People really want a script and to know exactly what to say.I disclose really early, because that's who I am as a person and that's really important to me.
Also, I always tell people: If you need time, take it.
I've had partners disappear and then come back because they were off getting tested and wanted to know before they got involved with me what they already had and bring that to the table. I had a disclosure when I was in college where I told someone that I had herpes and in mid-conversation he Googled it, looked at the transmission statistics and was like, "I don't care. Everybody's different, but I try not to let that anxiety get the best of me when I'm waiting for someone to make up their mind.
I began to talk about it in classes and mention it at parties–occasionally alcohol helps with that–and as soon as I did other people started responding and taking me aside or sending me messages to tell me about their own experiences with STIs.
I started to see the statistics in person–these were people I knew, teachers I respected, friends I've had for years.
It can be really scary to have a conversation with someone that you just started dating because you're so worried that the other person will judge you in that moment.
MC: Can you talk about some of the specific experiences you've had?
ED: I think everybody after they get diagnosed reads the statistics about how common herpes is, but then looks around and goes, "But I don't know anybody who has herpes!
If one in six people and one in four women have genital herpes, why haven't I heard about it from my friends and family members?
Marie Claire: How has having a STI affected your dating life?