When we met offline, we became intimate very quickly, but we abstained from having intercourse.
After brushing up on my herpes facts, I felt incredibly vulnerable.
If one in six American adults have genital herpes, then based on the number of sexual partners I'd had before my new love interest, surely I’d come into contact with someone with this virus.
It’s true that the majority of the time, genital outbreaks are symptomatic of HSV II, but you can be infected by either type in either location, or even have both types in a given location — which makes me think that, functionally speaking, distinguishing between oral and genital infections is pointless.
If you can asymptomatically shed the virus from any point of your body and it can infect any point of another person’s body, isn’t any type or location of herpes just…herpes?
A week went by, and we continued to abstain from sex, although we were seeing each other almost daily at this point. I already knew I had HSV I — typically expressed orally as cold sores on the mouth — but my partner wasn't sure if he had HSV I or HSV II.
As a woman with a deep-seated fear of HIV and plenty of education on the subject, I realized that I hadn’t spent much time studying the ramifications of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). A common misconception is that HSV I is exclusive to the mouth and HSV II is exclusive to the genitals.
Recently, someone told me that they had HPV, but nothing “weird like herpes” — to which I responded “If you’ve had sex with more than five people, chances are you’ve come into contact with herpes.” When we look past the stigma of herpes and see how common it really is, we slow down the shame train that runs over folks who have it.
If and when you meet people who further stigmatize herpes, consider shutting down the shame and spreading some education instead.
Not everyone has symptoms, but this doesn't mean you can't pass the virus to others.
In fact, the majority of Americans have at least one form of the herpes virus, and you can get it from kissing, fucking, sharing a drink, or basically any form of close contact with a mucous membrane.
And it's important to understand that genital HSV is very common, affecting about 20% of the U. If you hope to be sexually intimate with your date at some point, you may feel like you're keeping a secret.