How do I tell my new partner that I have an STD?

Photo: Nadia Snopek

@AskPeaches: I was diagnosed with HSV-2 three years ago. I would describe myself more as pansexual. Since my diagnosis it has been hard to date, as I’m worried about passing it along or even discussing the topic. But I recently met a guy that I really like and feel that I should share my diagnosis. How do I start the conversation?

@Jules: Thanks for sharing this very sensitive question with me. Please know that you are not alone, and you do not have to feel ashamed. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 12 percent of Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 also have this infection with over 700,000 new HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital) infections every year.

Genital herpes is a very infectious disease and can be transmitted even when you are not showing symptoms. While you have to be careful, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a relationship and a satisfying sex life. If it’s common for you to take and share STD test results with your sexual partner, that would be the most appropriate time to share this information. You might discover that your partner may also have this or another infection. (About half of all Americans have oral herpes, for example.) If not, avoid discussing the topic before or during intimacy. Be upfront and share as much information with your partner so that they understand the prevalence of this infection, how it is spread and that there are ways to manage it. Because genital herpes is incurable and a life-long condition, your partner needs to both understand and accept the risk.

For your reference, here’s some information so that you know what to share and how:

  • Genital herpes affects 12 percent of the US population.

  • Billions of people worldwide have either oral or genital herpes. 

  • You’re most contagious during an outbreak, so you want to abstain from sex at that time.

  • Valacyclovir is a drug that you can take to help to manage the severity of the symptoms, which has an effective rate of 48 percent to prevent transmission.

  • If you have an insertive partner, you can use condoms to help minimize transmission, which is 65 percent effective.

  • You can also use a dental dam for any oral activity. 

The important thing here is to be honest and reassuring. While it may not be an easy conversation to have, be confident in your delivery and use a tone that conveys optimism. If your partner doesn’t want to take on the risk, do your best to not take it personally, and know that there are others out there for whom this will not be a deal breaker. 

I hope this goes well for you.

The @AskPeacheas column is prepared by committee but written from one person’s experience. Send emails to askpeaches [at] freshfruitinc [dot] com with “@AskPeaches” in the subject line. Be sure to give enough background, so the advice can be more specific and relevant.

Leave a Reply

Read More

Sign Up

Create an account for access to events, deals and perks.

Already have an account? Log in here.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest scoop
fresh &

By clicking “sign up,” you agree to receive emails from Freshfruit and accept our terms of use and privacy policy.


Log in to access events, deals and experiences.


Log in to your account

Don’t have one? Sign up here.