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Question on morality

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Question on morality

As you may have read in a previous post I mentioned that it is very likely I have Genital Herpes. I was tested recently, but found out that the herpes test required lab fees and so I could not afford it without insurance. I am going to look for a free place soon, but since I am with a girl who has herpes it’s not at the forefront of my mind.

The question is:

From my research, 1/4 women have genital herpes, and 1/5 guys or about 50 million american adults. That is the general consensus from doctors on the web and in person. The thing is that 70-90% of people do not know they have it. They do not have serious breakouts early on and may not have them for several years.

Hypothetically speaking, this puts someone like myself in an extremely difficult position. I have always prided myself in being honest and empathetic, but I am at a loss for the following.

The odds of a random girl getting herpes from me with a condom on are somewhere between 1/500 and 1/1000 without a breakout, and I have never had one. On top of all that 1/4 girls already have genital herpes. This is a fact. So lets say there is a 1/750 chance that a girl will contract genital herpes from me if we meet at a bar, go home and have sex. The question is should I tell her?

I talked about this with a few of my best friends (who of course are positive they are not cursed with this affliction), and 2 of them said I still think you tell her, and one said “it’s a really tough call”.

I am in no way thinking about my girlfriend but as a guy I think we all think about the “What if”. The reason I think about this is because I would not want to curse a girl with the feeling of being alone in the world, and that is exactly what can happen with herpes. Realistically it is such a small deal when compared with all of the problems in the world. There is also a good chance that this girl would not experience the serious breakouts that some experience. I know this number is arbitrary but lets say there is a 1/3000 chance she experiences regular breakouts after having sex with me. (I am making this number up because there is some reason 3/4 girls don’t know they have it, and that is becasue they don’t experience regular breakouts).

Aside from the fact that she would experience the sadness of having herpes due to a public stereotype, the odds of this being a real life changing disease at it’s face are very low. It almost makes more sense to me in a completely logical way not to ruin the night.

All of that said (I know I am a bit biased) I am not asking for an answer that supports what I am saying or one that does not consider the above informational at all, I want honest critical answers.

Thanks so much.

First off,

You’re question is simple. Should you tell someone you have herpes before you fuck them?
Answer: (rhetorical question) Should you tell someone you have AIDS before you fuck them?

Starting your post with facts and figures and a bunch of numbers gives you the answer.

You’re attempting to convince yourself that not telling someone is ok because of such and such a number and such and such statistic. Soothing your guilt for what you know to be ethically unconventional by using statistical data recycled from prescription drug commercials and little STDs pamphlets found at the free clinic is apparently not working for you, case in point: the existence of this thread.

I think I posted about this story on here already, but I will repeat it as it bares repeating given the topic of discussion here.

A while back a really good female friend of mine had a dilemma. Now, she was really hot and she was interested in me. For whatever reason she felt comfortable enough to tell me all her personal crap including the juicy details of her sex life. Possibly to make jealous or something so maybe I would want her more, I don’t know.

But anyway, back to her dilemma. She found this “really hot guy” who knew how to eat her out just right. He apparently would do it for hours on end. She asked me if she should continue letting this guy eat her out. I of course was confused as to why she wouldn’t. She finally confessed that she had herpes.

So here is this guy, probably STD free; innocently eating her out all the time for weeks and she feels guilty that she hasn’t told him that she has herpes. You want to know why this was a dilemma in the first place? Because she was afraid that if she told him she had herpes, he wouldn’t eat her out anymore and she loved getting it. She was too selfish to think of his safety and his health for her own orgasm. Golly gee, what an awesome girlfriend.

My direct answer to her was very simple. Yes you should tell someone who is eating you out that you have herpes. Why, because it’s not fair to the other person and it’s selfish on your part.


The great elm.

If you have something you should disclose it. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes…wouldn’t you want to have a choice? Let’s say that your hypothetical partner does contract herpes without being told, what would this person think about you? What would you think in such a situation? Trust me, you wouldn’t be comforted by the numbers/statistics. It is a trust issue. Should you trust a hook up you met at a bar? It’s probably naive to think so, but then again, thats the gamble with hooking up at a bar.

Sure herpes is not a big deal when compared to other stuff but it is still a virus that never leaves your body and does periodically flare up. Furthermore, what constitutes a ‘big deal’ is subjective and as you rightly allude, having herpes can be psychologically devestating. For a woman, genital herpes can be an issue, particularly if she is due to give birth as she has a high possibility of infecting the newborn. In many cases these newborns will die since their immune system will not be able to cope with the virus. Having said that, there are procedures in place to prevent this (e.g. C-section) so it’s not entirely doom and gloom.

