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Early dating and sexual health


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Hello friends, I need some advice or at least some insights.

 

I've been seeing this woman for about 3 weeks now. We matched online and 'clicked' right when we met. There is a good chemistry between us and we've been really into each other. We've been on a few dates and only had sex for the first time the last weekend. Before that, she asked me about the last time I got tested for STI. It had been one year or more so I thought it was a good idea to test again. It all came negative for the major STIs I got tested for. It's a 'standard' sexual health test.

 

She also asked me, a few days before having sex, whether I was having sex with someone else at the moment, which I replied that I am not. She told me the same and that she has been tested for STIs recently so it was all ready to go. I know, a bit too pragmatic for me, but I understood her valid concerns. Also, we had sex using condoms so there was no big deal about it, so I thought.

 

After we had sex and while still laying on her bed, she started asking more questions about my sexual history. I felt a bit umcofortable to be honest. She asked about whether I had unprotected casual sex before and I said I had only with previous girlfriends but not casually. Then she asked if I had slept with multiple people at once (???) and I said I didn't. She kept asking questions she had asked before, and I told her it seemed like she was trying to tell/ask something but wouldnt' say it. I think she was trying to gauge how promiscuous I was/am. At some point, we talked about Herpes, etc. I said I never had any symptoms and since they can't test for it, there was no way to be certain but I felt confident that I don't have it. She then apologised for asking so many questions but said she was a bit 'paranoid' about sexual health and that some people don't care too much about it as much as she does.

 

The thing is, with my previous girlfriend, she told me straight away she had herpes but was taking medication and was not having any symptoms while we were together. At some point, after a few months, we ended up having sex a few times without a condom. It felt like a normal thing to do given herpes is quite prevalent and the risk of contamination is much lower when there are no symptoms and under medication. It was a calculated risk, given it was my partner and I felt ok with it given the fact she was very honest and transparent about it.

 

I did my research (I'm a public health researcher also) and most clinicians are pretty relaxed about Herpes. They say most sexually active people will get herpes at some point in their lives and most will never even develop symptoms. Also, symptoms tend to decrease with time, etc. They told me I most likely had sex with someone with herpes before my girlfriend anyway. 1 out of 6 sexually active people have the genital herpes virus and it is way more prevalent as people grow older.

 

Now the point is: I feel that I need to disclose this info (about me and my ex-girlfriend) to the new girl, given how paranoid she is about it. And I'm almost sure it will be a deal breaker for her and honestly, it may be one for me as well to deal with someone who is so paranoid about herpes. Even if it's not a dealbreaker, it will kill the vibe for sure. She seems to be really into me and already talked about future, etc, very slightly and not in a freaky way. It's a weird situation, I guess. I don't really know what to do. I think that only disclosing that "I might have it but don't know for sure" will not be enough.

 

This is the kind of information that I personally don't think I should disclose to people I'm dating, because I never had any symptoms and my ex-girlfriend was taking anti-herpes medication and without symptoms at the time. I have no indication of having herpes at all. I could have asymptomatic herpes, but I certainly never had any symptoms, not even slightly. Honestly I don't think herpes is a big deal at all. But she seems to think otherwise and now I'm overthinking everythink and want to tell her about it and possibly end things - or maybe she will end things first I don't know.

 

What are your thoughts on this? What is the level of disclosure you have with new people you are dating about your sexual past history? And especially about herpes that is so prevalent and we all "may or may not" have it? Also, I'm 35 and she's 31 if that's important.

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OK I will admit that I don't actually completely know how herpes is passed on. Can you still get it if you use condoms? And you can get it from oral sex? Look I'm not sure what to say because while yes, it's good to worry about protection and STD's, but I think she's a bit over the top. You did the full STD tests available and you showed her that you have no STD's. If it was me that would be all I need to know. That the person is clear. If we were using condoms I wouldn't think about it any further because there is also protection.

 

The fact that she kept talking about it and even asked things like how many people have you slept with and were you sleeping with more than one person at the same time. I don't think that is actually any of her business to be honest! I mean so what if you were sleeping with more than one person. You can do whatever you want. If you have no STD's that's all she needs to know.

 

It's just a bit full-on considering you'd only been seeing each other for three weeks.

 

I mean if you intend to keep seeing her then yes you should probably mention about the herpes. If she ends it then sorry but good riddance! I mean there is nothing you can do about it now and you've always done your best to stay STD free. It's fine not to use condoms with long-term partners so you did nothing wrong.

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She is not as concerned about her sexual health as she lets on.

 

If she was, she wouldn’t have sex on the 3rd meet with someone she barely knows.

 

She clearly has done that before , why would she get an sti screen otherwise?

 

If she only ever had sex with a partner who tested negative in an sti screen , why get tested???

 

She doesn’t care at this point if she has an sti and passes it to you. She just cares about whether you have one and might pass it to her?

