Do the Right Thing
So about this genital herpes thing.
I realized if I was going to be mature and responsible and decent about it, I would notify my partners. So I went through my list. Yes, I kept a list, because I wrote a book about online dating, which included some pretty racy and highly entertaining accounts of my sexual escapades. The majority of all that fun and freedom was during my time in Louisville. Ah, the good ol' days.
Well, I don't have contact info for all them, but for those I do, I texted or emailed. As I was doing that, I realized that of those men that do get tested, a lot of them are going to come up positive. And then they're going to think I gave it to them. But NO! I didn't give it to them! Or did I? Maybe they gave it to me! And does it really matter? No. It absolutely does not. Because who gave what to whom and when is completely indeterminate.
It is estimated that one is six adults has genital herpes, of which up to 90% are asymptomatic and so have no reason to be tested. If they do have symptoms or simply want to know, if they see a doctor for an STI screen, they aren't going to get tested for herpes. A herpes blood test is not part of a routine STI screen. I didn't know that! And even if they ask for one, most doctors will push back, because the CDC does not recommend testing unless they're having an active outbreak. To complicate matters further, the blood test most often ordered, the IgM, has a 50% false negative rate. So that means - well you do the math because I'm shitty at math. But the bottom line is, for as many people that have genital herpes, very very very few actually positively know they do.
I believe from the bottom of my heart whomever infected me did not do so intentionally. Most people are good. Some people are bad. But most people are good. Most people that know they have genital herpes disclose in advance, and most people that have genital herpes do what they need to do to prevent infecting their partners. I believe that to be true even with casual sex. I simply do not believe there are a legion of evil conniving herpes infected monsters roaming the earth looking for unsuspecting sex partners to deliberately infect.
I've made a lot of mistakes. If I had known then what I know now, I would have made very different choices. But I did what I did and there's no going back and regrets are a waste of time and they eat up my sanity. I just can't let myself go there.
So about this genital herpes thing. I did the right thing. It was scary and I didn't want to and I'm afraid of the hurtful responses I may receive, but I did the right thing anyway. And it's made all the difference.
Note: This is the video recommended by the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) which explains the types of tests and their accuracy: Understanding Herpes Testing