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I don't have herpes

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 21, 2009 09:15 AM

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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

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169 comments so far...
  1. As Meredith addresses, your point of honesty is refreshing and I can not imagine anyone not appreciating that. More to the fact though - you are symptom free; you are STD FREE! The anxiety you must put on yourself every time you feel you need to bring up your past must be exhausting. I, myself, wouldn't think differently of you or turn you away for your involvement with your ex, but at the same time if you don't have anything to worry about please don't scare me into thinking maybe I might have to think twice. Bringing up an issue that really isn't a problem would only cause me to ponder why you'd still feel the need to reveal this scare. You're informed and clear, my dear..let it go.

    Posted by GoodToGo July 21, 09 09:35 AM
  1. Meredith - We know you'd bump uglies with both guys, make a little Meredith sandwich!!

    Posted by JT July 21, 09 09:37 AM
  1. Full Disclosure, you are a good man. Honest guys can be very hard to find.

    Meredith, you are a good writer. Great response.

    Posted by Tricia July 21, 09 09:42 AM
  1. Tell me more about this island, and how I could quickly charter a boat there.

    Posted by Jen July 21, 09 09:49 AM
  1. Rico suggests taking Meredith's advice but taking it one step further...

    Rico thinks you should probably discuss this with your primary care physician and ask his/her advice going forward to confirm you are for sure "disease free". Taking advice from a LL column on what to do in a relationship is great but a confirmation from a qualified doctor would help Rico sleep better at night.

    Keep up the safe sex, don't cheat and stay honest, that is a trait Rico respects and applauds in other people. Rico also thinks maybe you might want to talk to a therapist about your disclosures because to some it may seem weird or maybe too much information? Regardless Rico thinks you are doing the right thing, keep it up...and wrapped :)

    Love always,

    Rico

    (Bike)Wheels not Rails

    Posted by Rico July 21, 09 09:49 AM
  1. LW, after more than 7 years, it’s a non-issue. You already know it and now I will validate your beliefs. There is no longer a need to discuss it prior to nakedness and if the thought bubbles after removing clothes is “Move on, nothing to see here”, then you’re on your own and that’s a whole other topic for another day that perhaps Rico can help you out with. Damn those bike seats…

    I know that some here will applaud the refreshing honesty, but from my perspective, continuing to disclose this is overkill. "Oh and one time, I took a candy bar from a 7-11 while my friend created a distraction at the Slurpee machine...oh, and then there's that time I didn't return a library book promptly..."

    Mere, if I was on a deserted island with two ladies, I don’t think I’d worry too much about who was going to be more honest with me. At that point, long term relationship prospects aren’t a concern. My first instinct would be survival, after that, it would pretty much be to make the best of it. Who’s up for a three hour Love Letter’s boat tour?

    Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
    A tale of a fateful trip
    That started from this tropic port
    Aboard this tiny ship…


    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss July 21, 09 09:52 AM
  1. Your right full disclosure. Tell them EVERYthing you did. Blecgh.

    Posted by swfoutsida July 21, 09 09:52 AM
  1. First, I want to say that I think you are a good man by addressing it. I, unfortunately was infected by a partner I had known for years...we reconnected and started dating in our adult years and he never told me his ex had it. Well, low and behold I got it. He was tested and it came back positive. He did inform me he had never had an "outbreak" just the typical "jock itch." I trusted him after knowing him for so many years and though, I have yet to have another outbreak....words could never describe how much I find this man I once loved and trusted disgusting. I respect you for being honest. I wish a lot more people out there were.

    Posted by karma July 21, 09 10:02 AM
  1. It's great that you're an honest guy. You don't have herpes and you are 99.99% not going to give any future girl herpes. Time to stop mentioning it and just be nice and honest about any other thing that comes up in your life.

    If a girl said that to me about something from 7 years ago, I'd be like....oh thanks.....thanks for telling me....why are you telling me?

    Posted by Craig July 21, 09 10:11 AM
  1. After receiving confirmation from a physician that you are 100% STD-free, I would stop bringing up this brush with herpes with your potential lovers. Personally, it would be a turn-off for me to know that your ex-girlfriend had herpes. I know I sound closed minded, but STDs give me the heebie-geebies. I would like to make it through the rest of my life without contracting herpes so I would rather not take the risk with someone who has played with such fire.

    Posted by trueluv4eva July 21, 09 10:11 AM
  1. Third-person Rico and poetic Hoss are great regular additions to this column Mere..

    Posted by GoodToGo July 21, 09 10:17 AM
  1. Newsflash: every letter writer does not require therapy. Please stop with the obligatory "You should see a therapist" comments. Thank you. Drive Through.

    Posted by Hadie Nuff July 21, 09 10:17 AM
  1. Just get tested... if you don't have it, don't worry about it...

    Posted by NSXZero July 21, 09 10:24 AM
  1. Agree with Hoss. Being honest is great, continue to do that in your relationships/hookups/life. But talking about an ex from seven years ago and what did NOT happen is just not needed. A simple "I'm clean, I am tested regularly" will suffice when that discussion comes up. Nothing more.

    And if there are two straight men and myself on an island...why do I have to choose just one?

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! July 21, 09 10:24 AM
  1. Wow Hoss. Such a clever and well crafted comment. Complete with a jingle at the end. Thank god we have you here to entertain us and to validate the LW's feelings. He would probably be lost without you.

    Posted by John Stamos July 21, 09 10:24 AM
  1. I would say nothing. Then use it as a "Breakup Zinger", nothing like getting the last Jab in as they walk out the door: "Oh yah? and by the way, you might have Herpes! You might want to warn every guy you sleep with over the next 100 years!" Is say don't burn bridges, Nuke Them!

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 21, 09 10:26 AM
  1. Rico, can my boyfriend and I meet you? We want to know who you are and if your name is really Rico. I bet it is not our real name and you are just from Puerto Rico, hence the name. We think you kick butt and talk about you every night over dinner. We thought you were harsh yesterday!
    Kristin

    Posted by Kristin July 21, 09 10:26 AM
  1. One more thing, Mer, how do you know that more males are in denial?

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! July 21, 09 10:26 AM
  1. Okay, so I've heard of nice guys losing out because they're "too nice to date". Now, STD-free guys/guys in no danger of an STD lose out because they're "too clean to sleep with"?

    Note to self - apparently, women should like it if I had a past history of STD's and infections, or at least tell them so... time to spruce up my sexual resume! Gonorrhea, here I come!

    Posted by makotofatora July 21, 09 10:27 AM
  1. It sounds like you are in the clear, but you might want to confirm with an actual doctor. At which point there is no ethical reason you need to tell a girlfriend about your history.

    Still, if you can work it into a conversation that you had a scare, and that you are pretty sure you're clear, then I think that would be a good thing. You do have some conversations with a women before you both get naked, don't you?

    Posted by two sheds July 21, 09 10:28 AM
  1. The most endearing moment I've had with a man in the past few months: I drank too many G&Ts one night. Five too many. My date walked me home in my semi-conscious state. I invited him up for a night cap. He said, "Honey, you're drunk and I have herpes. Let's just be friends tonight."

    I don't profess to be of above average intelligence. Generally, I think I'm lucky to have survived half the situations in which I've knowingly put myself, so I think it's easy enough to imagine getting stranded on an island with two or more men and an ice chest of Bombay Sapphire. I'd certainly chose the guy who confessed his STD to me, but it's unlikely he'd chose me.

    Stay STD free, and keep up with the TMI.

    Posted by Sally July 21, 09 10:29 AM
  1. I hope you have a blanket to lie on in that desert, Mere, or sand is going to get EVERYWHERE.

    Posted by laurahere July 21, 09 10:31 AM
  1. There are no definitive positive/negative tests for herpes.

    Posted by Public Service Announcement from Sally July 21, 09 10:32 AM
  1. I can't believe I'm actually going to agree with Rico here but I am: The person you should be talking to here is your primary care doctor. What you make up for in candor and honesty you actually lose points in being someone who gets his medical advice off an advice column on the Internet.

    And then, assuming that your doctor tells you that you are in the clear, please et yourself off the hook. Otherwise we're going to start reading letters from women saying "I'm dating this guy who tells me he had an ex from seven years ago that had herpes. He says he doesn't have them but I don't know why he is bringing up something that is ancient history. What do I do??"

    Posted by move on July 21, 09 10:34 AM
  1. #17: I used to think Rico was really entertaining, and had a cool suave voice like "Ricardo Montalban". But after a few months I realize he is a delusional self aggrandizing Megalomaniac, and that his voice probably sounds more like "The Buffoon" from the Adam Sandler comedy skit CDs ("Sheeeet Mayyyyn, I got a snayyykkke mayyyyyn."). Or maybe he sounds like Cheech?

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 21, 09 10:35 AM
  1. Meredith,
    While I understand what you are trying to say in your analogy, I think you are being unfair to guy #1. What if he is telling the truth? I for one have had a pretty boring past and now I have to contemplate that, if I am ever stranded on a desert island with you and one other guy, I will need to make up some past problems so that I will look honest and have a shot at sleeping with you.

    Posted by Why should I have to lie to appear honest July 21, 09 10:38 AM
  1. I think that Meredith is totally right: your honesty and open attitude are extremely positive qualities. I think it's pretty clear that you don't have herpes, but it's still very important for who you are to disclose part of your sexual history to partners.

    For me, I make it a point to get tested for STDs regularly, and before having sex with a new person, I think it's incredibly important to let him know how recently I've been tested, and what the chances are that I'm infected with something. STDs are pretty nasty, and all it takes is openness with a partner in order to avoid many of them.

    Posted by sabend July 21, 09 10:40 AM
  1. I had an ex-bf that was unfaithful and untruthful. As a result, I ended up with herpes even though he didn't have any symptoms. Unfortunately, since I am so scared about passing it on, I have not been able to be intimate with a guy because I am too afraid to bring it up. I think honesty is definitely the best policy...

