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Herpes: Dating and Relationships

People say: “The well-known evil is better than an unknown one”. It is hardly so if it concerns Genital Herpes (GH). Those, who do not know anything about this disease, may treat it as any other and may think that a week or two of taking proper pills are enough to get rid of this evil. On the other hand, it is a real shock to discover that you are infected with the GH virus if you know that it stays in the human body forever. The horror of realizing that something is going to torture you lifelong can be compared to a shock on discovering that your mother-in-law moves into your place. Some people take GH so much to heart, that they even think it is the end of their sexual life. They lose their self-confidence and their trust in people. They decide to abstain from sex and to cut off any relationships. They become psychologically ruined.

Cheer up! There is no need to jump into conclusions. It will certainly take some time to get used to this status quo; nevertheless, if you try hard not to let the disease spoil your life, your efforts will be rewarded. Though the virus remains in the body lifelong, it becomes weaker every second, so the next outbreak will be milder than the previous one. Stress will provoke new outbreaks, even temper will overcome them.

If you are faced with the problem of GH for the first time, it is important not to withdraw into yourself. Talk to a person you trust. Remember: two minds are better than one in searching the right way to go. You can also discuss the issue with a psychologist or in the GH support group.

Talking to a friend, family member or psychologist may be a kind of a “dressed rehearsal” of talking to a lover. No doubt, the more we treasure the relationships with someone, the more difficult it is for us to open up. We are scared the partner will neither understand nor support us. We are afraid to lose him/her. Meanwhile, it is not the virus that makes us part - it is a lie.

For the conversation to have positive results, the time and the place must be right. It is good to start with general issues (safe sex, for example), then to pass to the problem itself. Try to stay calm and confident - if you sound dramatically, your partner will panic too. Talk honestly, but do not make it a speech. Point out the positive moments (the disease is not hereditary, the organism produces lifelong antibodies, the primary outbreak is the worst, many people experience almost no symptoms).

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Hopefully, your partner will take it with understanding. Actually, your honesty can even make you two closer. Together you will make a plan of actions. You may use the following tips: - ask your partner to take a test to discover whether he/she is infected; - avoid skin-to-skin contact (oral sex, kissing) or sharing the same cup, etc. during the cold sore outbreak; - abstain from sex during active GH outbreak (remember that condom may not cover all the blisters); - be sure to use a condom between the active outbreaks (the virus may be transmitted even then); - avoid touching the sores or wash your hands thoroughly if it happens.

Finally, do not forget about the medications (Famvir, Valtrex, Zovirax) capable to ease herpes symptoms and make your and your partner’s life more comfortable.

Ivanna


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