 

As for herpes, no there is no screening test. If you have lesions , then yes they can be tested. But you don’t have any , she doesn’t have any.

 

You could have asymptomatic herpes and so could she?

 

Just because you know a previous partner had herpes but was responsible about it , does not mean you need to disclose this. You were careful.

 

I had an ex who had herpes but took the meds to prevent outbreaks. Over 10 years ago. I did not contract it.

 

This girl has had sex with guys whom she does not know their sexual history hence her sti test. How many of them had herpes? At least one in 8.

 

I would be more concerned about her sexual history she has not disclosed over yours that is pretty safe.

 

Ask for her sti results?! Show me yours I’ll show you mine. If she is as concerned as she lets on, no problem.

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Honestly I don't think herpes is a big deal at all

 

Crusty, weeping sores all over your genitals that has no cure, is no big deal!?!?

 

You have no right to decide for someone else what is or isn't a big deal. You don't care to risk herpes, but you cannot decide that for someone else, nor should you.

 

You should have told her BEFORE you got into bed with her and anyone else for that matter.

 

You have had risky sex. You can easily be carrying the virus and spreading it around, even with a condom.

 

How dare you have sex with anyone without telling them what they are risking.

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I think you've met a reasonable standard of disclosure. Your past is none of her business. All she needs to know is you have a clean bill of health.

 

My understanding is there are tests for herpes. You may want to consider that route, if you think it's worth your time and money.

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If this girl ever finds out about this, she will feel betrayed and end things.

 

And you don’t get to decide what is a big or not big deal for someone else. If I got herpes from someone I would be livid.

 

She hasn’t disclosed her full sexual history. She simply said her sti screen was negative , which does NOT include herpes. If she has had sex with 8 people the chances are that she had sex with someone with herpes, even if unaware.

 

At least he was aware and took precautions.

 

She has sex with someone she barely knows , apparently has had an sti check , prior , why? Clearly not because of previous clean long term sexual partners.

 

She is a hypocrite and using the sti chat for reasons other than sti’s.

 

He is not deciding what’s a big deal for her or not.

He is being very logical whereas she is clearly not.

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Crusty, weeping sores all over your genitals that has no cure, is no big deal!?!?

 

You have no right to decide for someone else what is or isn't a big deal. You don't care to risk herpes, but you cannot decide that for someone else, nor should you.

 

You should have told her BEFORE you got into bed with her and anyone else for that matter.

 

You have had risky sex. You can easily be carrying the virus and spreading it around, even with a condom.

 

How dare you have sex with anyone without telling them what they are risking.

 

But he doesn't think he has herpes because he's had zero symptoms his whole life...? He is using condoms and did all the STI checks he could. We could all be having sex with people who have herpes and don't even know it. Look at all the Tinder hookup culture we have now! We do our best by using condoms and maybe not having oral sex with a hook up but you can only do so much. I think this girl's behaviour is a bit off putting because she asked ten billion questions like did he sleep with more than one person at a time and is he sleeping with someone else now. I understand she's asking for safety reasons but what if he was to say: "Yes I did sleep with more than one person". What if he was sleeping with someone else now too? Would she end it? I mean he hardly knows this girl and he can do what he wants. What's this, the Spanish inquisition?

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It doesn't matter. He has had risky sex and could still be carrying the virus and passing it on. Condoms won't stop it.

 

Well he can tell her about it but I think that even prior to that she was acting off putting. Just my opinion. I think if he does tell her she probably won't want to see him again because she was already really suspicious, etc. I think she's obviously someone who is really stressed about this stuff anyway for whatever reason.

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Tiny, without any disrespect, you can make your own choices as to who you go to bed with. But me personally, if someone told me they had sex with someone with herpes and didn't use a condom I would not be having sex with them.

 

He made that choice, it's now up to him to disclose that unless he is 100% that he is not carrying the virus..

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And? She has a right to be however she wants to be. If she doesn't want to see him again...that's her right.

 

But keeping things from her and not giving her a fair choice is flat out wrong.

 

OK but if it makes no difference with herpes if you wore a condom or not? Is the chance to catch it lower with a condom? Yes of course it's her choice not to continue in regards to the herpes. I'm just saying she was already putting him in an awkward situation asking stuff that wasn't necessary to ask.

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It doesn't matter. He has had risky sex and could still be carrying the virus and passing it on. Condoms won't stop it.

 

He didn’t have “risky” sex.

He had sex with a partner known to have herpes but a responsible partner who said she was positive , used meds to prevent outbreaks and didn’t have sex during an outbreak.

Just like I did.

 

He is very responsible and mature about this. She on the other hand seems clueless.

 

You could have sex once prior to engaging in a 10 yr relationship . Both have sti tests done, all negative. Great!

10 yrs later one of you have a herpes outbreak. Who contracted it first? Who knows??

