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First, DON’T PANIC! Second, this is not the time to shame yourself, feel bad, tell yourself negative things about the other person, the place, the hook-up app, or even about sex itself. This is real life, and shit happens. Contracting a sexually transmitted disease, including one as chronic as herpes, which has been around for at least 2,000 years, is not the end of the world or your sexual life. It is, unfortunately, as natural as the sex act itself. So relax and let’s talk about a more positive approach to having herpes. Let’s begin with a basic break down of what herpes is, what it is not and, for those uninfected, how to do your very best to keep from contracting it.
There are two types, or simplexes of the genital herpes virus:
As stated above, most infected with herpes are without active symptoms. This means you may be infected and not even know it. Because of this, all sexually active guys, should be regularly tested by their physicians for the virus at least every three months.
When symptoms present, they usually take the form of some mild skin condition that may be thought of as a dry rash, irritation or even razor bumps. Commonly, it takes about 4 days after infection (the incubation period) for one to show physical symptoms. The overall range could be as low as 2 days and as high as 12. An “outbreak” is represented as painful ulcers that may take 2 to 4 weeks to heal without treatment.
After initial exposure and contraction of the herpes virus, and possible first time outbreak, recurrent outbreaks may take on a different form. The first outbreak is marked by a longer period of lesion growths, increased viral shedding, which makes transmission to others more likely, and some flu like symptoms such as fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes and headaches. Recurring outbreaks are very common especially during the first year of infection. Over time, these outbreaks and symptoms will usually lesson in severity and duration.
As for whom to blame, the answer is no one. This is an illness, a virus, a sexually transmitted disease. Blame only leads to shame, of you and your past and future sexual partners. It also keeps you from keeping your head, both the little one and the big one in the game. At this point you need to stay focused and not look for the easy way out of blaming others or kicking yourself when you are down. Later on, we talk about how to protect your future partners from contracting herpes from you, but some of these lessons can be used to assist you staying free of other STDs, as many of them are contracted in the same manner.
Something else that you should know about the herpes virus and outbreaks is that they may be brought on by stress and anxiety, so be mindful of this, and think of possible ways to reduce your stress level including work life, friends, family and other triggers. A little yoga and meditation wouldn’t kill you either.
You are not going to like this, but the absolute best way to never contract herpes, or any other sexually transmitted disease for that matter, is to practice celibacy. Having no sexual contact, including kissing, with another guy is the only way to make sure you don’t ever catch herpes.
The next best option is conversation. We will always suggest you talk to your potential partners about their sexual history and be open and honest about yours. Integrity is not only a great sign in a man, it is also super sexy!
*NOTE: If you are infected with herpes, you can use the “buddy system” of combing medication with condoms. This one-two-punch is currently the most effective way of not transmitting the herpes virus. But again, this is not 100% effective.
We strongly discourage dudes who are having an active herpes outbreak from engaging in sexual activities with others!