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The infection, which is caused by the herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2 viruses and passed via skin-to-skin contact, can show up as a cluster of sores on the mouth area or genitals.

It can also be asymptomatic, so most people with herpes don’t know they have it, which is a large part of the reason why it’s so prevalent.

None of these guys started screaming at me, they THANKED me and said they would get tested – none of them had it -YAY!!!! And while I’m not an expert in herpes, per se, I do know a number of people who have it, and continue to lead rich, happy, limitless dating lives. Because one second you’re saying “No way” to a guy with herpes, and the next, you’re praying that a guy doesn’t judge you for this one minor thing. According to Herpes.com, 50-80 percent of the American adult population has oral herpes. The scariest part of this whole thing is the staggering ignorance about herpes – a disease that undoubtedly affects someone that you know. Well, let’s just say that I have close friends, clients, and ex-girlfriends who have genital herpes, and none of them are traumatized, hospitalized or ostracized because of it. Just know that if you have the disease, you may be entirely asymptomatic, which would mean that you could potentially transmit it without knowing.

For most people, the anxiety over not telling your partner you have herpes is worse than the telling itself.

On the other hand, by telling your partner you have herpes and allowing them to enter into the relationship with full knowledge of your infection, you reduce the likelihood of them becoming infected with herpes.

But all the self-acceptance in the world doesn’t erase the fact that a herpes diagnosis creates ripple effects of shame and social isolation, and the fallout is especially pronounced when it comes to your dating life.“It’s good to have the conversation because there is a potential risk of transmission,” Cherrell Triplett, M.

D., an ob/gyn who practices at Southside OBGYN and Franciscan Alliance in Indianapolis, Indiana, tells SELF.

And I wouldn’t be dramatic, just simply say, you need to know something, I have herpes.

I control it with medication, but no matter how you slice it, it is what it is.

“I mostly thought, ‘I’m going to die alone, no one’s going to date me ever again,” she tells SELF.

Although herpes is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases, it’s shrouded in stigma.

It takes me longer than most to get to a point where I trust another person and feel comfortable with them. Two nights ago, she opens up to me, and starts off by telling me that she likes me very much and she feels safe with me, and she thinks we "have a future" (her words).

I'm happy about all of this, and I think I feel the same about her, even though, as I said, it takes me a while to warm up to new people.

Now, please understand that herpes is something I've never had to think about before in my life.