The most regrettable thing about having genital HSV1 is not that I have it. It is that, because I am an ethical deontologist, I have to disclose it to whoever I'm about to sleep with next, even if the consequences of sleeping with him without disclosing it are negligible - precisely because it is highly unlikely that he'd get anything from me. Disclosing is really more trouble than it's worth; in a way, it'd probably cause the other person unnecessary anxiety over something that probably won't ever happen (i.e. catching it from me) because of the extremely low, less than 3%, of a female-to-male genital HSV1 transmission.
But these facts, these consequences, are irrelevant. As much as I hate having to disclose it, as much as I would really rather not disclose it, I cannot in good conscience escalate things physically with Thomas without telling him. I have been thinking about this since last night, when I forced his hand and got him to ask me to go over to his tonight. I keep thinking about whether I really have to tell him if he's probably not going to get it anyway, since none of the guys that I've slept with post-diagnosis have contracted it (as far as I know anyway); and even if he does contract it, it's not a big deal at all. But that's the problem, isn't it? Whether or not it's a big deal is not for me to decide. If I respect him as an end in himself, not a means to one - if I respect him as an individual person with the capacity to make his own decisions, then I cannot make this judgement call for him, much less choose for him whether he's willing to take the risk, however minimal.
I know that if I slept with him tonight without telling him, the guilt, however disproportionate, would eat me up inside. And I really hate that I am this way. So many people get away with not disclosing herpes because it's so unimportant and insignificant, thus saving them the anxiety of facing possible rejection and having the dreaded conversation to begin with. But I cannot do that. I have a duty to disclose because he is his own person, and I respect the separateness of his being.
I really ought to have told him earlier, but I'd honestly forgotten when I saw him on Monday. Now, he'd legitimately be expecting some fun sexy time which might potentially be ruined by what I have to tell him. I am so worried right now that it's just going to go to shit, even as I tell myself that this would be a good test of how much he likes me and/or how reasonable and educated he is. But the only guy to have completely change his tune about me when I disclosed happens to be American...while I am not saying that all Americans are the same, I do believe that the virus is disproportionately and especially stigmatised in the US. This is kind of why I was happy not to be dating Americans for a while, but Thomas...
Lastly, no matter how many times I have done it, disclosing it never gets easier.