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Hey guys. I’m a 22 year old bloke who recently contracted genital herpes type-2. How do I get back into the dating game? Feeling hopeless.

Hey guys. I’m a 22 year old bloke who recently contracted genital herpes type-2. How do I get back into the dating game? Feeling hopeless.


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48 Comments

  1. Educate yourself about what the symptoms, prevalence, and treatment options are. Herpes is pretty manageable, as is minimizing its spread. Be upfront with your sexual partners about the fact you have it, give them info about the risks to them, and precautions both of you can take, and make it clear that the decision is theirs about how sexual intimacy will progress. If they read the info seriously, they should see that there’s not too much to worry about.

    My wife tells me when an outbreak is starting, and then we lay off sex for awhile. Otherwise, we use a condom. It’s a pretty simple routine when you trust each other to do their parts.

    If you’re specifically dating around, you’ll need to learn when to have the “hey, things are getting serious and I like you. Here’s some information about me you should know before we get intimate” Talk.

  2. I went through the EXACT same thing.

    I has just turned 22, met a girl at a bar with some friends and went back to hers. Second time we slept together, I didn’t have a condom and thought “it’d be fine” and didn’t even ask. Turns out she had a full draw full I could’ve used!

    Anyway, she had contracted it a couple days before and hadn’t even had symptoms show on her before she’d given it to me.

    I was in a really rough place with it, feeling like I was worth a lot less. Damaged goods. But, I guarantee you, it gets SO much easier.

    I’ve had to tell a couple girls I’ve started dating since then about it before it got too serious and their reactions helped a lot.

    I also haven’t had symptoms since I got it, it’s not really on my mind anymore and day to day it doesn’t effect me at all.

    I’m from the UK so the NHS websites helped me a lot when researching it.

    Apart from that, time was the only healer for me. I don’t feel the same I did 2 years ago, and I haven’t for a while.

    I’d also focus on eating healthy and exercising, a healthy body is meant to suppress reoccurrences as well as being good for your mental health.

    All the best buddy, DM me any time if you need to chat.

  3. I do this professionally, so I have done this once or twice.

    First things first – question how it was diagnosed. If you got a blood test, you can pretty safely ignore that. If it was a swab, then you take it more seriously. The reason for this is that a blood test is testing an antibody – which almost everyone has. It doesn’t say if you have an active virus, or where it located Etc. The swab tells us that there is an active virus there.

    Second – everyone is right. Do a bit of homework from some reputable sites. The best one that I refer clients to is the NZ Herpes foundation. It has easy to understand, up to date info, and there is a great section there about relationships and HSV. Do not start googling, google is not your friend.

    The third, and most important thing I recommend to people, is to reframe their mind regarding HSV. HSV is the cold sore virus. Type one or two, doesn’t overly matter (you can get type one on the genitals, type two on the face). People talk about cold sores like they are a normal thing, and they are, regardless of where they are located.

    The big issue regarding ‘herpes’ is the public perception – it’s on your genitals so it has to be disgusting… no. On your face or genitals, they are managed the same. If you get one, take a week off sex, just like you would take a week off kissing if you had one on your lips.

    There is nothing wrong with you, you have a virus that 2/3rds of the adult population has been exposed to at some point in their dating lives. Don’t stress out about it, you don’t need to date only people with HSV, you don’t need to go onto a positive dating website. You’re completely normal.

  4. Hey! Lady with HSV2 here. It can be a devastating blow to your self worth when you get diagnosed. What’s important to remember is that most people have some form of herpes, and a lot of those folks are asymptomatic and have no idea. There are folks out there same as you that are asking for the same advice.

    I recommend being upfront about it. It is your partner’s decision whether to back off or continue, and there’s not much you can do about that. But if you are upfront and honest, eventually you will find someone who appreciates that and cares about you, not your HSV status.

    Also, even though it goes without saying, always use protection and get antiviral treatment when necessary.

    Good luck! This is not an easy thing to go through, but you’ll make it 🙂

    EDIT: Might be helpful to know that I am married and sexually active with my husband. ALSO. u/Timeformuffins makes an excellent point about blood tests. Antibodies don’t necessarily confirm infection. It just means that you wee exposed to it at one point (and most of us have).

