I need advice...
I am new to this forum. I found I was positive for H2 6 months ago. Since then I have felt isolated and alone. I am 22 and like others, felt invincible to STDs. Although I have had VERY limited partners, it only took one to be dishonest. I have since removed myself from that relationship and have met someone new. We have been dating for one month. He is good-looking, highly educated, successful and in prime health. I really care for him and could see our relationship going a long way, potentially. I KNOW I have to tell him considering things are starting to get intimate. He has brought up the topic of H up before in a joking manner, and of course, I laughed along with him and omitted the fact that I am infected. (His exact words were, "well I hope you don't tell me you have herpes.") Should I just run?? I have found a great deal of help by reading everyone's posts and appreciate everyone's openness and honesty. I need some honest advice. Is it too soon to tell him? How do I tell him? (I have never been in the circumstance to tell anyone new.) What if he rejects me? There's also a catch. I work in public relations for a company of 2,000 employees and he works there. While it isn't against policy to date employees, what if he tells someone? I feel as though I can trust him but I also know how health-minded he is. I have read several horrible stories and a few positive ones about informing partners, I need an objective viewpoint. Thank you.
I applaud you for seeking what you call "objective advice". I will be candid with you--I would be leary of hearing creampuff "everything will be alright" advice from someone who has not actually had to deal with the situation you are describing, or deal with it multiple times.
And let's be honest--finding any partner at all is difficult enough (for females) for reasons that have become the focus of some major studies recently. I am not overstating it to say it is by now an "epidemic" in the US (the shortage of quality available males)--and this is not demographic-specific but applies to all women. On top of this shortage, finding a partner with the character to accept our health status can be particularly challenging.
One month is just no time at all when it comes to having a significant relationship involving trust. Telling him something like this, I think, is ill-advised at this point. The reality is: there are marriage engagements that have been ended by this virus. There are relationships much older and longer nurtured than yours that have ended over this virus. There are people, who are otherwise extremely attractive and eligible who went single a long time as a result of having this virus. (The counter argument is if you go ahead and tell them up front, then you wont have to waste your time being with somebody who isnt going to stay with you in the end when you eventually them.) Do not let anybody stroll in here and try to tell you a fairy tale who is already happily married with 1.2 kids and got H from their husband long after they had already left the dating scene.
Love it or hate it, the truth is there are a lot of people in the world who do not have herpes, and for somebody to chose to be with someone who has H when there are so many other options that appear equally attractive or available without H, is generally not to be expected, especially when you're dealing with males who often aren't that deep to begin with when it comes to finding a female desirable.
There are no absolutes and he may accept your health status entirely, but I'm telling you what I believe the behavioral trends to be in general based on what I have personally observed.
I don't personally think you have to tell him anything like this at this point if you are using protection (like a female condom) that has been tested to be significantly effective in preventing std transfer from a female. If you had been institutionalized for schizophrenia 10 years ago, you wouldn't be obligated to tell him that. And this is no different if you are conducting yourself responsibly during sex. And if he is "into health" he should only appreciate that.
I'll wait to learn from the wisdom of others and what their advice to you would be. Of course you are more than a microscopic virus, but unfortunately we cant assume that people always have the sophistication about themselves to appreciate that.
That's as much of an "answer" as I can offer, for whatever it is worth.
Yeah but the problem with that is you cant contract skitzophrenia, you CAN and do contract herpes. Seeing that it is such an epidemic, like you say, telling someone to go ahead and have an intimate relationship, to just "use a female condom" without informing the other party of thier HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS situation seems, to me, to be really irrisponsible behaivor and a complete irrigaurd to the other persons welfare. Seems to me if there is an intimate realtionship building you either tell him or refrain from an initimate relationship. Pick your poison but it's now your JOB to inform people BEFORE it gets to that point. You can't just go around sleeping with people, thinking you are being wise by using protection, its already been established that "protection" doesn't PROTECT you from hsv. It may lower your chances of contracting and passing but it doesn't protect people from it entirely. Alot of people on this board got herpes just that way, and I dont think they would appriciate people being adivised to keep that information from potential sexual partners.
