I'm a 22 year old gay man who has just become infected with genital herpes. I'm absolutely disgusted and grossed out by myself, and am trying to come to grips with this whole thing... But as physically painful as the infection is, what's worse is trying to imagine telling the guy I've been seeing about this. What might be the best way to tell him? What are some of the facts to tell him that might make the conversation more rational than knee-jerk disgusted? I've no clue when I was exposed to this virus, and who gave it to me, so I can't even pretend to play the blame game, but at the end of the day I'm sore, I feel like there is an acid burn on my genitalia, and I don't know what to say. I'm so, so frightened of what's to come. This will stay with me for life, I've read, and it's not easy to look my reflection in the eye these days.

I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks for your time. Signed...

Hope My Nine Lives Aren't Up

My response after the jump...


Hey, HMNLAU: Please go listen to "Savage Lovecast 195"—the one that features Dr. Anna Kaminski from Planned Parenthood. We have a long and, I think you'll find, very reassuring discussion about herpes. (Take away: it's not that big a deal.) Listen to it before you tell the guy you've been seeing, HMNLAU, and have the guy you're seeing listen to it after you've told him.—Dan

I listened to the podcast, and last night finally worked up the nerve to call the boy to tell him the bad news. He was ever the gentleman, thanking me for telling him, and even went so far as to use the word "noble" when thanking me for doing the right thing.

I was astounded, really astounded, by his reaction, but most of all, glad that he was so level-headed about it all. I must say, I have you to thank for this, as he is an avid reader of your column, and it was because of that that we were able to have open and honest discussion. From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.—Turns Out My Nine Lives Aren't Up