To Tell or Not to Tell About Genital Herpes or Cold Sores
It's natural to be concerned about telling a new partner that you have genital herpes. Fear of being rejected and perhaps being uncomfortable about sexual health concerns makes it a tricky subject to bring up. However, it is more likely that your partner will respect your openness and honesty and it will be an opportunity to take your relationship to a deeper level of trust and understanding.
There are no black and white rules for telling your partner you have herpes, and everyone needs to make their own decisions depending on the situation, but the fact is more people are accepted by new partners than rejected for having genital herpes.
Some people choose not to tell casual partners. They don't have sex during an outbreak and practice safe sex by using condoms. And this is an OK decision.
In a relationship, "not telling" can cause anxiety and stress affecting your emotional and sexual health.
For most people the anxiety over not telling is worse than the telling itself and they find their partners both supportive and understanding. By telling your partner, you are opening up the opportunity to have an honest and shared discussion about other sexual health concerns.
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 first time I told someone....
" The first time I told someone I had genital herpes in the early stages of a relationship, he said: ' You want to know something... I have too.' ...I couldn' t believe it... all that worry... we had to laugh." – JM
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.