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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:42 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:32 pm
Posts: 3
I have met a fantastic woman, but she told me she has Herpes (HSV2).
I understand condom and Valtrex reduce risk.
What about oral sex?
What is the risk of my giving her oral sex and of her giving me oral sex without a condom?
I have had cold sores around the mouth before and plan to get tested soon to be sure I don't already have it, but I presume I have HSV1 and not HSV2.
I'm just thinking that if HSV1 is mostly oral, that if she gives me oral sex the risk is mainly of HSV1 which I already (probably) have.
What is the risk of HSV2?

Similar question the other way. I can't give it to her. If I go down on her, am I likely to get HSV2 in my "oral regions"?

I hope you can assuage my fears. I don't want to get it and I don't want to give her up.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:55 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
If she has hsv2 genitally - she won't transmit it to you when she performs oral sex on you. There's a small chance you could contract her hsv2 orally when performing oral sex on her but it's very small. It's up to the two of you if you want to utilize barrier protection for performing oral sex on her or not. Your risk of contracting her hsv2 is fairly low ( 4% each year if you do nothing but avoid sex whenever she has obvious symptoms ) and it's even lower of contracting it orally.

Your hsv1 oral infection gives you significant protection against contracting hsv1 genitally though not 100%. You mentioned she was hsv2+ - was she ever tested for hsv1?

If by chance you transmitted your hsv1 oral infection to her genital area - it would present the same as her hsv2 infection and she wouldn't notice the difference unless her lesions were cultured. Her hsv2 would still be the cause of most recurrences in her genital area.

betsy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:42 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 1:26 pm
Posts: 16
chienbizarre - pat yourself on the back for taking some time to get some facts on herpes. Then, pat your partner on the back for talking to you about her herpes diagnosis. The fact that you are seeking information and the fact that your partner has discussed the situation says a lot about both of you and the relationship. Specifically to her, having the discussion shows honesty and trust on her part and both are good for any healthy relationship. Coping with herpes in a relationship can sometimes take time, but this is often due to all the misinformation about the virus. So you're taking an important step by simply educating yourself. Rest assured that we talk with couples each day for whom herpes has become nothing more than a minor thing in their relationship.

To follow up on betsyb's comments, your partner's genital diagnosis of HSV-2 has no bearing on her mouth. Even if she is experiencing genital symptoms, she could still kiss or perform oral sex during that time. Likewise, if you are experiencing an oral symptom, it would have no bearing on your genital area.

In terms of you getting HSV-2 orally or her getting HSV-1 genitally (with you likely having HSV-1 orally) from oral sex, it's highly unlikely for someone to get both types of HSV in the same location. Especially in your situation because both types are already where they want to be. The site of preference for HSV-1 is the mouth while HSV-2 prefers the genital region. In addition to that, you both have an immune response that makes "reinfection" of any kind unlikely.

Regarding the relationship overall, know that you can have the same level of intimacy and sexual activity that any couple can. There is nothing that you can't do. Don't get me wrong - there is a possibility of you contracting genital herpes. But, that's a possibility for any sexually active person anywhere. Anyone who has had or will have sexual activity assumes some level of risk for contracting herpes or another sexually transmitted infection. There is no such thing as "risk-free" sex for anyone, anywhere. That's why not having sex when genital symptoms are present and using latex condoms are good recommendations for any sexually active couple regardless of whether herpes is part of the equation.

Back to herpes specifically, the fact that you know your partner has the virus and that you are educating yourself would reduce any risk of transmission. Unfortunately, it is not possible to accurately quantify the risk of passing or contracting the virus. To do so, there would need to be a study/clinical trial that provides that information and there are simply too many variables that a study/trial cannot account for (is a couple having sex once a day, twice a week, once a month; are condoms being used consistently, never, off and on; is the sexual activity for two minutes, an hour; does a partner already have oral or genital herpes; are antivirals being taken; individual immune systems, etc.). But, as you mentioned you already know, there are ways to reduce the risk. Simply abstaining from sex when genital symptoms are present would reduce the risk considerably. Using condoms and your partner taking Valtrex would reduce the risk even more.

It would be a good idea for you to get tested. If you have ever had sex/genital contact before, you could already have genital herpes and all this is kind of a moot point. As you may have read on other posts, it's not uncommon for someone to unknowingly have herpes - as many as 90% of individuals with herpes don't know it. If you're interested in getting tested, you can talk to your health care provider. Make sure to request a "type specific IgG blood test." You can get testing info at: http://www.ashastd.org/testinginfo.cfm.

Finally, you mentioned not wanting to give your partner up. Don't. You said she is fantastic, so if the relationship ends, let's hope it's for a legitimate reason and not simply because one of you has herpes.

Apologies for the long post.

Thanks,
Mike

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ASHA Message Board Moderator


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:32 pm
Posts: 3
Thanks to both of you. That answered my questions. Also I talked to a good friend who it turns out has had HSV2 for many years and allayed many of my worries. I feel more comfortable with it and can concentrate on the the relationship more.
I do plan to get tested. I'll ask for that test.
Great board. Thanks for being there.


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 Post subject: got test results
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:55 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:32 pm
Posts: 3
No questions. Just an update if anyone is interested.
I got tested and was surprised at the results. I am negative for HSV1 and positive on HSV2.
The antibodies are strong and my Dr. said he guesses I've had it for a very long time, based on that and that I don't recall ever having an outbreak.
I wonder if got it as a kid and HSV2 protected me from HSV1?
It's good news for this relationship but I feel bad about having it for a long time and not knowing if I may have passed it on. Most of my relationships have been long and I am not aware of a girlfriend with an outbreak.
Also if this relationship ends, I'm not happy about what it means going forward.
It's hard enough to find a good woman without having to disclose this, but I am an honorable man, so disclose it I will.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:54 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:31 pm
Posts: 74
Location: Nebraska
chienbizarre ~

Don't feel bad about not knowing your status before. There are so many people out there that have herpes and have no idea because they either assumed that it was always included in the routine std testing process (it is not) OR they just didn't get any signs or symptoms that they recognized that would be a classic case of herpes. In fact, many people don't get those classic text book cases of herpes outbreaks at all. So, try not to beat yourself up. At least you know your status now and can go on with your life from here, ya know?

Try not to worry about what it will mean going forward if the relationship that you are in doesn't work out. That's too much stress on yourself having to worry about something that hasn't happened yet. If it means anything you are more than welcome to read :arrow: our herpes story. It was written by my husband about what it was like for him when I told him about my herpes status back when we were dating. We've been married for almost six years. My how time flies when you're havin' fun, eh?

If you have any more questions at all ~ please don't hesitate to ask.

Happy St. Patty's Day!!

Angela :D

_________________
:arrow: Herpes Help


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:42 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
You didn't get hsv2 as a kid - it's transmitted thru sex ( of course depending on your age now perhaps your late teens , early twenties does seem like back when you were a kid...he he he ).

As you said it's good news for your current relationship though at least :)

I know it's shocking to find out you have herpes but it's far more common than most folks suspect. It won't keep you from having fabulous romantic relationships in the future - it's more of an annoyance than a health risk for otherwise healthy adults. If you date someone who is of child bearing age yes then it does require a few extra precautions should you start a family together but otherwise it's mostly a pain in the ass - even literally sometimes.

betsy


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