[Question #2242] Herpes transmission and medicine

47 months ago
Hi, so I contracted hsv2  at the end of April 2017 a little over a month ago, my life feels upside down.  First off I feel the medicine acyclovir is giving me a headache I been taking 500mg twice a day, I heard it can make your hair fall out and weaken your antibodies is this true? Also I'm going on a trip in 2weeks where I'll be staying with a girl for a few days in my bed. She doesn't know about my recent diagnosis. We've had sex before. I don't know if I should avoid having sex or have sex with a condom would that be pretty safe n slim chance of passing the virus. I never had a breakout by my sack. Last question...personally from your experiences n witnessing,  what relationships work better, dating someone with herpes hsv2 as well or someone that doesn't have it, which one is more common. Hope u can answer all those questions thank you.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
47 months ago
I'm sorry that you are continuing to feel so disturbed about your herpes diagnosis but the reassured that for most people, things ease up a bit within six months or so. I don't think you are taking acyclovir if you're dose is 500 mg twice a day. I think you are taking Valtrex or valacyclovir instead. It would be okay to cut your does to 500 mg once a day after discussion with your healthcare provider. 500 mg once a day is the usual suppressive dose. I think the side effect of losing hair is rare though I have heard of it before. In terms of the woman you will be seeing, if you use a condom and continue on your medicine the risk of transmission is very low indeed. I think it would be ethically best to disclose this information to her but if you simply cannot your level of protection is quite high. In my experience, people with herpes can't successfully date people who do not have herpes, taking the precautions that you are taking. There will be people you tell who may decide they do not want to take this risk but there will also be a lot of people who will be willing to take the risk of acquiring herpes from you. Sometimes people start dating again after getting herpes with only people who are infected as well. But that really cuts down on the pool of people with whom you may be compatible. In the big picture, being in a relationship with someone who has herpes ends up being much less of a factor in the success of the relationship than other issues like money, sex, in-laws and other things.

Terri
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47 months ago
Ok thanks. But if I read correctly your saying most relationships with someone that has herpes with someone that doesn't usually don't work and aren't successful ? I should seek only herpe women?  So herpes is usually the cause for most breakups when one has the disease and the other doesn't? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
47 months ago
I'm not saying that at all!  I'm saying that most relationship between people with herpes and people without herpes hinge on other factors, not herpes.  If someone loves a person with herpes and they are not infected themselves, in my opinion, herpes should not be the determining factor about whether they are together or not.  Condoms and medication reduce transmission so much that herpes can almost be a non-issue, though I certainly tell people they need to disclose their infection because there is still a very small risk of transmission should the condom break,you forget to take your medicine, shedding happens anyway, etc, etc.  I do NOT feel that herpes is often the cause of relationship break ups, no. 

Terri
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47 months ago
Ok so for some closure for now...first of all do people really contract genital herpes and might never show a symptom or do you think they were just too embarrassed or did show a symptom but thought it was something else. Cus I def contracted it and had a breakout a week later. I know when and how I got it. Also...herpes sucks but life can still be fulfilling right and with someone that doesn't have herpes. And with safe measure hopefully never pass it. Condom sometime, unprotected sometimes too but with someone who trust me. And antiviral medication daily. I'm just trying to move forward now without letting this get the best of me and I pray a vaccine with come out soon, but idk how that's looking??
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
47 months ago
People do contract herpes and have no idea that they have it.  People who have HSV 1 already are more likely to have asymptomatic infection when they acquire HSV 2, or they might have minor symptoms and attribute their symptoms to something else entirely - UTI, yeast, friction burns, etc. 
Yes, life can be so very fulfilling with someone who does not have herpes.  Before I was married, I had a long term relationship with someone who had HSV 2.  I never acquired it but would have been willing to take the risk because I really cared about him.  I recognized that it was simply a manageable skin condition plus, I might have known a little about it ;-). 
Therapeutic vaccines are in development - vaccines that treat people who are already infected.  Keep your eyes open to the literature.

Terri
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