[Question #7327] HSV 1 Genital Infection

5 months ago

Hello,

I got HSV 1 Genital 25 years ago from having oral sex. My boyfriend at the time had a cold sore. What are my chances of transmitting HSV 1 Genital to an uninfected male without using a condom or suppressive therapy?


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
5 months ago
Incredibly low!  Have you had recurrences?

Terri
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5 months ago
I haven’t had any in a long time.  What is the possibility with recurrences? I was reading some of the prior questions and it sounds like HSV 1 genital is milder and less likely to transmit via intercourse than HSV 2 genital Why is that? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
5 months ago
HSV 1 has a strong site preference for the oral area, so it recurs and sheds far less often in the genital area.  Once a person has had HSV 1 genital infection for two years (and we don't have data for people infected longer than two years), the average shedding per year is about 4 days.  The likelihood that you would transmit via intercourse or receiving oral sex is very low indeed. 

Terri
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5 months ago
That's good to know. Therefore, the likelihood that I would transmit via intercourse or receiving oral sex from an uninfected male  is very low even without using a condom or suppressive therapy? Just to know is it safe to take suppressive therapy like Acyclovir daily for a long period of time without having any side affects? Does it matter how many times a week you have intercourse? You have been a great help Terri.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
5 months ago
You've got it right.  And it is safe to take suppressive therapy for the long term.  So obviously the more sex you have the more exposure there is, the greater the risk, right? 

Terri
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5 months ago
I guess so, but I thought you said that the risk is very low with HSV 1 genital.
5 months ago
I'm sorry, I also meant to say on my last question that I have had HSV 1 genital for over 25 years as well. Do you suggest taking Acyclovir daily?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
5 months ago
The risk of transmission of HSV 1 is incredibly low but still, the more sex, the more risk.  I think that makes sense. 
I don't suggest that you take antiviral medicine every day, no, unless you have a sex partner that is very concerned about transmission, and then, you could, if it would be reassuring to that partner.  While medically it may not be making much difference, sex and relationships aren't always just about the medical aspects. 

Terri

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