it. As long as you are taking care of yourself and care about the other person, you should be met with respect. If they are not cool with it or are rude about it then why would you want to be with them in the first place?
So 2 years ago in college, I fell in love with the girl of my dreams. We were in the pre-official stage, but we were exclusive- just no title on the relationship. We were sexually active, and one time after doing it, she brought up the idea of both of us going to get tested. I said, "Ummm okay..." I didn't think I had anything to worry about. So, we ended up both getting tested a few days later, and I got a message from student health that said my chlamydia test came up as positive. My jaw dropped, and I didn't know what the hell to do. I was in love with the girl of my dreams, and she was just starting to fall in love with me, and now I was diagnosed with an STD!?!?! I kept reading though and found out it wasn't all that bad. I took one antibiotic pill (Azithromycin) and had to remain celibate for a week. I didn't know if after having sex only five times WITH a condom on was enough, and I didn't want to take the risk of telling my ex-girlfriend that I had chlamydia, but after much thought on whether or not I had given her the virus, I decided to go ahead and fess up. I told her about all of this and she replied, "Damn it, now we can't have sex for a week." Best response ever, and no she didn't go behind my back.
I'm in a great relationship right now. I noticed that she was a little reserved about sexy time on the third date. On the fourth date, she came right out and said, "Hey, I have herpes. I'm on suppressants, and I haven't had a breakout in four months, but I keep a close eye on it." It was a little weird at first, but I did some research. We decided on what to do about it to keep us safe, and I really appreciated her being very upfront about it.
Some people will freak out and some people won't, but the best course is blunt honesty. It's all about trust!
I broke up with a controlling boyfriend, drank a bit too much at the bars in the name of celebration/retaliation/freedom, and somehow ended up in the care of a friend's acquaintance who didn't understand that no meant no. Turns out, he had HSV-2, and now so do I.
The worst part about HSV-2 is not the disease itself, but the stigma. I have gone years with one or fewer outbreaks. Usually, they are just a day or two of slight discomfort and then BAM! it's like nothing ever happened again. Just a bad dream. The unwanted memories associated with the disease are worse. Listening to my friends make jokes about herpes is worse (especially when it's the ones that know).
Transmission is easy to prevent with the use of condoms, avoiding sexual contact during outbreaks, and medications that prevent viral shedding (like Valtrex).
I told the guy I was fooling around with IMMEDIATELY after it happened, and before we had sex again. He did research, figured out what he could and couldn't deal with. He decided that he didn't care and that he wanted me more than he was afraid of the disease. Now, almost a decade later, we are still married with a family. But, the point is, it was his decision. I was terrified to tell him. I thought for sure I would be unwanted and alone for the rest of my life. But that was HIS decision. If something ever happens to him or to our relationship, I would share my disease status with a romantic interest BEFORE sex, but after I am comfortable with them (the third date?). I am horrified by the number of people who are willing to infect others because they are too scared to face rejection or fess up to infidelity.
Just recently, I found out that a woman who I had hooked up with for about a week and who I had been talking to (probably about a month in a half ago) has genital herpes. We did always use a condom, and she was asymptomatic the whole time until about two weeks ago. I did perform oral sex on her, as she did me, but like I said, she was asymptomatic. What are my chances of contracting herpes? She said she talked to her doc, and they told her everything that I have nothing to worry about. I asked her if I should get checked anyway, and she said to wait for a couple of months. If nothing pops up (yes, pun intended), then I am good. I'm a paranoid person, and I'm still a little freaked out (and I am still talking to her).
I'm a gay man who's HIV and who has had relationships and sex with HIV positive people. Usually, those folks are upfront about their status, but what I'd really like to point out is, how HARD it is to get HIV if you use a condom.
What really matters is using a condom, talking about your status honestly, never assuming, and most of all keeping your mental health in check. All the positive people I know who seroconverted from sex during a low period of depression or addiction chose not to use a condom. One guy that I know insists on always having safer sex, but he has poor dental health. This is anecdotal, but I think it mirrors many experiences.
It's easiest to freak out about STIs than it is to get the nasty ones. Also, don't share needles.
We fooled around quite a bit, but she forced me to get tested before we'd go all the way. The doc broke the news to me over the phone, and my girlfriend was on video chat in the background. It was awkward and painful, but we're still going strong. It isn't that big a deal.
I am going on 3 years with my current boyfriend, and I had HSV-2 before we met. We were friends for several months before we got together, so I told him as soon as we decided to take things past the friend's stage. He didn't care at all, honestly.
I have had many reactions from people when telling them. I've had guys who didn't care to guys who freaked out and backed away from me like I had leprosy all of the sudden. I would generally tell them on the second or third date before things got hot and heavy.
Generally, you can start the conversation with, "I have something important to share with you before we go any further. If it is a deal breaker, that's fine, but you need to know." Sometimes saying this freaks them out so much so that finding out you "only" have HSV-2 is a relief! Depends on the maturity level of the guy. Guys who have made a big deal about it are generally guys that I wouldn't have made it long term with anyway. So, no big loss for me.
The main rule of thumb is do NOT wait until you are in the middle of a hot make-out session or heavy petting to tell them. It is very frustrating to be told something like that when your mind is already pumped for sex. You break the news to a person when you are chatting privately. You should make sure you are ready for the night to end at that point because some people need to go home and do some more research and let it digest before they can come to a conclusion about the whole thing. Some will just be done with you at that point. Generally, most guys didn't freak out about it, but some weren't sure where to go from there, and it got awkward. A lot of the times, after they went home, mulled it over, and did their research, they were OK with it.
You should always get tested with your partner before starting a sexual relationship. If only so you know what your risks are when sleeping with the other person. There is nothing wrong with this, and there is no shame in having anything. Anyone who you get tested with who makes you feel like you are wrong or "diseased" for having something is someone who isn't worth your time or energy.
I can honestly say that I would not have HSV-2 if I had insisted the partner I got it from and I get tested together. For one, he didn't want to get tested when I casually brought it up, and two I would have probably left him after finding out he had it, as I was never really interested enough to go very far with him. We messed around for roughly 10 minutes. It wasn't working for me, and I stopped it. In that 10 minutes, I caught HSV-2. Our relationship lasted three weeks, and I did not realize that I had it until 6 months later and into another relationship. You can imagine how much fun it was to get a call that yes, you do have HSV-2, and then to have to turn right around and call the guy that you have been sleeping with for 2 months and tell him that you have it and that he may want to get tested.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.