Herpes, Scene 1: Knowing the Risk and Consenting to It

Health Writer
Medically Reviewed

Herpes, Scene 1:  You find out your last boyfriend who is no longer in the picture possibly gave you herpes. How do you find out?? You're socializing at a bar with a group of people and one thing leads to another. During the conversation one of the women mentions she dated "your ex" and he was her first and lo and behold she finds out months after breaking up that the man who "took her virginity - gave her a gift" and she is still seething. You are horrified and shocked. You really loved this guy and expected honesty from him and you leave the table sick to your stomach... You did not always use a condom, and you have a sick feeling.

Your gynecologist confirms that you indeed have herpes. Since this ex was not your first, you can't be 100 percent sure he gave you herpes, but it's a strong possibility. Why couldn't he just be honest??

Well (a) It is possible he doesn't know he has it - but more than likely he does and he assumes that it will be a "closed door in his face" if he shares. OK on that one, but why not just routinely use a condom EVERY TIME and make an effort to protect your partner - even if you don't want to share the absolute reason why? I have no answer because use of a condom on so many levels has to be today's choice for safe sex. (b) He has no regard for his intimate partners and couldn't care less if they get it because he's stuck with it - so why not them too?

I'd say any condition that is lifelong and currently has no cure and means, as a woman, that you'll probably have to have a C-section if you give birth, and has a hallmark of a very painful rash - is a VERY BIG DEAL - and everyone deserves to know if they are at risk for herpes when they consent to a relationship.

More "scenes to follow" but how do you feel about these issues??? Has this happened to you???