Each time I had an outbreak, which for me consisted of a very small cluster of blisters that lasted two or three days, I'd pretend I had a yeast infection and say I couldn't have sex until it was gone.By the time I finished college in 1994, the possibility of spreading the virus even when you didn't have an outbreak had become more widely accepted by health care providers.He said he would know if he had been with someone who had herpes. In the end, instead of rejecting me, he chose to continue our relationship. But after we had sex, he would always wash himself like a doctor scrubbing down for an operation.

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I had always insisted on using condoms, which can reduce the risk of transmission.

My selling point, however, was telling him that approximately one in four people has herpes and, statistically speaking, he undoubtedly had slept with someone who had herpes. He thought about that for a minute and then realized he might not know.

Since he was disease-free, he refused to wear condoms, instead choosing the scrub-down -- something that would do nothing to prevent herpes transmission.

That relationship eventually came to an end, leaving me worried yet again about getting back in the dating game.

Many feature chat rooms, bulletin boards, treatment information, personal ads, and social groups around the world.

A friend of mine had recently married a guy she met on the Web -- proving that not every Internet date is a psycho -- so I gave it a try.

(At the time, many doctors and other health care providers believed this to be the case, although a number of research studies had already suggested otherwise.) So, I decided to keep quiet.

For three years, I had a boyfriend who never knew I had herpes.

The whole experience made me more comfortable with the fact that I have herpes and gave me the confidence to begin dating again.

It was as if I had just re-entered mainstream society.

I was still uncomfortable about bringing up the subject, but now I didn't have much of a choice.