 

If this girl in question ever had oral sex, sex with a condom, then wrt herpes she had risky sex. Just because she doesn’t know the herpes status of the guys she hung out with that led her to get an sti test doesn’t mean she is “clean” or “clear”

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I am not entirely sure about the concept of 'risky' sex either. What is sexual risky behaviour? I had sex with my ex-girlfriend who was taking medication and showed it to me. I honestly would not have done that if it was a casual situation and I was bummed when it ended. From then on I have carefully checked for any symptom and didn't even notice any fever/cold which can be common when you get it, not to say sores and blisters and things like that.

 

If I had anything to believe that I have herpes I'd have disclosed it to her beforehand as my ex-girlfriend did to me. But disclosing risk of herpes involves full disclosure of sexual activity, basically. Unless we had no sexual partners in your life, we all have it, some more others less. Chances are that if we are in our 30s we will have had sex with someone with herpes, and that includes oral sex, if we had 6 different sexual partners. Is everyone willing to disclose that before having sex? That will have to include a count.

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Tiny, without any disrespect, you can make your own choices as to who you go to bed with. But me personally, if someone told me they had sex with someone with herpes and didn't use a condom I would not be having sex with them.

 

He made that choice, it's now up to him to disclose that unless he is 100% that he is not carrying the virus..

 

At this point he is sure he doesn’t have herpes as is she. Because of no symptoms. Only.

He was lucky enough to have a partner who disclosed that she did have herpes.

As for the girl in question , ignorance is bliss? Really?

 

He chose to sleep with her knowing she had an sti check that was negative yet why did she get an sti check done?

Clearly because she is unsure of previous partners sexual health which includes herpes but can’t be tested for on a routine screen.

 

Has she disclosed that info? No?

What if she does have herpes? And he contracts it from her? Is she going to blame him purely because he had sex with one person in 8 who has it?

 

There is a lot of ignorance wrt to herpes.

And it sounds like this girl is not a saint when it comes to choosing sexual partners and likely ignorant.

I would be more concerned about contracting herpes from her than her contracting herpes from him.

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First of all, yes, you owe it to her to tell her this.

 

Go get a herpes-specific test. It tests for herpes antibodies, which tells you if you have herpes or not.

 

Nearly all people who have had chicken pox will test positive for HSV-1; it's the HSV-2 that you need to get checked for. So don't freak out if it comes back positive for HSV-1.

 

And yes, be honest with her about all of this, and be prepared to abstain from sex with her until all of this is sorted out.

 

Herpes is not part of a normal STI/STD panel because it's just a different test. But almost any lab, including those "drive-up" labs, can do it.

 

Once the HSV virus is in your system, your body creates antibodies to it, which is why there are never constant outbreaks. It's the antibodies that the test is looking for.

 

But even during non-outbreak times, the person is still very much contagious, as the outbreaks first begin with a "prodromal", or shedding phase, which the person who has herpes is not often aware of. If they engage in sex while they are prodromal, it can easily be passed on, even though they don't "feel" an outbreak.

 

Because of this, I wouldn't engage in sex with her at all until you both have been tested for everything, including herpes.

 

I once dated a guy who wouldn't have sex until we both produced new test results for everything, including HIV, HSV, etc. I didn't stop dating him. I respected him for it, and I understood. Hopefully she will too.

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Regarding tests, I've been looking for it for a long time. Where I live, these tests are not recommended if you don't have a sore or blister, they just won't take a swab at the lab if you don't have visible symptoms. Blood tests can be done but they appear not very effective. I could try to do that but I honestly don't know where I can get one done. Maybe I'll ask at the sexual health clinic again but they told me there are no tests for asymptomatic herpes as per guidelines - the blood tests give too many false positives and false negative results. So even taking the blood test, I'd still not be sure. There's no way to know if you don't have symptoms apparently.

 

I'd like to take the test anyway, if I can find one. And yeah, she could get tested too. I'll try to find out more tomorrow.

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Regarding tests, I've been looking for it for a long time. Where I live, these tests are not recommended if you don't have a sore or blister, they just won't take a swab at the lab if you don't have visible symptoms. Blood tests can be done but they appear not very effective. I could try to do that but I honestly don't know where I can get one done. Maybe I'll ask at the sexual health clinic again but they told me there are no tests for asymptomatic herpes as per guidelines - the blood tests give too many false positives and false negative results. So even taking the blood test, I'd still not be sure. There's no way to know if you don't have symptoms apparently.

 

I'd like to take the test anyway, if I can find one. And yeah, she could get tested too. I'll try to find out more tomorrow.

 

The only type of test is a blood test, not a swab, etc.

 

You might have to go to a private lab to get this done, not your regular doctor's office.

 

The blood test does not produce "false positives". What it produces is either a presence of HSV-2 antibodies, or not. Period.

