[Question #1473] Just how safe should we be? Transmission Question.

81 months ago
Hello, I am a 54 year old woman who has a genital herpes most of my adult life.  I am on supressive therapy.  The 2 non-infected partners I've had in the past did not get the infection from me during our relationships.  1 of these men chose not to use protection after we had been together for a number of years.  My current partner and I have been together five months and have not had intercourse as he is very leery of transmission.  He's uses a vibrator and dental dam to give me genital  pleasure but does not explore with his hands and has proposed wrapping himself in plastic wrap and putting on a condom before having intercourse.  Is it just me or are his fears a bit overblown?  What is the likelihood of transmission from his touching my genitals?  Is wearing a condom sufficient protection when not having an outbreak? I have them very rarely. Many thanks for your help.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
81 months ago
Oh dear, all of that can't feel very sexy!  His fears are overblown in my opinion but some people aren't comfortable taking any risk.  Antiviral suppression reduces the risk almost 50% all by itself.  If you add a condom with every intercourse, the risk drops to about 1-2% per year, having sex about twice per week.  If he has no breaks in the hands there is no risk of him touching your genitals.  You can see the risk of having intercourse with condoms and daily antiviral therapy is very very low.  He just needs to decide if he is willing to take this small risk.  If he isn't then I wonder if you are in the right relationship.  i worry that over time his fear of having sex with you will lead into you feeling less secure about your own sexuality and desirability.  What do you think?