I don’t have herpes

Interesting debate yesterday. I’m hoping for Diane that the house is in her name. That would make things a bit easier.
Moving on … Isn’t it about time we had a letter about herpes?
Hi Meredith,
I’m a single male in my 30s and an ex-girlfriend of mine had genital Herpes.
This was more than seven years ago, and she’d told me about it before we started having sex. We were together for less than a year, and didn’t always use a condom, though were careful about not getting physical when she had an outbreak.
So far, I have always made it a policy to inform those I’ve dated since then about this history before we got naked and exchanged bodily fluids, even though I have never had any symptoms of herpes. (I read a lot — and I mean a lot — about herpes when my ex-girlfriend first told me, and I am quite careful — I’ve attended safer-sex workshops – and for the most part, have practiced safer sex.) Since there’s no conclusive test to detect herpes and I’ve never had any symptoms, do you think I should continue informing my future lovers about this? The responses from my previous lovers have been mixed (from a shrug to “thanks for mentioning”), though no one decided to turn me down after this disclosure.
I’m starting to wonder — am I making too big a deal out of something that’s a minor and inconsequential issue — or a non-issue? What would be the expectation of girls, oops, women ;) regarding this from their date/lover? Would they like to know about something like this — which happened more than seven years ago — before getting naked, or is it a case of “Move on, nothing to see here”? Am I being unnecessarily cautious here?
– Full Disclosure, Boston
A: FD, First of all, congrats. You’re informed about your body and you’re concerned about your partners. Too many people – especially guys — are in wicked denial about their private parts, which is how STDs spread.
Your letter inspired me to chat with a close friend of mine who has done STD outreach for years. I read him your letter and much to my surprise, he was quick to tell me you’re in the clear. Apparently, seven years of no symptoms and testing negative (you have been tested, yes?) means you can stop mentioning the herpes you don’t have. My friend said that while there’s no 100-percent-accurate test for herpes (you could be a carrier and never know it), you’re allowed to tell a partner you’re disease-free because by definition, you are.
But let’s forget about all that for a moment because I think it’s irrelevant. I don’t think you tell people about your brush with herpes because you actually think you might have herpes. I’m pretty sure you tell your herpes tale because there’s a nagging part of you that wants to be 100 percent honest with partners, no matter what. That’s just your personality. Which is awesome.
Let’s say I’m on a desert island with two guys. One guy tells me he’s STD free and gives me a nice smile, while the other guy neurotically tells me about the time he almost got herpes seven years ago. If it’s a choice, I’m going to sleep with guy No. 2. He’s probably going to be honest with me about everything.
Why would I ever be on a desert island choosing one of two guys for sex? I have no idea. But my point is, yes, you’re probably making a big deal out of nothing, but keep doing it. Your full disclosure not only keeps you sane, but it shows your partners who you really are — a guy who wants to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable for you.
Readers? After seven years, can he keep the story about the herpes he doesn’t have to himself? Would you want to know? Am I wrong about the desert island thing? Share here. Twitterstein here.
- Meredith