[Question #5558] How do I reduce HSV risk to sexual partners?

22 months ago
Doctors,

About two years ago I was diagnosed with HSV in my anal area following unprotected sex with my ex partner. We are both males. He was asymptomatic and was unaware he carried the virus. At the time of exposure, I experienced two major outbrakes within a span of a single month. I was prescribed medication to deal with outbreaks, but as time went on I haven't experienced any outbreaks and have not taken medication since then. Me and my ex partner used condoms all the time after that, and that seemed to help end the outbrakes. I want to get back to dating and having sex with new people, but I have my concerns on how to go about protecting future partners and lowering their risk to get HSV. I have a couple of scenarios that I want advice with. Taking into consideration that I have not showed herpes symptoms for more than a year. That in it self lowers some of the risk of transferring the virus,  Correct me if I'm wrong. When participating in anal receptive sex, I know the only way to prevent the spread is for the partner to use a condom. I think the biggest of my concerns is receiving oral to anal sex. This is something I've been wanting to do. Does that pose a greater risk or is it safe to do so? I've read that tansfering genital herpes to the mouth is uncommon. In a similar manner, what about fingers to anus? Also, because the origin of my HSV is in my anus is it possible to transfer the virus through other parts of my body, such as kissing or receptive fellatio or other forms of skin contact? I have a feeling that medication is probably the safest alternative to reduce risk. I hope you can bring clarity to this concern of mine. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
22 months ago
You are correct that people who have outbreaks shed virus about twice as much as people who don't have outbreaks but are infected.
Are you asking about the risk of receiving oral sex at the anus or giving oral sex at someone else's anus?  If someone gives you analingus, they are at a small risk of acquiring herpes but not a big one.  You didn't state if you have HSV 1 or HSV 2?  Do you know? 
Taking daily antiviral medicine and having your partners use condoms both greatly reduce the risk of transmission to a partner. 

Terri
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22 months ago
Yes, my concern is the risk of receiving oral sex at the anus. When I was diagnosed for HSV, the doctors didn't make clear if it was HSV 1 or 2. Should I have taken another test, and if so what test will determine if I have HSV 1 or 2? Would having either HSV 2 or HSV 1 differ in the risk of receiving oral sex at the anus? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
21 months ago
You do need to know if you have HSV 1 or HSV 2.  They have very different shedding and transmission and recurrence rates so yes, they differ greatly in the risk of receiving oral sex at the anus, correct.

Terri
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