It's natural to feel awkward or embarrassed when telling a new partner that you have genital herpes, this is normal! There are ways to make it easier to share this information, and in most cases, sharing it will lead to a deepening of trust in your new relationship.
You may want to rehearse what you say with a trusted friend or health professional first.
Don't try and have this conversation when you are about to have sex.
Choose a place and time when you know there will be no interruptions and when you're feeling calm and relaxed.
"Before we get more intimate/have sex I would like to talk to you about our sexual health. Having safe sex is important for me and because I care about you as well I think it's important to be honest."
"Before we go any further in our relationship I think we should be honest with each other about our sexual histories."
"I have something I would like to discuss with you of a personal nature before we become more intimate/make love/have sex."
"We get along so well and I think we owe it to each other to make sure we do what's best for each other and ourselves. Can we talk about our sexual health?"
"Did you know that the herpes virus that gives people cold sores on their lips is the same skin infection as genital herpes? It's not life threatening, but can be a nuisance. Luckily there is treatment you can take to manage it."
"Did you know that most people who have the genital herpes virus don't even know it... but some people get symptoms, and I do, so I would like to tell you more about it before we have sex."
Telling my partner....
"When I finally told my partner I had genital herpes, he was relieved, he thought it was something much worse..." – AH
The Guidelines are a consensus opinion of the STIEF Professional Advisory Board (PAB). The PAB has representation from nationwide medical, nursing and allied disciplines involved in the management of STIs. The Guidelines are produced by considering available literature, both New Zealand wide and international, and by basing the medical recommendations on the evidence in the literature or reasonable supposition and opinions of medical experts.