Many of you who read my blog, may also be posting questions to be answered. As I navigate the questions, an ongoing "difficult issue" I am confronted with, is when someone believes that their spouse has been honest and devoted, they themselves have not had an outside the relationship sexual encounter, and yet suddenly they have their first herpes outbreak.
Now clearly if you have read about herpes then you know that whether you or your spouse might have been exposed previously, and unknowingly had it for awhile - that this could be the first actual physical expression of the disease and it may be encouraged by a seriously stressful event or another health condition that lowers your immunity and allows the virus to "show itself" and express physically with lesions. Of course, the alternative explanation is that someone is not being honest. Since I have the responsibility to offer all "the possibilities" - it can be really difficult to highlight possibilty #2.
A relationship is based on trust and a herpes outbreak can sorely test that trusting relationship. That is why we suggest safe sexual practices, even when you are married to someone you know and love and trust, or even if you are in a long term monogamous relationship. It's really important to understand that based on your own (or your partner's) sexual history, either of you could be harboring herpes and not know it. On the other hand, people do stray outside the relationship and they can unknowingly become exposed to herpes and bring it home to your bedroom. Ultimately, the IgG and IgM tests can help you to discover if this is a recent (within 3 months) exposure or whether the exposure happened earlier on.
This is such a complicated issue and it's fraught with trust issues, so my suggestion is to talk about your past, talk about the possibilites and especially set yourself up for protected sex if there is even a remote possibility of a herpes exposure. This is a lifelong illness and with statistics so high, (of herpes among the community) most of us are at risk.
Published On: September 25, 2008