There is no one right answer for how to bring up your STD status to the person you’re dating. Each relationship is unique, and the timing can definitely vary on when it may feel appropriate to mention. What’s proven to be most comfortable for me, is choosing to bring it up once I see the relationship moving forward in a way that involves future plans together, that seem genuine.

In a new relationship, it’s easy to project, and bring up exciting things you’d like to do together, but when these things start actually happening, and you realize the other person is beginning to become emotionally invested in you, it’s only fair to discuss it.

Avoiding sleepovers has also always helped with avoiding sexual activity that could lead to a tempting situation. I don’t recommend bringing up your STD status while in bed either, to show you wouldn’t risk anyones health before they had knowledge of your situation.

The recommended way to have this discussion is in person. I haven’t always done this. I’d like to think I have the courage to sit someone down, look them in the eyes, and confidently tell them my situation; because I’m not ashamed of myself for having herpes. But, this is really, really intimidating. You don’t know how the other person will react emotionally or verbally, and your mind can run rampant with worst case scenarios that prevent you from feeling comfortable enough to ever bring it up. I wouldn’t text or email someone about this. Not only would they have that information in text forever, but it’s also extremely impersonal.

When I get too nervous to sit down with someone and have this discussion face to face, my happy compromise has been to call my significant other and speak to them on the phone. It’s a bit less intimidating, as you can essentially be anywhere that you feel comfortable and you don’t have to awkwardly speak while watching them stare blankly at you wondering what they will do. So, if all you can muster the courage to do is call, then I suggest calling. It gets the conversation moving, and you realize regardless of their reaction, it’s never as horrifying as your imagination conjured it up to be.