Do guys care if you have herpes? [Psychologist Explains]

Verified by Viki T.

Verified by Viki T.

Armed with a BA in Psychology, Viki T. is a seasoned Gestalt counselor who works closely with her clients.

Verified by Viki T.

Verified by Viki T.

Armed with a BA in Psychology, Viki T. is a seasoned Gestalt counselor who works closely with her clients.

Herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by two types of viruses: herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). According to the World Health Organization, about two-thirds of the global population under the age of 50 are infected with HSV-1, while around 13% of people worldwide have HSV-2.

Despite its widespread prevalence, herpes carries a significant social stigma, potentially affecting relationships and personal interactions.

In this context, we explore the question: Do guys care if you have herpes?

Do guys care if you have herpes?

While some guys may care or have concerns if you have herpes, many others don’t consider it a relationship deal-breaker. Everyone’s response will be different, influenced by a variety of factors including societal attitudes, knowledge, and the emotional context of the relationship. It’s important to remember that empathy, understanding, and open communication are crucial in navigating these situations.

Generally, societal norms and lack of knowledge can lead to negative reactions. Many people still associate herpes and other STIs with promiscuity or irresponsible behavior, even though herpes can be contracted even with responsible sexual practices. For some men, learning about a partner’s herpes can provoke feelings of shock, disbelief, or discomfort, primarily due to misconceptions about the disease.

However, this is not the entire picture. There’s a wide spectrum of responses, and many men are understanding and supportive when a partner discloses having herpes. These men recognize that herpes is a common virus that anyone could contract, and their care for their partner transcends the existence of the virus.

One critical aspect that influences a man’s response is his level of knowledge about herpes. Awareness and understanding can significantly alter perceptions. Men who are well-informed about herpes – its transmission, management, and the fact that it’s a common and usually benign condition – are often more accepting. They understand that with proper precautions, the risk of transmission can be greatly reduced, and the impact on their relationship can be minimal.

Finally, the emotional context and relationship status also play pivotal roles. If there’s a deep emotional connection or love, a herpes diagnosis often doesn’t change the dynamics of the relationship. Many men are willing to navigate the situation with their partner, reflecting the strength of their emotional bond. On the other hand, in casual dating scenarios or early stages of a relationship, the presence of herpes might be a more significant factor in deciding whether to move forward.

Communication is key: discussing herpes with your partner

When it comes to handling a herpes diagnosis in a relationship, effective communication plays a pivotal role. It’s about creating an environment of trust, where the information can be shared openly and responses can be managed constructively. This section delves into how to approach this dialogue, manage potential reactions, and underscore the value of understanding and empathy in these discussions.

A. The importance of open dialogue

Transparency in a relationship forms the bedrock of trust. If you’re dealing with a herpes diagnosis, it’s important to share this information with your partner. It helps maintain honesty in your relationship and allows your partner to make informed decisions about their sexual health.

B. How to have the ‘herpes talk’

Having the ‘herpes talk’ can seem daunting, but it’s a necessary step. Choose a comfortable, private setting where you can have an uninterrupted discussion. Start by expressing your feelings about the situation, then provide factual information about herpes – what it is, how it’s transmitted, and the precautions that can be taken. Emphasize that it’s a common condition and doesn’t define who you are.

C. Dealing with different reactions: support and rejection

Reactions to the ‘herpes talk’ can vary greatly. If your partner responds with understanding and empathy, foster this supportive environment by encouraging ongoing conversation. If the response is negative, it can be hurtful and disappointing. However, remember that this reaction is often based on misconceptions and stigma. Patience, understanding, and continued education about herpes can help manage such situations.

Remember, handling a herpes diagnosis requires empathy and open communication. Whether the initial response is positive or negative, these discussions are crucial in nurturing a healthier relationship and promoting a better understanding of the condition.

Reducing the stigma: education and awareness

A major factor contributing to the fear and misunderstanding around herpes is the social stigma attached to it. This section explores how dispelling common myths, promoting sexual education, and fostering a culture of acceptance can help to reduce this stigma.

A. Dispelling common myths about herpes

Misconceptions about herpes often fuel the associated stigma. It’s essential to understand that herpes is a common condition, it’s usually not dangerous, and it doesn’t reflect a person’s character or values. Dispelling these myths can help in reducing fears and promoting a more rational understanding of the condition.

B. The role of sexual education

Comprehensive sexual education plays a critical role in reducing the stigma around herpes. Education that covers the spectrum of STIs, their prevalence, and their management can help individuals understand that herpes is a common part of human health. This kind of awareness helps to normalize the conversation around herpes and other STIs.

C. Promoting a culture of acceptance and understanding

To create an accepting society, it’s important to foster a culture of understanding. This includes not judging people based on their health conditions, promoting empathetic conversations around STIs, and supporting those dealing with conditions like herpes. A more compassionate and informed society will lead to less fear and stigma associated with herpes.


In conclusion, while a herpes diagnosis may impact relationships, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t define your worth or your ability to have a fulfilling relationship. Understanding, empathy, and open dialogue are the crucial elements in navigating this journey. With these, we can build relationships that are stronger than the stigma, and indeed, stronger than herpes.