  5. I know you are upset about potential partners rejecting you, but PLEASE be honest about it before sex. The second guy I ever slept with lied to me about his sexual health (another pro tip: *never* just believe someone if they tell you they don’t have “anything.” An STD test is the best bet, people lie) and decided he didn’t want me to leave him, *so he gave it to me on purpose*. Told me so as soon as I confronted him, crying, when I got diagnosed. His reasoning was that I would be too afraid of never finding anyone else that would want to be with me. Well he was wrong because first thing I did was leave his ass. I’m not going to say it’s been easy, and I have had people decide not to have casual sex with me, but at the end of the day it hasn’t really been as devastating as I thought it would be. Just make sure that you’re honest.

    You’ve got this, and there are places online where you can talk to other people living with this INCREDIBLY COMMON virus. Life’s not over, I promise.

  6. This is the most heartwarming reddit thread I’ve seen in long time.
    Mate, you’ll be fine, everyone here has said all that needs saying.

    It’s a diagnosis not a life sentence.

    Also for once, reddit, I’m proud of you

  7. I have it. Have disclosed it to every girl I’ve been with since I got it. Never been rejected for it.

    I’m on permanent anti virals. My responsibility to partners is to disclose it and to minimise the chances of it recurring.

    I also don’t disclose it on like the first date or whatever, I don’t disclose until we’re about to have sex.

  8. If you’re newly diagnosed I would suggest checking out the sub r/herpes, it has some good info and the people on that sub are very helpful and nice unlike most of Reddit lol

  9. I am a 42yr old male, I contracted HSV2 from my ex wife while we were dating 20 years ago. I’ve been with my current girlfriend for 4 years and have been taking anti-viral meds the entire time. She has not contracted it and the only difference is that we use condoms 95% of the time. My suggestion is that you should now take sexual relationships more seriously and slower, get to know the person and vice versa before telling him/her. Get on anti-viral meds, and use condoms. Your sex life isn’t over, it’s just going to be a little bit more stressful at the start of relationships until you’ve built up some trust with the person. And over time the breakouts become fewer and less severe. After 20yrs I don’t get anything more than a small pimple and that’s only if I stop taking the meds for a few weeks. You’ll be fine. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

    There’s a PDF out on the web called the herpes handbook. Read it

  10. A lot of ignorance in this thread. Bottom line, speak to a medical professional to give you an accurate grasp of the virus. And for anyone else reading this; 10 seconds of googling would show you how misinformed you are about that comment you just made.

  11. Just be honest with people so you don’t do to them what was done to you.

    A lot of people ITT are telling you to re-frame it in your mind to see it as a minor thing: this is good advice for your own mental health. Nonetheless, don’t think you have the right to re-frame it for all your future lovers: always be honest with them so that they can make an informed choice.

  12. Dude, duder here, I got herpes on my face like 6 years ago, about the same age, it was fucking devastating when I realized it. I couldn’t get out of bed, felt like I was no longer clean. About 3 weeks, I was fucking miserable, I had a pretty bad breakdown. But there was just one day, where it hit me that I needed to be proactive, learn about it, figure out what the expect, how to minimize it. Honestly, 6 years later, the symptoms aren’t that bad at all. I’ve never given it to anyone and have been in a long term relationship about 4 years. I did eventually tell her, but not until I felt she needed to know. She was cool about it, but it was extremely hard to do. I really had to psych myself up for it. Idk, I know it seems like the end of the world now, but it really isn’t. It’s not that bad. I rarely ever get anything, and when I do, it’s really hard to notice. I know that’s not the case for everyone, and I’m very lucky. But I’m more careful, and idk, as far as diseases go, it’s fucking pretty easy one to live with. Best of luck and trust me, you’ll get over it and hardly ever think about it. Also, your body gets better at fighting it over time, so it comes in a lot at first and a lot worse at first, the symptoms really start to get less often and less intense. I promise one day you will realize that you hadn’t thought about it in months.

  13. I posted this as a reply but I think a comment would be better:

    Valtrex or knock-off version of medication. For most of us with it, this daily pill stops all symptoms and almost makes it non-transferable. While taking this medication, I haven’t had an outbreak in 3+ years whereas I used to get them almost every other week. I’ve had unprotected sex with a few different partners (after consent of course), not a single one was infected while on the medication. Even if a miss a day or two, I still haven’t had an outbreak.

    It’s not a 100% guarantee, but I’d say it’s 99% effective at stopping outbreaks and spreading.

  14. You do what everyone else does. Realise that Herpes is a minor virus that a lot of people have. Most people who have it don’t even know it. Condoms don’t protect against herpes. If you are dating, you ARE going to come into contact with it sooner rather than later.