    Posted by LuLuLemon July 21, 09 10:41 AM
  1. You can stop bringing it up.. it's overkill.

    There's really no reason, Love.

    Posted by BrittneyG July 21, 09 10:48 AM
  1. I agree that seven years is a long time and that if you haven't had any symptoms, you're probably ok. You need to discuss this with a physician to be sure.
    I have herpes and got it from my boyfriend who has never had any symptoms. My one outbreak was severe, but I haven't had one since. A friend of mine was with someone who had it for 20 years before she contracted it and had an outbreak. She has outbreaks every 3 months.
    The disease affects people differently, so you need to check with a doctor to be sure you don't have it and are a "silent" carrier.

    Posted by justbesure July 21, 09 10:48 AM
  1. I think once you know you are clean (or as sure as you can be) it's TMI. You should keep this info to yourself unless/until you are at least in a commited relationship.

    Posted by techdood July 21, 09 10:49 AM
  1. Meredith, Your a lunatic ! (meant in the nicest way) How could you say "especially guys" like it's only men that deny that type of stuff. Women and men are equal opportunity offenders when it comes to those type of omissions, as both sexes will do what they have to have sex with who they want. I really surprised that you would take that stance as you usually come off pretty balanced and not a man basher. Must be the weather !

    Posted by bhp July 21, 09 10:49 AM
  1. As usual.....Hoss is right:)


    can't wait to see what valentino has to say!

    Posted by sm1231 July 21, 09 10:50 AM
  1. Herpes or no, you should be having safe sex anyway. But you know this because you have done so much research about safer sex, right? So the conversation you have with you new girlfriends is just you insisting that you are going to use a condom -- for BOTH your protection.

    Posted by rebecca July 21, 09 10:52 AM
  1. I believe what Mere is saying is that Thurston Howell III (age & Lovey) and the Captain (circulation & anti-depressants) are basically impotent; leaving The Professor and Gilligan as potential suitors. Logically speaking, Mere’s fraternal relationship with Ginger and Mary Ann would not be breeched for any man (especially those in denial about their private parts). Since Ginger and Mary Ann are both hot for the Science Guy; that leaves the Little Buddy for Meredith. Oh, I know he’s unassuming, cute, forthcoming, naïve, inexperienced, Goofy (oh, that would be against the law) and needy, but his honesty and integrity let you know the “check is in the mail”. I think it also provides the opportunity to nurture and mold young Gilligan. Do I see an alternate designation (from single to married) on someone’s future tax return?
    As for the LW…I think your predicament endears you to the ladies in the same way groupies were drawn to Ted Bundy.

    Posted by valentino July 21, 09 10:56 AM
  1. For anyone who is interested, there is a great support group once a month at the Beth Israel Hospital. I have attended and it has really allowed me to release a lot. For the people out there who were infected by an ex who was either unfaithful or didn't care to tell you...please don't think you can never date anyone again. That is letting "it" win....we are better than that and deserve more than that. Get yourself some support and don't let yourself think you will never love again.

    Posted by Karma July 21, 09 10:58 AM
  1. your ex & my ex should get together!!!!

    My ex had herpes & only told me b/c he HAD to… if ya know what I mean?? I’m guessing he doesn’t tell many girls these days. BTW - he’s a total hottie, w/ a great job, lots of $, super personality, the life of any party, & totally clean-cut. Last I heard he’s single & looking so ladies (& guys!)…. do the right thing & don’t have sex w/out a condemn!!! You never know who is keeping a little secret b/c they’re embarrassed to fess up. Until I get married – no glove, no love!

    Back to the letter – I saw a doctor, she told me w/ no symptoms I was clean. I don’t mention my brush w/ herpes to new guys. 7 years w/ no signs, you’re clean in my book, stop bringing it up, UNLESS you’re using this to open the door to start a conversation about your new partner’s past….. which is why I think you keep bringing it up.

    Posted by STD-Free & staying that way! July 21, 09 10:59 AM
  1. FD, I applaud you. I have three girlfriends (that I know of) who have either herpes or HPV. I'm pretty certain they haven't disclosed to past/current partners and it's horrifying to me (although I don't claim to have any balls if I were in their shoes!) I'm sure it takes a lot of courage to be so honest and it's a tribute to your character. Sounds like you're in the clear for further disclosure on this issue though.

    Posted by alipie July 21, 09 11:03 AM
  1. So let me get this straight, Meredith. One guy flashes you a nice smile and tells you he has no STD. Another guy says the same thing, but neurotically tells you he dated a girl who did. You pick the guy with the complex.

    Mom warned me about girls like you.

    Posted by John Simons July 21, 09 11:04 AM
  1. and #12, I agree 100%. Why so quick to jump to therapy (not just today, it is frequent)? Because he liked being honest?! Yes yes he has HUGE issues.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! July 21, 09 11:07 AM
  1. None of you are qualified to tell this man not to warn future partners.

    Posted by John Stamos July 21, 09 11:08 AM
  1. If you have spoken to a doctor and he/she has given you a "clean" bill of health, honestly, I'd prefer not to know.
    It would be like telling all your ex boyfriends about your pregnancy scares.
    I know I am comparing babies to STDs, but it just seems unnecessary to bring up a close brush with something that never actually materialized... **As long as your doctor thinks you are "in the clear" (as far as not having a definitive test).

    More shocking to me is that you voluntarily agreed to sleep with someone who currently had an STD. Not so sure I am that brave. Even though you didn't seem to contract the disease, it sure has done a number on you mentally, even 7 years later!

    Posted by HBellz July 21, 09 11:08 AM
  1. Rico here again...

    Rico's quick info:

    Yes Rico is Rico's name (possibly not legal name but still his name) and goes by other names as well, but not on here.

    Rico does have a job, not delivering pizza since pizza delivery really requires a car (except that Upper Crust place).

    Rico is a master in the bedroom, kitchen, schoolyard, dinner party, classroom etc...

    Rico can be moody, one day tearing a LW to pieces and another praising them...

    Rico looks in the mirror regularly...maybe too regularly :) and admits when he is wrong but stands by what he thinks is right.

    Rico is not a female, Rico is not very old but not very young, Rico was born and raised here but has been fairly well traveled and lived outside of here. Rico is heterosexual and happily married with child. Rico loves everyone and has friends of all colors, races and sexual orientation. Rico does not like racist or haters and hates cheaters...

    Rico had a Bar Mitzvah, Rico doesn't frequent the Shul but Rico can cook a mean Chicken soup with Matzoh Balls and an amazing Brisket...Among other foods Rico cooks...

    Rico also cleans up after himself, is very honest and tries to do the right thing always and teaches his child the same. Rico loves to see people smile and enjoys life. Rico is happiest on a beach with his family enjoying the outdoors...

    Rico loves to bike and tries to be good to the environment.

    Rico is always ready to dispense advice and is a good listener, Rico thinks he has a sign on him at times telling people they need to ask him for advice, directions etc...

    Rico will check in later to see how the days blog is going...enjoy.

    Love always,

    Rico

    PS. You really discuss Rico over dinner? Yes Rico was harsh yesterday, but the LW deserved a dose of reality. Sorry, Rico calls them as he sees them.

    Posted by Rico July 21, 09 11:08 AM
  1. You date a slut you get what you deserve.

    Posted by Rotten July 21, 09 11:10 AM
  1. I don't think STD is the three letter acronym you need to be concerned about... maybe OCD? I think you should relax and let it go. While honesty is great, some things are better left unsaid... like the possibilty you may have contracted Herpes 7 years ago.... but didn't.

    I had nothing to add to yesterday's discussion, not much today...we need a letter with some substance!

    Posted by Kathleen July 21, 09 11:11 AM
  1. Re: #25

    Freako thinks DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 is dead on.

    Posted by Freako July 21, 09 11:12 AM
  1. Before having sex the first time, I had the "talk" with my partner-- when were you last tested, have you had partners who've had STDs, are you OK using condoms for awhile (until we're really sure we're both monogamous and clear of STD), etc. If everyone had this conversation, there would be no surprises, precautions would be taken appropriately, there'd be fewer STD's in the world.

    In the context of a conversation like this, full disclosure of your herpes status won't be a big deal. And, in the exceedingly unlikely event you are a silent carrier, at least it wouldn't be a surprise or feel like dishonesty down the line. .

    Posted by Always Appreciate Honesty and Full Disclosure July 21, 09 11:14 AM
  1. Oh, for pete's sake-- if you don't have an STD, then why are you bringing it up? To say you *almost* got an STD is like a woman saying she's a little bit pregnant, or someone saying they're 'kinda married.' Either you are, or you aren't. You aren't. Find something more interesting to talk about.

    If a woman wants to conduct a full inquisition about your sexual past, then bully for you for being honest. But let her start the conversation and ask the questions. Unsolicited honesty can be a turn-off as much as a turn-on.

    Posted by Joey July 21, 09 11:15 AM
  1. I can't believe Rico actually thought my comment was legit.

    Posted by Kristin July 21, 09 11:20 AM
  1. Herp Haiku

    After seven years
    Noose around privates loosened
    Wankruptcy discharged

    Posted by valentino July 21, 09 11:23 AM
  1. Meredith -- you aren't a doctor, stop playing one in your advice column.

    This is a medical question with serious ramifications -- your advice should have been to go to his doctor and have that conversation with him/her.

    Posted by Jennie July 21, 09 11:24 AM
  1. Rico,

    Do you wipe your own ass too?

    Posted by ILoveFreako July 21, 09 11:28 AM
  1. I'm actually kind of torn on this one. I want to say that after 7 years it's just too much info but since you can actually be a carrier of it and not know it , you need to fully disclose this info. I wasn't aware that a test can not clearly determine if you have herpes or not. So hearing that, you'll never really know if you are infecting someone. I say be honest, protect yourself and others but then let it go.
    However, when telling a new partner, stick to the facts of the herpes, not details of the prior relationship. No one wants to hear details of an old girlfriend.
    Best of luck to you. Like most posters mentioned, your honestly is a great quality!!

