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Q: I've been seeing this girl and we've really been hitting it off. But my gut reaction is to ghost and never look back—I don't want herpes! – Jason, San Antonio A: Finding out your partner has herpes can be a bombshell at any point in the relationship. But it is not nearly as unique or earth-shattering as you think it is. I know there a lot of thoughts and anxieties swirling in your head—about your partner’s health, about your health, about your partner’s fidelity, about your future (or lack thereof) with your partner—and we’ll get to all that. My head tells me to handle this like a mature gentleman.Herpes prodrome include itchiness, tingling, burning, numbness, aches, shooting pains, and other sensations and can appear 30 minutes to a couple of days before an outbreak. The need to always wear protection and be aware of outbreaks and prodromal symptoms is certainly unique.When prodrome is present, it means the virus is active and the chances of transmission are high. But on the grand scale of things, herpes might be less of a challenge than celiac’s disease or severe nut allergies or even a monthly menstrual cycle.Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause infections anywhere on your body, and both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are more common than you think. The prevalent statistics you encounter in drug commercials, sex ed, and PSAs are inconsistent and often confusing.That’s because herpes infections are much more complicated than we paint them in our SNL sketches and stand-up routines. It’s from Project Accept.org: Around 75% of Americans carry HSV 1 or HSV 2 somewhere on their body.You find the lifestyle and sex life that fits your comfort level.

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Bottom-line: Is a long term relationship with someone with herpes a life sentence for protected sex?

1 in 6 means that if you’ve had three sexual partners in your life, then there’s a chance that one of them has had herpes and an even greater chance that one of them has had a partner with herpes.

So, when I tell you that your partner disclosing to you that she—and therefore maybe you—have herpes, I really mean that it’s not that earth-shattering.

That virus can (but may not) be transmitted to any surface of someone else’s body, via physical contact.

If it does transmit, there’s an ~80% chance that they won’t recognize any symptoms from the infection.

Or is contracting herpes from your partner going to be an inevitability—not a matter of if, but when? I'm not going to sit here and guarantee that you'll never get herpes, either from your long term girlfriend or from a random hookup.