And just because she's not married with 1.2 kids doesnt mean she has the right to act irrisponsibly, and by having sex and not telling people, protected or unprotected with hsv, is acting irrisponsibly in my eyes.
All sex--indeed all human contact--is risky for some kind of infection. The issue is not whether you eliminate all risk by using a female condom, the issue is whether you eliminate enough risk to constitute responsible behavior to yourself and others and do so under the law.
The law--as one index--tries to follow what is in the interest of the public health as well as the private citizen. No one is obligated to reveal their health history to anybody to whom they have no legal duty, and beyond what can put them at an unreasonable material health risk. As examples:
~When you stick your tongue in somebody's mouth, you assume the risk of catching the flu or a cold or mono among other things. We do not ask the person we are about to kiss whether they have mono or feel the flu coming on before we kiss them, nor do we require that they assure us they do not have these things before we are willing to kiss them?and to be sure, mono is a serious infection and people die from the flu every year in likely greater numbers than die from herpes. It would be prohibitively expensive if right before every kiss, everybody had to first go get clearance from a clinic that they weren?t infectious?even though we know that that is exactly how many illnesses are transmitted?including incurable ones.
~Outside of invasive procedures, your doctor does not have to tell you she has HIV, not because she definitely won?t infect you, but because scientifically she is extremely unlikely to infect you and there is more lost by society at large than gained by revealing that information to you. There are far, far more patients that she will help than hurt?if she will hurt any, and it is not in the public health interest to guarantee that she will not infect a single patient, at the expense of what may be an exceptional doctor not providing care to thousands.
~Even if a female has no serious STDs, a man who has sex with her and uses or does not use a condom, is assuming the risk of (a) getting a yeast infection (even though she may have no obvious symptoms), (b) unwanted impregnation (c) being allergic to the female--at the very least. But these are risks that males and females are generally willing to take.
~Under the law, using a female condom would definitely be considered sufficiently responsible behavior on her part and she would not be liable for any infection he gets from that encounter. Otherwise, she would be responsible for either guaranteeing his safety for conduct that he freely chooses to engage in, which she can not do, or for revealing every possibly contagious infection of which she might be afflicted (hepatitis, the flu) at every kiss or sexual encounter, which she also cannot do.
~Beyond that, he is assuming the risk by being intimate with her, just like anybody who rides a crowded subway is assuming the risk of getting TB. He knows full well that condoms fail. But this is a risk worth taking for most males. The pill fails, but it is a risk worth taking for most females who would not prefer the "absolute" elimination of risk through abstinence. And females who take the pill consistently are regarded by most as behaving responsibly in terms of preventing pregnancy. The cost-benefit analysis is essential for analyzing responsible behavior and it is prohibitively costly (not just to the person but to society) to require people to divulge their health history?risk loss of control of personal medical history, risk unnecessary emotional distress and ridicule, risk blackmail?where the risk of infection is exceedingly low by all available scientific standards, when specific highly successful and medically defendible measures are taken.
These arguments you present are very convincing, to say the least. They have caused me to question my ethics on disclosure. Refraining from disclosure in a responsible manner may likely work for many. I just don't feel as though I am able to do that. I'd rather not consider it an option only because I am still feeling unresolved vindictive emotions toward the man who infected me. I would feel worse than I do toward my infector if I infected another without his consent to have sex with me knowing my circumstances. I am still in shock about receiving this virus and can only hope that I never cast it on another. It is hard for me to process the facts that the potential serious partner teased around about H and that, as mentioned in the first reply, could have any other eligible uninfected woman. What makes me feel even more so sick to my stomach is that he has refrained from dating for 2 years, claiming to be waiting for someone good enough to come along before he considered getting serious. I'm thinking about waiting to tell him by remaining abstinent for the time being. I want to hear him tell me up front that he is ready to become serious, which may not even happen. And that's okay too. He is going to meet my family in a couple days, for what ever that might indicate. We shall see. Thank you all for you input. I really appreciate it and welcome any more opinions/advice that arise.
