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BASHH
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You got da Herp?

I've had herpes for 20 awesome sexually active years. I'm here to destigmatise, educate and spread the message that herpes is normal and manageable. No shame needed here - ewww, who needs shame messing up their kickass sex lives?! 😂😊

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Have you spread it to any of your partners? Do you tell your partners you have it before having sex with them? Do you avoid intercourse when you have breakouts with visible sores?

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Hi, Peri 😊

As far as I'm aware, I've not transmitted it to any of my partners. Saying that, HSV isn't part of a standard screen at a sexual health clinic, so it's entirely possible that I've transmitted it and a partner carries it without symptoms.

These days, I always use condoms and I take daily anti-virals, too. The pills reduce breakout frequency by suppressing the virus' general activity; they also speed-up healing when a breakout occurs. I've had herpes for so long that breakouts wouldn't generally happen as often as they used to - when I was young, they happened quite often. It's been several years since I had an outbreak, but when I used to get them, yes, I was out of action for a week at a time. As well as protecting you from frequent outbreaks, taking anti-virals protects your partner's by reducing transmission rates - the pills halve the chance of transmitting HSV and using condoms reduces it by half again; both are well worth doing.

Do I tell my partners? Yes, always. But - I do acknowledge that disclosing (or not) and how you choose to it is entirely personal. If I had the choice, I obviously would choose not to have herpes. With that in mind, I do everything I can to make sure my partners don't get it. Would I also have liked to know that the person I caught it off had the virus? Of course - for a start, he and I were a regular couple and didn't use condoms - I'd have made the choice to protect myself and use condoms if I'd known. It's because of this that I always tell my partners - I don't want to take decisions out of their hands. They have the right to be well-informed and decide for themselves.

NHS sexual health clinics will tell you that herpes is so common that disclosure to casual partners isn't necessary as long as safer sex is practised. And I kind of agree with that - disclosing isn't easy and it's a bit awkward and a lot of a buzzkill to have 'the talk' before a casual one-nighter. I tend to date online these days (my clubbing days are long gone, ha), so I have the chance to raise the issue online before I even meet someone for a first date - that gives me the opportunity to tell *every* new sexual partner I meet. Like I said, it's totally personal, that's just my way of doing it 😊

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Waytogo nadiezdha73 It's about time someone spoke about this.

Fun fact: about 60% of people over 20 have the herp. Also by the time your generation reaches it's 50's, something like 80% git the herp.

Also fact: there is little to no research going into finding the cure for HSV.

(Pretty ridiculous considering how pretty much everyone will be affected by this at least once in their lives and everyone is undereducated about it.)

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Thanks, Eroon. You're right - people are defo uneducated about it - it leaves people who have symptoms totally traumatised.

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a good way to keep them at bay is to have a have a healthy balanced diet and exercise. I've not taken meds or flared up for years just by doing that

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Yup, all true - diet defo has a big impact.

The extra benefit of antivirals is that they halve asymptomatic shedding 😊

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I do (type 2) and have for a decade. Ah right, they seemed to do naff all for me. Doc agreed that they didnt seem to do much for me. I thought I'd have decades of hell. Lifestyle was the best way for me. I've been with my fella several years and he don't give a s**t, so I'm not bothering with meds now. First year was hell. Second not so bad and that was it. Not had a flare up or even a tingle since.

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Oh, wow! Lucky, woop! I had regular breakouts for years, so meds made a huge difference 😊

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I am pretty lucky but I put it down to a good lifestyle. Cross my fingers I keep it at bay

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Having HSV has affected my Sex life massively even though I haven't had an outbreak for years, Scared of telling someone before hand & being rejected but scared of not saying anything & passing it on. I was diagnosed about 7 years ago after having an outbreak on my genital area after my partner at the time had cheated. I was told the results of the swabs they done at the clinic tested positive for HSV type 1, this has always confused me as most things I've read describes type 1 as cold sores etc & type 2 when the outbreaks are down below? Can anyone enlighten? Really need to overcome this or I will never have a sex life again !