I agree with ellm, you should always be honest. Will that kill most of your sex opportunities? Probably. Are there people with various sexual infections that do not disclose them to their prospective partners? Yes. Is that ethical? No. Will it continue to happen anyway? Here in the UK, the number of sexual infections is steadily rising so I think that is a resounding yes. I am sure the numbers are comparable in the US. So can you hook up with girls at random and not disclose? Yes, but you are being unethical no matter how many statistics you compile or try to dress it up. You are being selfish (as inferenced in ellm’s post), but you know what, you aren’t the first or only person to be selfish.

However, your girlfriend has herpes and you are still with her [I am unaware of your infection came about, did you know previously or was it suprise?] I am sure we all know people with herpes who are married or in steady, successful relationship. So while ‘By the way, I have genital herpes’ is probably not going to pull oodles of women, it is by no means a deal breaker for some and not an issue for others.

I know that we as a society give hell to people with coldsores and genital herpes. I think it is just an innate biological mechanism to shy away from those with viral infections (self-presevation and all that). Having said that, there are loads of herpes-related dating sites and I am sure you can score really well with the poor girls that populate those sites. At least it would take the awkwardness of the conversation out of it.


Cum vinum intrat, exit sapientia

Thank you for the replies. In response to some of your questions. It was a surprise, I only had sex with one girl unprotected before my girlfriend that had not been tested.

I am bit surprised by the austere nature of some of your answers however, of course I respect your opinion, but there are a couple things I want to clarify. Women very rarely have any problem with childbirth with herpes. I think it’s only real dangerous if they get their first break out while having the kid.

Also, it is alot easier to say someone is in denial, and that they are selfish if of course you don’t have herpes. The problem is that 85% of people have the capability to give someone genital herpes via a cold sore. (Personally I just noticed cold sores on my mouth a few days ago, and my hunch is this is what I have) HSV-1 on the genitals from cold sores is quickly rising, so for those who do think it’s a terrible thing not to tell someone, it would be polite and inexcusable for you not to get tested.

Should I tell a girl that I have herpes then? For anyone who has not been tested for cold sores (everyone) you can still spread the disease even when your shedding.

I respect your answers and I appreciate the fact that you looked at them in detail, my point however is that you and all of the other people in our herpes ridden society make it so that the odds are not much worse that a girl could get herpes from someone else. I think I read that as a guy with over 25 sex partners your odds are 1/2.

AGAIN FOR YOU GUYS WHO ARE POSITIVE YOU DON’T HAVE IT-FREE STD PANELS RARELY TEST FOR HERPES, YOU HAVE TO REQUEST IT!

It makes me wander if people really did read the statistics.

You can easily pass it off and say “he’s trying to justify his disease” or you could look at in greater detail. A girl who has sex with a guy who has 25 plus partners has the same odds of getting it from him as me with a condom. Really digest that, and for you guys who read this and have 25 sex partners, you as obligated as I am to go find out if I have it. I’ve never had a breakout, I didn’t have unprotected sex with women before hand, it just happens that my girlfriend has it. She could have got it from another guy years ago, oral sex etc.

And I am not talking about those who previously replied because I know nothing of their story, but if you are a guy who has 25 or more sex partners and you bashing on people with herpes (oral or genital) and you have never been tested FOR HERPES, and you have unprotected sex on occasion, you are at least as big a culprit as myself, and I don’t think anyone can really debate that.

None the less, I asked for honest answers, and thank you.

BTW Ellm, there is an 80% chance that guy already had some form of oral herpes, and that’s exactly what he would get from this girl.

Also, Aids is a life threatening diesease, I went into great detail describing why I thought herpes was not life threatening and in most cases (all but 1/3000) from a one night stand life altering. That of course is another fallacy in your opening statement.

I feel like you did exactly what I didn’t want people to do and that is look at the question at face value and scream “Ohhh no herpes”

For those of you reading this, you may think I am trying so vehemently to justify my case, but really just assume that I am not. The stats I gave you are correct to the best of my knowledge, and I am trying to present an honest case.

It is morally right to tell someone you have an std if they have any possibility of getting it.

Eastendpeak,

I agree with you. I guess it’s just sad that it’s one of those diseases so many people have and never get it checked out, I would have been one of them if my girlfriend didn’t tell me she had it. It’s frustrating that friends of mine who have had 15,25, and 50 sex partners look at me like I am bad and the truth is they are just as likely to have it as myself. I never had any symptoms and did not have sex with my girlfriend during her outbreak. I suppose since it is so morally wrong to not tell someone you have an std if you know you do than all of us guys with a 1/2 chance of having it should just not get tested since of course we are just like all other guys accross the country.

The truth is I am not even positive I have it yet, at least I have the desire to pose the question and get tested. Others that have surely viewed this thread will ignore the facts and thank god they have not had to face a situation like this so they can live in ignorance and have an excuse not to get tested. Sure enough one of them will spread the virus out of apathy.

