[Question #864] husband with genital herpes

53 months ago
I am being tested for the herpes virus next week. My husband, age 77, has just had his first case of genital herpes. It was on his thigh, not terribly painful, and went away in about a week once he was on valacyclovir. He swears he hasn't had another sexual partner for 48 years. I have never had another sexual partner, so I know he couldn't have gotten herpes from me. I read that herpes can become active sometimes years after exposure, but 48 years!? That is my question: Could he have acquired the virus 48 years ago and only now be getting his first outbreak?  Also, if he has had the virus for a while, I presume I have it as well since we have always been sexually active. If I test negative for the virus can I assume he acquired the virus rather recently?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
53 months ago
It is absolutely possible and actually not uncommon to have contracted herpes many years before the first recognized outbreak.  Has your husband had any illnesses or problems lately that might have challenged his immune response?  Sometimes when that happens, the herpes virus comes out and is noticed for the first time.  It is also possible that he has had other outbreaks but didn't notice them - they might have come on his penis or anus or buttocks or belly or thigh.  If you are negative, it does NOT mean that he recently contracted herpes.  He could have had this for many years and not transmitted it to you - please don't jump to conclusions about this.

Terri
---
53 months ago
Can many years mean 48 years? He is very healthy and has not had any recent challenge to his immune system. I am sure he has never had another outbreak.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
53 months ago
Yes, 48 years, it definitely can happen and I have definitely seen it happen
Also, we know this isn't his first outbreak because if he has it on his thigh, then this is a recurrence because the first outbreak would be genital. 
How was he diagnosed with HSV?  And was it HSV 1 or HSV 2?

Terri

---
53 months ago
A blood test and the Dr cultured the pus from the sores   hSV 2
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
53 months ago
OK, well then you know for sure, the combination of those two, or the swab test alone, confirm the HSV 2 diagnosis.  Let me ask you - I get the feeling that you are concerned that this could be new infection.  have you had some concern that he's had another partner, aside from the herpes?

Terri
---
53 months ago
Yes, that is the concern
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
53 months ago
So you had concerns about his fidelity way before he got herpes?

Terri
---
53 months ago
No, I wasn't. I know he was unfaithful 48 years ago- I got clamydia . I just think, where did this come from? He is a very entitled guy. He could have hooked up with someone and just figured I'd never find out. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
53 months ago
Possible, but again, because it was on his thigh, this was not a manifestation of a first infection. 
I think whatever you are thinking in your heart of hearts about recent infidelity or not, that's probably true.  If you've been together 48 years, you likely know him very well.

Terri
---