 

It's an IgG test, and it distinguishes between HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies.

 

You can be positive for HSV-2 antibodies and never present symptoms for your entire life. This is why it seems like there are "false positives". But you are still infected with it, and it can still be passed on.

 

This is how vaccines work: The virus is injected into us, and the body creates antibodies, surrounding it, keeping it from erupting into the disease itself.

 

So they CAN check for HSV-2 antibodies. They are either there, or they are not.

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From what I understand about HSV-2, LHG is spot on. Although I admit I was not aware it could be contracted when one's partner is not having a current outbreak. So that was new info for me, thnx LHG good to know.

 

I am a bit torn about what info to disclose to new partners or not.

 

Of course we should disclose any sti's we ourselves are currently carrying but of our past partners?

 

I think if you have been tested and those tests show up negative, then no, it's not necessary to disclose any history about past partners, to me that would be an invasion of their privacy.

 

However, in this case, Morrello you have not been tested. You don't think you have contracted it because you show no symptoms, but you may still have contracted it and be a carrier.

 

So my advice at this point would be to get that blood test, ASAP, to know for sure.

 

If it's negative, then no need to disclose to your new gf any info pertaining to your ex.

 

It's none of her or anyone's business what diseases your ex has, as long as you are negative.

 

That is all that's important, imo with respect to what to tell new partners.

 

It's a total invasion of your ex's privacy, I mean what if your new gf told someone else, that person told someone and suddenly it's splashed all over the Internet your ex has Herpes?

 

Just go get tested, ease your conscience; by doing so you can enjoy sex with a clear conscience and not worry about not disclosing something so private re any of your previous partners.

 

If the test turns up positive for HSV-2, then of course you would need to disclose that info to your new gf.

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Thanks LHGirl, that's helpful info.

 

And Katrina, you make a valid point about privacy. It's really "too much info" I think to disclose that info about my ex. It's better to just get tested and get this over with.

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Of course we should disclose any sti's we ourselves are currently carrying but of our past partners?

 

I think if you have been tested and those tests show up negative, then no, it's not necessary to disclose any history about past partners, to me that would be an invasion of their privacy.

 

 

So yeah, I amend what I said earlier: Since the herpes was your past partner, no, you do not need to tell, as you yourself aren't the one who (definitely) has it. I agree with Katrina, that it's a violation of their privacy.

 

The reason I've done so much research on this is that I dated someone who had herpes (genital, HSV-2), who didn't tell me until I was months into dating him. This was 15 years ago, and I definitely learned my lesson on asking questions first, sleeping with someone later.

 

In that case, I slept with him many times, and once he told me, I freaked out and broke up. He had an outbreak later on in the day, when we had had sex that morning. I never spoke to him again, but I chastised myself for not having been more careful.

 

Since it can take months for the antibodies to appear, I had myself tested, and re-tested months later. All negative.

 

But to Katrina's point, I never told any of my partners after him about it because, well, that's his business, not mine. My side of the street are my own results.

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Interesting situation.

 

Personally, I think you've been more than above-board in what you've disclosed and the steps you've taken to ensure you're clean. I also think she's being over the top in a way that would both turn me off and raise eyebrows. Call me old fashioned, but I don't love discussions about STDs and deep inquisitions about my sexual history to be the stuff of pillow talk, especially with someone who, an hour before, was down for a 3rd date romp after the standard protocol of mature adult questioning. All that speaks to a kind of paranoid mindset that I can't hang with, paranoia being as contagious as a herpes outbreak, and reading your original post I'm already wondering what she's hiding and/or where the source of all this sexual shame lies. Those are not questions I'm interested in being part of early romance, especially in the post-coital stages.

 

But that's me.

 

She, as Sherry said, has a right to be however she wants to be: down to roll around with near-strangers, but equally down to follow that up with paranoid pillow talk. So the gentlemanly thing to do is respect her level and get the blood test. No need to tell her every detail of your past, but no sex till you get the results. If they're negative—great, another exhale for yourself and then proceed as is, if you're still interested/capable in proceeding. If they are positive—well, then you get to have a very adult, very uncomfortable conversation that will likely be the end of this nascent tryst.

 

I've done the herpes blood test with zero symptoms or cause for concern, by the way, more than once; it's totally doable. Doctors do generally discourage you from getting it—or at least discouraged me, since I had no symptoms or any idea whether I'd been with someone who'd been diagnosed—because doctors don't really think herpes is a big deal. They understand that people generally get outbreaks only by having unprotected sex with someone having an outbreak. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are rare, and doctors focus more on managing the rules than indulging the exceptions. I did it for my own peace of mind after a fertile stretch of singledom and so I could be confident in saying I'm clean when I tell people I'm clean. I'm not paranoid at all about this stuff, but that's partly because I'm really precautious.

 

Anyhow, that's my take.

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