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WenDay88's avatar

Is it right to be disgusted?

Asked by WenDay88 (16points) July 10th, 2009

I was dating this guy for a long, long time. I actuallly fell for him. We waited forever to do anything “sexual” because we both wanted to go slow and do things right before jumping into anything. One night things got a little hot and heavy and he said he needed to talk to me. To make a long story short, he told me before we did anything that he had herpes and had gotten it from a girl he dated for a year that had cheated on him several times. He says he never gets outbreaks and his life is completely normal and that if we had sex that i’d eventually get it. I really don’t know what to think right now. A part of me is disgusted and does not want to be with him now. And the other part of me knows how much i care about him. I guess i would think differently if i was in the other person’s shoes so i know i shouldn’t judge him. What do you think?

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26 Answers

Alleycat8782's avatar

I would be disgusted that he waited this long, however at least he told you before you did anything.

CMaz's avatar

“and that if we had sex that i’d eventually get it.”
Run from him!
If he is responsible, you might and there is a good chance. If he is responsible, you wont get it, ever from him.

The fact that he said you would eventually get it, says volumes. He does not know how to handle what he has. And until he does, You should stay away.

Bluefreedom's avatar

First and foremost, I think he had an obligation to be honest with you about his affliction right from the start because Herpes is something that remains with you for life (I think) once you contract it and it’s something that he can pass onto you.

It’s good that he finally told you but the way he decided to tell you, when you were both involved in an intimate moment, seems like a very inopportune time to break news like that to a partner. I can see where you might be experiencing feelings of disgust even though you do care about him but it is true that you might face a tough decision in deciding how to proceed forward in your relationship, sexually and otherwise.

Not judging him is a good idea but being upset over what happened is completely understandable to me, given these circumstances. You’re going to need to sit down with him at some point and have a serious talk about your concerns and feelings and where you go from here. I wish you the best of luck in getting through this difficult time.

kevbo's avatar

You get the idea. Maybe you can pass that on to him.

buster's avatar

Im reading here 25 % of adult americans have genital herpes and 80% do not even know it.

Kayak8's avatar

Wow, I am impressed that he didn’t do anything sexual without telling you about his situation first. Certainly he could have made a lot of assumptions and brought it up on the first date, but it is not unreasonable for him to have spent more quality time with you (without being sexual) to get to know you before deciding that he wanted to have such an important conversation.

Sounds to me like a very caring, responsible guy. Depending on where he gets his outbreaks, it may be as simple as use of a condom to prevent transmission. Working in the field of HIV and STDs, I suggest (if you are interested in what sounds like a very decent guy) that you visit his doctor (or yours) together and talk about how to do things in a way that will not result in transmission. I think if each of you hear it from a physician, it is more likely to be believed than what you might read on a website and the information can be tailored to his specific situation.

This guy sounds like a keeper, most would have done the deed without any dialogue at all. So many have the attitude of “no visible lesions, no need to share potentially embarrassing/relationship ending information.”

marinelife's avatar

First, before you make your emotional decision about continuing the relationship, you need the medical facts.

1. It is by no means a certainty that you have to get herpes.

“With half of the couples the infected partner took Valtrex, and in the other half the infected partner took placebo. The results were vitally important to discordant couples.

The research team found that infections developed in the uninfected partner in only 4 of the 743 couples in which the infected partner took Valtrex, whereas 16 of 741 uninfected partners developed the infection when placebo was taken. This was a reduction in risk to the uninfected partners of about 50%, when the statistics were examined. Viral shedding was reduced by about 70% when Valtrex was taken.

Close examination of the data indicates another important point. When partners wore condoms during intimate contact WHILE the infected partner took Valtrex every day, then only a single uninfected partner developed genital herpes. This, I think, is a very important take home point.”

2. Your boyfriend needs to take the proper precautions. He is very ignorant about his own condition.

He is likely to be having outbreaks, but is probably overlooking them. Here is some information for you:

“The classic herpes outbreak is the clustering of painful blisters that become ulcers which finally heal after a few days. However, in some individuals, the outbreak is ‘atypical’ in that they only have redness with or without itching, and the blisters may be so small as to not be noticed. The virus is shed during the symptom period (symptoms only, no blisters), through the blistering, ulcerating and finally the healed phase. Only when the lesion is fully healed, is virus no longer capable of being shed . . .it could be very minimal, easy to overlook or in a location not easily seen such as on the underside of the penis, on the scrotum etc.”

In addition to that, he can infect you when he has no symptoms:

“Researchers have shown that viral shedding of herpes virus occurs very often from the genitals of the infected partner even when the infected partner has no symptoms: In some cases over 80% of the time. This means that an infected partner can transmit herpes to the uninfected partner even when no symptoms are present.”

3. If he is unwilling to take the steps to protect you, run, don’t walk. That would make me really doubt his story of how he got it.

CMaz's avatar

“Sounds to me like a very caring, responsible guy?”
He said she would eventually get it. I will let you slide with caring. He did tell here before they did the deed.
But responsible? He has no idea, or he would not have said that.

