Everyone knows that disclosure can be nerve-racking; it comes with a host of emotions like shame, sadness, fear, and even relief. The important thing to know about disclosure is that it is necessary to give your partners the ability to make an informed decision. That being said, it is also important to let past partners know that you have herpes since it is rare to know exactly who gave it to you. According to my doctor, I could have had herpes for years before I found out and that typically you have to have herpes for at least 6 months for the test we used to be accurate. So even if these past partners had been tested for herpes before. It could have been a false negative because the time it takes for enough antibodies to be created for an accurate diagnosis.
Telling past partners allows them to get tested and has the potential to protect more people. If your past partner doesn’t know they have herpes they can unknowingly give it to someone else. I personally went back 2 years when disclosing to past partners. I thought they were going to be upset, angry, and mean to me, so I agonized over this particular disclosure. My fears were unwarranted. Everyone was very supportive and more concerned about how I was doing. Some said they would go get tested and some refused to. Those refusals are concerning, but I did my part to protect and care of the people I once cared for. I no longer needed to carry that weight. It is important to remember that some people can have bad reactions to the news, but that is not your fault and you can’t dictate how they react. No matter their response it is still the morally responsible and respectful thing to do.
Things to remember when disclosing to past partners
Take a deep breath and remember any reaction to this news is not a reflection on you as a person
You don’t need to apologize, as you have done nothing wrong.
Have herpes info close by to answer any questions.
Be gentle with yourself.
Be kind to yourself and to the person you are disclosing to
It might help to write a script. You won’t use it, but it can be helpful to organize your thoughts