    Posted by bgcomreader July 21, 09 11:31 AM
  1. In regards to #41 - Mr. John Stamos - Given the information provided, there is NO reason for FD to 'warn' future partners of an 'almost'.

    Life is FULL of almosts, coulda-beens, near misses, etc... If they amount to nothing, there is no reason to divulge every 'shoulda-coulda-woulda'

    Posted by BrittneyG July 21, 09 11:32 AM
  1. #46, "Freako": is it just me, or does every passing letter make Rico sound more-and-more like the most annoying Dush-Baag in the world?

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 21, 09 11:36 AM
  1. I am a married woman of 12 years and prior to that was in a committed relationship for 10 years. I can count on one hand the # of men I have been intimate with and still I have herpes. I have no idea who gave it to me but it is a devestating place to be. You can imagine how hard it was to tell my husband. So I guess my comment is BRAVO for being so conscientious and honest!

    Posted by Married&Mad July 21, 09 11:37 AM
  1. "The responses from my previous lovers .....". ewwww.

    i appreciate full-discloser up-front, but this doesn't sound necessary after 7 years w/ a clean bill of health...

    #42 -- SO right! well said.

    Posted by polly July 21, 09 11:41 AM
  1. As someone who has herpes, I think Mr. Full Disclosure is a stand-up guy, but he really needs to consult his primary care physician to be sure. While testing is inconclusive, you can still carry, shed and pass along the virus even if you’re not symptomatic. And Meredith, are you and your STD outreach bud doctors? Do you have a comprehensive understanding of infectious and sexually transmitted diseases? If not, the both of you should probably refrain from delivering clean bills of health. I am also a little ruffled by the "especially guys" statement, Meredith. I showed signs of herpes shortly after I broke up with my fiancé. She told me about it before we ever had sex. I remember how horrible I felt for her when she told me. Toward the end of our relationship, we had a discussion about herpes. She indicated that she had "friends-with-benefits" that she never told. There was no remorse whatsoever. I was floored by her insensitivity and by her suggestion that no one would ever think it was her who gave it to them if they did contract it. The denial and deception is equally shared by both genders, Meredith. My doctor told me that the difference between love and herpes is that herpes is forever. He’s got that right. Mr. Full Disclosure, you’re a good person for considering your partners, but consider your own health, too, man.

    Posted by It can happen to you, too. July 21, 09 11:42 AM
  1. Is anyone else concerned with the fact that this guy was having unsafe sex with someone he knows had herpes?

    Posted by CJnBoston July 21, 09 11:46 AM
  1. I think almost all of us have unknowingly had sex with someone who was exposed at some point to the herpes virus. The real difference is that "Full Disclosure" had an ex-girlfriend honest enough to admit she had herpes, and that "Full Disclosure" has taken it upon himself to relay the potential danger to future partners. That is very commendable.

    I think FD should consult a physician for clarity. So should Rico, as he has a personality disorder that should be addressed, and may require medication.

    Posted by eric July 21, 09 11:47 AM
  1. You are a fool BrittneyG. But since you're ready to give medical advice perhaps you should start practicing out of your basement.

    - Your pal John Stamos

    Posted by John Stamos July 21, 09 11:47 AM
  1. To be fair, she did not make the diagnosis, her friend who apparently is an STD outreach counselor did

    Posted by ProudPapa July 21, 09 11:49 AM
  1. DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 -
    You've got Chirpies! Can't stop taliking trash. STFU. You're a miserable bore with zero sense of humor or irony. I know Rico gets the attention you desire, but you'll have to be Jimmy Osmond for a while.

    Posted by one bad apple July 21, 09 11:49 AM
  1. You may not have herpes, but do you have HPV? You can't tell. There's no test for it for men. Stay wrapped either way, baby.

    Posted by Madra July 21, 09 11:51 AM
  1. There is a conclusive test for herpes - see a virologist. The virologist who tested me told me that he had herpes, and it is the most common STD, so common that the CDC doesn't even keep track of the numbers anymore. That being said, I am a recently divorced 37 year-old woman with herpes. It was dumb luck as I contracted it from my boyfriend - the second person I was with. I did not sleep around. Before I was married three years ago (separated for one of those years, just divorced), I had boyfriends and always disclosed it to them. One of them I disclosed it to said 'Is this a joke, because I have it too.' I was always told that I was 'brave', 'strong', 'honest' for revealing this and it has never been a problem for me. Now of course, being divorced if I want to get into the dating scene again, I now have to start telling men again which is why I'm reluctant to even get back out there. Plus the comments on here prove the stigma is still there and going strong, so it doesn't give me much hope to find someone.

    Posted by Newly Single July 21, 09 11:55 AM
  1. Didn't they make a movie about this guy? "The Seven Year Itch"...

    Posted by Kate's Nonna July 21, 09 11:56 AM
  1. Since you seem comfortable and practiced telling the tale, I am curious: were you ever met with, "Thanks for bringing it up, I was trying to figure out how to tell you that I have warts!" I would think that your honesty would provoke (or would it be invoke?) honesty from your partners?

    Posted by Lemon July 21, 09 12:01 PM
  1. Based on the advice Meredith gave yesterday, she certainly would ask both guys on that desert island for their bank balance before choosing which one to have sex. She should spell STD with an "$".

    As for the LW, your honesty is appreciated. If a health professional tells you that you're in the clear, then file it away forever. Also, you should always practice safe sex not only to prevent th spread of STD's, but you don't want to end up with an unwanted child that will cost you tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. At that point, even Meredith wouldn't date you because you would just be another loser with not enough money to satisfy her.

    Posted by leykis101 July 21, 09 12:01 PM
  1. The only way to definitively diagnose herpes infection is to culture a herpes sore while it is fresh and before it has scabbed over. An indirect way of diagnosing if someone has herpes infection is to see if antibodies to HSV are present in the blood. The blood test can distinguish between type 1 and type 2, meaning that it can tell if the person is infected with HSV-1, HSV-2, both, or neither. (The older version of the test that was around before 2003 was not able to accurately
    distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2.) What the blood test cannot do is tell where on the body the person is infected. If antibodies to HSV-1 are present, it usually means that the person has HSV-1 infection in the mouth, as do 80% of adults. If antibodies to HSV-2 are present, then it usually means that the person has genital infection withHSV-2.

    Posted by MIT What You Need to Know About Herpes Brochure July 21, 09 12:06 PM
  1. I think initiating this candid discussion (with appropriate attention to timing, of course) is a smart maneuver. It invites her to speak frankly about her history as well without dropping the question out there in an awkward way. I don't think he has to do this or do it like this, but it's not a poor way of handling it.

    He may have talked to a doctor--why assume he hasn't? Clearly, he is more informed than a number of posters here about the disease, diagnoses, and issues regarding testing.

    Posted by Mario July 21, 09 12:07 PM
  1. Oh, please - why are some of you praising this guy for being so honest. "Refreshing honesty," that comment is pathetic. You women sound as if you've set the bar very low, to be so grateful for honesty. Cheeses!

    Posted by FredricaMac July 21, 09 12:10 PM
  1. Rico-
    Mazel Tov! I love Brisket. When my boyfriend gets home from work he says something along the lines of "Baby, did you read love letters today?" A small discussion starts about the day's column, and one of us always says to the other "What do you think about Rico's advice?" Sometimes this happens as I am making dinner, sometimes when we are eating, and sometimes when we walk the dog. And Rico, we do not own a home together (we each live in separate homes). I agree with you about yesterday, although my boyfriend did the same thing with his ex as yesterday's writer did so he probably does not agree with you. Anyhow, then we try to figure out who you are. I am going to ask every bike rider I see if they are Rico. Rico is uber cool.


    Posted by Kristin July 21, 09 12:15 PM
  1. #56 and #65 -- congratulations on being so virginal, but I think the lesson here is that it's not whether YOU sleep around, but you that don't know where your partner has been. Not sleeping around isn't a protection from STDs! If you only ever sleep with one person one time you could still get them! LW has by his own admission a sketchy past (who sleeps with a person with herpes and only sometimes is protected??) and so may his girlfriends -- he should just use a condom no matter what.

    Posted by methuselah July 21, 09 12:16 PM
  1. I love that a couple women have actually said that they would NOT want to know. Hahaha. Thanks for the advice. I'll be a lot more private about my STD history with the women I date from now on. Thanks! You're really helping out society!

    Posted by Society July 21, 09 12:20 PM
  1. The information contained in this thread is grossly inaccurate, but I suppose that is what happens when you ask medical advice of a relationship columnist.

    Meredith, your friend is dead wrong. There *is* a test for herpes. There are two blood tests; the simple one will tell you HSV but not specify which type. The LW needs to ask for the specific antibody blood test which will tell him if he's infected and with what type, HSV-I or HSV-II.

    If he tests negative for either, then he is in the clear and off the hook completely. If he tests positive for type II, then he is a symptomless carrier of genital herpes and can indeed spread it to others. If he tests positive for type I, he is a symptomless carrier of the oral form which, while it is generally milder, and the majority of people are infected by age 40, can still be passed to the genitals and cause herpes on the genitals. HSV-II resides only in the genitals; HSV-I can reside either genitals or the mouth.

    Many doctors will dissuade you from a test, because herpes is so incredibly common. My own doctor told me by age 40, nearly 80% of adults are infected with HSV-I, which can spread to the genitals through oral sex, so why bother testing because the answer will likely be "positive." But you can be persistant and insist for the test anyway, if you are concerned for your partners.

    Then if you test negative, you can tell your future partners you are clean. If you test positive, practice safe sex and ask your future partners to be tested themselves. They may also think they are clean if they have never been tested. You may discover they are also symptomless carriers.

