[Question #1570] Herpes transmission from other than infected area

46 months ago

I contracted herpes about a year ago even though I was wearing a condom.  The initial infection was outside the area covered by the condom, in the area at the base of my penis to the right extending above and to the right under the pubic hair.  I’ve only ever seen bumps or sores in this area since. 


Is there any likelihood of the virus shedding from my penis even though I’ve never had outbreaks on it?  Or more to the point, is there any greater risk of infecting my partner if we don’t use a condom than if we do, given that my issues are in the area outside of whats covered by a condom anyway?   I’m taking acyclovir twice daily BTW. 


Thanks!

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
46 months ago
yes, the virus shed from the shaft of the penis, even though you have never had an outbreak there.  The shaft of the penis is the most likely site for viral shedding.  There is certainly more risk of transmission if you don't use a condom than if you do.  Good that you are taking acyclovir daily as that reduces the risk of transmission by almost half.  do you know if you have HSV 1 or HSV 2?

Terri
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46 months ago
Both actually, but HSV 1 I've had orally since I was a kid and I haven't had an outbreak since before I hit puberty.  Is there anything I could do aside from what I'm already doing to help lower the risk if my partner and I would like to have sex without a condom?  
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
46 months ago
The things you can do to reduce the risk of transmission genitally is 1) take daily antiviral therapy which you are already doing 2) use condom (I know you don't want to) 3) avoid sex sith outbreaks 4) disclose to your partner your herpes status and 5) become aware of prodromal symptoms that might lead to an outbreak.  All of these can reduce transmission to a non-infected partner. 

Terri
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