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Can we please stop talking about an STI like it's a common cold or something. Yes 60% of the population is infected because people who have the virus still choose to have sex. Some are responsible and tell their partner and use condoms but most don't and THATS why so many people are infected with it.

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Hi, Lasyamy. It's thought that most new cases of HSV are passed on by people who don't know they carry the virus. Because the NHS don't include HSV on a standard screen, many people carry it without symptoms and transmit the virus via viral shedding. I think we need to change the way we talk about STIs, so that people are less embarrassed and ashamed to talk to their partners and stay safe. It's not realistic for such a huge section of the population to just stop having sex, especially when herpes is really no more than a minor skin condition. Condoms don't offer full protection, either. The reason people are so scared of it is *because they don't want to have to tell their partners*. Communication really is the way forward with prevention, though 😊

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Hey changethegame. Although HSV1 is happiest around your mouth and HSV2 is happiest around your genitals, they do occasionally end up at the 'wrong' end. They're very slightly different forms of the same virus anyway, and they have the same effect.

7 years is a long time to suffer quietly with this. You deserve a happy and healthy sex life. I feel very similar to you - I want to tell partners ahead of time so that I don't put them at risk without their consent, but of course, rejection is possible.

I've been using online dating for years. Almost always before a first meeting the conversation will get a bit cheeky and I take that opportunity to say that "there's something I need to tell you, it could be a deal-breaker, but I really hope not. I test positive for HSV - the virus that causes cold sores and herpes. I don't get outbreaks, but there's a small risk I could pass it on without symptoms; I always use condoms and I take suppressive medications, too. I get tested every 3-6 months and I'm negative for everything else. I'm telling you this now because I think its the right thing to do before there's an intimate situation. What do you know about HSV? I'm totally happy to tell you anything you want to know. Is there anything you think I might need to know about you? When was your last sexual health check?"

I say something like that. Saying it online or by text protects me from rejection and gives the other person time to consider their response. There have been 2 occasions in the past 10 years when someone has said "no thanks", but both were respectful and kind and grateful for my honesty. I'll not lie - waiting for the reply can be tough, but I have a clear conscience. And AND - it just normalises a discussion about sexual health, which is exactly as it should be.

This is just my way of doing it. I hope you find a way that works for you, because you deserve to have all the fun and love. You're not dirty and you don't need to feel ashamed. Have the conversation and shamed and feel brave, instead *fist bump* 😊

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See its when I read things like we shouldn't be having sex cus an STI isn't like the common cold that gets me so worked up and worried. I can't see myself ever being with anyone ever again! I hate to sound so negative but I didn't feel desirable before now I feel even less so. I don't think anyone would ever understand and why would you want to?

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It's ok, Ellen98, you and I (& many others) just got unlucky - unlucky enough to both catch the virus *and* to have symptoms (and therefore be aware of it and have Responsibility...)

You're desirable, I'm sure. Most of us are, in many and varied ways.

You know what? It's a good filter, HSV. If someone is prepared to have an open-minded, sex-positive convo with you, without judgement...if you can be honest and be respected for being so...you'll more than likely have great sex as a result. Sounds trite, but it's true.

Anyway - if you don't mind - I've got a hot date to get ready for 😉

Trust yourself.

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Just to clarify it to people that can't do their own research - MOUTH COLD SORES (TYPE 1 ORAL) ARE UP TO 4 TIMES MORE CONTAGIUS THAN GENITAL TYPE 1 HERPES. Also 70% of the population in the UK has type 1 herpes. So there is literally NO REASON and it makes NO SENSE to tell people with genital hsv1 that they should feel like they have to disclose in ANY WAY. People with oral sores are the majority of the population, and the ones that mostly infect people with genital type 1 AND THEY ARE NEVER TOLD THAT THEY HAVE TO DISCLOSE!!!!!! So Changethegame, please take your life back. You are much LESS CONTAGIUS than most of the population that does not care about it and it's not told to disclose. I wish people stopped buying into the stigma

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