[Question #7312] Nervous about HSV-2 transmission to partner

6 months ago
Hello,
I have been diagnosed with Genital Herpes HSV-2 for 2 and a half years.  I have been in a relationship with a woman for over a year and she knows I have herpes but she is afraid of getting it.  I'm really afraid of her getting it. I take 1000mg of Valtrex a day (one in the morning and one at night).  My GF is very stressed and emotional about other issues in her personal life as well.

We have protected sex and I use a condom a lot.  We have had unprotected sex maybe 7-8 times and that's it, every other time I used a condom.  She has performed oral sex on me a handful of times as well without any protection.  I have performed cunnilingus on her without any protection.  I never have had any breakouts while I was with her.

There have been a couple of slip ups where we have had unprotected sex with cunnilingus and I didn't take my Valtrex for two days prior.  I have also noticed some prodrome sensations on my right butt cheek and down my right leg before and after protected or unprotected sex.  But I'm not sure if it was related to HSV-2 or not.  I just assume it was.  Again, I haven't had any breakouts in a year.

I am really afraid of her getting this.  She has never complained of any symptoms.  (Only symptoms would be vaginal soreness after rough/prolonged intercourse or from me fingering her roughly.  But even then she only complained once or twice and we have rough sex a lot.) 

1) She is going to get tested this week and based on what you know about the virus should I be concerned about her catching Genital Herpes HSV-2 from me?
2) Should I worry as much as I am over this?  
3) Would you be surprised if she tested positive?
4) if she is stressed out would that make a breakout more noticeable?
5) do women usually show symptoms if they acquire Gential Herpes HSV-2?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
6 months ago
If your infection is only genital, you can give her oral sex any time without concern about transmission.  It is genital to genital contact that is the concern.  Condoms reduce transmission of HSV 2 from males to females by 96%, so keep up the good work AND the daily suppression. 

1.  I think you present a very low risk of infection to her
2.  I think you should be diligent about condoms and medication daily, but try not to worry - it's different to be diligent and worried, right?
3.  Yes, unless she was infected by a prior partner
4.  No
5.  Often they do yes, especially if they are aware that their partner has herpes.

Terri
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6 months ago
thank you for the quick response and thank you for your work on this virus.  

5) follow up: Hypothetically speaking: if one of the times she was sore from vigorous sex was actually an HSV-2 breakout, would she probably have another one with in the next 6 months given her stress levels?

and new questions,
6) If I have prodrome before or after sex and and didn't use a condom would that make her more at risk at getting it from me even while being on Valtrex?
7) and if she aquired HSV-2 from me, she would probably have some sort of noticeable symptoms?  She's very in tune to her body. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
6 months ago
) follow up: Hypothetically speaking: if one of the times she was sore from vigorous sex was actually an HSV-2 breakout, would she probably have another one with in the next 6 months given her stress levels?

Yes, it is likely that if she contracted HSV 2 as a new infection, she would have recurrences.  Has she not had an IgG test to see if she actually does or does not have HSV 2?

and new questions,
6) If I have prodrome before or after sex and and didn't use a condom would that make her more at risk at getting it from me even while being on Valtrex?

If you are accurate diagnosing your symptoms as prodrome, that is a time when is more likely to become infected, even if on suppression.

7) and if she acquired HSV-2 from me, she would probably have some sort of noticeable symptoms?  She's very in tune to her body.

It depends.  About 80% of those infected with HSV 2 don't know it, so certainly people can be infected and be unaware.  Also, if she is HSV 1 positive, then if she acquired HSV 2, she would be less likely to be symptomatic.
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6 months ago
Again, thank you for your thoughtful responses.  Questions 5&6 were hypothetical questions. 

After all this you'd still think the chances of her getting HSV-2 from me are low?  (If she doesn't already have it) I know I worry a lot and I am trying not to worry about it.   She does know I have it and I take a higher dose of Valtrex. I know you can't say for sure but you said you'd be surprised if she tested positive based on what I said in my original question? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
6 months ago
I would be surprised, yes.  The episodes without condom use aren't terrific, but hopefully, the antiviral medication would be active at that time to reduce any viral shedding.

Terri
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