Tips for Making Dating with Herpes Easier

Dating can be difficult for many reasons, including lack of chemistry, mismatched goals, decreased interests, a questionable past, and miscommunication. However, these challenges may be insignificant compared to the difficulty of dating while living with herpes. According to the World Health Organization, a significant portion of the global population under the age of 50 is affected by herpes, with 67% having HSV-1 and 13% having HSV-2. Despite this, it is not uncommon for individuals with herpes to date and form healthy relationships.

Having herpes can impact one’s dating life as it involves the risk of transmitting the virus to a sexual partner. It is important to have open and honest communication with potential partners about the condition and take appropriate precautions to reduce transmission. However, it is not the end of the road for dating as there are ways to manage and live with the virus.

Be open and honest with your partner.

It is important to be honest about your health, particularly when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs). It is advisable to visit a specialist for a proper diagnosis before discussing your condition with a sexual partner. Furthermore, getting an STD test before beginning a sexual relationship with a new partner is a good idea. It is best to disclose this information as soon as possible, whether at the start of a relationship or further into it, to build trust and connection, as well as lower the risk of spreading STDs or STIs.

To ensure privacy and comfort, have a sensitive conversation in a private setting. As per WebMD, it’s not appropriate to disclose a herpes diagnosis during sexual activity or after undressing. Instead, focus the conversation on the type of herpes, how it’s transmitted, how to prevent infection, and when to refrain from sexual activity. If both parties are sexually active, remind your partner to get tested for STDs, regardless of symptoms. It’s understandable for your partner to react with shock, so allow them time to process the information.

It is recommended to avoid sexual activity when experiencing symptoms of a herpes outbreak.

Initial symptoms of an active genital herpes infection in women include blisters in and around the vagina, vulva, buttocks, anus, and thighs, as well as a burning and stinging sensation. It is important to get tested for STDs as soon as these symptoms appear. According to UpToDate, it is recommended to avoid sexual activity during a genital herpes outbreak as the virus is highly contagious during this period. As soon as you are aware of your infection, it is important to abstain from all forms of sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

Avoid sexual activity until sores have healed and scabs have fallen off, typically at least 7 days. Avoid touching sores to prevent the spread of the virus to other parts of the body, such as the eyes. Pregnant women should take extra precautions, as a first outbreak close to delivery can increase the risk of passing herpes on to the baby. Use protection and carefully plan sexual activity during pregnancy to minimize transmission risk. If you have oral herpes, avoid kissing, oral intercourse, and sharing personal items like drinks, lipsticks, and utensils. Even after healing, always practice safe sex unless trying to conceive.

“Consume medication for herpes on a daily basis.”

Anti-herpes medication, such as Valtrex, Famvir, and Zovirax, can be taken daily to manage symptoms of herpes and prevent transmission to sexual partners. These antiviral drugs are popular treatment options, and can shorten healing time for herpes sores. In severe cases, an intravenous antiviral medication may be prescribed by a healthcare provider.

Acupuncture may be recommended by doctors as a complementary therapy to help heal sores. A study published in 2022 in the Annals of Palliative Medicine found that acupuncture can effectively treat symptoms of herpes zoster (shingles) by reducing discomfort and shortening recovery time. In addition to acupuncture, it is important to maintain a balanced diet that is rich in minerals and low in arginine-rich foods, such as chicken breast, turkey breast, chickpeas, and dairy products, during an outbreak of herpes. To improve treatment results, it’s also best to avoid spicy, salty, oily foods, and alcohol as they can exacerbate herpes symptoms.

Examine a relationship without a sexual component.

Having herpes in a relationship can present challenges with regards to intimacy, as it is necessary to manage the risks and wait for sores to heal before engaging in sexual activity. However, it is important to note that sex is not the defining aspect of a healthy relationship. Effective communication is a key component of a healthy relationship, and it is important to be able to discuss any concerns, joys or challenges with your partner.

If someone is unable to support you when you are ill, they may not be worth your love when you are healthy. Having herpes does not mean the end of sexual activity or desire. In this situation, physical intimacy may need to be put on hold temporarily while seeking treatment. Use this time to focus on other activities that can strengthen your relationship, such as exploring nature, learning to cook together, or traveling. This can also be a good opportunity to reignite the spark in your relationship and get to know each other better.

Organize and prioritize your medical treatment.

It is advisable to prioritize treating herpes before beginning a romantic relationship. Managing both a relationship and a medical condition can be taxing on one’s physical and mental health. Additionally, having an STD can make dating more challenging, as it may cause the potential partner to view you as a high-risk individual or may lead to feelings of regret and insecurity on your part.

Per a study published in the Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS, people suffering from STDs are often ridden with guilt, humiliation, fear of rejection, and fear of not being sexually attractive. Due to the ongoing stigma associated with mental illness, some people may be too afraid and reluctant to disclose their condition to their partner, which can add more pressure to the relationship. STDs are a big deal and demand attention. The vast majority of herpes do not resolve on their own, and, if left untreated, they can cause complications such as an infection in other organs and an internal inflammatory disease, Conway Medical Center points out. After finding out about your infection, focus on your treatment instead of diving headfirst into a new relationship.