This can be a sensitive topic and knowing when to raise it is important. It's best to let the friendship develop first, but it's best not to wait until after you've become sexually intimate. Then, the issue can become tangled in feelings of anger and mistrust. Remember, telling a partner about herpes is only a small part of relationship building. This disclosure can enhance your honesty and openness, and demonstrate your ability to have and maintain an intimate relationship.
Try role-playing with a trusted friend or relative. Practice saying the words out loud.
Choose a neutral setting during a time when you won't be distracted or interrupted. Be natural.
Speak with confidence. You are not lecturing or confessing. You're sharing personal information.
Remain calm. If you are upset, a partner might think it's worse than it is. Remember your delivery and body language becomes your message, too.
Expect your partner to be accepting and supportive. You're doing the best thing for both of you. People tend to behave as you expect them to.
A Simple Message: How to Start and What to Say
Words can be clumsy and awkward. Choose your own words and your own way of telling a partner. You'll find the way that's most comfortable for you.
"I want to talk with you about something that's important to me. Have you ever had a cold sore or fever blister? A type of virus causes cold sores and fever blisters. I have this virus. Only, instead of getting the sores near my mouth, I get them in my genital area."
"I really feel I can trust you and I want to tell you something very personal. Last year, I found out I have genital herpes. It's not as serious as it sounds. Can I tell you about it?"
I really like you and enjoy being with you, and I want to get closer to you. Let's talk about safer sex."
Why Tell A Partner?
Some people don't tell, or don't tell every partner. Some don't tell until after they've had sex. It's important that herpes does not become a secret--for many reasons.
Once you and your partner know the facts, you may find your views changing.
Telling your partner allows this person to make an informed choice. When you tell, you are showing respect and concern for his or her well being. Your honesty may build intimacy and trust.
Telling your partner helps prevent transmitting herpes. If you keep herpes a secret, you might invent lies and half-truths to postpone sex during outbreaks. And, you give your partner a shared stake in making decisions together about how to reduce risk.
Telling your partner can begin an important discussion about sexual health. Herpes is one of over 20 sexually transmitted infections. Others have more serious health consequences. Your honesty encourages your partner to share sexual history and health information with you.
Telling your partner can prevent future misunderstandings or threat of legal action.
Provided by the American Social Health Association