[Question #1115] New HSV1 diagnosis--questions

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92 months ago

I am a 55, female and married for 30 years, both monogamous. Had intense pain in my genital area 3 weeks ago. Doctor suspected herpes and prescribed Acyclovir. Culture positive for HSV1 and IgG negative so she explained that HSV was new to my body (less than 3 months). Husband (asymptomatic) just got his IgG test results which are positive for HSV1 with an index of 6.6.  I’m overwhelmed and confused.


1.     I don’t understand the IgG index values. What does a 6.6 indicate?

2.     It probably doesn’t really matter but I’m interpreting that I got HSV1 from my husband, from what my doctor said. Is this a reasonable assumption?

3.     Our adult daughter was diagnosed with HSV1 at a young age, contracting it from, we believe, a preschool teacher. She periodically has outbreaks on her lip. Could my husband have contracted it from our daughter by sharing a glass/fork, etc. 

4.     Prior to my outbreak, I had a strong tingling sensation on my lower lip for 2 days which felt like how my daughter has described the sensation she has prior to an outbreak. What looked like a pinprick of a whitehead emerged which I picked at and then it scabbed over (just a pin dot). Never became a blister or open sore. Two weeks later I had the genital outbreak (no tingling but lots of itching prior). Might I have HSV1 in both my vaginal and mouth area? I have never had a sore on my lip before.

5.     In light of the “shedding” issue, should my husband (and my daughter) NEVER share a glass, eating utensil, etc. with another person?

6.     The sores, one in particular, was intensely painful. I switched to cotton underwear and used panty liners but couldn’t find any relief from the pain and, later, itch. My doctor prescribed a lidocaine gel but I didn’t find it helpful. Are you aware of any topicals that help once one has an open sore?

7.     Finally, I’m wondering about any oral supplements that might keep outbreaks at bay but wouldn’t be harmful to take on a daily basis. I keep reading about lysine, for example. Are you aware of any research and/or even anecdotal reports from patients? I’m thinking of something analogous to taking extra vitamin C each day. Not sure if it truly helps but doesn’t harm in any way.


Thank you.

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Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
84 months ago
1  The index value of 6.6 simply tells us that his infection is not new - has he ever in his life had a cold sore on his lip? If yes, then that's what the 6.6 reflects.
2.  oh yes, very reasonable
3  no, I don't think that's how he got HSV 1.  He may well have had it since childhood from an adult kissing him with a cold sore present
4.  Yes, if your husband kissed you and then gave you oral sex, you could have acquired it at both locations at the same time
5.  No, we don't believe that herpes is transmitted in this way, though perhaps avoiding things like sharing lipsticks might be helpful.
6.  The gels used to spray on sunburns give many people temporary relief without actually touching the lesion - you could try it
7.  The antiviral medicine taken daily is safe.  You could also take Lysine if you wish.  But honestly, HSV 1 genitally rarely recurs so you might just want to do nothing for  while and see what this is like for you before intervening.