[Question #6190] HSV1 partner notification

16 months ago
I have HSV1 both orally and genitally. I've been disclosing both to my partners but I came across an old article of Dr. Hansfield that suggested bc of the low (or non existent) genital to genital HSV1 transmission rates it may not be necessary to disclose genital HSV1 (but definitely oral). I was wondering if this position had changed and if there is now any known  risk of genital to genital transmission.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
16 months ago
So the newest research on genital HSV 1 infection by Dr. Christine Johnson, suggests that people who have had HSV 1 genital infection for two years or more, on average, shed virus on about 4 days per year.  That's pretty low.  So clearly disclosure may not be necessary in terms of transmission to sex partner (that is not to say the risk is zero - cases of genital to genital transmission have been well documented).  But the greater issue here may be one of trust if the sexual relationship turns into a  long term one and this has not been disclosed.  But I would say now that we have this research, disclosure is not as mandatory as we once thought.  Oral HSV 1 in a person with recurring cold sores (6 times or more per year) is shed on 25% of days measured so that is clearly a larger risk of transmission via kissing or the giving of oral sex.  People who have fewer recurrences likely shed a lot lesls.

Terri
---