The Herpes Talk

Q: Several years ago, my boyfriend (unfaithful guy that he was) gave me herpes. I am now dating a really great new guy. How do I let him know and when? -- Mary, 36

Dr. Susan: It's always best to deal with such issues very early on. So if you're already dating this great new guy, tell him now. Many people are terrified of catching an STD, and there are people who should definitely do whatever they can to avoid it. Point him toward some credible resources about herpes, its prevalence and how to avoid getting it from you. It's possible, with the use of condoms, for a couple to be together for a very long time without the uninfected one catching this STD. There's always a risk though, and your great guy needs to be informed quickly or he will resent that you took that choice away from him. When you bring it up, say something like this: "Look, a few years ago I had a boyfriend who was unfaithful. And I caught something from him. I would never want to be creepy to you like he was to me, so let's talk about this." He should be tested also, as a lot of people are infected without knowing it. If he is crazy about you, he may stick around.

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