Apparently some people have missed my point. My point is if you have ever had a cold sore you should tell them you have an STD, surely someone who has posted on this besides me has had a cold sore, do you guys tell them that they have a chance of catching genital herpes if you eat them out, even when the sore is not present. If you don’t believe me look it up. The only difference between the 2 is public stereotype. It seems extremely hypocritical.

I met a girl once, and the first night - just before we reached for the condoms - I told her the truth, that as far as I knew I had no STDs, I was a blood donor and had been married without any reason to believe that my ex had given me anything and had had the full checkup before we got married (this was #2 I got into bed with after my divorce, where #1 was a blowjob).

She said nothing, we had a great night.

Then a short while later, we spent the weekend together and the first night she said - in some neutral situation - that she had something she needed to tell me. When I had been so blunt, she was taken aback and didn’t know how to respond, so she said nothing. The fact was that when she as young she contracted herpes, but hadn’t understood that the painful outbreaks were not urinary tract infections until she went to the doc years later. Typically she had one outbreak a year, and unfortunately this weekend was the one. Apparently outbreaks are triggered by sexual activity if it’s been a while since you had any, and our previous night of lovemaking hours on end had taken it’s toll. So she was sorry she hadn’t told me, but she hadn’t known how to respond and she hadn’t had an outbreak then and we used a condom.

I was a bit uncertain about how to go about it - but then it struck me that if I’d already contracted anything the damage was done, so no reason to scream “don’t get close to me!”. And I felt for her - it was uncomfortable as hell for her, this situation. So I stepped up to her, hugged her, said that I was thankful she told me and that I guessed there wasn’t any reason for concern, since she hadn’t had an outbreak and we’d been diligent about using a condom.

Since she had an outbreak, she spent the weekend blowing me. Which wasn’t too bad :)

Then I read up on the info about type I and type II. As far as I can gather, it is far more likely you already have it than that you will contract it from having protected sex with someone who doesn’t have an outbreak.

And I stumbled across coconut oil - virgin coconut oil is pretty darn anti-viral in addition to being a good sex lube (tasty, smells good). So I bought some and gave it to her - apparently it was uncomfortable to smear in on a daily basis, but she said she’d use it next time she had an outbreak. But we broke up before that, so I don’t know if it helped when the outbreak came along.


regards, mgus

Taped onto the dashboard of a car at a junkyard, I once found the following: "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." The car was crashed.

Primary goal: To have an EQ above average (i.e. streetsmart, compassionate about life and happy) Secondary goal: to make an anagram of my signature denoting how I feel about my gains

I haven’t read all the posts here, but anyone who has sex with a stranger from a bar should know there’s a good chance the stranger has genital herpes or HPV or another STD. With a condom, chances of transmission are reduced, but there’s always a risk involved.

Because very few people have been tested for HSV (it’s not part of a normal STD panel), I don’t take it as particularly meaningful if a woman says that she is “STD-free.” In the vast majority of cases, people don’t know whether they harbor HSV or HPV, unless either virus has caused major symptoms (breakouts, warts).

UT, clearly the ethically ideal thing to do would be to inform any prospective partners of whatever antibodies you tested positive for, but you’re in a tough situation, and I sympathize with you. The problem is that some people are very ignorant about STDs, and they’d turn you down, sexually, based simply on your testing positive for HSV 1 or 2 or whatever, even though this is a pretty irrational thing to do, given the risks involved (provided you’re not having an outbreak, and you use a condom), and given the fact that half the other dudes at a bar probably have the same virus, and they just don’t know about it.

Of course you should tell them! I don’t even really know how this is a question. All the stats aside think what it would do to any women you had a serious relationship with. 7 months in and, “Oh hey hunny, I forgot to tell you I have an STD. Oh no, it’s not a big deal look at these stats.” Most people are not as rational or calm thinking as Mgus

Morality can mean difference things to different people but I believe telling the truth is something most people would put into it. Not telling would make it immoral. Doesn’t mean it’s evil per se, as if you’re picking up some bar slag for a one night stand there is (as you’ve pointed out) a rather sickening chance she has an STD of some sort, but it’s immoral.

And before you rant about me being needed to go get tested my only(yes, only) partner is my fiancee. Not everybody is a whore nowadays. Not that I’m saying you should a) Only have 1 sexual partner or b) Wait for marriage or anything stupid like that but you don’t have to fuck everything with a hole in it.

Originally Posted by UkranianTitan
As you may have read in a previous post I mentioned that it is very likely I have Genital Herpes. I was tested recently, but found out that the herpes test required lab fees and so I could not afford it without insurance. I am going to look for a free place soon, but since I am with a girl who has herpes it’s not at the forefront of my mind.

