[Question #5756] HSV-1 Transmission Risk

20 months ago
Hello, I’m very nervous about a recent encounter and looking for some guidance. The logical side of my brain says “I’m OK” but panic and paranoia are taking over. I got diagnosed with HSV-1 Genitally about 10 years ago. I average maybe one outbreak a year and they are very mild, except I am very sensitive to them occurring so I always notice. I recently engaged with mutual masterbation with someone who is HSV negative. There was no skin to skin contact. There was some oral sex given on my part, but I don’t have HSV orally. There was one or two occasions where my partner touched his penis to take it out, likely using the hand he used to touch me. It was mere seconds and his penis was dry.  The masterbation on me was not “vigorous” by any means. I know HSV-1 genital to genital transmission is extremely rare, but I did end up having early symptoms of  an outbreak 2x days after the encounter, with the actual outbreak occurring 4x days later. Does this greatly increase my risk of having passed it on?  Is what I’m describing of great concern to you?  Is the risk low only due to HSV-1 shedding less (which might not have been the case with me) or is it because the virus does not transfer easily because it’s “home” is orally?  Thank you very much for your time, I can’t stop thinking about the risk level. 
20 months ago
Just checking in as it seems the questions after me have been answered. I appreciate your time! 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
20 months ago
I think it is a one in a million chance or even less that this activity would infect your partner.  I think you can stop worrying about this completely now.  Honestly.  You just didn't have the right contact for transmission

Terri
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20 months ago
Thank you so much Terri. There is definitely an irrational level of paranoia that I develop after certain encounters just based on the stigma and potential consequences. Would you mind humoring me and answering those last two questions though? Is my general transmission risk level higher since I do get about one outbreak a year (not like some HSV-1 genital patients who just have an initial outbreak and then no future symptoms)?  And is the low  transmission risk (from HSV-1 genital to genital) at all linked to HSV-1 “preferred home” being oral? I know that’s the case for HSV-2, with it being rare to transfer that from genital to oral.  Thank you again. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
20 months ago
IF you had had an experience like unprotected intercourse and had an outbreak four days later, I would say there is slightly increased risk of transmission, yes
Your risk of transmission is about the same as everyone else's as HSV 1 recurs on average about once every other year or so.  Yes, the reduce transmission rate is due to the genitals not being the preferred home.

Terri
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