[Question #6657] Transmission rates or statistics

14 months ago

I am female with a herpes II diagnosis.  From my more recent visit to Planned Parenthood, I was giving an antiviral drug  (Valacyclovir) to take everyday and was told this would delay transmission but it was inevitable. 

Can you please provide more accurate information as to transmission: 
I am trying to avoid transmission to a male partner and want to understand the risks more clearly.

Transmission rate from using the antiviral drug with no condom?

Transmission rates from using the antiviral drug and condoms? 

Transmission rates using only condom without antiviral drugs?

Transmission rates using no condom and no antiviral drugs?  

I guess I'm trying to understand how much of a difference does each precaution make or what is the level of risk in each scenario? Esp. if at some point, I wanted to have a child, what is the level of risk having unprotected sex while taking the anti-viral drug? 

Also, I want to know if this medication (Valacyclovir) can cause a yeast infection? As I was told it couldn't but I tend to get yeast infections very easily esp. with medication and I have been trying to get rid of one as I type this. 

Please let me know any helpful informations that you may have. 

Thank you. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
14 months ago
Whoa!  Let's step back a minute.  First, tell me the number associated with your positive antibody test.  Or was it a swab test?
Assuming for a moment that the diagnosis is correct, the statement that transmission is inevitable is totally incorrect!  OMG, how could a clinician say such a ridiculous thing.
Assuming sex twice a  week for a year when having no symptoms and no condom but taking antiviral medicine, about 2 men out of 100 will acquire HSV 2 from a female
with condoms, less than that
no condom, no drugs, about 4%
You can certainly have a child, taking into account the numbers listed here
Valacyclovir does not cause a yeast infection, no.

I am so sorry that you got such terrible information - totally incorrect and awful and wrong.


14 months ago
Thank you for your response. 
I do have a few more questions.  

Being that I have better transmission rate information, would you be able to provide transmission rate for oral sex if he were to perform oral sex on me.  I know it is something he had initially wanted to do.  Is that something extremely risky?

I also was hoping you could further elaborate on the effects of the medication (Valacyclovir), as the clinician at planed parenthood, told me if I was taking that I should be getting my kidneys checked regularly because it harms your kidneys since they process the medication.  I was also told by this clinician to take the medication up to 2 or 3 times a day if I felt any symptoms arise, and then go back to once a day so that I would disappear symptoms faster.  Is this correct, as my previous doctor had told me it's once a day symptoms or no symptoms.

Lastly, my previous doctor when she initially diagnosed me from the swab test, said her only advice was to stay healthy and stop shaving my bikini area.  Is this something that affects that area. As I am currently back to shaving and I'm not sure if this is something that needs to be avoided after being diagnosed with HSV 2. 

Thank you in advance for all your advice. 

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
14 months ago
We don't have any data on transmission via oral sex. 
Boy, that clinician at Planned Parenthood was all full of erroneous information.  There is absolutely no indication to get your kidneys' checked on a regular basis whatsoever. 
If you feel an outbreak coming on, you can dose your valacyclovir in a couple of different ways. You could take 1 gram 3 times a day for a couple of days (the shingles dose), you could take 2 grams and 2 grams again 12 hours later, or you could take 500 mg twice a day for three days.  They are all effective . 
There is no reason not to shave your bikini area.  If you were the susceptible person (uninfected) that would be reasonable advice but not for you as the infected person.