Q: I just found out that I have herpes and I’m devastated. I feel like it’s over. I see all the stories about people being in committed relationships… but what if you are not? How do you tell the people you casually slept with before you knew you had it? I feel like it is the end of the world. If you have any good tips please let me know. I can’t take this.
A: It’s very normal to feel shocked and depressed and even hopeless after first learning that you have herpes. But remember – this is the worst of it. It can only get better after this. After some time has passed and after you learn the real facts about genital herpes – you will eventually start feeling better about yourself and hopeful for your future. Here’s what you should do right away:
#1: Get Support Immediately! There are a number of support resources for people with herpes, both regional and national. Join a local, regional or national herpes support group or herpes social group, and TALK TO PEOPLE who already have this and have been living and dating with it for a while and know what you have been going through. You will feel so much better after talking to people who are in the same boat and know more than you about what you can do. National HELP is a secret Facebook herpes support group that you can join to get answers to your questions about herpes that many doctors can’t even answer.
There are millions of people in America and all over the world that already have herpes and are living and dating successfully. You are absolutely not alone!
Find your local and online Herpes Support Groups and Herpes Social Groups at
#2: Get educated about the real facts about genital herpes! Herpes is extremely common and very manageable. There are lots of things that you can do to reduce the frequency and intensity of any herpes symptoms (see Herpes Treatments). There are also many things you can do to dramatically reduce your risk of spreading herpes to your partners (see How to Reduce Your Risk). Read through all of the information on this site, and then check out the Links section and go to other websites for even more information.
#3: Don’t buy into the stigma. You are not a bad person or a dirty person just because you have genital herpes. About 30% of adults in the US have some form genital herpes. That’s tens of millions of people. You are not alone! The fact is, however, that most doctors don’t include the test for herpes even when they are testing patients for other common STD’s. And since most people who have genital herpes have no noticeable symptoms, or their symptoms are mild and infrequent, they honestly *think* they are *clean*, even when that’s not the case. Even without syptoms, herpes can be passed between partners. There are millions of people out there who don’t realize that they have herpes, who are having casual sex, and not using protection, and who are putting themselves and their partners at risk for acquiring one or more STD’s. You are no better nor worse than other people just because you have genital herpes. And maybe now, you’ll have the chance to help educate others about this very common virus that they may already have and not even know it.
#4 – If you want some helpful tips for how to talk to past partners and potential new partners to tell them about your genital herpes, go to Telling Someone.