[Question #6996] Herpes concern

11 months ago

I’ve been diagnosed with genital herpes in February 2019, and it has caused me a great deal of stress and worry.

After having a few frequent outbreaks, in July 2019 doctor prescribed Valacyclovir 500mg once a day for a year. Since then I have occasional symptoms, such as itching and redness from time to time, which never became lesions, and have had two actual outbreaks, in April and May this year, and I believe those were due to extreme stress.

Also, my doctor advised to get tested for HIV which I have done in April 2019, November 2019 and February 2020, all negative. I still obsess about.

I have a partner for a year now and I am always concerned of him getting herpes from me. I told him about it before we started dating and he said he doesn’t care about it, in the best possible way. But every time we have vaginal or oral sex I worry and cannot relax. 

Also, now I constantly get worried about getting cold sores too, although I’ve never had one in my life. I’ve had a friend over a few days ago, and she was having her first outbreak (almost healed), but I was stressing out so much while she was here and after she left. We haven’t shared food or drinks, but I guess all the stress since I was diagnosed make me very paranoid.

Can you give me some information that would calm down my worries and help me have a normal life without constantly having concerns? 

Thank you!

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
11 months ago
So if you take daily antiviral medicine and have sex about twice a week and your partner knows that you have herpes, there is about a 2% chance in a year that your partner will become infected with HSV 2.  By the way, has your partner been tested to see if he may already have HSV 2?  If not, that would be a good idea, maybe once a year, so if he is infected, you could stop worrying about this.  If he uses a condom, the risk drops another 60% of transmission. 
The good news is that once you have HSV 1 your will, with an extremely high degree of certainty, never get HSV 2 subsequently

Terri
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11 months ago
Hi Terri, 

Thank you for your answer. 

Could you please explain the last part to me again, as I am not sure I understand? 

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
11 months ago
Sorry, that was a typo, and I corrected it.  Once you have HSV 2, you will likely never ever acquire type 1 subsequently.

Terri
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11 months ago

Regarding the HIV tests; I’ve done one in April 2019, three months after getting herpes (but don’t know which kind of a test), and HIV 1/2 combo in November 2019 and February 2020. 

Is this enough or should I test again? 

In the laboratory they told me I should do PCR test, but I’m not sure what that is and if it is really necessary (especially not even knowing if I was at actual risk, and since March 2019 I had the same partner). 


Also, another question regarding herpes, what happens if I decide to stop taking medication on daily basis?


Thank you very much for your time!

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
11 months ago
It's enough unless you've had any risky encounter since.  You don't need a PCR HIV test.  That is something people who are concerned that they might have a new infection would use.  That's not you. 
If you stop taking medication on a regular basis, you will likely have more outbreaks, and the risk of transmission increases.
As I've looked back at what you've written, unless I missed it, you don't state the type of herpes that you have (HSV 1 or HSV 2).  Do you know which type?

Terri
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11 months ago

Unfortunately, my doctor never sent the sample for testing, so I’m not really sure. 

When it comes to HIV testing, I have done it because my doctor suggested, although my previous partner says he doesn’t have it. But after I was diagnosed with herpes I’m not sure what I can believe in. 

Since then I have had one partner and no risks that I know of. I understand that for fourth generation tests would show after three months, and I have done 3 tests over the past year.

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
11 months ago
Wait, your doctor never sent the sample so you don't have a lab diagnosis of herpes at all? 
You don't need anymore HIV testing

Terri
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11 months ago
This is correct.
My visit to the doctor was quite traumatic to say the least. I was seeing someone for a while and got herpes from him, apparently he didn’t know he had it. Once I came to my doctor’s office and she saw it, she put two pairs of gloves on, told me how this is horrible and has costed me months of psycho therapy after. I was given medication but never got proper lab results, although sample was taken (at least that’s what I believed in). I had a few outbreaks, then was given a year therapy of Valacyclovir 500mg per day, and since then I had two outbreaks in almost a year, during the time I was ill. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
11 months ago
Hmmmm.  I would strongly suggest that you obtain a type specific antibody test to determine which type of herpes you have, HSV 1 or HSV 2.  That is an IgG test.  Your experience sounds pretty awful!

Terri
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