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Disclosure and Having Herpes: When, Who and How?

After you have tested positive for Herpes, you will have to determine whether or not to share this news with other people.

At first, it can be difficult. Undesirable news can result in negative reactions and possible rejection. But there is also a chance of respect and appreciation towards the honesty and trust displayed by your disclosure. Both reactions are very possible and both reactions have been felt by the herpes community. While the latter is more ideal, the potential of a negative reaction shouldn’t deter you from being honest and disclosing your status.

Who has the right to know?

It is essential that you talk to your past and present sexual partners. The goal of disclosure is to prevent the spread of Herpes to other people. Even if there is a mutual dislike for an ex, everyone deserves to know that they were exposed to Herpes.

Partner notification can be done through several means.

You can have an open discussion with those that receive the news. We especially recommend being honest with your current partner. Not only does it build trust but it also protects them from further transmission.

If you want to be anonymous then you can ask your health care provider to send a notification to all of your sexual partners. You can also send an anonymous e-card. Both options will anonymously notify them of this exposure and give them the proper resources to get tested and prevent transmission to potential sexual partners.

When should I disclose this information?

Timing can depend on who you are telling. If you’re telling someone who is a past or current sexual partner then they should be notified immediately. On the other hand, you don’t have to disclose this information to every single person you date. Disclosure is only significant when sexual activity is involved or there is a possibility of transmission through skin to skin contact. (E.g. kissing)

The sooner you tell your partner, the more control they have over their sexual health.

How should I disclose this information?

We recommend that you start the disclosure with knowledge. Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about herpes. Ask your health care provider, read CDC herpes information, or talk to a support group. The more you know the more comfortable you will be about disclosing this information.

This also can help reduce the chances of a negative reaction. Part of that reaction derives from ignorance and over exaggeration of the facts. Your knowledge can reduce anxiety and build trust.

While this is a confession, it is also an opportunity to advance your relationship. It gives you an opportunity to highlight the other qualities that are much more important than the disclosure of your positive status. Be positive and offer the facts.

The most important step toward disclosure is preparation. There are a variety of outcomes can occur after you’ve disclosed this information to your partner. It is possible that they will be shocked. It is also possible that they will reject you. Don’t let this reaction hurt your self esteem. You are still a wonderful person who deserves to find that special person.

No matter the outcome, take pride in your bravery and keep your held high.

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