Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH
Telling someone new that you have a long-term STI, in this case, herpes, can feel like the most raw of conversations you could have with a potential partner. That conversation doesn’t necessarily get easier as time passes; rather, you get better at delivering the message.
Even so, inherently, you’re always going to be worried that whomever you’re telling won’t be able to deal. That’s part of the burden and the beauty of living with a long-term infection, because those who are still interested in pursuing you are usually interested in more than just a sexual relationship, but even those who aren’t sure often appreciate the vulnerability and the honesty that such a disclosure entails.
In short, the disclosure process can be a win-win situation, but no matter what, while you’re navigating the dialogue and your potential partner’s preceding reaction, nothing feels more complicated than a herpes disclosure.
1. How old are you?
2. What do you do for a living?
I am a wedding coordinator at a luxury hotel.
3. What STI/STD do you have/have you had?
4. How long have you had or known you have an STI/STD?
Over 2 years
5. Do you know how you contracted this STI/STD?
Yes, from a guy I was seriously dating for about 4 months. He became verbally and emotionally abusive after I told him he gave it to me and even tried to blame me and say it was my fault, and I gave it to him.
6. How has your life changed since you contracted an STI/STD?
I have to be completely honest with the people that I am getting into a relationship with right from the start about my STD, and showing that vulnerability so early on can sometimes be difficult.
7. Do the people who know you have an STI/STD treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?
8. Are you currently under treatment for your STI/STD? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.
I take over-the-counter mediation when I have outbreaks.
9. Has having an STI/STD hindered past relationships?
In my mind, I think it may have, but in reality, no.
10. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STI/STD affected your partner?
Yes – I didn’t tell him right away, but after I did, he was understanding about it.
11. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STI/STD whom you did not tell you had an STI/STD?
Yes, but then, I had to tell him. The guilt was eating me alive.
12. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STI/STD?
I am a lot harder on myself. I put a lot of blame on myself for getting an STD, and I’m still working through accepting it.
13. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I want to help other people (especially young girls), through counseling and mentoring, letting them know that getting an STD is not the end of the world and that it’s not their fault.
I wish I had more support from people who were better educated about the disease to help me answer questions.
Can you relate to this interviewee? Did it help you to read someone else’s story? Have you experienced something similar or do you have some feedback to share with this individual? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!