    You have two choices, take a vow of celibacy, or understand that this minor (albeit occasionally uncomfortable) disease isn’t a big deal. Any girl who disqualifies you over herpes isn’t worth dating anyways.

    There’s a reason most STI tests don’t even test for herpes. Why test for something that a majority of people have…

  15. 24F here with it! My guy and I have never had a problem; if I feel a flare up coming I take my anti virals and it stops in its tracks. Worst comes to worst I don’t have sex for a week; he just gets a lot of head so no real loss there. I rarely get outbreaks anymore and it’s the last thing on my mind. If you want you can take supplements though. I promise you; it’s not the end of the world and is pretty minor when it comes down to it. The first month or two may suck, but I promise you’re not damaged goods, and your life will resume back to normal 🙂

  16. I’m 26F and was diagnosed with HSV-2 just over a year ago. There’s honestly nothing anyone said that made me feel like I could embody it. I felt like an identity of shame was stamped on me. But I will tell you that you’ll adapt. You’ll realize it’s just like a rash. It took time for me to adjust and learn what might trigger an outbreak.. I’ve since connected with my body in a new way. Outbreaks happen, and that’s when it’s most contagious. Otherwise, it’s for the most part dormant, and has a lower chance of spreading. Over time, it becomes more adapted to your body, and “outbreaks” (similar to a bumpy itchy rash) become smaller, much less frequent. To keep that chance low, Ive been observant in how my body feels when an outbreak is coming (over sensitive, usually during high stress). I know I can’t have physical contact with a partner until it clears (7-10 days, to be safe). I eat healthy, I use condoms. I personally take meds every day, because the first year is usually the higher chance of spreading. But People usually take them as needed. Sex solutions, do your research. Lots of foreplay build up until the partners ready. Sending some good vibes

  17. Be honest about it. As a woman, I would never end things if I found this out, but I would end things if you lied or purposefully hid this from me. Deception shows an inability to put my well being above your shame.

    And learn how to give good head. That will take you far.

    Best of luck!

  18. Herpes is really minor. Most people have type 1 and half a billion people have type 2. In the UK our STD check doesn’t include herpes

    I’ve had something like 50 partners in my life. I was once told by a partner (who was a doctor) that I invariably had it. She also did not mind having unprotected sex even though the std check I had did not test for herpes.

    Truth is everyone on here with either have or know someone who has it. If you’re reasonably sexually active you’ll invariably have it.

    Personally I’d speak to a medical professional about it to appease your feelings of dread. There seems to be a huge stigma here on it which is irrational. A quick google search can show you how much of the fear of herpes is borne by ignorance.

  19. Ill just be honest: to a lot of people, herpes are no big deal. I don’t even flinch when people they tell me, it’s the smallest deal ever, don’t let it ruin your sex life!

  20. I thought like half of heterosexual people had genital herpes? It shouldn’t make it hard for you to find a date since so many women have it.

    It’s like HIV for us gay guys. Half of the time when I tell my partner, they know how to deal with it, or they already have it. It’s only really ignorant people who flip out, and who wants to fuck a moron?

  21. I (30F) recently started dating a guy with genital herpes. After 3-4 dates we started to get more physical and he calmly told me there was something he needed to tell me before we took things to the next level. He explained that he got herpes when he was in his early 20s, it was a mistake that he regrets, and he is very proactive in taking care of himself. He explained that he is on valtrex and has had two serious partners since he was diagnosed and did not give either of them herpes. We talked about taking precautions and always using condoms.

    It gave me pause, but I really respected him for being honest and upfront with me. After careful consideration and talking to my doctor about my own risk I decided I wanted to keep dating him.

    Your dating life is not over, just be honest and responsible. Some women may decide this is a dealbreaker, but the majority likely won’t.

  22. Daily suppression therapy along with barrier protection brings the transmission rate down tremendously.

    Google this – L. Corey study, 2004, New England Journal

    Here it is:

    Once-Daily Valacyclovir to Reduce the Risk of Transmission of Genital Herpes

    List of authors.
    Lawrence Corey, M.D., Anna Wald, M.D., M.P.H., Raj Patel, M.B., Ch.B., Stephen L. Sacks, M.D., et al., for the Valacyclovir HSV Transmission Study Group*

    January 1, 2004
    N Engl J Med 2004; 350:11-20
    DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa035144

    39 References
    398 Citing Articles

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND
    Nucleoside analogues against herpes simplex virus (HSV) have been shown to suppress shedding of HSV type 2 (HSV-2) on genital mucosal surfaces and may prevent sexual transmission of HSV.

