If you’re reading this then you’ve probably thought about how you should tell your partner that you have BV or if you should even say anything at all.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we need to remind ourselves that it’s not just about roses and chocolates; it’s about celebrating love and relationships. And when we think about how to build a strong relationship, there’s one thing that always comes up – honest communication.

We sat down with our Founders, Daniella and Hans, to talk about their journey with sexual health and honest communication.

Q: Daniella Levy – How did you and Hans meet? 

D: (laughs) We met through mutual friends. Ummm we actually met at a pool party in Miami Beach during Miami Music Week. So I actually was not interested in Hans at all. I thought that__I honestly didn’t know what to think of him, but he had mojito pitchers (laughs)

H: As long as you’re being honest. I was going to literally say that I had mojitos

D: (laughs) So I decided to become his friend because he was holding a mojito pitcher, and honestly if you know Hans you know that he talks a lot, so he pretty much did all the talking and I was just standing there with my mojito just nodding my head like (nods and smiles)

H: Thats fair 

D: and I don’t even remember half of the things you said

H: Because of the mojitos or because I talk a lot?

D: Alright cool.

Q: Hans Graubard – What attracted you most about Daniella? 

H: Well we are at a pool party, so hot girl Spring I guess

D: Hot girl Summer?

H: Hot girl summer. Well it was Spring Springtime because it was in March, but honestly, she was actually beautiful, and met through mutual friends, and I guess I have mojitos so that brought her over, and she let me talk, so you know, she let me…. it all worked out. 

Q: Daniella Levy – What is one of your favorite things about Hans? 

D: So there’s a couple things I really love about Hans, and one of them is how much he pushes me to be a better person.  He also is a great cook and so my love language is food, and REALLY good food. So every night I have the pleasure of having a home-cooked meal from Hanes, so I have my own personal chef and now I have my own personal chef for the rest of my life (laughs). 

H: Yeah, pretty much.

Q: Daniella Levy – How long into the relationship would you say things started getting serious?

D: I would say it moved pretty quickly, so I would say like 6 weeks.  We were hanging out every single day from the moment that we met, and we instantly clicked so every day it was him pretty much calling me up saying, “What are you doing?  Come over!  Let’s go to dinner!  Let’s go watch a movie!  Let’s go try out this new lounge!  Let’s go try out this new space in Miami,”  and I was always down with it, so it did move pretty quickly, I would say.  

Q: Daniella Levy – How long had you been dealing with BV prior to the relationship? 

D:  So I had been experiencing BV for three and a half years before I met Hans, like three and a half to four years before I met Hans.  I had had BV with a previous partner.  I also had had BV when I wasn’t dating anyone, ummm and it was something that I dealt with on and off for three and a half to four years, seeing different doctors, and just  kind of managing it on my own, with ways that I had kind of realized work for me, but for short-term periods of time. 

Q: Daniella Levy – How long after you started dating did you decide it was time to have the conversation? 

D:  So it didn’t happen right away, ummm I definitely was feeling out who Hans was, what type of person he was, and once we started being intimate we were obviously using protection, and it wasn’t until there was a case where my BV came back, and it was really bad, and I was kind of putting sex off, and I was kind of putting off things that you know, we would normally do like;  Go to the beach, or go to the gym, or things like that with him.  And it was because I knew that it was back, and I knew that I would have to bring this up to him, because he knew he had a new me really well at that point, so I was kind of acting strange she would have kind of noticed that.  So probably two months into the relationship, I think it’s when I brought it up. 

H:  Well you didn’t really, and I do need to point it out, you didn’t really bring it up to the point where it’s like we need to talk about this, but it was more forced out of you, because of the fact that, like, you know, talking about those things are so difficult.  It was kind of more forced out than anything, because obviously me being like “Oh why doesn’t she want to get intimate?  What’s going on?”  That actually forced the conversation to kind of go out, so she had to be very vulnerable because of it,  in order to have that conversation. 

Q: Daniella Levy – Were you trying to hide your BV at any point in time? 

D:  Yes, I was trying to hide it.  I was trying to act normal.  But if everybody here that’s listening to this video has been intimate.  So you know, when things are getting heated and you’re in the moment, you kind of just have to, like stop, and it’s random because usually it continues, but when it stops it’s like either that person is like, “Is there something wrong with me?  Is there something wrong with her?”  And it kind of puts you in an awkward position where you just kind of don’t even know where to take, you know, that situation into. You don’t know what  directions to take it into. 

Q: Hans Graubard – How were you feeling about your intimacy with Daniella before she opened-up to you?

