[Question #3553] Prevention of contracting HSV 2 from a woman

36 months ago
I am a male and was recently tested and my HSV 1 IgG was Positive and my HSV 2 IgG was Negative.  I am seeing someone and she has HSV2 (and I believe HSV 1 as well but I don't remember specifically clarifying that).  Before we become intimate, I want to understand what we can and can't do if I want to prevent contracting HSV 2.  She just restarted taking the medication to control outbreaks (don't remember the specific medicine name).  

What protections should I take to prevent me from getting HSV 2? (Condoms for intercourse, condoms for oral, dam for me giving oral, etc.)  Is touching her genitalia with anything other than my mouth or penis (fingers, etc.) a risk?  Is there a time period required for the medication to work in reducing risks of transmittal?  What would be my risk of contraction with these preventions (0%, 1%, 5%, etc.)
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
36 months ago
Yes, condoms for intercourse, for greatest protection, dental dam for giving her oral sex though it is not common to acquire HSV 2 orally from giving oral sex.  If the skin on your hands is intact, there is no worries about touching her genital area.  The medicine should be taken five days in a row for it to be most effective (and she should obviously keep it up!).  If she uses daily antiviral medicine and you use condoms and you avoid sex during outbreaks and you have sex on average twice a week, there is probably a 1-2% risk that you would acquire HSV 2 from her.  More sex, more risk. 

Terri
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