Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Genital Herpes Health Center

Select An Article

How to Tell Your Partner You Have Genital Herpes

Font Size

You must tell your partner you have genital herpes. If you pick the right time and say it the right way, there's a good chance things will work out OK.

Think about how you want your partner to take the news. Do you want it to seem like a huge problem? Of course not, so don't present it that way. If you say, "I have some awful news for you," your partner will likely take it as awful news. Instead, be casual, direct, and unemotional.

Recommended Related to Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes and HIV

Having genital herpes can increase the risk of being infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and it can cause serious problems for people living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). People who have genital herpes sores are more likely to be infected with HIV during intercourse. When you develop a sore, the immune system tries to heal it, so there are many immune cells concentrated in that spot. Those are the cells that HIV infects. If HIV in semen, vaginal fluid, or blood comes in contact...

Read the Genital Herpes and HIV article > >

Also avoid suggesting how he or she should react, especially in the negative. If you say, "You're going to freak out when you hear this," or "Don't freak out, but...," you are setting your partner up to panic either way.

Simply say you have genital herpes, and ask if he or she knows what that means. Be prepared to present the facts.

Learn as Much as You Can About Genital Herpes First

Before you tell, learn all you can about genital herpes so you can be prepared to answer any questions your partner may have. Stress that it's very common. Hearing the one-in-five statistic could be a relief. Also explain what it means to have it. Some people get sores on their genitals occasionally, but many others get symptoms so mild they don't even notice them.

Choose words wisely. You don't want to load the discussion with negative imagery. Although genital herpes is a disease, saying that you have this "disease" conjures up unpleasant images, so avoid using that word. Watch adjectives, too. Don't describe your condition as "horrible," "disgusting," or "incurable."

Pick the Right Setting

In addition to language, the setting can affect the outcome, too. Don't interrupt what your partner is doing to break the news. That is, don't call him or her at work, or barge into a room and say, "Hey, we have to talk." That's how you might deliver news of a death in the family or start an argument.

The right setting is a relaxing one, just the two of you, where there won't be any distractions. A conversation over a quiet dinner or a walk in the park is preferable to a bowling alley or the supermarket.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

STD Overview
BHC Healthy Sex Life
things your guy wish you knew slideshow
Sex Drive Killers 03
Genital Herpes Risks Quiz
Young couple holding hands
Hepatitis Prevent 10
Herpes Vaccine Study
Daughter Development Evaluator
HPV Vaccine Future
STD Facts Quiz
mother and daughter talking

WebMD Special Sections