    So many people are symptomless carriers, and they have no idea. They assume no symptoms means they are clean, and it's just not true. The key point here is that you cannot predict who will have symptoms, and how painful those symptoms will be. Some people have no symptoms at all, some people have annoying symptoms (itch without blisters), other people have horribly painful symptoms. These last are actually the minority, but who wants that. So if you are a carrier - you got lucky and have no symptoms. Future partners may not be so lucky.

    At any rate, I highly encourage you to get the blood test to settle this in your mind once and for all. Are you really clean, or just symptomless? Find out for sure.

    Posted by get the facts July 21, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Don't ask, don't tell.

    Posted by Don Juan Lynn July 21, 09 12:23 PM
  1. What strikes me the most about this debate is how "most" people think something like herpes ,or any "STD" for that matter, couldn't happen to them--that it simply happens to "someone else", or someone who is promiscuous or has multiple sex partners, never to the innocent girl or guy. Or how "herpes" gets stigmatized in society as somehow being worse than HPV which is rampant in society and no "less" of an STD than herpes is---just less stigma associated with it, how sad. I feel so passionate about this issue, because one of my best friends was in a monogamous (or so she thought) relationship with a man for 7 years who lied, cheated multiple times, and deceived her. He seemed like the ideal man---super good looking, charming, professionally accomplished, etc.. One day, she found out he gave her herpes, and as her best friend I have watched the hell it has put her through--emotionally more so than physically, as she had no symptoms past the initial outbreak. She is an amazing girl, with outstanding morals, who has only had a few partners in her life, and she carries a secret that literally tears her apart everytime she mets a new potential mate. I listen to her cry and see her struggling with how to tell a new potential partner, and also when to tell them. She asks herself "Do I tell him too early before he knows her for the fun, smart, wonderful, beautiful girl she is and risk the "h" word ruining everything, and resulting in immediate rejection or labeling? OR does she wait until their connection becomes more serious, so at least the person knows her character and morals before making a decision, and can weigh the pros and cons possibly contracting this disease, or discuss how to prevent transmission? She fears hurting someone else just as much as she fears rejection over an issue that wasn't her fault---I mean, how many of you are using condoms after 7 years in a "monogamous" relationship if you are on the pill, trust this person, and think you are going to marry him? That's exactly the situation she was in, and got burned---big time. I give her a lot of credit, because she has been 100% honest with the few guys she has had sex with since, and unfortunately some have been much less than cool about it, even the guys who have had multiple sexual partners and have been quite promiscuous themselves. Such a double standard....and sad for those like my best friend who are far from "sluts" or "whores"...just got unlucky in love. Herpes is out there, folks. Stigmatize all you want, but my best friend is one of those girls who you'd never think it could happen to. By the way, oral herpes is herpes too aka "cold sores"...Get the FActs. Those can be spread "down there" as well.

    Posted by Charlotte July 21, 09 12:24 PM
  1. Go to your doctor and get tested. While you are at it, test for HIV as well. If the tests are negative, then it is a non-issue. Raise the non-issue only for the following two reasons: 1) you want to use this as a way to prompt/ask/guilt your partner to disclose her history, and 2) you are on a desert island with a girl, sorry, woman, and another guy and you need to create an impression of total honesty to gain an edge over the other guy.

    Posted by PerceptionIsBetterThanReality July 21, 09 12:27 PM
  1. As for the Meredith sandwich... can I get mayonnaise on it? I'LL HAVE SOME OF THAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT!!!!

    Posted by aj July 21, 09 12:29 PM
  1. I am concerned that the LW said he attends workshops and reads, but he has not said whether he has consulted with a physician. That is proper course of action for him to take -- talk to a doctor, get the doctor's medical opinion, and then make your disclosure decision afterwards. If the LW has been tested and has discussed with a doctor (not an outreach counselor, but a medical doctor) then please, LW, make this decision with the doctor's help.

    And for the record, practicing safer sex "for the most part" means you are *not* practicing safer sex.

    Posted by jlen July 21, 09 12:33 PM
  1. #17/#49/#72 - Kristin just PWND Rico BAD. I mean, I saw the blood shooting from open wounds caused by the latter's flogging! My goodness. However, I do recall Kristin saying something like that before - so stop saying it. Rico isn't bad he's just got nothing else to live for except to give advice to people online - similar to Hoss and Valentino and etc. Granted, they make better comments - but it's only because they're 'personalities'. What am I trying to say here? Stop falling in love with the personality and realize that anything that is said ONLINE is BS.

    And now, the rest of the story. We have a very honest young man who discloses that he has a STD. Which I applaud! I wish there were more people as honest as you. I wish Bernie Madoff was as honest prior to taking money and buying his Lovie-Dear the sixth Surf and Turf meal she's had this week or buying a rose bouquet that would make the one handed to the Kentucky Derby winner look miniscule...I wish my ex was as honest to disclose that she was sleeping with my best friend AND his girlfriend...I wish more people were as honest PERIOD.

    The skiinny here is even though honesty is the best policy, very few people are, which makes the LW have a bit of respect more than the average guy. We salute you.

    In conclusion - Meredith - if you ever bring up your sexual desires in a column again, make sure they're not fit for print. (read: put them in the Phoenix or something)

    Mahalo.

    Posted by Raoul Duke, Esq July 21, 09 12:40 PM
  1. Teribble teribble teribble advice to tell someone to withhold information about their history. Especially when that history can infect their partner. As previously mentioned they can be a carrier without showing symptoms.

    I don't know why people would advise this person to keep this information to himself. Isn't it good and healthy to have a mature discussion before getting physical? How is this good advice? I'm kind of shocked by this.

    I know that these are just words on an advice column but these words could make the difference between the next girl becoming infected or not (or at least giving her the choice).

    Posted by rational July 21, 09 12:42 PM
  1. it is most definitely true that guys are more lax about their STD testing. they say they're clear when they've really only had an AIDS test. forget Hep C, forget HPV, forget G, S, and S. women see their gyn once a year and are automatically tested for most of these regularly.

    i had a LTR omit having a previous partner with an STD and the consequences were devastating. he was most likely my soul mate, but we could never get past the broken trust.

    Posted by dont_trust_anyone July 21, 09 12:43 PM
  1. Meredith- you know that I love you.... but that example is a bit off. What if both guys are bieing honest??
    Anyway, I think after seven years and without having any symptoms you have no obligation to tell anyone! What if the new person your dating knows your ex with the Herpes?? or know's someone who know's her ect.. Do you know how many men and women probably exposed themselves to Herpes without knowing it?? Everybody should assume until they get to really know their partner that the person could have been exposed to an STD

    Posted by Paul from Wellesley July 21, 09 12:49 PM
  1. Yo uptights, moralists, spell checkers, grammar police, soapbox preachers, et al. Lighten the bleep up. This blog is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.

    Do not attempt these stunts at home. Consult a lawyer when you buy property with your lunch buddy. Consult a physician for actual medical advice. Open the egg cartons and inspect for damage prior to proceeding to the checkout. Pass on the left. Gold Bond your privates as needed. Wear panties made out of breathable fabrics during the day and none while sleeping. Park in your driveway and drive on the parkway.

    Basically, settle down.

    Posted by Hoss July 21, 09 12:52 PM
  1. #69 has it right - almost. Just one nitpick:

    HSV-1 can infect either mouth or genitals - it's not as particular about where it likes to live - it can be easily passed to the genitals during oral sex. Such infections tend to be milder than HSV-II.

    HSV-II can really only infect the genitals

    Posted by get the facts July 21, 09 12:54 PM
  1. A responsible adult has a safe sex discussion before engaging in sexual acts. I ask if the other person HAS something, and/or have they knowingly been EXPOSED to something?

    If the LW had unprotected sex with someone infected with Herpes, then he was exposed. He can explain he's had tests over a span of "X" years and consistently tested negative, but to me that's not 100% proof positive when it comes to STDs like Herpes. HIV, yes. Herpes, no. I don't want to hear the circumstances, but I want to make an informed decision. Plus, STDs gross me out, and I may not be able to get past it which would affect a potential relationship.

    If I was told during a safe sex discussion that someone was STD-free, only to find out later they were exposed and didn't say anything, I'd feel betrayed, but that's just me, and I make that very clear at the beginning of a relationship. Other people make other choices and it's their right to do so, and hopefully things work out well.

    Posted by yupokay July 21, 09 12:59 PM
  1. Herpes is extremely common, and can be transmitted by contact with areas of the body other than the 'naughty bits'. And the affected skin does not have to have visible blisters or crust in order to be contagious.
    I've read a medical journal article about a child who got herpes on a wrist, after an aunt 'kissed her boo-boo to make it all better. (the aunt hadn't know that her oral herpes was active) So a person could get a herpes infection due to contact with an afflicted hand, or lips or...
    As for those writers who imply that the LW's ex was a slut, one can get an STD from the very first (and only) sexual partner.

    Posted by Danskat July 21, 09 12:59 PM
  1. I'm so surprised that so many people think you're "in the clear" because you haven't had any symptoms. If you are not having an active outbreak, there is no conclusive test, but you can indeed carry and spread the virus to other people without having an outbreak or actually showing any outward symptoms. In your case, there is ALWAYS a slight chance that you did contract it and just haven't shown any symptoms - yet. If you've been comfortable all this time sharing this information with potential partners, you should still continue to do so. And by the way, condoms are not at all a foolproof way to prevent herpes - sores can appear on areas where condoms don't cover. You can also get it through unprotected oral sex with someone who has a cold sore. 1 in 4 people have herpes and half of those aren't aware they have it. Get the facts, people!

    Posted by bumbly-bee July 21, 09 01:00 PM
  1. My name is Rico and I am an LLaholic...

    No really, Rico is many people, he is American, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Greek, Puerto Rican, English, Irish, Russian, Black, White, etc...

