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Dear Abby: When I was young and foolish I was very promiscuous. I went to bed with any guy who asked me out - older men, married men, first dates and even an occasional pickup. I never tried to count them, but there were dozens. Of course I paid a terrible price. I picked up crabs, herpes, gonorrhea and had two abortions. (I don't know how I missed AIDS because I never used protection of any kind.)

In an effort to get my life together, at age 26, I moved to a distant state, met the most wonderful man in the world, fell head over heels in love, and we were married within a year. I never told him anything about my past - I even pretended to be a virgin.Now the problem. I am pregnant, and because of my herpes, I may have to have a C-section. I was totally honest with my doctor. He says he will keep my past confidential, but if a C-section is necessary, he may have to discuss the reason with my husband.

Abby, if my husband knew how many men I've slept with, he would be devastated. I doubt that he would leave me, but he would probably never trust me again.

I am seeing a counselor who advised me to tell my husband no more than is absolutely necessary. My minister advised me to tell my husband everything and pray for his forgiveness. Part of me wants to take my minister's advice; the other part says, "Keep your past to yourself and live a good Christian life from now on."

What do you say, Abby?

- Sinned and Sorry

Dear Sinned: I agree with your counselor. However, you are carrying the herpes virus, so you must tell your husband because it may flare up and become active. Surely your doctor has explained this to you. If you do not take precautions during a flare-up, you could infect your husband.

You must tell your husband you lied to him about your past; admit that you contracted herpes, and have your physician explain to him the necessity of taking precautions.

After that, try to be the best wife and mother possible. I wish you well.

Dear Abby: My neighbors are unbearable. We just moved into this neighborhood. Since the day we moved in, these people have "dropped in." They usually want to borrow something - eggs, toilet paper, detergent, etc. And they have yet to replace anything.

Their children borrow things, too. After our son's bike was missing for three days, we saw it in our neighbor's garage! My husband immediately went to get it, and all they said was, "Kids will be kids." (We had already reported it stolen.)

How can we handle them? We really do not enjoy their abrasive attitude, and there is no such thing as a conversation with them. They are very narrow-minded and prejudiced. We really don't want to have anything to do with them, but how do we give them the message? It's our lives, and we should be able to associate with whomever we choose. Any suggestions?

- Neighbors

Dear Neighbors: When you see them, be courteous, but don't say anything you don't sincerely mean - such as, "How nice to see you, come over anytime, etc." If they invite you over, don't accept their invitation unless you are willing to reciprocate. And stop being so generous when they ask if you will loan them an item.

"How to Be Popular" is an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person. To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)

1992 Universal Press Syndicate