I totally can appreciate your feelings and ethics. If there were more people like you, there would be fewer people like us (infected w/ H). I have a question--this is something that I find stomach knotting too and I'm just curious how you feel about it. If someone accepted the fact that you have H and was willing to risk getting it from you would you "let" them have unprotected sex with you? How would you feel? I'm just curious, if you care to share. I have never given this virus to anyone and think it would feel like getting it all over again if that ever happened. But I made the 'speech' I made in part because I have been to hell and back with this virus--there were nurses in the hospital who were very nasty and judgmental of me. And I think after a while of dealing with that from human beings over and over you get really callused--not irresponsible--but callused, and feel like you are the only person on the planet with any ethics at all.
It's probably not a fair question to ask you--you have enough to think about where things are...
The question you asked completely piqued my curiosity and allowed me to take a step outside and look at things from a different perspective. All my focus has been on since my diagnosis was the "who wouldn't find me replusive?" I hadn't broken the boundary of that insecurity to actually consider that maybe someone wouldn't find me repulsive. Upon closer examination, the idea couldn't be too far fetched, eventually at least. To begin, I would find it bizarre if someone who was not infected was willing to accept my ailment from the get-go. I would caution to this, maybe he isn't being honest. If the relationship progressed gradually where a man felt inclined to forego his health for unprotected sex, it would definately catch me off guard. I don't know that I would agree to it immediately, the idea would take some getting used to. In a sense, to me at least, it might be comprable to loosing your virginity, yet again. I would be tense about it. On the other hand, if the relationship was taken to a different level, i.e. marriage, I would likely agree with fewer reservations. While I would cringe at the idea of my husband suffering through the many dynamics of this virus, I do aspire to be a mother. Eventually, there would be a time that I could have un-protected sex 100% comfortably, and that would be to concieve a child. In the mean time I will lay low. I don't know the severity of your virus, but my doctor has explained to me that oftentimes H will gradually occur less and less over time. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I have this sort of luck.
I am sorry to hear about the treatment you received from the nurses in the hospital. I am not a veteran to this disease and have not experienced fully the stigmatization this virus carries. I just quietly allow people to poke fun when the topic arises making sure to keep a half-smile on my face. Two people, including my infector, "know" about me. What is your stance on this issue?
It's rediculous really, because I was treated the same way at the hospital when I was diagnosed. 2 or 3 people came in and checked me out, I'm crying hysterically, I asked them if they could please go get my husband for me sitting in the waiting room...they never did go get him...and on top of it they looked at me like I was some used up whore coming in with a case of leperacy. Then to make matters worse, when they gave me my perscriptions, I asked them if it was goi ng to be safe for the baby, I was 6 mos pregnant, and a man in the emergency room looks at me and says.."Well, I dont know that we dont do tests on pregnant women". :?
Your legal side of the discussion makes sense but you still have the ethical side to deal with, if she is indeed looking for a relationship, she's going to have to tell him eventually. If she waits to tell him until after they are intimate...sometime down the road, he's liable to become angry (I would think) that the news wasnt presented before becoming sexual. Do you feel that by withholding that information she is putting in jeaopardy any possible realtionship the two of them might be looking for in the future? Especially in the trust department. Please dont think I'm argueing, I'm not, I can yack all day. LOL
I agree with your comments about marriage and children. I raised the question because when you were talking about the ethics of this thing, I was reminded of another ethical question--"consenting" to unprotected sex with somebody who is willing to take the risk. Exactly like you, I had never really thought about it. But then I was actually in a situation where a person I was involved with who knew my health status, right in the middle of intimacy insisted on performing cunnilingus without the protection that we were using and just removed it--and I was totally caught off guard. And what's the "right" response in that moment: "Yes, continue." or "No, stop." or "time-out, let's have a conference." I just wasn't expecting it at all.
Copyright © 2007 - 2008 www.thanktoday.com