DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm a shy girl -- don't meet people easily. In the last month I started seeing a new, really great guy -- he's funny, sweet, smart, attractive, the whole deal. The fourth time we hung out, we made a meal together at his house. We kissed a little bit and everything was fine until he suddenly stopped, and said there was something we should talk about -- he has herpes. I'm so lucky he decided to tell me before anything happened, but now what? Is it possible to keep seeing him? Is there any way to guarantee herpes doesn't spread? I've heard condoms don't work to prevent herpes -- is it true? -- Worried, Winnipeg
Dear Worried: Sounds like you've found a good guy -- honest, courageous, considerate. You don't have to run away from him because he has herpes, but you need to take it step-by-step. How about continuing to date and doing your making out with a few strategic clothes on -- until you get to know if you're falling in love with him. If it doesn't happen emotionally, call it a day without having had intercourse. If he's The One, you invest in him. Protect yourself with condoms and ask your man to take an oral medication such as Valtrex, which greatly reduces outbreaks. In the States, the generic drug company Mylan has recently won FDA approval to ship their generic brand of this expensive medication. If your guy has had herpes for quite a while, he may not have outbreaks more than once every few years.
Confidential to Depressed Lovelorn Autistic: You have mentioned the word suicide to me in your long, easily identifiable letter, which I cannot print for your privacy's sake, and said, "Please save my life." Listen carefully. The best thing for you to do is go to the nearest hospital's emergency room and confess outright that you're feeling suicidal and need help. Also, memorize the number for the 24-hour Klinic crisis line (786-8686) where you can call any time you're feeling down to talk with a caring person and find out about many resources to help you. Though you say you've gotten help before, you're depressed enough right now that you don't recognize you need professional help again. See a physician ASAP (your own or a walk-in doctor) and confess your suicidal thoughts and feelings. Ask to be referred on an emergency basis to a psychiatrist who can prescribe and is covered by Medicare. Your physician can also prescribe anti-depressants. The modern ones will kick in within five days to a week. Make sure you are CLEAR with your doctor and don't softpedal how bad you feel. You say you think a good woman would solve all your problems. But you have to get yourself into stable condition first so you can be an equal partner who can give back and be a participant in the relationship.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org