    Rico suggests to all that you take a deep breath of fresh smog filled air and get on your bikes...At the sound of the Green Line wheels screeching in Gov't Center everyone take off for a magic bike ride...

    green is the new black...quoted from a Vitaminwater bottle...Bikes not bombs is a store name...gears not gas is the boston logo for biking...you people are a bunch of morons...(That is a noun right?)

    Rico is many people, maybe it's me?

    Will the real Rico please stand up?

    Who am I?

    I am an LLaholic and I am ready to get my therapy...

    Rico rules!!!

    Posted by imposter or not? July 21, 09 01:01 PM
  1. If LW is to disclose that seven years ago he dated a woman who has herpes but he (seemingly) never contracted it, shouldn't everyone tell any potential partner that while s/he may appear not to have herpes, s/he may have once dated someone who did? C'mon.

    Many people do not tell and that's why so many people have herpes. Having said that, the best policy is safe sex.

    In the meantime, LW is carrying herpes as much as the next guy .... or not. It's the people who genuinely have herpes who should disclose - I'd say this guy is off the hook.

    Posted by noproblem July 21, 09 01:01 PM
  1. Thank you both for this article. Many times, we in the H community feel overwhelmed prior to disclosure. Some become so anxious that it triggers an outbreak. I wish more people would be open and honest. I always disclose prior to even beginning a relationship. I do not want to waste anyone's time or be accused of being dishonest and misleading. I too have had mixed reviews but at least we are all on the same playing field.

    Posted by Denise July 21, 09 01:11 PM
  1. “Oh yeah, let’s see where did I leave off with my entire life history, okay, 1992. Ah yes, there was this one night at band camp, when this girl gave me a rusty trombone….I thought you should know about that, you know, for the sake of full disclosure….”


    Where does it end experts? When is it TMI or better yet, irrelevant? Please consult your books and let me know in the next condescending lecture that you post.

    (Include the Urban Dictionary in your research)

    Posted by Hoss July 21, 09 01:15 PM
  1. #63, OneBadApple: I'll stop talking trash, when you learn how to spell 4th Grade words. Go eat a Schwanz Stucke...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 21, 09 01:18 PM
  1. As long as a doctor and a recent test say you're good you're good. No reason to beat a dead horse then. Just make sure it's recent and you're good to go.

    Posted by inthe clear July 21, 09 01:20 PM
  1. People should also be aware that herpes simplex 1 (you know, the cold sore you get on your lip once in a while) can be spread through oral sex. So you should be very careful if you have had a recent outbreak or feel something coming on.

    Posted by be safe July 21, 09 01:21 PM
  1. WOW Hoss, great contribution again! Thank God we have you here to police and keep rule in the chaos! These simple minded folk would get out of control if it weren't for your wisdom and steady hand.

    Posted by John Stamos July 21, 09 01:21 PM
  1. Exactly HOSS!
    Think that many of you need more to do :) and that this particular post again will be analyzed and flogged to death.

    Posted by AVRIL July 21, 09 01:24 PM
  1. Dude, you don't have herpes. Consider this a personal dispensation to stop telling every partner about your theoretical exposure during your relationship from 7 years ago.

    Posted by steve in W MA July 21, 09 01:24 PM
  1. #76 is a moron. I mean, come on....because of people like you, the rate of disease spreads like the Most Interesting Man's reputation (it expands faster than the universe). Grow up, get tested, and be in the know. Be considerate, if nothing else.

    You really should be B-smacked for that comment. Seriously.

    Posted by Joycelyn Elders, Fmr Surgeon General of the United States July 21, 09 01:25 PM
  1. I am a Registered Nurse, who used to work with the HIV/AIDS/STD population. There is no test for genital herpes. If after 7 years you have not had any signs or symptoms, then you do not have genital herpes and do not need to tell your potential bed mates. I do applaud your honesty, however. Keep practicing safe sex, for there are a lot of other STD's out there, not just herpes.

    Posted by linda July 21, 09 01:27 PM
  1. After months of reading this column, it is time to award the following label, "Love Letters Loser". It is for those responding who are immature, disgusting, warped, unrelentingly hateful and bitter, and otherwise display their deep emotional damage on a consistent basis.

    Drum roll, please: "The FIRST AWARD FOR LOVE LETTERS LOSER (LOLELO) GOES TO.....DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666".

    Posted by ChooseroftheLoveLettersLoser July 21, 09 01:27 PM
  1. Thank you, #77, since you've explained a lot. I'm going to take it a step further.

    This response crosses the pale in terms of not just bad, but dangerous, advice. Ms. Goldstein has written many responses that are disastrous for relationships, but in this one she hits a new low as she now gives advice that is a hazard to someone's health. I believe she should take a break from her column to get a little bit of counseling training (and counseling) before continuing this column, since at the very, very least she needs some training beyond a "STD outreach" worker who actually doesn't know what they're talking about.

    "Since there's no conclusive test to detect herpes" is a blatant red flag that this gentleman has decided to not seek medical advice, since any competent health professional would have told him otherwise. There are two blood tests for both types of HSV (I and II). Both are conclusive within a 99.5% accuracy level after the initial latency after exposure, which is approximately 3 weeks.

    HSV is often massively asymptomatic where the outbreaks do NOT define whether someone can transmit the disease or not. That's because it transmits via asymptomatic viral shedding, and on average EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE AN OUTBREAK YOU RUN A 3-4% CHANCE OF TRANSMITTING HSV-II EVEN IF YOU'RE WEARING A CONDOM. (Antiviral agents like Valtrex significantly reduce this risk since they slow shedding, at least by half and some studies suggest by quite a bit more.) If this guy had unprotected sex with his HSV+ girlfriend, the odds are extremely high that he was exposed and infected. Period. Yet he's apparently never been tested. That's not honesty, it's irresponsibility.

    A full 20% of the US population has HSV-II. 90% don't know they have it because they read "advice" columns like this one.

    This gentleman needs to get tested, ASAP, because they've listened to workers like your friend and this column it's entirely likely he's infected a number of women - who themselves don't know about it.

    You don't tell someone you're disease free until you've had the bloodwork. Period. 7 years or 7 days makes no difference.

    Oh, and for commentators who want to bring sexism into this and claim only women get tested - believe me, if you actually know your STD testing many women don't bother besides the routine exam once a year, and if someone sexually active tells me it's been more than 3 months since an HIV test I don't have sex with them until they do. (Hint: 95% confidence interval on that goes to 99.5% after 3 months.) The ignorance out there is appalling and dangerous.

    I'm tempted to send this to Ms. Goldstein's editor. If you're going to write an advice column, even if your advice is lousy you shouldn't be abetting someone who is consciously foregoing testing.

    Please get some training before you write another column, Ms. Goldstein. I've retired from commenting but this one was to important to pass up.

    Posted by Dan M July 21, 09 01:27 PM
  1. Hoss, I UD'd it for everyone...

    herpes: A sexually transmitted disease contracted by those whose sexual arousal has taken over their nerve cells, therefore forgetting to use a condom. And since nowadays according to close-minded non-intellectuals, (which make up about 63% of the population) being a virgin makes you a "loser", we have people with Herpes lying around all over the place.

    As Rico would put it: No glove, no love.

    Posted by Sally July 21, 09 01:29 PM
  1. Well, I'm glad the consensus is LESS disclosure on sexual history. Another global crisis solved by LL. Just don't tell them! It's that simple! I've been such a fool all along. We need to get the word out to developing nations immediately!

    Posted by Johny 2 timer July 21, 09 01:32 PM
  1. Hoss... re post #93...i dont think it's a matter of being condescending as it is a matter of wanting people to understand that this is a lifetime diagnosis. it isnt something that will go away. and it doesnt matter that it is becoming more and more common now...because when you are diagnosed with it, it feels like you are getting a life sentence. it feels like you are dirty. it is the most horrible moment in your life. and then once you can get over the diagnosis, and the stigma associated with it, you can learn to live with it. but it takes a lot of time. so to hear a guy want to be so honest about his past speaks volumes about who he is...his integrity...

    Posted by southcoastlady July 21, 09 01:33 PM
  1. To those people who say "make sure to consult your doctor first," I'm pretty sure the OP has already probably talked his doctors' ears off about this and received repeated reassurance from them.

    Fact is, not even a doctor's ok is absolute assurance of anything. But when a doctor repeatedly reassures you and you don't have an outbreak for 7 years, that's good enough for jazz and is really the best that anyone can do. It's an operational definition of being disease free, though not an absolute proof. The fact is that absolute proof is beyond our abilities.

    Go in peace, op.

    Posted by steve in W MA July 21, 09 01:33 PM
  1. I applaud the honesty here, because it isn't as common as people say it is. It is possible that he's a carrier, and herpes can lead to cancer for women. There isn't a definite test so until there is, I know I would appreciate the honesty of someone like this, regardless of whether it was 7 years ago or 15 years ago.

    Posted by Cara July 21, 09 01:35 PM
  1. I love this column. I get a big kick out of it every day.

    Posted by Rose July 21, 09 01:36 PM
  1. This guy is in the clear. Case closed. Go have lots of save sex without the usual preface...


    Posted by Amazed July 21, 09 01:37 PM
  1. I don't see where the guy says he's been tested for herpes. He says that the tests aren't accurate. 90% of the people who have herpes have never had any recognizable symptoms, but they can still pass it to someone else.

    Take the test, and if you test positive (for 1 or 2, in my opinion), you are obligated to tell any future partners.

    Posted by Cheryl July 21, 09 01:38 PM
  1. As a man who is clean, has been tested, and has a nice smile, it's good to know I'm not as much of a catch as a guy who thinks he might have herpes. I'll go sleep around a bit so I can be more attractive.

    Posted by Clean July 21, 09 01:40 PM
  1. Wow, back to back days where the issues of "love" and "relationships" has again been ignored by Mer. This is becoming a self help column, where you can not only get a free legal assessment for your real estate troubles, but also a free STD medical assessment. Lets get something relevent in here tomorrow, please.

