[Question #3557] Herpes Question

34 months ago
My partner has HSV 1 IGG 42.9 and HSV 2 IGG 14.5. I have been testing positive for HS1 for a long time (no symptoms) but was HSV2 negative at the time I met my current partner. He is on valacyclovir 500 mg per day. He has never had a genital outbreak or other symptoms (that he noticed). He does have a history of getting cold sores from time to time. We had unprotected vaginal intercourse once - what are the chances he  passed his HSV 2 to me? We have been avoiding intercouse for the most part. Lots of masturbation - the other night he was jerking off  then fingered my anus and vagina right after (didnt wash hands), how risky is this behavior? Is it likely he passed HSV2 to me in this way? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
34 months ago
I think the risk of you acquiring HSV 2 at a single session of unprotected intercourse while he is on suppression is very low indeed.  I am curious about the decision not to use condoms in this situation?  The incident involving masturbation presents a very low risk as semen is not a good carrier of HSV 2.  I think you need to make some conscious and well thought out decisions about how willing you are to take the risk of acquiring HSV 2.  If you want to do all that you can to reduce transmission, condoms should be used - they reduce transmission by 96% - and that's great!

Terri
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34 months ago
Hi Terri, 

In regard to deciding not to use condoms: when we first received his test results, I went to my doctor to discuss the risk. She told me not to have sex during outbreaks (he has never had one). She also said that with him on suppression therapy, the risk is so low and I shouldn't "think too hard about it". I really tried to inform myself before making a decision. She seemed to downplay the virus. She mentioned most people have it and its not something to worry about if we avoid sex during outbreaks. I asked about condoms and she said "sure, those help but just avoid outbreaks". 

Our unprotected session was two weeks ago. Since last week I have had what I thought was a yeast infection (which I get often after intercourse). But Friday, I was very itchy all over my vagina and anus (the ass hole itself). I have not seen any lesions yet but I am nervous I contracted his HSV2 because I dont know why else I would be so itchy, hence why I wrote in to begin with. I also did see one small bump on the skin's surface at the top of my mons pubis where the hair starts. I was sure it was the start of a herpes blister. It was weird. It was there on Friday and very itchy, completely gone on Saturday morning. No trace of it since.  Thoughts?

I am pretty upset with myself on this. I should have ended our relationship when I first received his prognosis. But, I really like this guy and didnt want to make a hasty decision, I wanted to educate myself on the virus first. I have since broken it off with him. I am not willing to take this risk (even though it is possible I have already contracted it at this point). 

I really appreciate your response and council. Your comments are exactly what I needed to hear. I plan to go get bloodwork done in a few months to confirm one way or another if I contracted it. Fingers crossed I dont have it!

Thank you again! It means so much. 
34 months ago
Follow up:

If it turns out that I contracted HSV2, how careful do I need to be with cleaning/touching my genitals and spreading the virus to other parts of my body? Can I reuse the same towel? Should I wash my genitals while wearing gloves? Do I need to do something specific while I am menstruating? Is soap and water sufficient to disinfect my hands after touching my genitals? Thank you again in advance!
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
34 months ago
I would recommend that you simply wash your hands normally after touching the genital area and you will be fine.  Soap destroys the lipid layer surrounding the virus and causes it to fall apart.
I don't think you should end the relationship just because of herpes!  It's hard enough to find a partner with whom you are compatible.  In the big picture,I don't think herpes needs to be a big deal - not like losing someone you really care about.  Just use condoms and he should continue with antiviral therapy and you should have a low risk of becoming infected.  Get your itching checked out - I'm guessing it is something else entirely

Terri
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