How to disclose herpes to former lovers

When you first learn that you have genital herpes, you may want to know how to disclose this to your former lovers so that they can get tested for herpes.  Here’s a draft of a possible letter that you might want to send your former lovers.

If you want to send them an anonymous email, you might try doing that for free at 5ymail.com. 5ymailcom is a very basic interface that will make it easy for you to SEND an anonymous email, but it will be difficult to receive a reply.  You might also just create a new gmail account and send the email from there.

Of course, you may choose not to be anonymous!  Do what you think is best and good luck!

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Dear Former Lover,

I am contacting you because I recently learned that I carry the virus for genital herpes and that I may have unknowingly exposed you to via genital or oral  or anal sex.  I suggest that you see your doctor and ask for a type-specific herpes IgG blood test for both HSV-1 and HSV-2.  Here’s a good web page about How to Get Tested for Herpes.

Genital herpes is extremely common and can be caused by either HSV-1 or HSV-2.  80%-90% of people who have  herpes  have no idea that they carry the virus, because they have no noticeable symptoms. Often herpes symptoms are mild and infrequent and easily mistaken for something else, such as a vaginal infection, jock itch, ingrown hair, or razor burn.   Most doctors do NOT include a blood test for herpes when they are testing their patients for other common STD’s.  Unless you ask specifically for a type-specific IgG herpes blood test for both HSV-1 and HSV-2, it is unlikely that your doctor has ever tested you for herpes.

Studies estimate that over 60% of Americans acquire HSV-1 as children, from being kissed by a parent, relative, or friend who has no idea that they  have the virus or can spread it.   HSV-1 is commonly known to cause occasional cold sores around the mouth.  HSV-1 is also the cause of more than half of all new cases of genital herpes, largely due to the popularity of oral sex.  Over 16% of Americans (ages 14-49) have HSV-2, but in women the percent is more like 20% (1 in 5).  Based on these studies, over 30% of Americans have either HSV-1 or HSV-2 genitally, but most don’t know it.

The absence of any symptoms does NOT indicate the absence of a sexually transmitted infection.  Herpes and many other STIs often have no noticeable symptoms and the carriers honestly have no idea that they have an STI.   I may have acquired genital herpes before I met you.  I may have acquired genital herpes after I met you.  Who knows – I may have even acquired genital herpes from YOU, without anyone having any noticeable symptoms.  The bottom line, is that you should get tested for and become educated about genital herpes.

Herpes is most often spread to others when there are no signs or symptoms, and the partner with herpes has no idea that they even have the virus and can spread it.   There is currently no cure for herpes, but it causes few or no noticeable symptoms for most patients.  Genital herpes can easily be managed and there are some very effective ways to reduce the risk of getting herpes, or spreading it to your partners.

The first thing you should probably do is get some more information about herpes and make an appointment with your doctor to take a type-specific IgG blood test for both HSV-1 and HSV-2.  Here are a few websites where you can get good information about genital herpes:

https://herpeshandbook.com

https://westoverheights.com

DatingWithHerpes.org

These sites will also give you information on how to request one of the good, very accurate herpes blood tests.

Sorry if this message causes you any distress, but herpes is extremely common, and everyone should be asking to get tested. Good luck.

A friend