    Posted by Dizzle July 21, 09 01:41 PM
  1. I agree with Meredith...kudos on being upfront with new lovers, but looks like you're all-clear on not having to inform new lovers/girlfriends that it's a possibility that you may have herpes since you clearly do not. However, I think you should continue to be open about STD's in general so that it becomes a conversation regarding overall sexual health before jumping into the bed. In a perfect world, deally, all consenting adults should make STD/HIV testing and birth control part of the conversation before getting horizontal (or vertical :-) with EACH partner they encounter. On the safe(r) side, appointments could get scheduled TOGETHER so that BOTH people can be assured that the other is safe. This then puts both participants at ease. Makes no sense for you to do a full reveal to someone, but not apply same diligence in what they may have and leave yourself vulnerable (or worse, infected) again. This is a great reminder to anyone having sex outside of a monogamous (of course, what you may consider monagamous may not indeed be) relationship that due diligence and regular check-ups should be a part of a healthy mature sexual relationship.

    Posted by bklynmom July 21, 09 01:44 PM
  1. 5 Real Rico
    43 Probably not Real Rico
    90 Probably same person as 43 since I don't think he is Rico either

    Rico reading today? If Rico #5 is real then the other 2 are fake. The other 2 posts are very long and Rico tends to either be one or the other, not both. Yesterday Rico was harsh but he was right. Rico, please tell us which of those is you?

    Did Rico ride today?

    Posted by Chuck Woolery July 21, 09 01:46 PM
  1. #86 - get the facts. Sorry, but the truth is the virus can spread to any part of your body that has mucus membrane. I was giving a grill cheese sandwich to my ex-bf, and he gave type II to me. My doctor was able to confirm that it was type II with blood tests. So, needless to say, type I and type II can be almost anywhere in the body.

    Posted by LuLuLemon July 21, 09 01:47 PM
  1. #102, "ChooseroftheLoveLettersLoser": I'll 100% agree with your first paragraph, but 0% with the second. Any time you would like to compare paychecks, well we shall see whom is the bigger "Loser" here. Nice try though...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 21, 09 01:51 PM
  1. I also just UD'd "Dan M" = soap box-weilding, temporarily-retired, percentage-quoting, threatening-our-friend-Meredith-Goldstein, boob characterized by a disgusting and appalling lack of sense of humor.

    And for the record, I thought DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 was kind of funny. I mean come one, boys and girls, if you're looking for serious gloom and doom crap, read Jim Carroll's column.

    Posted by Sally July 21, 09 01:55 PM
  1. Read the letter next time. The letter writer does not have herpes. Never had herpes.

    Big shout out to my boy John Stamos. Good to see you here and appearing somewhat sober. How've you been? Down on your luck in TV Land? Come on man, those were good times. You had GH and then Full House, so don't be so angry about not getting any gigs since then. It all fell apart when you turned down Melrose Place and I took that absurd video clip show, but that's show biz! Cue up the laugh track.

    Posted by Bob Sagat July 21, 09 01:55 PM
  1. "I'm pretty sure the OP has already probably talked his doctors' ears off about this and received repeated reassurance from them."

    Are you sure about that?

    Posted by John Stamos July 21, 09 01:57 PM
  1. Gotta love the wannabe Judge Wapners yesterday and the wannabe Dr. Drew's today. Hoss was right. Increase the fiber intake. I prescribe bran muffins, some chill time in a lawn chair, and a full, uninterupted listen to Physical Graffitti (both discs).

    High hats not arse-hats!

    Posted by Boo Ya Bonham July 21, 09 02:02 PM
  1. I also just UD'd "Dan M" = soap box-weilding, temporarily-retired, percentage-quoting, threatening-our-friend-Meredith-Goldstein, boob characterized by a disgusting and appalling lack of sense of humor.

    And for the record, I thought DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 was kind of funny. I mean come one, boys and girls, if you're looking for serious gloom and doom crap, read Jim Carroll's column.

    Posted by Sally July 21, 09 02:03 PM
  1. "Do you think I should continue informing my future lovers about this?"

    If you have not been tested, yes. If you have tested and are clean, no. (Well, you could tell them you have a recent, clean test).

    " 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."

    Do you find this worrisome? I would - especially if they are willing to forgo safe sex practices. Sounds like you are sleeping with people who are willing to take chances. What chances have they taken in the past, and what are they exposing you to?

    "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?"

    Well, it's a non-issue if your partner already HAS herpes. Perhaps that's why they only shrug.

    Or, they could be in denial that "it won't happen to them" and "he looks clean"... in which case you could use this as a teaching moment.

    " What would be the expectation of girls, oops, women ;) regarding this from their date/lover?"

    I think, assuming you've never had any symptoms, there is no expectation in the beginning - because I would be insisting on practicing safe sex. Yes, herpes can be transmitted even with a condom, but on that score I'm willing to take the risk (it's all about risk.... any sex has a risk... we all decide how much risk we are willing to take). I guess I would simply assume that if you were infected with an STD it was likely you had no idea you were - afterall, most people don't know.

    If we became more serious and decided to do away with the safe sex, or were together so often we might slip and be less careful and we were going to be monogamous - if the relationship was going somewhere - then I would have a discussion about both of us getting tested - for everything - to first ensure we're both in the clear for all forms of STDs. If you were not willing to get tested, or where offended for my asking, then I would dump you.

    Of course, the testing discussion all depends on the exclusivity discussion, because if we both have clean tests but continue dating multiple partners, it's not much use. While dating and sleeping with multiple partners, the presumption should be that the person is at risk and safe sex should be practiced.

    "Would they like to know about something like this -- which happened more than seven years ago -- before getting naked,"

    If you haven't ever been tested to rule it out, then YES, I would want to know before getting naked. Because, having knowingly had sex with someone with herpes, who was having active infections during your time together, there is a very good probability you are asymptomatic carrier. Even if you refrained from sex during her breakouts - it is clear her breakouts were quite frequent back then, increasing your chance of being infected. And I would want to know which type of HSV (type I... I'm not so concerned about, would take my risk on that one... type II is a different story).

    " Am I being unnecessarily cautious here?"

    No, I don't think you are. But I think your partners aren't being cautious enough. Perhaps that's the real root of the problem here, and what you are struggling with?


    Posted by anecdotal evidence July 21, 09 02:14 PM
  1. Rico, stop talking in the third person

    Posted by ridiculous July 21, 09 02:16 PM
  1. I'm in an odd mood today...

    I better type this before I lose my nerve: I respect you Hoss. Seriously. Thank you for #85 and #93.

    It's like M is our mum and Hoss is our dad...

    Posted by Amazed July 21, 09 02:16 PM
  1. #118 "Sally": WOO-HOO! well, at least I know I have one fan! Or can I count the *dupe* @ #122 also, and consider it as Two? I know, I know, I'm getting greedy...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 21, 09 02:17 PM
  1. Do you have to ask when getting STD testing to test for both types and to distinguish between the two?

    Posted by IWasTestedButDidntAsk July 21, 09 02:27 PM
  1. Allow me to correct one thing that Sally has said in her whiny-wielding (at least spell correctly, dear), spending-the-day-internet-browsing, fangirl ignoramus-lets-hope-we-don't-have-any-STDs-because-we-had-luck-that-one-night-stand-was-ethical-and-smart-even-if-all-the-others-she-had-weren't.

    "There are no definitive positive/negative tests for herpes.
    Posted by Public Service Announcement from Sally July 21, 09 10:32 AM"

    Type-specific commercial Glycoprotein tests for HSV-2 (from Wald, Current Clinical Topics in Infectious Diseases, 2002) - for the Sallys of the world, this means getting a needle stuck in your arm

    HerpeSelect 2 ELISA (manu: Focus) Sensitivity 96-100% Specificity 97-100%
    HerpeSelect immunoblot (manu: Focus) Sens: 97-100% Spec: 98%
    Captia Select-HSV-2 (manu:Trinity): Sens: 90-92% Spec: 91-99%
    Bioelisa HSV-2 IgG (manu:Biokit) Sens: 100% Spec: 98%+

    This is a couple years out of date, and the more recent ones are closer to the Bioelisa numbers.

    As an MGH-trained pathologist I once dated (yes, those are the people who have an MD who are paid lots of money to look under the microscope, Sally honey) told me, "anyone who claims there's no definitive tests for this is either ignorant or more likely a carrier and ignorant."

    I think that latter point sums up all of mine.

    Posted by Dan M July 21, 09 02:34 PM
  1. My (then) bf exposed me to herpes (great guy… huh?). I immediately went to my doctor & told her the situation. She examined me w/out giving me a test & told me everything looked fine/healthy, & to come back if I had signs/symptoms. At my next annual apt., she told me again that everything looked fine (w/out giving me a test). That was 6 years ago & it never occurred to me to tell new sex partners about my brush w/ herpes. It didn't concern my Dr afterall...

    So, I kind of think the guy is not obligated to tell new people about his past. He certainly can if it makes him feel better, but I bet most people have been in the same position (slept w/ someone that was exposed to an STD) only they didn’t know it.

    Posted by JJ July 21, 09 02:35 PM
  1. Why not clarify? NO where in the letter does it say he has seen a Dr. or has been given a blood test to detect HSV 1 or 2 virus - then it would be a non issue... Reading, safe sex workshops and sometimes practicing safe sex are not the magic beans you have been looking for... YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED....As you can tell from multiple postings - the HSV can be asymtomatic- Always err on the side of caution- it is in your best interest and that of humanity. Get a blood test.

    Posted by SEE A DR.....!! STAT..... July 21, 09 02:37 PM
  1. I just don't understand men at all.

    WEAR A CONDOM EVERY $&*#@ TIME, DAMMIT.

    That way you have the freedom to keep your mouth shut.