H: God what we’re we like 26, 27,  23 and 24, so you’re an age in which you know you know the sexual tension is really high. You just want to go out. You want to do all these things.  I really liked Daniella from the first time I met her, and so you know, even just two, three month going into it, and then from there it just being these random times of, “No stop! We can’t do this,” things like that… and then, you know, you really get the feeling as to,  “Is something wrong with me?  Is she doing things that she’s not telling me about?” You know obviously that mindset (and this happens with a lot of partners and why, you know, the person who’s facing it doesn’t want to deal with it) the questions of you, know, cheating, the questions of being dirty, all those things we think about when we’re young –  Those come into play, and come to mind. So obviously it was one of those things I was (one) a tough conversation to have, but also a crucial conversation we had to have to have the conversion going.  But thankfully, you know, I didn’t actually get to that point for us.  So, it wasn’t, I mean, it was just, it was more like a challenge. Let me get into that in a sec, but…  

D:   I think as I got to know you, I saw that you were a very understanding person and you like to communicate.  Like you really like that, and from previous partners that I had had, they did not like communication. So I was kind of at this, you know, at this point where I was like, “Do I say something?  Do I not say something?” Ummm and just, I think feeling out the whole situation, what I was really thinking about was,“How is this person going to react?”  Because it’s all about like the reaction, and you always think the worst… “How is this person going to react if I tell them that I’m going through this like… I have this vaginal health issue, and I don’t even really know what it is.” 

Q: Hans Graubard – Had anyone you previously opened up to you like this before?  

H:  No, not in the case of, you know, Yeast Infections, Bacterial Vaginosis, ummm UTIs, not in those types of conversations ever.

Q: Hans Graubard – Had you heard of BV before?  

H:  It was… It was this…  I was aware of what it was, but I was new as a circumstance, I guess, for me personally. 

Q: Daniella Levy – Had you ever opened up to anyone previously before Hans? 

D: No, not to the extent that I did with Hans 

H: Obviously not to the extent, because we built a company 

D:  You know with my previous relationships, like if I had a UTI or you know something was like hurting, I would say… I think it was just more common to say “UTI” then you know “BV, so they understood what a UTI was, but anything else it just kind of went over their head, and they had no idea what I was talking about. 

H: I think we’re also just like in a new phase of our life, where you’re just right outside of college, right outside of school 

D: Yeah, we were so young

H:  And that taboo and that, I guess “social norm”… which you know, it’s being fought against right now. But that, you know, if a woman has something like this it means that she could be dirty, it means that she can be sleeping around with a lot of people. And that’s not that’s not the case, from what we’ve learned.  So I think that bringing that up at, you know, 23, 24, it’s still very young, it’s still very new and fresh, so it’s a challenge. 

Q: Daniella Levy – Did you prepare to have this conversation Hans? 

Hans: Let’s be real;  No!  I pulled it out.  I pulled it out.

D: No, there was no prep.  But I could tell you that it was a day that we were at his house. And yes Hans probed at it and finally got it out of me.  Because he was just like, you know “What’s going on?  You kind of seemed a little different. You kind of seem a little distant at times…” and then I was like, “Look, it has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with our entire relationship.  It has to do with me. Like, it’s not you, it’s me”  and that’s when I told him, “Have you ever heard of BV?” and then I don’t remember. Did you say yes, or no? 

H: No, but I, you know, I got into this like competitive research mode, and I just started learning what I could about it. 

D:  Yeah, like I mentioned to him the things that I had learned, and then he was like “Ok well, thank you for letting me know…” 

H:  Wow that’s like so receptive… 

D:  Well not like “Thank you for letting me know,” but like “I appreciate you opening up to me, and telling me what you’re going through.”  Because that’s a very difficult thing to do. 

H:  It made it more understanding of like, “Ok so this is why she’s acting this way.”  And that allowed us to move forward. It really did.

Q: Daniella Levy – Was it more comfortable for you that Hans initiated the conversation? 

D:  So I think it definitely made it a lot more comfortable for me to open up, just because I’m just not a confrontational type of person.  And I probably, if he wouldn’t had mentioned anything, I probably would’ve prolonged it a bit more, until I felt a bit more comfortable enough to open up to him about it. 

H: The biggest (and I’m sorry for interrupting) but the biggest challenge there is that the partner is willing to go to those lengths to try to pull it out. And with something like this which obviously, you know, takes up a lot of your mental energy, your clarity, your… we’ve spoken about confidence before… For something so important as that, you should, you know, not fear, the I guess the repercussions of bringing it out. If you have truly a partner that loves you, can empa, can be empathetic, can understand where you’re coming from then that person will be understanding, and be able to continue with the conversation. It can’t be something that you can just hold into yourself.  Which you’ve worked very well,  just in the confrontation issue. 

D: Yeah, but also it showed me what type of partner you would be in the long run. I realize in that moment that, this is a person that I can be going through, you know, something worse than BV…  and you’re gunna be there with me through think and thin… and (laughs) 

H:  We can start another company, for whatever that thing is…(laughs) 

D:  (laughs) through thick and thin and we’re gunna figure it out together, and you know, that made me feel very comfortable, and honestly made me more attracted to you.

