[Question #2721] Herpes symptoms

43 months ago
I have had HSV2 for 30 years, am on suppressive therapy and haven't had a recognizeable outbreak in 6 years. When I did have outbreaks, I would have prodrome symptoms to warn me. I am concerned now that I am just not recognizing the symptoms anymore which makes me feel like I could put someone at risk even with suppressive drugs and using condoms the vast majority of the time. Is there a way to educate myself to be more aware?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
43 months ago
You know, there really isn't. I know this is frustrating to hear but if you are working hard to be aware of the prodromal symptoms that you had previously and looking for skin changes, that is really all that you can do.  It is likely, 30 years out, that you are shedding less virus than you were previously and with suppression, that number is likely to be very low.  With condoms additionally,  you are likely a very very low risk to a sex partner. Condoms alone reduce transmission by about 95%. 

Terri
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43 months ago
Terri,

Thank you for your answers. I really appreciate the information. In case he does not have the virus, are there studies showing what percentage chance a person has in getting herpes using suppressive medicine and no condoms? (I have been having trouble getting yeast infections from non-latex condoms or the lubrication on them).  And do any of the studies break transmission down between sexes? Isn't it more common for the woman to get Herpes than the man?

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
43 months ago
What is your gender?

Terri
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43 months ago
I am female.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
43 months ago
It is more common for women to acquire HSV 2 than men, likely because women are receptive with intercourse. If you have a sore on the labia, it comes into contact with a penis during intercourse intermittently.  On the other hand, if it is a male with a herpes lesion on the penis, and he puts it inside a vagina and rubs it around a lot with intercourse, transmission is more likely to occur.  You get the picture, right?  If you tell your partner you have herpes, you avoid sex during outbreaks, take daily antiviral medicine, have your partners use condoms with intercourse, and have sex about twice per week, the risk of infecting a partner is about 1% per year - that means about 1 male in 100 in this situation is going to get herpes, given the circumstances listed above.  Take away antiviral therapy and condoms and the risk is about 4% per year.  Take away condoms and it's about 2%, take away medicine, it's about 2%. 

Terri
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