Dear Ann:

My younger sister, "Robin," is 21 years old. She is dating a terrific guy, and they are talking about marriage. Unfortunately, two years ago, she picked up genital herpes from a previous boyfriend.

I asked Robin if she has discussed herpes with her current boyfriend, and she said no, because she doesn't want him to know about her previous relationship. She said she is going to lie and tell him she was raped. I believe this is wrong, but I don't know what to do about it. I think her boyfriend deserves to know that she has a sexually transmitted disease and that he could become infected.

I realize it would be better if this information came directly from Robin, but since she seems reluctant to bring it up, would it be out of line for me to tell him? If I were in his shoes, I'd certainly want to know. What do you say?

-- California Sister

I say this story is not yours to tell. Please keep your mouth shut. Make a major effort, however, to get Robin to understand it is of the utmost importance that she discuss the problem with her gynecologist and get specific instructions on how to keep from infecting her boyfriend. Robin must understand this is a health issue, not a moral one, and that she should view it as such. If she needs help deciding the best way to tell him, she and others can get information from the American Social Health Association Herpes Resource Center at ASHA/HRC, P.O. Box 13827, Dept. MC-01, Research Triangle Park, N.C. 27709. Please include $1 for postage and handling. She can also call their Stop the Spread of Herpes campaign hotline at 1-877-411-HERPES (1-877-411-4377), or visit their Web site (

Dear Ann:

My parents have been married for more than 50 years. I love them both, but I cannot stand to be around them or even talk to them on the phone, because all they do is fight and complain about each other.

I come from a large family, and my brothers and sisters feel the same way. We have suggested counseling, but they won't hear of it. They insist they have no problems that need "solving," and that we are just picking on them. Any suggestions? We could use some help with these two.

-- At Wits' End in Wisconsin

Face the facts. Your parents have been married (and fighting) for more than 50 years. It has become a way of life for them, and they are not about to change. Accept them as they are, stay neutral, and hope they continue to fight and complain for at least another 25 years.

Dear Ann:

When I read those letters in your column about adoption and pregnancy, I decided to tell you my story. I know a couple who had infertility problems and decided to adopt. They wanted twin girls, but none were available, so they agreed to take twin boys. One year later, the agency phoned to tell them twin girls were available. Were they interested? "By all means," was the answer. The very next year, the woman became pregnant. She had triplets. They now have seven children under 3 years of age.

-- Ike in Cleveland

How true is that old admonition--"Be careful what you wish for, you might get it." I hope the couple you wrote about has a loving and supportive family and kind, generous neighbors. They are going to need a lot of help raising those seven children.

Dear Ann:

I read something on the back of a cereal box that would make a good Gem of the Day. I hope you can use it.

-- Johnny D. in Newton, N.J.

I like it, I like it. Here it is:

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Revere were having an argument, during which Mrs. Revere was heard to yell, "Paul, I don't care who is coming tonight, it's my turn to use the horse."

(C) 2000, Creators Syndicate Inc.