The question is:

From my research, 1/4 women have genital herpes, and 1/5 guys or about 50 million american adults. That is the general consensus from doctors on the web and in person. The thing is that 70-90% of people do not know they have it. They do not have serious breakouts early on and may not have them for several years.

Hypothetically speaking, this puts someone like myself in an extremely difficult position. I have always prided myself in being honest and empathetic, but I am at a loss for the following.

The odds of a random girl getting herpes from me with a condom on are somewhere between 1/500 and 1/1000 without a breakout, and I have never had one. On top of all that 1/4 girls already have genital herpes. This is a fact. So lets say there is a 1/750 chance that a girl will contract genital herpes from me if we meet at a bar, go home and have sex. The question is should I tell her?

I talked about this with a few of my best friends (who of course are positive they are not cursed with this affliction), and 2 of them said I still think you tell her, and one said “it’s a really tough call”.

I am in no way thinking about my girlfriend but as a guy I think we all think about the “What if”. The reason I think about this is because I would not want to curse a girl with the feeling of being alone in the world, and that is exactly what can happen with herpes. Realistically it is such a small deal when compared with all of the problems in the world. There is also a good chance that this girl would not experience the serious breakouts that some experience. I know this number is arbitrary but lets say there is a 1/3000 chance she experiences regular breakouts after having sex with me. (I am making this number up because there is some reason 3/4 girls don’t know they have it, and that is becasue they don’t experience regular breakouts).

Aside from the fact that she would experience the sadness of having herpes due to a public stereotype, the odds of this being a real life changing disease at it’s face are very low. It almost makes more sense to me in a completely logical way not to ruin the night.

All of that said (I know I am a bit biased) I am not asking for an answer that supports what I am saying or one that does not consider the above informational at all, I want honest critical answers.

Thanks so much.

The price of free love is the high possibility of getting a sexually transmitted disease. You owe it to anyone your going to have a relationship with to disclose you have herpes. Until you find out for sure . I would not tell anyone you have anything. But at the same time you may wan to get to know your hand more. No sex until you find out for sure.


Speak softly carry a big dick, I'm mean stick!

Thank you for the comments everyone! I wish more people would get involved in this discussion because it is pertinent. Para, thank you for articulating what I said. It seems that you are one of the few who have taken a look at this post and actually put some thought into what I am saying.

Shred, I don’t believe that sleeping with lots of girls makes you a cool guy, or more of man, or whatever you are saying. However, tons of guys and girls have got herpes off of their first partner. I happen to only have 6 partners (3 of them one night stands) I would say this is typical for a 23 year old male. Also, I can tell you did not read my post in detail because you said something about me telling a girl 7 months in. I was only talking about a one night stand. I gave all the odds based on a “one-night stand scenario” I would care far too much about someone I was with after 7 months to not tell them I had herpes.

Lastly, why is it that so many people say “odds don’t matter”. Odds do matter, and they are a very integral part of making decisions, and in some ways to some people they should and do matter more than feelings. Yeah that may be a bit of a nihilistic approach to problems, but I think both approaches are necessary. Odds matter in everything from advertising to life-altering surgeries, and we act as risk analysts all of the time, each of us do.

Most people who say “This shouldn’t be a question” are very much ingrained with the mindset that “STD’s are disgusting, awful, life destroying etc.” It is this mindset that distorts reality, it is the same reason why less than 1% of society is on this forum instead of 75%. One of the most challenging things in my life is my inability to convince others to look beyond the smoke screen (assessing both anecdotal and statistical findings). The reason I asked this question has more to do with my desire to create a critical discussion regarding morality than to ask anyone to condone my unpopular belief, but I expected the people who disagree to at least say

“I still don’t believe it’s right, I think that even with those odds, it’s your obligation to tell people so that the disease once spreads, contrary to popular belief herpes can cause an incredible amount of emotional distress, look at the x suicides that occured last year due to herpes.”

Not just fly off the hook without reading my post. Anyway I know I’m not always right, but I do try to read things.

Good deal kingpole

I don’t think I would tell them.

If it was AIDS I would tell them and I wouldn’t knowingly infect someone with Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.

Herpes and HPV are so prevalent in our society that the norm as your numbers say is to have it.

I’ll reiterate what someone said above.. This should not be a question.

Just because you want to have sex with someone and think that their odds of receiving a disease from you are even as slim as 1 in 100, you’re still putting them at risk. All the numbers, statistics, and figures in the world do not change the fact that even if 99 times out of 100 you have sex, she won’t get it, there is still the 1 chance that night will result in her contracting it. And that one chance is what makes all the difference.

It’s that simple. Is there a chance of her contracting it, even if it’s the slimmest of margins? If the answer is yes then you are obligated to tell that person.

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