Staying in a relationship where you are negative and they are positive seems like playing with fire.But there’s something to be said for someone who knows they have herpes and knows how to manage it versus someone who has herpes and doesn’t know and has never been tested. Garrison, a clinical sexologist, told Primer: “When a person living with herpes knows everything about herpes and can comfort themselves and educate their partners, when they can know their prodrome and understand what that means, when they are aware of what can trigger their outbreaks, then sex with them can be (and often is! That being said, you'll never reduce your risk of contracting herpes from a partner down to zero. There are three ways to reduce the risk of transmission.

Dating someone with oral herpes video

However they, too, will retain the virus for life and be contagious.

That’s a lot to parse, but boil it down to this: far more than 1 in 6 Americans between the age of 14 and 49 have HSV-2.

) less risky than sex with a partner who may or may not know their status.” A herpes prodrome are signs that an outbreak is about to happen. If nothing else, dating someone with herpes can seem like an inconvenience.

Herpes prodrome include itchiness, tingling, burning, numbness, aches, shooting pains, and other sensations and can appear 30 minutes to a couple of days before an outbreak. The need to always wear protection and be aware of outbreaks and prodromal symptoms is certainly unique.

But know this: many, many couples find a way to make it work. In a long term relationship where there is open communication, maybe even a little professional counseling (people like Eric Garrison, or someone your doctor refers), you find your rhythm.

You find the lifestyle and sex life that fits your comfort level.

That’s a sad reality that you and your partner will have to face. “When thinking about herpes diagnosis as an indicator someone has cheated, let me pose this question: When you catch a cold or the flu, do you look for the culprit? And that's because there's no stigma and shame associated with catching the cold or the flu.

But you don’t have to bring that shit directly into your relationship. Do you search back in your memory for which doorknob you touched that might have been infected or which person sneezed in your vicinity? So, blame and origin is irrelevant, because those things are seen as unfortunate but part of being human – our bodies are resilient but not infallible, and the potential for infection and risk is present in almost everything we do.

We have a long tradition of shaming, ridicule, and misconception to thank for that. According to the CDC, most herpes transmissions occur when the infected person shows no symptoms and may not even know they are infected. After all, isn’t this essentially what just happened to you? “Unless you actually have reason to suspect they're cheating, a herpes diagnosis in the middle of a relationship does not mean they have been cheating.” Jenelle Marie Davis, the founder of The STD Project, explained to Primer.

From Shakespeare and South Park to sex ed and parodies of Valtrex commercials, herpes has been treated unfairly by mass society. “Most STI panels do not test for herpes, most people are asymptomatic (meaning they do not have signs or symptoms or experience outbreaks), and even the tests that are out there often return false negatives if someone was recently exposed or does not have a high enough concentration of the virus or the antibodies for the virus (depending on the type of test).” Dwelling on how someone got herpes is wasted mental and emotional energy, when really, you should be focusing on the next steps for your relationship in the here and now.

In the same way that no birth control method reduces the chances of pregnancy to zero, couples eventually find the right balance between caution and calculated risk.