H:  Awww… appreciate it.  Next time that we get into an argument I’m gunna make sure to pull this one out, so you can be like (laughs) 

D:  Oh my god, now he’s gunna hold it against me.

 H:  Remember!

Q:  Hans Graubard – Is there anything that you think Dani could’ve done differently when she opened up? 

H: No, she did everything exactly the way that you would expect somebody to do it.  In fact, I was actually impressed that she kind of in a way trusted me enough to go down the path of doing scientific research and doing all these things to figure out okay, but you know, “wWhat is it?” And you know, that’s not something that I would have expected from a lot of people to say, “All right I’m going to read some kind of scientific journal so I understand what this is, where it came from and you know,” so no, I wouldn’t expect… You did a lot to like… things I didn’t have to do, like the Vitamin C… 

D: Oh, we’ll get into that (laughs)

H: You did a lot of things that me, as a man, I just didn’t need to do. 

D: Yeah, you couldn’t do.

H: So I was, I am fortunate to be in the position…

D: And we are talking about experiments past the conversation that we had had when he was doing his research, and then trying different things to help with the BV (bacterial vaginosis). So one of them was putting up a Vitamin C tablet, which he had, he was like, “I read this study” and so then I read it too and I read this forum where women were talking about inserting Vitamin C tablets. So we went to Vitamin Shoppe, we bought the Vitamin C tablets, and it was on the way to my mom’s birthday party. So… 

H: Oh, you want to get really personal. You just want to go, alright, cool! Alright, fine.

D: Yeah, let’s do it! So we go to my mom’s birthday party, I go into the bathroom, put up a Vitamin C tablet. 20 minutes later, kid you not, I go up to Hans and I’m like “We have to leave right now, we have to leave right now,” because my vagina was on fire!  So, don’t try this at home guys. But, I had to leave my mom’s birthday party (laughs) because of one of these, you know, DIY, home remedies that you find online and so yeah, I do not recommend that. 

H: So, just going back to that original question, “Do I expect anything,” no, what else could I expect? She was understanding that I came from a place that was supportive. She recognized the experience and expertise I have in the world that we are working in right now, and she trusted me, so I mean, what else can I ask from her.

Q: Daniella Levy – What advice would you give to anyone who just starts dating, and is experiencing BV or any other vaginal health issue?  

D: So, the advice that I would give is don’t feel pressured or rushed into saying anything to this partner unless you’re going to get intimate, and let’s say you don’t even have a scenario where you have BV (bacterial vaginosis) in that time that you’re having sex with this person. But, I would think about it and I would think about “How am I going to approach this person?” and you also have to feel very comfortable talking to this person. I would also advise maybe practicing this conversation with a friend, I know I didn’t do this, but maybe talking to a really close friend of yours, your sister, your mom and practicing on them and seeing how they would respond because one of the things that held me back was the response, like “What kind of response am I going to get from this person?” and we always think the worst, which is not a bad thing because usually that’s not the response that you’re going to get, but just keep in mind that this person might not be receptive to the information that you’re giving them.  And then the other thing is that if that person doesn’t respond the way that you want them to, it kind of shows you what that person would be like in a long-term relationship and if you really want to be with that person long-term or not, so it’s kind of like a blessing in disguise.

Q: Hans Graubard – What advice would you give to others like yourself, who one day may have to deal with something similar to this?  

H: So when it comes to the role of the partner, it has to be to embrace what the situation is and support your partner to the best of your ability and, you know, just be completely understanding in the situation that he or she or they, whoever is in, right? Then from there, which I think is really important, we’ve looked at this data so many times: There’s 21 million women per year in the United States alone that get bacterial vaginosis. Something like another 9 million to get yeast infections and then another three or four that get UTIs. This is very common, right?  If you have a mother, you have, most likely, have a sister, a cousin, a best friend, a loved one that has gone through this before. So I mean it’s one of those first slogans that we had which was “you’re not alone, you never were” and that person is not the only person dealing with this. I mean millions of people deal with this day in and day out, so it’s nothing strange. Just remember that what your role is is to support that person to the best of your ability, remember that other people have gone through this before and there’s ways to address it and just move forward both together. That’s the best thing you possibly do.

D: Yeah, to add to Hans’ point, being supportive is so helpful for that other person because you’re making them comfortable, you’re helping them realize that you know you guys can work through this together and that is key in any relationship is that you can work through things, and that you can work through things together. 

Q: What’s one of the best things about Happy V?

D: One of the best things about creating Happy V is that we’ve formed this community where we want to have these conversations, you know, either Hans and I talking about our experience, but also you guys sharing your experience with us, or you guys sending in your messages or questions to us. And we’re going to help you in the best, you know, the best way that we can because we also want to support you. We know you have your own life and and you have your partner but as a brand that is trying to help women with bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and UTIs, we also want you to know that you have our support. 

H: Anything we can do to help you guys we’re more than happy to. That’s why we’re here for.