[Question #5550] Herpes HSV-2

20 months ago
I am a female in my early 70's.  I've had herpes(HSV-2) genitally for many years, and have recently become engaged.  My partner (male) does NOT currently have herpes.  In exploring our options, we are considering having unprotected intercourse.  If he contracts HSV-2 genitally, and then I give him oral sex, will I contract the virus on my mouth, and then also transmit it to his mouth while kissing?  Will I contract it anally if we have anal sex?  I.E., if once a person has the virus on the genitals, can they have sores on other body parts, such as the mouth?  If it is true that my fiance can not become infected on other body areas once he has it genitally,  then how long after he becomes infected before he would be immune on other body areas?  Am I correct in assuming that after his exposure  I would need to wait until his infection was confirmed and well-established before I give him oral sex...so he won't catch it on his mouth when I kiss him after I perform oral sex on him?  How long does it take when newly infected with HSV-2 for the body's full immune response to be activated?  If a person has a new HSV-2 infection and it is not asymptomatic, how long will it be before the lesions appear?  If it requires a test to determine if he has contracted HSV-2, which is the best test?  Finally, does a cut in the corner of the mouth indicate HSV-1?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
20 months ago
After infection, lesions will appear within 2-10 days.  IF they are going to get lesions with a new infection - not everyone does.  A reasonable test is the IgG HSV 1 and 2 antibody test.  A cut in the corner of the mouth could be herpes but it is normally angular chelitis a completely different thing.
Once you have HSV 2 well established in one location, it would be extremely unusual to get it in a new location, like the genitals.  That applies to both of you. It takes about 4 months to be well established. 
And congrats on your recent engagement!

Terri
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20 months ago
Thank-you for your response. I appreciate the service that you and the organization provide

I would like to reference question 5513 regarding a woman who has genital HSV2. You advised her that the chances of her mate contracting HSV2 by performing oral sex on her without protection was not much of a concern. She stated that she had only the initial outbreak and one other (that she knew of). I have the same situation as her, except I have had many outbreaks... therefore, would your advice regarding my mate performing oral sex on me without protection be the same to me as it was to her...i.e., there is not enough of a risk to be concerned about?  
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
20 months ago
I would say that there is slightly more risk for your partner, but the underlying principle of HSV 2 not liking the mouth still applies.  Have I seen HSV 2 orally?  Yes, I have but not often.  Are you taking daily antiviral medicine to reduce the risk of infecting him?

Terri
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20 months ago
I am not currently  taking an antiviral, because we are not going to engage in risky behavior.  We are waiting until we get answers to our questions before we decide what to do.  I understood you to say that if he contracts genital HSV2 from intercourse, then he  is NOT going to catch it on his mouth...is that correct?  Maybe that may be the best solution for us?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
20 months ago
Well, if you are going to look for a solution that involves getting HSV 2, it would probably be better for him to get it orally and he would then be essentially vaccinated against getting it genitally.  People who have HSV 2 orally get few if any recurrences and shed virus very infrequently vs. people who have genital infection who get an average of 4-6 outbreaks a year.  I'm not positive I understand your question so I'll leave this open for one more response from you to make sure I am understanding you.

Terri
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20 months ago
Yes, you understood my question.  Thank-you for your answer.  If he goes ahead and contracts HSV2 on his mouth, he is concerned about kissing his children on cheek or lips?  What are the chances of them getting the virus orally?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
20 months ago
Just about zero.  It would be just like the behavior of caution while kissing children with a cold sore - just don't do it.  Kissing someone on the lips or cheek, as an adult kisses a child, when there is no cold sore is zero risk.  passionate kissing is a different matter and presents more risk of transmission when there is no cold sore but "child" kissing is fine. 

Terri
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