Marrying Someone with Genital Herpes


According to the US government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the country. Across the nation, 16.2%, or about one out of six people from 14 to 49 years of age have genital herpes caused by HSV-2, a strain of Herpes Simplex Virus. Because of the nature of the infection and the method of its transmission, discovering that a partner genital herpes can create a serious strain on a relationship. So if you find yourself in such a situation or are thinking of marrying someone with genital herpes, here are a few things to keep in mind.

TIP: Positive Singles is a website that specializes in bringing together singles affected by herpes.

Get the facts

If you have just come to know that the person you are getting married to has genital herpes, you can feel pretty shaken up. Thoughts about infidelity, hygiene and disease are likely to put in a state of mental anguish. However it is important to know the facts before you can discuss the matter further with your partner. In this case gather as much information about genital herpes as you can. Basically, genital herpes is a viral infection transmitted through sexual or intimate contact which causes blisters or groups of small ulcers (open sores) on and around the genitals in both men and women.Treatment for genital herpes includes taking painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen if the sores are painful as well as antiviral drugs if the outbreak is particularly severe. Being armed with accurate information will not only help your partner - and you perhaps - to get the right tests and treatment but will also better prepare your relationship to cope with the consequences.

Avoid jumping to conclusions

Your partner getting infected with genital herpes isn’t always the consequence of infidelity. One of the reasons why STDs are such a great cause of concern is that they a few of them may lie dormant without producing any symptoms for several months or even years after the first contact with an infected partner. In case of genital herpes, symptoms may be mistaken for a rash, hemorrhoid or vaginal yeast infection. As a result your partner may have been carrying about the infection an asymptomatic STD infection even before you two got together. Your first instinct upon being told by your partner that he/she has genital herpes may cause you to blame him/her for being unfaithful and even exposing you to the infection. But it is also possible that they may have been infected for years and did not realize it until something in their body changed and caused the first noticeable symptom to appear.

Get tested

As soon as you find out that the person you are marrying has genital herpes and if you have had sex with him/her, you should get yourself tested. This will confirm any doubts about you having contracted the infection from your partner. Even if you and your partner did not have sexual intercourse, don’t avoid going for diagnostic tests for herpes. This is because many times genital herpes can even be transmitted through intimate contact which does not include intercourse. If you test negative for genital herpes, you should take every precaution to avoid getting infected and this means practicing safe sex. Consult a doctor about sexual practices which will help you remain protected against the disease. Latex male condoms offer a degree of protection but may not be a foolproof measure. This is because in case the herpes sores are present in unprotected areas around the genitals like thighs, and buttocks, they are still capable of infecting you even if your partner uses a condom.

Find treatment

However if you test positive for the infection, you should waste no time in consulting a doctor so that you can start on the right treatment as soon as possible. The first choice for treatment should probably be your or your partner’s regular physician. This is because he/she is familiar with the patient’s health history and is best placed to decide the right treatment options for him/her. Most family physicians can effectively treat the common run of STDs but in case they have doubts, they can always refer you or your partner to a specialist. Women in fact may be more comfortable talking about their symptoms to a gynecologist rather than their family medical practitioner. Also if the cost of the consultation and treatment are not covered by health insurance, there are several choices of affordable or free STD treatment too. Most local health departments run a free or sliding scale STD clinic which offers anonymous or confidential testing. Yet another affordable option is your local Planned Parenthood clinic which apart from providing contraceptive guidance is an excellent resource for STD testing and treatment. Other affordable options could include the STD clinic in your local hospital or if the symptoms need prompt attention, urgent care clinics which are both more affordable and time-saving as compared to the Emergency Room services.

Make way for changes

When the person you are marrying is diagnosed with genital herpes, you need to accept the fact that you both will be required to make some changes to your lifestyle. The most important of these is perhaps to avoid sex with your partner for the time either of you are undergoing treatment for genital herpes. Just because the treatment has started and even if the symptoms ease up, it does not mean that you or your partner is completely infection-free. The doctor will require you both to be tested again at the end of the treatment to be sure that the infection is gone and that you are no longer capable of passing it on to anyone else. So resuming sexual activity before you and your partner has been given the go-ahead by the doctor may cause the infection to be passed back and forth between you two. Also don’t be under the impression that as long as you are not having vaginal intercourse, it is alright to go the oral way. Genital herpes can spread through the oral route as well and you need to confirm from your treatment provider what is and is not safe for you both. Finally the carrier of the infection needs to be consistent about the treatment and not leave it mid-way as soon as the symptoms disappear or he/she begins to feel a little better. Apart from developing drug resistance, this will leave the infection untreated putting the patient as well as his/her sexual partner at the risk of future infections or even complications.

Marrying someone with genital herpes is not the same thing as marrying a healthy partner. You may be required to make numerous adjustments in your sexual as well as domestic life. Having said that, there are lots of people out there managing their infection with wisdom and care. And if you and your partner know what is in store for you and are prepared to face the challenges, there is no reason why you cannot have satisfying marital life.