This forum is an un-mediated, patient-to-patient forum for questions and support regarding herpes issues such as: Herpes symptoms and treatments, causes, diagnosis, and herpes in men, tests, telling your spouse or partner.
I've met a great person whom I like very much. We've had a few sexual encounters that are just shy of intercourse, but needless to say, I understand that this is enough exposure to transmit STD's.
After the 2nd enounter, she mentioned that she is HSV2 positive. I'm now torn between my desire to continue dating her, and protecting my own health. I understand that the chances of having picked up the infection from her over these 2 enounters is very small, and I also get it that if I choose to date her and have regular sex with her (which is a given if I do date her), then I'll have about 5-15% risk of getting it. I'm also getting tested myself again just to check that I'm not already HSV2 positive - again I understand the national statistics of 25% incidence and there is a good chance I have it and don't know about it. So I'm educated about it.... but it doesn't help me create a good decision framework for the question, 'do I continue seeing her or not'.
If I turn out to be positive, I'm sure I'll continue seeing her. It's a simple decision.
If I'm negative, I'm inclined to reject her. But this feels wrong on so many levels...
1. For the next 3 days while I'm waiting for my own test results, I'm not likely to share this decision framework with her. So I'll be "leading her on" quite callously. Not sure how to feel ok about this...
2. She is a great person. We are a great 'fit' long term. And the sexual chemistry is the best I've felt among all people I've dated (and feeling is mutual). Passing her by for fear of HSV2 sounds stupid. On the other hand, I'm not the most (socially) desirable person to date (from a religion/color/ethics/politics/social alpha status and sexual appetite/preferences perspective). I'm pretty desirable for a niche set of people (who are in turn interesting to me), this is a rare crowd. For e.g., very few people want to date (or are compatible with) a intellectual atheist brown foreigner. You don't have to like my line of thinking, but its pragmatic :), and adding HSV2 positive status to my list of limiting constraints would make future dating pool only smaller for me. So taking a chance on her now might not work out very well for me in the long term if this relationship doesn't pan out (and I'm unlucky and catch it -but considering our chemistry, I expect there will be significantly above average freqency of sexual contact...).
So I have a dilemma. Do I go with the bird in hand, or move on (and hurt a decent person in the process)... I don't know how to think and act in a manner that is right by me, right by her, and is also pragmatic. I'd appreciate any thoughts here... that are not personal attacks on what I've had to say. I accept that I'm flawed, imperfect, selfish etc., but I'm self-aware enough to know it when my selfishness is likely to manifest as meanness to another person..and I'd like to limit the damage I cause to others...
Not sure where you got your stats from. As a male, if you do nothing but avoid sex anytime she has obvious genital symptoms, you are 96% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from her. If she takes daily suppressive therapy, you use condoms and avoid sex when she has anything going on genitally, it's a 99% likelihood each year that you won't contract hsv2 from her.
it's not likely you contracted hsv2 from her from 2 encounters.
Honestly you are much safer with someone who knows that they are hsv2+ than you are with someone who doesn't get tested to know that they are infected. With 1 out of every 4-5 adults having hsv2 in the US, it's really not the drawback you are envisioning it to be.
I thinjk our stats are really in agreement. You think I'll have a 96% chance of not contracting (or 4% chance of contracting), and I think I'll have a 5-15% chance of contracting. I obviously don't have as much depth of knowledge in this subject, and my (incomplete, inaccurate, internet based) research seems to tell me the stats are 5% risk to 15% risk (depending on the site, source of stats etc).
The drawback is a social one. If I know I have it, I'd feel obliged to disclose it. Chances are good that it would result in rejections, which can hurt, or just limit me. Of course, I could choose not to get tested in the future, and be like many other adults... ;), but I doubt I can be passive like that either.
Grace - I understand this is a medical awareness forum, and less of a social discussion forum. Are there other internet forums where I can discuss this type of a question, and perhaps find other people to talk (metaphorically, I mean email) with that might have faced a similar question/dilemma in their lives?
Grace isn't just pulling those stats out of her butt - they are factual statistics based on clinical trials/studies. So needless to say, your stats are not at all in agreement. And as Grace said, were you to use condoms and she take suppressive therapy, there's only a 1% chance annually that she would transmit herpes to you.
petal - thanks for the response. it sounds like you think i'm dismissing graces's stats, but i'm not. i was actually explicit in saying that my own stats were likely to be in error since i don't have much experience or depth on this subject. i used the word 'agreement' loosely. what i meant was that they were both leading me to the same conclusion - that the risks are rather low. But yeah, I suppose it's important to differentiate 'miniscule' from 'low', and 1% is 'miniscule'. thanks!
To let something as minor as HSV2 (cold sores below the waist) to prevent you from engaging in a meaningful relationship with this woman is absolutely crazy. If you were to contract it from her (which you are statistically unlikely to but nevertheless a possibility), and the relationship ends, yes, this might cause slight problems in starting new relationships. But, it also might serve as a very good litmus test to determine if this next woman is worth being in a relationship with. If a person cannot handle something as minor as cold sores below the waist, how can s/he be expected to deal with the real stuff, like debt, cancer, child disability, etc., all of which are statistical likelihoods in the context of a relationship.
Based on hard earned personal experience, I can honestly tell you that being in a relationship with HSV2 is a blessing. Believe me, it will deepen your relationship, forcing a deeper level of honesty and trust.
I totally know what it's like to be in your situation (in multiple ways---considering a relationship with a HSV2 person, being in a statistical unique position when it comes to dating). However, I can safely say that giving up this relationship based on a small skin irritation below the waist will be something you'll likely regret, especially if both she's such a intellectual, ethnic, religious match.
anytime you date it can lead to rejection. Sometimes it's because you don't dress "right", sometimes it's because you don't make "enough" money, sometimes it's because you have 4 kids from a previous relationship and their mom has some serious "issues" that she thinks the whole world should have to deal with and other times it's because you told someone you have genital herpes. It's what dating is all about - getting to know someone and deciding if you can deal with their baggage or not. At least with herpes, you can take a pill or two a day and keep it under control - can't deal with a gambling addiction, money woes or being a complete slob as easily :)
Life is all about chances. if you know that you can't deal with the risk of herpes, be honest with this partner and then move on. If you think you are willing to chance it, then by all means be honest with your partner about that too and work on growing the relationship :)
Thanks everyone for your help. I'm sure this will help me as I think through this question. I did find out just now that I'm free of all major STD's (HIV, HepB/C, HSV1/2, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea), which will make the decision process somewhat harder for me. I almost wish I'd been positive for HSV1 or 2 (esp 2) and it would be easier to decide... but alas this is mixed good news/bad news situation. I don't know which way I'll decide yet... but thanks for all the help. I really appreciate it!
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