    Posted by Irene July 21, 09 02:46 PM
  1. "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... I've attended safer-sex workshops - and for the most part, have practiced safer sex."
    Full Disclosure,
    While everyone here seems to be patting you on the back for being such a "good guy" that informs his partners-frankly, I think you need a good kick in the rear. First of all, herpes is the least of your problems. For someone who "sometimes" practices safer sex- I would add HIV, Chlamydia (the 'silent' STD), asymptomatic gonorrhea and other lovely STDs to your list of things you need to address with your phsycian ASAP. You know the expression 'sometimes only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades'. It sounds like you have multiple partners and are a vector of potential disease transmission. Not every STD manifests outwardly, many are silent and can have devastating consequences (cancer, miscarriages, etc.), particularly for women. On the herpes front, you can be a carrier of HSV-1 or HSV-2 and have never experienced an outbreak. You need a blood test for the antibodies. As a public health professional and doctor, your letter really sent me into a tail spin. Obviously those safer sex classes were not very effective.Here's the Cliff Notes version- Don't have sex with every person you meet.Use some disgression and self-control. Buy condoms and use them!


    Posted by Babe-o-licious Harvard Doc July 21, 09 02:48 PM
  1. Hey Sagat #119, do you not watch ER? I was on there the past couple years until the final episode a couple months ago. Get your head out of the closet and watch TV other than stupid bloopers and you'd know what is going on around you.

    Posted by John Stamos July 21, 09 02:53 PM
  1. Mere, love ya and enjoy the column....but....the backlash has begun this week.

    I fear for the future of this blog given the sharp downward trend that I've seen since it's peak in June. Lots of preachy soapboxers who are confusing this with a law class or WebMD. Too many people who are confusing it with karaoke night at a chinese restaurant after they've had a few drinks. The true spirit of the blog is getting lost amidst the wannabe experts and those lacking funny bones.

    I still have hope, but I'm just sayin'....

    Posted by Dan Blocker July 21, 09 02:54 PM
  1. Love Letters strapped on waterskis this week and is just about to jump the shark!

    Posted by Arthur Fonzarelli July 21, 09 02:59 PM
  1. Ok, last post of the day. This is from the CDC website, which in 2006 updated their guidelines for STD testing and management. If your doctor 7 years ago did a clinical exam they may have been in compliance with the guidelines then. Now, they're not.

    "Both type-specific and nontype-specific antibodies to HSV develop during the first several weeks after infection and persist indefinitely. Accurate type-specific HSV serologic assays are based on the HSV-specific glycoprotein G2 (HSV-2) and glycoprotein G1 (HSV-1). Such assays first became commercially available in 1999, but older assays that do not accurately distinguish HSV-1 from HSV-2 antibody (despite claims to the contrary) remain on the market. Therefore, the serologic type-specific glycoprotein G (gG)-based assays should be specifically requested when serology is performed (69–71).

    The FDA-cleared glycoprotein G-based type-specific assays include the laboratory-based assays HerpeSelect™-1 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) immunoglobulin G (IgG) or HerpeSelect™-2 ELISA IgG and HerpeSelect™ 1 and 2 Immunoblot IgG (Focus Technology, Inc., Herndon, Virginia), and HSV-2 ELISA (Trinity Biotech USA, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey). Two other assays, Biokit HSV-2 and SureVue HSV-2 (Biokit USA, Lexington, Massachusetts, and Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, respectively), are point-of-care tests that provide results for HSV-2 antibodies from capillary blood or serum during a clinic visit. The sensitivities of these glycoprotein G type-specific tests for the detection of HSV-2 antibody vary from 80%–98%, and false-negative results might be more frequent at early stages of infection. The specificities of these assays are ≥96%. False-positive results can occur, especially in patients with a low likelihood of HSV infection. Repeat or confirmatory testing might be indicated in some settings, especially if recent acquisition of genital herpes is suspected.

    Because nearly all HSV-2 infections are sexually acquired, the presence of type-specific HSV-2 antibody implies anogenital infection and education and counseling appropriate for persons with genital herpes should be provided. The presence of HSV-1 antibody alone is more difficult to interpret. The majority of persons with HSV-1 antibody have oral HSV infection acquired during childhood, which might be asymptomatic. However, acquisition of genital HSV-1 appears to be increasing, and genital HSV-1 also might be asymptomatic. Lack of symptoms in an HSV-1 seropositive person does not distinguish anogenital from orolabial or cutaneous infection. Persons with HSV-1 infection, regardless of site of infection, remain at risk for HSV-2 acquisition."

    Translation: you might end up with a false positive from these tests (meaning they come back and test you with a more expensive and definitive one like the Western blot), but clinical examination doesn't cut it anymore. Get tested.

    Oh, and here's what the column should have read: "Have you had a blood test? If so and it came back negative, you have nothing to discuss. If you haven't had bloodwork, you shouldn't be having sex, let alone babbling on about 'honesty' since you have no idea if you're disease free...and quite likely aren't."

    Posted by Dan M July 21, 09 03:02 PM
  1. Yeah, you have to be a mensch and let your potential partners know. It's the only right thing to do. You are wrong, though, about there being no definitive tests for herpes, as someone close to me had one not long ago - positive. If you are having any unprotected sex with multiple partners (for the "most part," you say, you practice safe sex), then the truly responsible thing to do would be to get yourself tested for more than herpes.

    Posted by Bony Melon July 21, 09 03:05 PM
  1. Holy crap, 130 responses so far!

    Stop bringing it up. You're creating a problem where there isn't one.

    Posted by drockboston July 21, 09 03:06 PM
  1. ex wife never brought up herpes until OB did to EVERYONE when about to deliver child. Ex said no big deal. Doc said very big deal could cause blindness to child or even worse and procedures needed to be taken to prevent child from getting it. And doc was pissed that it wasn't disclosed to him. I say big deal that I could be exposed to a incurable highly contageous disease. Or is it not really a big deal... play near the water... might get wet?

    Posted by bob July 21, 09 03:11 PM
  1. I date black, brown, white, and I can say I am godly enough to date anyone, but
    it is so sad that there so many people out there are not like that.

    Posted by never have STD, or HIV July 21, 09 03:17 PM
  1. #53...you took the words out of my mouth.

    Posted by Honest Abe July 21, 09 03:18 PM
  1. What happened to the cape girl and her boyfriend with the texas bunny?

    Did she finally figure out he was "tapping that" as the curlyjewfro guy would say?

    Why are these letters getting worse each day? Meredith seems to be sitting back and not paying attention lately as evidenced by her replies.

    This guy has been going out on rainy days without his slicker and may have caught a bug and feels the need to tell the world he may have dodged a bullet but otherwise he usually wears his helmet when it is his turn on the ice. Yesterday we had 2 40 year old losers that can't afford to sell their poorly planned home purchase and then there was the girl of 22 going on 12 asking if she should take a trip with her BF's family because OMG we may not have a life together when I become a rodeo star in Texas while he is in Boston planning people's retirements and then don't forget the guy who wants to get out his broom and sweep every broad off her feet with gifts from Hermes and La Perla.

    Then there was a little further back with asking whether to date a friends ex because g-d forbid she actually looks to date beyond her sorority sisters friends and the fraternity that her brother belonged to.

    I love the girl meeting a guy at a pool party and thinking he was actually sincere in planning the future with her over cheap margarita's...oh and please, you can't handle the truth girl from NYC with her big education and attitude but all I want is a nice guy deal?

    Then of course the religious chick asking for advice where to find a religious guy because she doesn't want to sleep with him till they are married. GO TO CHURCH!

    WAKE UP People, it is 2009 and things have changed while they stayed the same.

    Wear a condom, maybe 2, don't believe everything you hear or read, go to the Dr for regular check ups, go to the dentist twice a year and brush and floss at least twice a day. And please remember to take a shower, use deodorant, wash your hands with soap and water and don't forget the toilet seat so your wife/gf doesn't fall in.

    Follow that advice and stop asking stupid questions.

    I hope the next question is a lot better than these past 2 weeks...I think the shark was jumped back in June.

    Thanks

    Posted by Walter Cronkite July 21, 09 03:29 PM
  1. Hoss I couldnt have said it better. You also Valentino!!!!
    Mr. FD,
    Look sweetie, I dont know what kind of women you are sleeping with but they must be ugly with very low selfesteem to sleep with a man who gets off on his Herpes scare tactics. "Ohh, he so honest"!!!! Now do me and do me hard!!!
    WHAT????

    Posted by LilShorty98 July 21, 09 03:44 PM
  1. hey 'I don't have herpes', can I have your numbr?

    Posted by playr July 21, 09 04:01 PM
  1. Ahhh, finally. Meredith, thanks for getting back on track and stopping the letters which should never have been in this blog. This one is syphilicious!!

    :)

    As for the topic at hand... people really need to read up on Herpes. The reality is that it is estimated that 1 in 4 adults have it while 90% of those who have it are UNAWARE they do! I was unable to find statistics on what percentage of herpes carriers are truly asymptomatic, but I suspect that the very nature of being asymptomatic makes such a statistic very hard to gather, given that it is very difficult to detect herpes in such a carrier.

    Bottom line, those people who say that it "has been long enough" really don't know what they are talking about.

    It is very nice of you to be so honest and I would certainly continue to do so given that you were exposed.

    Posted by monkeycaller July 21, 09 04:02 PM
  1. Tell PRESENT first - tested or not disclosure
    later tell her PAST just not to freak out later
    but not in 3 hr lecture
    O, said all this before rainy dinner
    Valentino,compare to HOSS jingle and missing your ?

    Posted by BAN July 21, 09 04:03 PM
  1. When one sticks their thingy in a person without a condom when they KNOW that they have cooties beforehand.........well that's just dumb. I don't care if it has been twenty years gone by....you need to let the other person know........how would you like someone sticking something into you that has been in contact with Gon-o-ka-ka-khackus.

    Soon you will be asking yourself: Why does it hurt when I pee?

    Posted by fzappa July 21, 09 04:10 PM
  1. Don't listen to #142!!! Never wear 2 condoms.

