[Question #248] Herpes Risk

36 months ago
A girl I was recently with 9 weeks ago tested positive for HSV 1. I have taken two Herpes IGG tests at two weeks after encounter and 8 weeks after encounter and I have been negative for both 1 and 2. I am wondering what my chances of exposure are? I have read her positive herpes 1 test could be genital and I am terrified.  I do plan on testing at 12 weeks to make sure. But need opinions on my chances of actually being positive.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
36 months ago
I think you mean that you wonder what your chances are of being infected, right?  Since well over half the population of the US between the ages of 14 and 49 already have HSV 1, I think you are going to find it pretty tough to get a sex partner who tests negative for HSV 1, if they do indeed test at all.  Anyone with a history of cold sores has HSV 1.  Have you ever in your whole life had a cold sore on your lip?  The screening test that looks for HSV 1 antibody misses about 25% of cases so there is a reasonable chance that you are already infected and the test is not picking it up.  If you are truly negative, at 8 weeks, there is probably about a 75% chance that you will stay that way at 12 weeks.  Your chances of being infected depends upon where her HSV 1 infection is on her body and what kind of sexual contact you had. 

You state that you are terrified of getting HSV 1 - I'm wondering if you might be mixing up HSV 1 and HSV 2?  Only about 16% of the population has HSV 2 and is the frequently recurring genital infection.

Terri
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36 months ago
Yes just what are my overall chances of contracting HSV 1.I had unprotected sex with her twice once protected. She said she has had cold sores on her lips in the past so I'm assuming her HSV 1 is located there. She has said she hasn't had any real blisters or sores on her vagina area. She has never given me oral sex either and I have never given her oral sex. Is it safe to assume her HSV 1 is located on her mouth not her genitals? I am most worried about getting herpes on my penis. But again I am confused because of the location of her HSV 1. If she has it on her genitals then I could have it on mine. But if like she said she's had cold sores in her past on her mouth then is my risk for genital HSV 1 basically slim? Again I have tested twice for HSV 1 and 2 8 weeks post encounter and both have been negative. I also have some burning on my inner thighs which could be anxiety as well.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
36 months ago
If she has had cold sores, then her HSV 1 infection is oral not genital so intercourse would not pose a risk to you of acquiring HSV 1. 

Terri
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36 months ago
Okay thank you Terri! So how significant is it that she tested negative for HSV 2 like .18 on the IGG test? Does that mean she doesn't have genital herpes? Should I even bother with testing for either 1 or 2 at 12 weeks? Or am I somewhat in the clear? I was going to test again just in case to be positive. I was honestly most worried about contracting HSV 1 genital from her but I am trusting that she is telling the truth when she says she has had cold sores on her mouth and therefore I wouldn't need to test to make sure I didn't get genital herpes at all
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
36 months ago
If she waited at least 12 weeks from her last sexual contact to be tested and is HSV 2 negative, then she doesn't have, with 98% certainty, HSV 2 infection.  I don't know when your last sexual contact was with anyone else or hers but you two can figure that out and test or not test according to that timeline.  The 0.18 is nice and low correct.

Terri
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36 months ago
She did sleep with someone new around 8 weeks ago and after that I slept with her but used a condom the whole time. So should I still believe her HSV 2 result? If not what is the risk to me even though I used a condom and have been negative for about 9 weeks? 

Also I slept with another girl around the time I slept with her (about 9 weeks ago) unprotected just one time. She has not been tested and most likely won't be tested. So again being that it's been 9 weeks and I'm still negative what are my chances of contacting HSV 2 from that encounter?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
36 months ago
So she tested negative at 8 weeks post exposure with another partner?  And you tested negative 9 weeks after sex with someone different also?  By nine weeks, I would think one of you might have been testing positive if infection took place but again, I would like you to wait 12 weeks for a final more reliable test.  Having said that, I think the chances you would be positive are really low indeed.

Terri
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