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I introduced my viral condition with humor or in a passing comment, and my partners responded with empathy.
Now, I share openly with potential partners well before we have sex.
I’ve had some partners flat-out reject me in anger, others ghost, and a couple have spilled intimate secrets in response to my vulnerability.
I’ve received incredulous laughter, ignorance, hate, hugs, high-fives. In this herpes journey of mine, I’ve tripped and fallen not-so-gracefully and taken the wrong turn.
Telling a partner that you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as genital herpes, may not be easy, but it’s necessary.
But, when getting to know a new partner, revealing your STI status isn’t as simple as revealing your favorite place to grab dinner.
I apologized and cried when I revealed I was HSV and my partners didn’t respond with empathy — they responded with fear and said hateful things, which then pushed me further into self-loathing and shame.
With the help of herpes blogs, medical articles, and my therapist, I began to accept herpes as any other medical condition.
From what they say to how new partners react, here’s how Laureen and 22 other women tell a sexual partner they have genital herpes.Sometimes, it makes them uncomfortable and they choose not to engage in sexual intimacy, and that’s their choice.It’s hard, but you have to learn that not everyone will be open enough to hearing your story, but that shouldn’t deter you from being vulnerable and having a normal sex life.While practicing safe sex is crucial, condoms are not foolproof methods (condoms can break, the virus can be on skin around the genital area, people may not know they have it, etc.).All in all, it comes down to getting tested and being honest with your partner about your STI status.