[Question #4076] Risk of HSV-2 Transmission

32 months ago
Questions on herpes risk in a relationship chain. I find myself in an alternative open relationship, where my female partner (X) and I are free to seek other partners. I practice only safe sex (penis in vagina) with X (condom...but not dental dam for  oral).

However she unprotected sex with her other male partner (Y). Y has a female spouse whom he has unprotected sex with (Z). I recently discovered that Z is positive for HSV-2. Z is on antiviral drugs and has not had an outbreak for over a year...so X and Y think their risk of contracting the virus is minimal.

What is the risk that Z will infect first Y and then X, before getting to me?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
32 months ago
I cannot quantify that particular risk.  So if I understand this correctly, Z is a female. The female to male transmission rate when condoms are used and daily antiviral medicine taken and having sex about twice per week, the risk is about 4% per year.  I am assuming everyone else has had an IgG test to determinate that they are negative for HSV 2?

Terri
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32 months ago
Z is a female ..an herpes positive.

She has unprotected sex with Y ....her male spouse.

X is female and has unprotected sex with Y.

I am at the end and having protected PIV sex with X, but unprotected oral sex with X (same).

What is the risk that the virus can jump from Z to me?

Speaking with another doctor, the risk was substantial... considering Z could shen the virus even without symptoms, both Y and X could be infected and pass the virus without symptoms...and I could get it via skin to skin transmission even with a condom...or via oral.

Looking for a second opinion....if any


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
32 months ago
I would disagree that the risk is substantial. 
The risk of Z passing it to Y is about 4% in a year when Z and Y are having sex 104 times a year and not using condoms or antiviral medicine.  And we don't know that Z is infected, right?  IF Z is infected, and having sex with Y 104 times a year, and he happens to be infected, the risk of him infecting her assuming she is not already infected is about 10% per year.  The condoms you use with X are very helpful in reducing transmission and IF she infected already, again the risk is about 4% but the condom reduces it to about 2%, having sex 104 times in a year.  If the only unprotected sex is oral sex, the risk is not HSV 2 but HSV 1 and if you have ever in your life and a cold sore,you are not vulnerable.  I hope just looking at these numbers you can see the risk is very low, and you don't even know who exactly is infected here.

Terri
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