    Silly old bear

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! July 21, 09 04:14 PM
  1. All of you that think herpes goes away are in denial. It's a VIRUS people! There is no cure and it is always there. Sure, sometimes there are no symptoms as in many people's case. I found out I had it after giving it to someone. If you think that just using a condom will help then you are sadly mistaken. Don't believe me when I tell you this? Just go to HWerks.com to see all the people that thought the same way you did, thought a condom would protect them or the ones that their partner just decided not to tell them. Herpes can go unnoticeable and without symptoms that is why so many have it but are unaware of it.

    Posted by PhilinLA July 21, 09 04:40 PM
  1. Let's all stop having sex altogether, and buy each other trendy pocketbooks and wallets and live for that instead. Problems solved.

    Cape woman did not write back probably because she is still enabling her philanderer. Valentino, new haiku for that please? Rico will ride out in rain to provide shoulder and comfort. Wait, Rico doesn't ride in the rain. Sun, not glum.

    Posted by Mrs. Chuckles July 21, 09 05:00 PM
  1. Well great thanks to all of you uninformed people, including someone who says she is a RN, I guess I don't have Herpes after all. I am being sarcastic. I have had Genital Herpes HSV2 for 10 years and only had a primary outbreak and NEVER A SYMPTOM, after that. So what I am cured? This is ridiculous. Please see an infectious disease specialist, don't listen to these people who claim to know that you don't have it. If you had unprotected sex with someone who had it, you may have it. No such thing and being careful, because she was contagious prior to an outbreak, not just during. Continue to tell women, that you probably don't have it, but use protection and have safer sex and see someone and maybe you won't have to tell anymore.

    Posted by Laura July 21, 09 05:04 PM
  1. LU LU Lemon #116 You are completely wrong or your MD is complete nut. You got herpes from a grilled cheese sandwich? Smoke another rock.. You probably thought you could get HIV by misquitos too!
    Wow get a clue.

    Posted by Paul from Wellesley July 21, 09 05:09 PM
  1. Rico and Hoss - you guys rock.

    Posted by rico and hoss fan club July 21, 09 05:15 PM
  1. DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 I agree with Sally. Stick around - we like your style! Valentino is also pretty funny - Herpes Haiku was great! Rico, go home ok?

    Posted by J Bar July 21, 09 06:48 PM
  1. Here is a more complete answer. Go get tested. The only way to know is to get tested. Your doctor will recommend the propriate ones, which likely will also test for other STDS, including HIV. You mentioned a relationship 7 years ago. But there could be other encounters that your partner either did not know or failed to tell you she had an STD.

    If any of the tests are positive then you have an obligation to disclose. Regardless of test results though, if you are living a high risk life style, i.e. having multiple sex partners, one-night stands, then get tested regularly. That's the only way to be sure. Another important thing is to ALWAYS practice safe sex, not just "for the most part", even if your most recent tests have been negative and your partner believe she doesn't have any STDs.

    Posted by TruelyResponsible July 21, 09 07:14 PM
  1. Dear FD,
    Wait until after sex when she asks you what you're thinking about, then tell her while maintaining an expressionless demeanor that you're pretty sure you don't have Herpes. This will save you the hassle of both having to fight for space on the bed AND making her breakfast in the morning. It will also give you more quality time with your cat, because it misses you dearly and won't stop calling me.

    -AB

    Posted by Atticus Black July 21, 09 07:23 PM
  1. STDs on Love Letters: Where boners go to die...

    Posted by valentino July 21, 09 08:04 PM
  1. That's gonna go well...."You know, I really like you and respect you, so I wanted you to know that I once slept with someone who had genital herp...(cue cartoon affect of cloud of dust kicked up in face while person runs away as fast as they can).

    Best of luck. Maybe you shouldn't have slept with the sl.t.

    Posted by pjonescharles July 21, 09 09:03 PM
  1. someone responded to my statement that "I'm pretty sure the OP has already probably talked his doctors' ears off about this and received repeated reassurance from them." and said,

    "Are you sure about that?"

    The answer is no, i'm not *sure*, but based upon his stated behavior I made the assessment. If the guy is so obsessively conscientious as to tell all of his partners before they have sex that he once was in a relationship with someone who turned out to have herpes but that he has never had an outbreak... I'm guessing the guy has been talking his doctor's ears off. After all, it's been 7 years and no symptoms yet he keeps bringing the issue up.

    Herpes is highly prevalent and the fact that you have it in your blood doesn't mean much anyways.

    FYI I have tested negative on both types so far if you're wondering if I have some ulterior motivation to deny the importance or significance of genital herpes.

    Posted by steve in W MA July 21, 09 09:05 PM
  1. I think Herpes Man is being honorable on the surface, but I do wonder if he isn't trying to sabotage relationships by mentioning this close encounter. Sounds kind of like a defense mechanism. It was seven years ago! Nothing happened, Almost Herpes Man! You don't have volcanic sores exploding from your penis! Dance a jig, and move on! I think AHM should examine why he feels so compelled to talk about the missed herpes -- this seems to be the issue at hand. I appreciate honesty in a guy, but a man who dwells on inconsequential incidents from the past won't even earn access to those activities in which herpes might come out to (or into) play!!

    Posted by Baby Back Riblet July 21, 09 09:10 PM
  1. Three words...

    Sexual
    History
    Report

    Look them up.

    Posted by Frank Rich July 22, 09 12:07 AM
  1. I would like to know who the uninformed moron is that told you there is no test for herpes... I am HSV-II positive, and the ONLY way I knew was to request a blood test when I found out my ex-gf had it and had never told me.
    Also, no symptoms doesn't mean you don't have it, as there are "asympotmatics"... meaning those who HSV (type I or II) but do not display the symptoms....
    Fun fact... at least 1 in 5 Americans age 18-40 are HSV-II positive... But don't worry, it's not that nasty picture they showed you in your Jr High health class....

    Another note... HSV does not cause cancer, Cara... that would be HPV... you people really should learn your facts before you start spouting off at the lip...

    For those of you who are being smart-@$$ed about it all, and think it's either funny or the end of the world, you are just morons. If you have had 5 or more partners, you have very high odds of having HSV. And for those of you who are trying to differentiate between "having" and "carrying"... it's the same thing. For those who think a condom prevents the spread of herpes... WRONG again... it HELPS prevent the spread, but in clinical tests, it was still passed 4% of the time from female to male, and 8% of the time from male to female.

    As for #101... if you are a RN, you deserve to have your license yanked. What a STUPID response from a nurse!! Perhaps if I contract HIV, but don't die in 7 years I will be cured??

    People, educate yourselves. There are hundreds of studies, just google herpes and read about it. You would be surprised to find the numbers of people who have it already. One researcher estimates that in the next 10-15 years, HSV will be so common that it will be a sign of having had any sexual activity.

    Let me put it simply for you brilliant folks who know it all... if you have had 10 sexual partners, the odds are that 2-3 of your partners had HSV... 20 partners, 4-5, 30 partners, 6-8... you get the point, and hopefully you can do the math well enough to figure it out if you have had more than 30 partners...20-25% of your partners likely had HSV-II....These are facts... Before you start spouting off more of your uneducated view points, take a look for yourself.

    Posted by Herps Positive July 22, 09 12:11 AM
  1. Comment 1 is NOT correct. Symptom free doesn't mean STD free. IF he has tested negative and symptom free, then yes, he is most likely STD free. But simply not having symptoms does not make you automatically negative.

    Posted by Sierra Mist July 22, 09 01:20 AM
  1. Many people on a Herpes dating site called ---- HerpesLoving . com ---- can face the condition correctly now. And the most important thing is that they are very active to find the match to enjoy the life together. Don't upset by Herpes.

    Posted by cala2009 July 22, 09 04:43 AM
  1. #142 forgot to say, "and that's the way it is". FRAUD!

    Posted by Edward R Murrow July 22, 09 10:34 AM
  1. Only in 'dith's looney scenarios do the neurotic guys get the girl

    Posted by mike in salem July 25, 09 03:20 AM
  1. Uhm-I think your STD outreach advisor is a bit uninformed...If the dude really wants the truth he needs a blood test. There are several now, and the best highly are highly accurate...Let's put it like this I had two "outbreaks" that tested negative at a clinic. Chances are this guy has had a 'pimple' or 'ingrown' hair down there and said oh, that's just a pimple and forgotten about it.

    Two years ago, I met a girl I really liked so I got the blood test. Guess what? I had been exposed. I don't think most people don't know, they just go into denial.

    The medical community needs to come up to speed and start testing people who are asymptomatic when they show up to get tested for STDs. Since the majority of herpes cases are clinical diagnoses and not actual antibody tests the epidemic will continue to spread across the country. Meanwhile asymptomatic carriers/spreaders and the actual uninfected will continue to stigmatize people who have/get this virus and have symptoms. Problem is, to the medical community this is a fairly benign virus.

    25% is probably actually a low end estimate...when they start blood testing as common practice this statistic will rise.

    Posted by Puritanical social morist July 26, 09 04:15 AM
  1. Herpes can remain dormant in your body and many people who carry the virus do not have symptoms. You didn't mention ever having been tested. You can and should get a type specific herpes blood test to confirm. If they are negative, then no disclosure about your ex with herpes is necessary.

    It really sounds to me like you were never tested because you were afraid to know and now you think that disclosing your sex with an ex with herpes is sufficient. It's not. The responsible thing to do is get tested, since you had unprotected sex with someone with herpes. Be honest with yourself and face the truth of whether or not you are a asymptomatic carrier.

    Posted by Allie August 29, 09 12:28 PM
  1. well i do have herpes and my husband didn't tell me but i feel you should get tested but if you haven't had a break out and it's been 7 years then your safe you know when i tell a guy i have herpes it's a turn off i don't care how cute i am no one wants my gift and i do under stand thats why i look for a date on std datelines so stop telling people

    Posted by lovebites September 9, 09 12:31 AM
 
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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