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How To Make It Easy To Tell Someone You Have Herpes

how to tell someone you have herpes


When it comes to the herpes simplex virus (HSV), learning how to tell someone you have herpes can feel just as difficult as dealing with the condition itself. 

Fortunately, a bit of planning ahead and practice can help make this task much easier than expected. Genital herpes (HSV-2) and oral herpes (HSV-1) are both prevalent conditions that affect hundreds of millions of adults, so you’re not alone! 

Use the tips and ideas below to find the best way to tell a romantic partner or close friend about your herpes infection. 

First, Decide if It’s Worth Telling

Before you start practicing how to tell someone you have herpes, consider whether it’s information that needs to be shared at all. 

Most people in your life don’t need to know about your herpes diagnosis. Friends, colleagues and family members aren’t at risk of catching the virus from you, and you don’t owe them the information. 

It’s more important to share this information with potential sexual partners — before you sleep together. Genital herpes spreads mainly through close sexual contact, even if you’re not experiencing an active outbreak. For this reason, it’s essential to share that you have herpes before your partner faces the risk of infection. 

Weigh the pros and cons of whether it’s best to tell your partner before you get too involved, or to wait until after you’ve dated for a while and may begin sleeping together. This choice is entirely yours and will be influenced by your own comfort zone, the personality of your partner, and the dynamics of your relationship. 

Choose the Right Moment

It’s good to initiate this conversation when you and your partner are alone and free from distractions. There may not be a “perfect” time, but some moments are better than others. Avoid times when other major conflicts or stressors are occurring. 

Once you’re alone and comfortable, broach the subject with your partner. Stay focused and use the following techniques to help you share the information clearly and succinctly. 

Practice Your Approach

Agonizing over every word won’t do anything other than psyche you out. Instead, practice a simple approach to share your herpes diagnosis with a direct, clear statement. 

Practice the words aloud, or write them down. It also helps to consider the words from your partner’s point of view. Which would your partner rather hear?

I am so sorry to have to share this awful news, I know it’s so embarrassing and you probably won’t even want to be with me anymore, but I have genital herpes. 


There’s something I need to let you know. I have herpes, which is a really common virus. It’s totally under control and treated, but I wanted to let you know before we went any further.

The second option conveys the most important information without apologizing or catastrophizing. When you show you’re calm and competent regarding your diagnosis, it may help your partner see that herpes is a manageable issue that won’t interfere with your relationship.

Debunk These Common Herpes Myths

Your partner will likely have questions, which can give you the opportunity to debunk common herpes myths and share factual information about your condition. Arm yourself with information ahead of time to address these questions right away.

Myth: Herpes Is a Rare Condition

First and foremost, make it clear that herpes is a very prevalent virus.

The WHO estimates that 491 million people aged 15-49 have genital herpes (HSV-2) worldwide. In the United States alone, the ratio of people with genital herpes is one out of every six aged 14 to 49.

Additionally, two-thirds of the world population under 50 is infected with oral herpes (HSV-1). That equals more than 3.7 billion people!

Despite its prevalence, there is a stigma associated with a herpes infection, probably in large part because it is sexually transmitted and (as yet) incurable.

Myth: It’s Risky to Live With Someone Who Has Herpes

Like so many other myths about herpes, this one isn’t true. It’s not risky to live with someone who has herpes. Aside from sexual contact, there are very few ways to become infected with genital herpes. This means you’re unlikely to contract the virus from just living around someone who has it.

Myth: People With Herpes Wear Condoms Forever in Long-Term Relationships

If you’re in a long-term, monogamous relationship and your partner is aware of your herpes infection, you may have a conversation discussing the benefits and risks of sex without a condom. 

Though there’s always the risk of infection, some couples decide to strategically employ precautions that keep them as safe as possible. Such precautions include:

  • Never having sex during an active herpes outbreak
  • Using antiviral medications
  • Using a dental dam

Myth: Herpes Can Be Transmitted Through the Blood

Herpes cannot be transmitted through the blood, though it can be detected through a blood test. 

In fact, people with a history of herpes simplex virus type 1 or 2 can safely donate blood as long as:

  • All lesions and infected cold sores are dry and healed
  • They wait at least 48 hours after finishing a round of antiviral treatment
how to tell someone you have herpes


Share Best Practices for Having Sex with Herpes

Herpes is highly contagious, so it’s important to take strict precautions to prevent the spread of herpes in your relationships. Sharing best practices for having sex when one partner has genital herpes will both keep your partner safer from infection and show them you know how to manage the condition safely.

For example, share that the risk of transmission drops significantly with consistent condom and antiviral medication use. One large study reported that only 1.9% of susceptible partners became infected with clinically symptomatic HSV-2 when given a popular prescription antiviral as a precautionary treatment. 

Also share that to limit the risk of transmission, partners should abstain from intimate contact until any herpes outbreak clears and heals completely. This includes from the time you begin to feel the itching or burning sensation that precedes an outbreak until the time your sores have completely scabbed and healed.

Lastly, you may or may not want to share these hygiene best practices that ensure you won’t accidentally spread the herpes virus to your partner:

  • Keep the infected area clean and dry
  • Avoid touching sores
  • Wash your hands immediately after any possible contact with sores
  • Do not pick at sores since this will cause infection
  • Do not make choices that you know can trigger an outbreak
  • Use the Luminance RED to reduce the number and duration of outbreaks
The Luminance RED nourishes your skin with medically optimized light, which is metabolized to accelerate the body’s healing process and strengthen its defenses against future attacks.

Studies show that when used immediately at the first signs of an emerging outbreak, light treatments can stop your HSV-2 outbreak from ever forming. Clinical data conclusively shows that high-powered light treatment reduces healing time from 8.2 days to 1.8 days and extends the time before the next recurrence from 124 days to 455 days! You can stop a herpes outbreak in its tracks, keep your partner safer from infection, and prevent future outbreaks with regular use of this therapy.

A herpes infection shouldn’t create a lasting roadblock to your happiness and confidence. Learning how to tell someone you have herpes is a tremendous stepping stone toward taking control of your infection and living your best life. 

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