Kayak8's avatar

It isn’t a matter of being irresponsible, I don’t think. It sounds more like he is not completely aware of his disease and how it is transmitted (he sounds hypercautious not irresponsible). I work with folks everyday with HIV and STDs and so many of them cut themselves off from a meaningful, sexually fulfilling life because they lack very basic information about how their disease is transmitted. They take the route of 100% abstinence because they are not aware of a middle way to be a sexually fulfilled adult without placing others at risk.

What they lack is information, not character . . .

marinelife's avatar

@Kayak8 I hope you are right. I believe, though, that anyone with this diagnosis has a responsibility to research their condition, which you have to admit is insanely easy to do in this day and age—from the privacy of their home.

I think the jury is out on his character. let’s see how he reacts when @WenDay88 talks to him after the new information she has gotten.

CMaz's avatar

“What they lack is information, not character”

They lack character till they get the information.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

He was being up front and honest about his condition. That sounds pretty responsible.
It would be best to study up on the condition before taking any risks.

Kayak8's avatar

@Marina I absolutely agree that he has the responsibility to learn more about his condition. I agree that it is relatively easy to do IF you can separate fact from fiction on the internet, know how to phrase the query, etc.

However, if you already have ideas about transmission (you think you know the facts), then it might not dawn on you to go digging any deeper. For example, I have not read the Ohio traffic rules since I took the driving test over 30 years ago (I think I already know about them, so I don’t perceive a need to conduct additional research until I get pulled over by a cop reminding me that I don’t know as much as I think I do).

I think STDs carry an additional burden of stigma. In other words, it is already a difficult conversation to have. I am telling you, I see people every single day who THINK they know about their disease and share a ton of misinformation with prospective partners, family members, etc. We don’t expect cancer patients to suddenly become oncologists, but we do anticipate that those with STDs will have the intellectual capacity to become infectious disease specialists or at least experts in transmission.

What is the source of their information? The doctor who gave the diagnosis. Don’t think for a minute that some backward (prudish) docs are above providing sexually restrictive information (within the alloted 12 minute appointment). If your doctor tells you something (right or wrong) or if you think you know something, it is not inconceivable to me that your search for additional information will cease.

The alternative is that he is not really into WenDave88 and is sharing deliberately misleading information to get her/him to select non-participation.

filmfann's avatar

Wow, this guy was really up front with you. I’m impressed.
Now, if you dump his infected ass, he probably won’t be as forthcoming with the next girl.
Use a condom. Have him tell you when he has an outbreak. Cherish the time you met a really good guy.

CMaz's avatar

His infected ass? Wow, that is heavy.

As far as he being forth coming with the next girl. If that has been his motif operandi it wont change. It is one of those things that always carries a heavy conches .

Bluefreedom's avatar

@ChazMaz. heavy conscious?

shilolo's avatar

Marina and Kayak summed up the situation nicely. It is by no means a guarantee you would get herpes from him. As evidenced by the fact that ~25% of Americans have genital herpes, and many don’t know it, you need to realize that what you are worrying about is more of a stigma than a real medical problem. It isn’t like he has HIV and wants to have unprotected sex. If you take precautions, and decide later to pursue unprotected sex, he can take antiviral medications to greatly reduce his transmissibility. This shouldn’t be an automatic deal-breaker, in my personal and medical opinion.

marinelife's avatar

@Kayak8 I want to acknowledge your thoughtful and compassionate answer. I think much of what you said is true. Compliance rates on medication and care regimes show it to be so.

Blondesjon's avatar

@kevbo . . .Thank you. I have never laughed and said “ewww” at the same time.

laureth's avatar

While it’s good, I guess, that he told you before actually giving you herpes, I think a better man would have told you before he got you all hot and heavy with impending lust. He’s not a total ass, but what he did was pretty half ass.

I’d be disgusted too.

nayeight's avatar

I don’t see why you would be disgusted at all. I think he sounds like a great guy. I agree with Kayak8 that you might want to see a physician with him so that the two of you can find a way to have a safe and healthy sex life. Imagine how hard it would be to tell a guy you really fell for that you had herpes, knowing that they probably would have the same reaction as you.

kevbo's avatar

@Blondesjon, there’s someone for everyone I guess,huh?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I wouldn’t be disgusted that he has herpes – that’s very common. His past is his past and has no reflection on where you and he will go…though I would understand that you would need time to figure and learn about this new situation in your life before doing anything sexual with him…this could be a journey you make together..these kinds of revelations are important to provide upfront but difficult to actually reveal…

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Not disgust but definitely disappointed. As common as herpes is, not everyone is so casual about wanting to contract it themselves, even from someone they really like. I personally would pass on someone with herpes, social judgment or not.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@buster how could you not know? I would think somethin like that would be pretty uh obvious…. lol

mattbrowne's avatar

Disgust is one of the few basic emotions like fear, surprise, joy, mourning etc. Basic emotions can’t be turned off, but feelings are created when emotions mix with rationality. Sometimes disgust can turn into a feeling of pity.

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