As someone who has knowingly contracted herpes (aka herpes simplex virus or HSV), I've given a lot of thought lately as to how our perception of herpes may be changing throughout this past year since we've been living in a pandemic due to an actual deadly virus.
I say knowingly because similar to COVID, there's a lot of people with HSV who don't know they have it and because they don't have symptoms, they don't bother to get tested and unfortunately, doctors only reinforce this idea because they won't test if you're not showing symptoms.
For people who do know that they have it, herpes is seen as the ultimate death to their dating and sex life which is complete B.S..
Given how common HSV is (about 1 in 3 people have oral herpes and 1 in 6 have genital herpes) it's strange that it's a taboo to talk about. But why is it strange to talk about? Because of our irrational fear around sex. If COVID was proven to be transmitted sexually and was portrayed in the media as the new deadly STI, we'd probably be very uncomfortable talking about it like we do with herpes.
My point in this post: If you're dating someone with herpes, it should be the least of your worries. It's likely that you've already been with someone else who had it that either didn't know they had it or didn't tell you they had it out of fear of being rejected.
If you really care about this person, educate yourself and research HSV to help reduce the chance of transmission, which is very, very low, but you have to first understand how it works.
You can visit the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website for more information on HSV.