Love can be a wonderful thing. It’s incredibly beautiful, but can also be absolutely cruel. Even so, you and your partner promised each other that no matter what, you’re both are a team. You’ll be there for one another, support each other in the hardest of times, and make sure the other is alright, despite what anyone else may say. However, a disease like herpes can strain that relationship. You may start to question your devotion towards each other, the secrets you might’ve kept from one another, or even if you had loved each other.
First of all, what is herpes? Herpes is an STD caused by two types of viruses, the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Herpes is an extremely common STD that is often caused by kissing, rather than sexual intercourse; in fact, an estimated 20% of Americans have already contracted herpes. While herpes may not be curable, it can be treated, and is not life threatening to adults. What’s more, the treatments available can decrease the risk of infecting anyone else, as well as lower the chances of an outbreak. However, despite this, there’s still a painful stigma that has surrounded herpes.
So what should you or your partner do, when one of you is diagnosed with herpes?
When you’re first diagnosed with herpes, remember to stay calm. It’s important to be honest with yourself, and remember any sexual activity you had with former partners, as well as your current one. Did you consistently have safe sex, even when performing oral sex? Did either of you not disclose any personal information regarding health risks?
After your diagnosis, be sure to tell your partner at the appropriate time. Explain the situation to them, alongside any former partners you might’ve had. Remember, do not be ashamed. Rather, think of it as helping to prevent a potentially serious outbreak.
After you’ve told your partners, you should learn about herpes, and how it’s transmitted. Ensure that you are aware of the risks, as well as treatment options available. When you’re comfortable with this information, you can begin to unravel the stereotypes associated with herpes. It won’t seem as frightening as it did before. Rather, you’d see it for what it truly is; a condition that the two of you can handle together.
It may be difficult to come to terms with your condition. Even after you’ve been informed, and were honest with both yourself and your partner, you may still have doubts about yourself. You might even wonder about whether or not your partner even wants to stay with you. However, don’t forget that herpes won’t limit you, personally or sexually. Realize that loving someone unconditionally is accepting them for who you are. And if they don’t, remember that just because one person may not accept you, doesn’t mean another won’t.
There are also support groups available for those with herpes. If you find yourself struggling with living with herpes, you can approach these groups, such as Dating with Herpes, or the Herpes Support Group, for more information.
Remember that just because you have herpes doesn’t mean it’s the end. Yes, it is a trying disease. Even so, don’t let it take over you or your partner’s relationship. Love is, after all, staying with each other, no matter what the cost.