Talking About Herpes: Conversation Starters

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The opening statements below represent various non-threatening ways to start a discussion about herpes with your partner. They’re not meant to be deemed as scripts.

• “I have something I would like to tell you. Have you ever experienced having a cold sore? I am asking this because cold sores are due to a virus type – Herpes simplex virus. And I have this virus. Only rather than getting a mouth sore, I get them in my genital area.”

• “When two individuals get along as great as we do, I believe that we owe it to each other to be entirely honest. I would like to discuss our sexual histories.”

couples talking about herpes
Talking about herpes with your partner.

• “I like being with you. I am glad that we are becoming closer. I think it’s vital that we discuss sex. Can we talk about it now?”

• “We are responsible adults who need to do what is best for ourselves and each other. Let us discuss safe sex.”

• “I feel I can trust you. I would like to discuss something personal. Last year, I learned that I had caught genital herpes.”

Don’t Be Overdramatic in Talking About Herpes

This isn’t a lecture or a confession, just the sharing of info between two individuals. Avoid negative terms and keep the discourse factual and simple:

“I learned one year ago that I have herpes. Fortunately, it’s both manageable and treatable. Could we discuss what this would mean for us?”

Seek logical opportunities to discuss the subject. In this way, it appears more natural, there is no time to be nervous, and you are not making it into more of a deal than it is. With singles increasingly talking about HIV/AIDS and “safe sex,” these opportunities arise fairly often. You could even be shocked to know that your partner has been concerned in the same way about disclosing that they have contracted genital herpes or another sexually transmitted infection. In reality, the likelihood of this is rationally high, providing the HSV statistics.