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July 16, 2020

An Open Letter to a Past Lover: I Should Have Told You I Have Herpes.

An open letter to the humyn I had sex with and didn’t inform them of my herpes status until days later:

It’s been about two and a half years since I last saw you. 

I don’t think about you often, but when I do, I realize how selfish it was not to inform you that I was a carrier of the herpes simplex virus before we became intimate.

You see, it’s not that I didn’t want to tell you. It was that I was scared you were going to reject me, and at the time we became intimate, I still wasn’t able to accept my diagnosis—let alone have someone reject me because of it.

I was also ill-informed from a medical health professional who told me that I wasn’t able to pass on the virus to other people if I was taking daily anti-virals and not having an active outbreak. It wasn’t until two years after we were intimate that I learned this information that I was given wasn’t 100 percent accurate.

The look on your face when I told you about my diagnosis on our FaceTime call is one that I will never forget. I could sense the fear you had and how you just lost trust in me. I’m not going to lie, it stung knowing that you would never look at me the same—but I also can only imagine what you were feeling being informed of something that could’ve changed your life forever.

I know that feeling, because I myself was never given the chance to decide if I wanted to be intimate with someone who carried HSV. I have no idea who I got it from and spent many months racking my brain trying to figure out the who, what, when, where, and why when it came to getting herpes.

I write this to you with an open heart to let you know that I now know better and have been doing better with disclosing to anyone I plan on being intimate with. I am sorry that we crossed paths at a time when I wasn’t able to be so confident in something that I thought altered who I was as a person.

Truth is, I now know that this virus propelled me into the version of myself that I have dreamed of being for years, and because of it, my life has changed in so many ways that I am thankful for. I also make sure I bring up the topic of sexual history and testing before being intimate with anyone else. I realized how this wasn’t a normal in my life, because I trusted that if anyone had anything that they would openly tell me.

That was until I was the one with a virus and quickly realized that it wasn’t easy to bring up this conversation. It also made me realize that it’s not the norm for these conversations to be had; I am working on changing the narrative in that.

I want to thank you for being a part of my path and my story. Even though I can’t go back and give you the chance to make an informed decision based off of the information I gave you, I am glad that I was still able to open up and confide in you after the fact, and I hope that counts for something.

Take care. Be well.

Always with love,
Stephanie

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Stephanie Boyd  |  Contribution: 120

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