Middle-aged couple hugging in bed

I am 66 but look much younger. I was recently diagnosed with herpes (HSV2). Was in process of resuming a prior long term relationship with someone I really care for and had sex with. How do I tell my friend? Is there a support group with older people dealing with same issue?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    You tell your new friend by explaining your situation asap, ideally before you become sexual together. It may be difficult to do this, but it’s a whole lot easier than explaining you dishonesty and deception if you don’t mention it and your lover becomes infected.

    But before you announce your status, make sure you understand the typical course of herpes infection. The media sometimes call herpes “incurable.” This is incorrect. Even though the virus remains in the body for life, the immune system is usually able to contain it after the initial episode or a recurrence or two. Once the virus is contained, herpes sufferers are unlikely to infect lovers. Of course, infection is still possible, so couples with one infected partner should use condoms for intercourse and if sores develop on the lips of the mouth, condoms during oral, too.

    If you develop recurrent herpes, they usually erupt where they’ve appeared before. Chances are that the day or two before sores erupt, you feel an odd itching or tingling in the area where they develop. This prelude to eruptions is your “prodrome.” You’re contagious from the moment your prodrome begins until your sore completely heals. For more, you might read my low-cost article, Everything You Must Know About Sexually Transmitted Infections.

    Of course, admitting to herpes involves a risk that the uninfected person may say, “Sorry, I can’t be with you.” But in my experience, that’s not all that common. People with the infection who are sensitive to their prodromes and use condoms don’t transmit it all that often. And I’ve known several people who said, “Let’s take precautions, but if I get it, I’m okay with that. I want to be with you.”

    I don’t know what your new friend will say, but I urge you to explain your situation as quickly as possible.

    • YBStine says:

      Just to let you know-I am not promiscuous person. Divorced 23 yrs and sex with only 3 people during that time; 2 long term relations and one short term. Most of the years after my divorce, I was not involved with anyone (no sex). I had no idea that I had HSV2 until recently diagnosed. I have no problem refraining from sex at my age, because I have done so for years and have not been with anyone over the past several years.Don’t know how long ago I became infected; Dr. says could have been 10/15/20 or more years, but I had no recognizable symptoms that I was aware until recently. My dr initially said it was shingle or contact dermatitis; until she took a blood test(positive). My world fell apart. Dr says virus can stay stagnate for years without any signs.My ex-friend and I, whom we had a long term relation, remain friends and we were thinking about re-establishing our relationship. My problem is: You recommend that I tell him and I want to, but I do not know “how ” to tell him; what to say.I am devasted/stressed/started back smoking/can hardly concentrate. I know that after I get that part off my mind, I will feel a lot better, but How do I go about telling him? Please help!

  • Michael Castleman says:

    Intimacy means self-revelation. If you want to re-establish with your ex, that says you want intimacy, so you owe it to him to be honest about your HSV. If you can’t bring yourself to tell him face to face, how about a letter or email or text? That way you can carefully prepare what you say. If that doesn’t work for you, then I suggest you ask your doctor to tell him. If your doctor agrees, make an appointment and ask your ex to accompany you. He’ll ask why. Just say it’s very important to you. Then the doctor can explain that it’s perfectly normal to have been infected for years and not know it. Who knows? Maybe your ex gave it to you. I can appreciate your hesitancy to spit it out. But there’s a silver lining here, too. His reaction says a lot about how much he wants to rekindle things. If he flips out and runs away, he wasn’t the man for you. But if he’s understanding, then you have reason to believe that the two of you are a good match.

Leave a Response

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.