A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control
I'm having a hard time reconciling the fact that I have herpes and genital warts (not the cervical-cancer causing type) with my desire to meet someone and fall in love. The guilt of having sex without telling partners about my STIs is becoming unbearable. I realize I should just keep trying until I find someone who is OK with my STIs, but what are the odds of that happening? Are there drugs yet that can prevent me from passing infections? Can I talk with someone about this on the phone? Thanks for your help:)

Hi

It sounds like you are going through a hard time at the moment. It may help to know that there are many people in your situation who are able to have a fulfilling sex and love life.

There is a lot of social stigma around sexually transmitted infections (STI) like genital herpes and warts. It often leads to negative experiences or rejection, even though the stigma does not make much sense. Warts and herpes are very common and there is a good chance that the people doing the rejecting may also have herpes (cold sores) and warts somewhere on their body, and just not know it.

Stigma and rejection also make it difficult to talk about STIs with your partners. It is not surprising that this is having an impact on how you feel about yourself and your relationships. When you don’t feel good about yourself, it is hard to be confident when you are meeting people, or you want to bring up the topic of STIs.

Sometimes talking to a counselor is helpful. Dealing with herpes and genital warts can be a huge loss leading to a change in self image and it is difficult to cope with on your own. Another option is to connect with a support group for people who have herpes or genital warts. 

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

 

This answer was posted on March 7, 2013

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