If you have just been diagnosed with genital herpes, you are probably going through a variety of thoughts and emotions. You are probably wondering how this will impact your life and your relationships.
It can be very frightening to be diagnosed with something that currently has no cure but keep in mind that while this is not one of the most pleasant situations to go through, herpes affects so many people today in the United States and most people go about their daily lives as usual with typically no more than 4 or 5 outbreaks a year.
Here are some tips for managing and dealing with your herpes diagnosis.
Talking to you partner (or future partners) about genital herpes
If you are in a relationship or are currently on the dating scene and have just been diagnosed, you may be wondering how this will impact your ability to be intimate with your partner. While there is never a “good time” to bring something like this up, there are some times that are definitely better than others.
It’s normal to be afraid to tell someone this on a first date for fear they will not get the chance to really know you, it’s okay to take your time just make sure you discuss the fact that you have herpes before things get intimate. Kissing, hugging and being close are fine, but when it comes to having sex, you need to have the talk. In fact, it should be discussed far before that moment even comes and certainly never after the fact.
Realize that as embarrassing and uncomfortable as it may be to discuss, you have a duty to protect the health of others, especially those you truly care about, and if this is someone worth spending your time with then they will be supportive and grateful that you told them.
If this becomes too challenging or awkward for you, there are actually dating sites specifically for people with herpes (since it is so common) and then it is known right off the bat!
If you are already in a relationship, your partner may be surprised and a bit caught off guard with the news, but should be understanding and certainly never angry. It’s not your fault that you have genital herpes. It’s something you can deal with together and he or she should also get tested right away.
Learning to recognize and manage your symptoms
Once you have come to terms with the fact that you have herpes but you truly will be okay, you will date, you will have sex again and you will lead a normal life, you may start to recognize a pattern for when you are about to have an outbreak and what your particular symptoms are.
For many people, outbreaks are the result of emotional stress, diet, fatigue or when their immune systems are compromised from the common cold of a flu virus. Once you can better understand what triggers your outbreaks, you can learn to avoid these things, or if that is not possible, be prepared for an outbreak.
Dealing with an outbreak
During an outbreak when sores or “lesions” are present, it is important to shower at least one to two times a day and to keep the affected area as clean and dry as possible. When the blisters are open it is a good idea to wash them well with soap so that it can kill some of the viral fluid. While this time is the most probable for spreading the virus to other people, it cannot live without bodily fluid for very long. This means that sharing normal household items like beds, toilets or towels is not likely going to cause anyone else to be infected.
Avoiding UV exposure
Sun and UV exposure have been linked to reoccurring outbreaks and should be avoided as much as possible.
Using preventative measures with a partner
It is possible for you to have genital herpes and for your partner not to, if you use the right precautions. There are suppressants that can be prescribed by your doctor to help reduce the risk of passing the virus. During an outbreak, genital contact should be avoided. Additionally, using protection during both oral and vaginal intercourse is a helpful method for prevention.