    METHODS
    We followed 1484 immunocompetent, heterosexual, monogamous couples: one with clinically symptomatic genital HSV-2 and one susceptible to HSV-2. The partners with HSV-2 infection were randomly assigned to receive either 500 mg of valacyclovir once daily or placebo for eight months. The susceptible partner was evaluated monthly for clinical signs and symptoms of genital herpes. Source partners were followed for recurrences of genital herpes; 89 were enrolled in a substudy of HSV-2 mucosal shedding. Both partners were counseled on safer sex and were offered condoms at each visit. The predefined primary end point was the reduction in transmission of symptomatic genital herpes.

    RESULTS
    Clinically symptomatic HSV-2 infection developed in 4 of 743 susceptible partners who were given valacyclovir, as compared with 16 of 741 who were given placebo (hazard ratio, 0.25; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.08 to 0.75; P=0.008). Overall, acquisition of HSV-2 was observed in 14 of the susceptible partners who received valacyclovir (1.9 percent), as compared with 27 (3.6 percent) who received placebo (hazard ratio, 0.52; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.27 to 0.99; P=0.04). HSV DNA was detected in samples of genital secretions on 2.9 percent of the days among the HSV-2–infected (source) partners who received valacyclovir, as compared with 10.8 percent of the days among those who received placebo (P<0.001). The mean rates of recurrence were 0.11 per month and 0.40 per month, respectively (P<0.001).

    CONCLUSIONS
    Once-daily suppressive therapy with valacyclovir significantly reduces the risk of transmission of genital herpes among heterosexual, HSV-2–discordant couples.

  23. It might slow you down in the random hook up way but I think that people willing to work on a relationship with you will listen, accept and use the proper precautions.

  24. And don’t stress about it too much, herpes isn’t really something to lose sleep over. It comes and goes, and as far as I know, nobody has ever had serious health complications from it. Incurable doesn’t mean terminal or life-changing. More than 50% of adults have oral herpes, and about 12.5% have genital HSV-2. If it was dangerous we’d probably be extinct

  25. I have no problem dating someone with genital herpes. I expect my partners to be upfront about their sexual health history just as I am with them. I also expect for both of us to be well-informed and up-to-date about sexual health in general. That’s what you (and all of us) should do! Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

    The first time I had a partner who disclosed their genital herpes with me, I told him I was comfortable with it as long as he was on a daily anti-viral, and he agreed. If he didn’t want to take one that was totally fine, his body his choice, I just would’ve chosen to not have sex with him at the time. Nbd.

    A few months in I noticed he wasn’t taking any medication. I brought it up with him and he, at first, pretended like we hadn’t made this very clear agreement and that he did not cross a boundary I clearly instated at the beginning of our relationship. He tried to play it off like it was no big deal. And it’s true, not taking a daily anti viral is not a big deal, unless your partner is under the assumption that you are and is acting accordingly. Sue me but I like to have fully informed sexual experiences 🤷🏻‍♀️

    So just don’t be like that guy, respect your partner and their boundaries, and you‘ll be fine!

  26. Hey man, I met my current girlfriend when I was in the middle of a Herpes scare. I had essentially been misdiagnosed with Herpes (false positive) and met her a couple months later (before I knew it was a false positive).

    I treated the relationship as if I had herpes. We took it slow, and I didn’t tell her until I was comfortable and sure that what we had was something special. If she didn’t feel the same way, I didn’t want it getting out that I had herpes. About two weeks in I could feel things getting more serious, so I told her. ALl I got was support, acceptance and understanding. Obviously she was relieved when we found out I didn’t have it, But it wasn’t an issue when we thought I did.

  27. So you basically got cold sores.. but on you’re dick sometimes. It’s not a serious disease tbh. No health risks. You’re totally fine. Most people that have it don’t even know they have it. It wasn’t stigmatized until the 60’s or 70’s and that’s really the only thing bad about it. Feel better about yourself dude.

  28. I’m gonna let you know as someone who dealt with this exact situation at your age that it’s really not a big deal. #1 is that you have the Cadillac of herpes! The transmission rate of hsv-2 is less than 3% in penetrative sex! The thing that you need to get over is the stigma. If you’re telling a potential partner that you have it and you sound terrified and disgusted at yourself, that’s not gonna give them a lot of confidence in safety.

    Educate yourself and learn that it’s just a skin condition that almost everyone has whether they know it or not. It’s not the end if the world and it’s way less scary than it seems! If you ever need someone to talk to my dms are open!

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