I have no idea what poll you are talking about but I'm guessing it was answered by the youngin's who don't know much about herpes!! We've actually done similar polls over on the herpes homepage and it came up that 3 out of 4 folks who were told that that the person they were dating had genital herpes were accepting of it. I know many folks who have never been turned down because of their herpes. I myself have only been turned down once in 20 years of having hsv2. It isn't an issue for most folks so please do not believe what you read that said otherwise!!! Since 1 in 4 have hsv2 genitally - it's pretty darn hard to avoid dating someone who has it at some point in your lifetime!!!
20 years ago you probably were just told you had genital herpes and that was it. I encourage you to seek out additional testing to see if you have hsv1, hsv2 or both in your body. If you really got it from oral sex from someone with a cold sore then you would have hsv1 genitally and not hsv2 and type really does matter!!! You can't make informed decisions about precautions with a partner until you know who has what type.
Yes asymptomatic shedding really does exist. The old adage of just avoid sex during obvious symptoms and you'll be fine doesn't apply. Studies have found that you shed the same amount of virus each year whether you've had 1 ob or 10 ob's that year ( after the first year of infection - that first year you shed a lot ). That all said - if you have hsv2 you are on average only shedding 45 days total out of the year - it's not a 24/7/365 kind of deal. If you have hsv1 genitally you are shedding even less than that - less than 10 days/year.
You are right on in that it's not that folks aren't having symptoms of herpes infections and are completely asymptomatic - it's that they aren't recognizing the signs of recurrences. Most folks think that if you had genital herpes you'd know it in a heartbeat and have frequently reocurring, painful and obvious blisters to let you know that you are infected. The reality is more likely to be just redness and itching as a sign of a recurrence though even medical professionals unfortunately miss the signs of herpes and misdiagnose it as other causes
One study found that in folks who tested + for hsv2 on the blood tests but SWORE that they had never had a symptom of genital herpes - with education 80% of them were able to start recognizing the signs of recurrences. so it's not that folks are being incredibly lucky and not having symptoms - it's that they just aren't recognizing them as such.
So if you do have hsv2 genitally - just avoiding sex during obvious ob's makes your male hsv2 negative partner about 96% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from you. If you take daily suppressive therapy his risk would be cut in half. Along with proper condom use and he is about 99% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from you. Pretty reasonable odds for most folks. It's always a good idea for a potential partner to get a type specific herpes igg blood test prior to becoming intimate to know their baseline status and go from there. A lack of symptoms doesn't mean a lack of infections so accepting their word for it isn't good enough. If it turns out that indeed you do have hsv1 genitally then if your partner tests + for hsv1 ( at your age about 60% of adults have hsv1 orally whether they know it or not - most folks don't get obvious cold sores ) then the risk of transmitting hsv1 to their genitals is too low to even worry about - but of course avoid sex during obvious symptoms to err on the side of caution.
I found out the hard way that it's best to talk about my herpes before I am intimate with someone ( didn't do it once and I"ll never, ever, ever do it again ). They respect the honesty and concern for them even though the risk of contracting it is so low. I'm guessing that the man you didn't tell until after you had been intimate with is hurting as much from that you didn't care enough to talk about it before hand and give him a choice whether to take the small risk or not more so than he is from the fact that you have genital herpes. To me it's about respect for the person you are attracted to. Also in general folks over the age of 50 aren't very educated about std's and don't know how to protect themselves from them
I'm sure he's very fearful when he hears herpes and other std's out of a lack of knowledge. I don't know if you can ever salvage your relationship with him but you can try apologizing until you are blue in the face - be honest with him that the info you had was very outdated and you've since learned that. You can try forwarding him the link to asha and the herpes handbook ( www.westoverheights.com
) so he can learn more. Not sure any of it will work but if you want to try to work on rebuilding the trust in your relationship with him it's a place to start.
as for your other friends who don't tell - they are just needlessly setting themselves up for heartache too. It's much easier to talk about it from the gitgo then to bring it up later on. Our partner deserve our respect - if we aren't giving it to them they have no reason to give it to us.
feel free to ask any other questions you have and we'll try to give you a hand with them.