[Question #648] HSV-2

53 months ago
Hello.  I am a 26 y/o white female concerned with risk for hsv2. On March 18th, I had sex with a 32 year old male. Condom broke, he finished. Not sure how long the experience lasted. We both got tested the next week as I was concerned. I was mostly concerned  with hiv, which he tested negative for, and thought it be ok to continue sex with condoms until everything else checked out. Yesterday we found out he has hsv2 (and hsv 1, as do I, but my results from last week showed I was negative for all else). We have had two brief condom protected vaginal encounters, one March 19 and one a week later (brief bc I had a yeast infection, was in pain,  and wanted to stop quickly), in addition to the one unprotected encounter. Last Friday, when tested, I had an internal exam for a Pap smear, so I'm hoping that if the doctor saw anything, he'd have said. Today I'm going back  to the gyno to have another look inside. I haven't noticed or felt signs of an outbreak, but figured this is the best I can do right now. It's been two weeks since the 1 unprotected/1 protected  sex and one week since the 3rd (protected) encounter. I did not notice lesions on him during any of the encounters, but it's hard to say how observant I was. He claims he never has had an outbreak but then again, he must have at least once if he contracted the virus? All this said, how worried do I need to be? Thank you. 

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
53 months ago
Hi Jennifer,
It is certainly possible that he has had no lesions or rather that he has not had anything he would describe as herpes.  Eighty percent of those infected with HSV 2 deny ever having had herpes symptoms so his situation is very common.  It would be interesting to know the specific number associated with his positive result to be certain he does not need confirmatory testing to be certain of the results and it would also be good to be certain it was an IgG test, not an IgM test which has many false positives.  Anyway, his condom use is hugely protective for you -96% protection in one new study - but then you have the slight risk of the one broken condom situation.  It's hard to quantify your risk but I would say it is low with a single mostly protected sexual intercourse encounter.

Terri
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53 months ago
Thanks Terri. I can look into his test results if he'll get/share them and can use my last allocated response to address that information. I went to the gynocologist today for an internal exam, given my concerns. She confirmed at this time there are no signs of initial outbreak. She told me I would definitely know (feel) an initial outbreak if I contracted hsv2. Is it true that all initial infections result in a primary outbreak? That being said, given that my last sexual encounter with this guy was last Friday, how long until, without an outbreak, I can stop being concerned about having contracted the virus? thank you. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
53 months ago
No, it is not true that everyone who acquire HSV 2 knows it.  As I said above, 80% of those infected have no idea they are infected, so how could that be?  Most people who are going to have symptoms when they first acquire herpes do so within  2-10 days, with some being as long as 3 weeks, but rarely.  You are well beyond 10 days now do the odds are definitely in your favor at this point

Terri
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53 months ago
For my last post - I am now confused. Are you saying I could have contracted it within the last 2 weeks and, being mindful, have no symptoms of contracting it, and should therefore get another blood test in 3 months to confirm this particular experience has not infected me?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
53 months ago
Sorry to be confusing.  I'm saying if you were going to have symptoms with a new infection, you would likely have had them by now, statistically.  But you could be asymptomatically infected, so....
yes, another test in 3 months could you tell you if you happened to get infected at the encounter when the condom broke.  I hope that is more helpful.  Overall, I think your risk is really small.

Terri
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