After receiving a Herpes diagnosis, feeling unlovable and hopeless about the future are the most common thoughts. Over time, you will soon realize that having an STI isn’t a life sentence—and you are worthy of pleasure. Until you have contracted any form of STI, you wont realize the STI stigma around you.
The typical stereotype that STIs are dirty and the people who contract it are those that have too much fun without taking the proper precautions, are the reasons why STIs are hard to be controlled. No-one ever said that you could not have a loving relationship, or even a casual relationship with someone after you have been diagnosed. So, how do you do it?
Before Sex, Think Treatment!
Most people find out about their status during the initial outbreak of the virus, the active stage. It can take up to two weeks for herpes to actually start building up and getting cozy in your body before an initial outbreak. Initial herpes outbreaks (often called “primary herpes”) usually happen within two to four days after you become infected with the virus, and it can take up two to four weeks to heal.
Avoid having sex during an initial outbreak of herpes. This is because the virus is at its most contagious during a physical outbreak. During the first outbreak, your body also hasn’t had time to prepare its own immune response to the virus. This might be hard for one to do so as you might not be familiar with the Herpetic lesions and might mistaken it for ingrown hair or pimples.
Speak to your doctor as soon as you can. Initial outbreaks can be painful and unpleasant, both for oral and genital infections. Antiviral medications can be used to speed up the rate of healing, allowing your body to recover from the initial outbreak faster. In short, avoid sex at all cost during the first outbreak!
Recurrent Herpes & Dating!
Now that you know you have herpes, you’re out of the dating game, right? Absolutely not. There’s no reason to stop looking for love and fun. Did you know that genital HSV is very common, affecting about 1 in every 6 people. Yup, i know right!
Here are some basic guidelines for you to go by if you were diagnosed with herpes:
- So, you are out on a date and you think you are about to have sexy time. You are worried about your HSV status and thinking if you should let your partner know, what should you do? Always remember the rule of two! First, don’t wait until after having sex. Second, don’t wait until you’re just about to have sex, in which case the attraction may be too strong for either of you to think rationally and act responsibly. Let’s be honest here, you would also want your partner to tell you if he/she is infected right? Treat them the same way you would like to be treated.
- Explaining to your partner that you have herpes may not be as hard as you think. Most people are kind, sympathetic and understanding, especially after you put the virus in context and explaining to them about Herpes. Just be open, honest and safe.
- You can try to change your approach. Maybe last time every date might have ended up in sexy time, but now that you are aware of your HSV status, you should be slowing down your game. It might be better to break the news about herpes to someone who has already grown attached to you. Kissing, cuddling, and fondling are safe, so you don’t have to tell before you do that.
- One thing could lead to another, and you might find yourself in an awkward situation. Brace yourself for rejection. Anyone that dates knows we are trying our luck, it may go good or bad. So if it turns bad, just embrace it and keep dating!
Time To Be Naughty.
Even if you follow every safe sex guideline and use antiviral drugs to suppress herpes within your body, it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of spreading the virus to your partner.
There a few steps can be taken to reduce your transmission risk. These steps include:
- Never have sex during a herpes outbreak. Chances of infecting someone with herpes is higher, especially when you have blisters, open sores or herpes scabs on your genitals. This also works for oral sex.
- Accept that there’s still a risk of infection. It is important to be aware that even with the safe sex practices, it’s still possible for the herpes virus to spread to your partner. Both you and your partner need to understand that there are risks involved and are okay with it mutually!
- Use condoms. Although condoms don’t completely remove the risk of transmitting herpes to your partner, they will make a huge difference.
Frequently Asked Questions!
- Q: How common is herpes?
A: Anyone who is sexually active can contract genital herpes. Some groups are at higher risk, however, male-to-female transmission of genital herpes is easier than female-to-male transmission. That’s why more females (21%) have HSV-2 than males (11.5%).
- Q: How does someone get herpes?
A: Herpes is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact. This happens when a contagious area comes into contact with a tiny break in the skin or mucous membrane tissue, usually on the mouth or genitals. Most skin on the body is too thick for the virus to go through.
- Q: Can I be tested for herpes?
A: Blood tests are available for people who may not have had symptoms or if the signs have already healed. To find out more about getting an accurate diagnosis, visit our section on testing.
- Q: What if I am pregnant?
A: Twenty percent to 25 percent of pregnant women have genital herpes. Less than 0.1 percent of babies contract genital herpes. A mother helps the baby by passing her antibodies to the baby during pregnancy. After birth, herpes can be passed to a baby by receiving a kiss from someone with a cold sore on the mouth (oral herpes).
- Q: Can I get pregnant if I have Herpes?
A: If a woman had genital herpes before getting pregnant, or if she is first infected early in pregnancy, the chance that her baby will be infected is very low, as low as less than 1%. Women that contracted genital herpes before they are pregnant have a very low risk of transmitting the virus to their babies because their immune systems make antibodies that are temporarily passed to the baby through the placenta.
No matter what your questions are, we are here to help you! We at DTAP offer short counselling sessions along with consultations for STIs. We at DTAP are willing to address your doubts. We also offer anonymous HIV testing. The range of our STI testing is also found here: STD Testing