How risky is it to date someone who has genital herpes?

Julie J. asks from Andover, MN
13 answers

I have been dating someone for about a month and he told me after we went out a couple times that he has genital herpes. We have not been intimate yet, and I do see it turning into something serious in the future, but I want to be very cautious. I am looking for advice on what I can do to be as safe as possible. Also, I would like any advice from people who have been in a similar situation. Is this a risk I want to take? Thanks in advance for the responses!

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13 Answers

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Anne L.

answers from Rome on

There are risks and it would make intimacy more complicated. However, it certainly isn't impossible for a non-infected partner to stay uninfected even through a long relationship. My friend contracted genital herpes decades ago, before starting the relationship with her husband. She has had two children with him, the older one 17 now, and her husband is still uninfected. That's the case because she and he did consult with medical folks and have followed the advice. Since you haven't been together long, you have time to get good information in order to learn about your options.

1 mom found this helpful

Donna S.

answers from Portsmouth on

It is very risky to date someone with a STD. What is he doing for treatment?
Do you want to be intimate with this fella? Why? Talk with a Doctor about this. Beware.

1 mom found this helpful
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Savannah

answers from Stone Mountain on

You can date someone with an STD. It's admirable that he was upfront and honest with you about it. That takes some backbone!

The "RISK" is in having sex with the person. Just because you can't see an open wound or sore, doesn't mean you can't get the virus.

I think you should go to your doctor TOGETHER and find out the risks and how to avoid transmitting the disease. The virus doesn't go away. It's always there, whether there is an open sore. A condom will not be 100% effective against transmission either.

To know all the risks and dangers? Go to a STD specialist. If you are really in Minnesota, here's a link: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/stds/ind...

7 moms found this helpful
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Natalie K.

answers from Miami Beach on

I guess I would wait a bit longer to make sure things are as serious as you hope. Otherwise, when the time comes, proceed at your own risk. There is nothing you can do to protect from it, you either get it or you don't (some people's immune system can fight it off) but if you do get it, do realize that you may have a hard time finding a partner in the future for this very reason. I knew a guy who told me about it and asked if I would date him. He was divorced and got it from his wife. I guess he never considered they could end up breaking up and he'd be in this situation, which is why he put himself in it, willingly, at the time. I wasn't willing to take this risk. He wasn't offended as he said this was the standard response. He mentioned a website for online dating for people who have STDs, which is what he normally uses to find other fellow singles with herpes, but I just didn't want to limit myself to this category further down the line if things didn't work out (there were too many factors, like long distance, young kids, him being unemployed, and a large age gap between us for me to even consider a serious future with him). Like I said, I didn't want my future options for dating to only include a dating site for people with STDs. I politely declined and told him not to spend the money on a plane ticket to meet me. It worked out for him in the end, since he did find someone willing to take the risk and have been together for over 5 years.

At least he was honest and said this was a risk for me, so I appreciated that, as well as the fact he forewarned me. Another man I was talking to who also had herpes said it wasn't a big deal that he had herpes, hadn't had a serious outbreak for a while, and therefore, it wouldn't be contagious if we became intimate someday. He said it was only passed on through open sores. My own research (and the other guy) told me otherwise and I moved on. According to Google, "Herpes can only be passed through direct skin-to-skin contact with the infected area such as kissing, oral sex, genital-to-genital rubbing, vaginal, and anal sex. Herpes (both oral & genital) can be spread even when there are no symptoms or sores." He tried to convince me there was no risk by minimizing the risks, and to convince me of how common herpes is, he said he dated a supermodel and got it from her and many celebrities have it. That doesn't mean I am interested in having it, but in the end, you're the only one who can decide how much this risk is worth it to you. We are all different and only you know how you feel about this man and how you'd proceed in the future, assuming you become infected and break up with him. Educate yourself on this virus and the risks, and make sure to think everything through and weigh the pros with the cons when making your decision.

3 moms found this helpful
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J C.

answers from Philadelphia on

I think it is admirable he told you. I know someone that wasn’t as lucky and he actually hid this information from my friend. As a result, her first outbreak was when she was pregnant. The docs believed the infection caused the mom to be septic, and the baby to be born with meningitis. Both nearly died. The baby was 12 weeks premature and had a severe brain injury causing cerebral palsy. (The baby will never sit, walk, talk, and is legally blind)

This would be a deal breaker for me.

4 moms found this helpful
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HuggyMama

answers from Wood Dale on

I think this sounds like a wonderful person to have told you about it right away. I know someone who didn't know she had acquired it until she was having her baby. I believe her husband never got it-she received it from a previous relationship. I am sure there is risk involved but in order to find out what to do to prevent it in any way other than use of condoms or avoidance, I'd call a doctor or Board of Health and meet with someone who can outline how this could be handled. Sounds like it is worth pursuing a relationship with this person.

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Fuzzy

answers from Baton Rouge on

Go to your doctor and ask what precautions you need to take beyond the obvious one of using condoms.

3 moms found this helpful

Wild Woman

answers from Reston on

Julie

WOW - he gets credit for talking about it and being upfront.

I'd actually talk with my doctor and see. Just using a condom isn't enough as the virus is **THERE** and you can't always see the sores.

Good luck!

10 moms found this helpful
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AKmom

answers from Eagle River on

Be thankful he is honest. There is not a huge chance of passing it on if there is no outbreak, but it can be contagious when an outbreak starts even before sores are present. Does he take medication to keep it at bay? Condoms won't be enough since there is still uncovered skin. If it was me I would consider having a real talk with my Gyno about the real risks and consequences should I get it.

7 moms found this helpful

Diane B.

answers from Westborough on

I give him credit for telling you. That's an excellent sign that he's honest.

A lot depends on whether he's being treated. If he's on a daily regimen of acyclovir (or something similar) which is the most common drug for this, he could go many years without an outbreak.

I do think you should go to a reproductive health facility to talk to a counselor as well as medical personnel. Of course you want to be safe, but it's also very difficult to limit one's partners to only those who have never had an infection of any kind. And you're still not protected against people who have contracted a virus but never had symptoms and then passed the disease on quite innocently. So no one is without risk. I saw many cases of herpes when I worked in a clinic, and I know many people who have had successful marriages and delivered babies with sensible viral management.

As always, education is your friend. You haven't known this man long, so it's fine to delay any discussion of intimacy for a while until you learn more and talk more and think more.

9 moms found this helpful

TF Plano/Allen

answers from Plano on

I admire him for telling you and being upfront.

For me personally, it would be a deal breaker. My personal health is more valuable to me than a guy.

It's your choice and he may be a great person. What's it worth to you? You are taking a big risk because if you contract it, then you get to tell the next person you are with that you have it.

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Margie G.

answers from Portland on

A good friend of mine that I had years ago had genital herpes.

She contracted it from a boyfriend who didn't tell her. He didn't have any symptoms at the time.

He contracted it from a woman who didn't have any symptoms at the time.

My friend was advised to always use condoms.

My personal advice would be to go to a clinic where they can advise you.

I applaud this guy you're dating for telling you. My friend had some really horrible experiences. Not easy.

8 moms found this helpful

B

answers from Chesapeake on

Yes it's risky.
While I know some people do go on to have successful relationships and families, as a mother I'd advise my child to really consider the possible outcomes.
It can be passed even if there is no current outbreak and sometimes in spite of precautions.
You have to always use a condom.
It could be something you have to live with the rest of your life and it's impossible to know after only dating for a month if this is a relationship that will be long term.
Really think about this.
If you do get it - you might end up on the other side of this conversation having to explain that you have it early in your dating process.

8 moms found this helpful
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