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 Post subject: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:54 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:06 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Surrey
Hi there,

I pray you can help me out. I have a difficult dilemma that's left me spinning for a couple of months.

Had my first semi-sexual contact in well over two years (since the passing of my husband) a couple of months ago. The man admits to having had GH for at least six years, has outbreaks a four/five times a year and doesn't take daily suppression and has had several relationships where he knowingly hasn't spread it to anyone else.

I decided to continue dating the guy after he revealed his GH status but wanted to take things slowly and engage in only safer forms of contact until I was more sure of the nature of the relationship.

One night a few months back we were kissing, cuddling and he proceeded to stimate me manually for a few minutes.We were both fully clothed and I don't recall him touching himself at any point. I didn't touch his genitals at all. That's where it ended. He wasn't having an OB at the time.

Approx. a week later I woke up with a strange rash in the spot half way between my lateral thigh and buttock. I had symptoms of a mild yeast infection, too. I immediately went to a clinic where the rash was swabbed. The doctor thought it looked like bed bug bites. To make a long story even longer, the results of the swab revealed GH. I was absolutely floored. How? I was referred to a local STI clinic where I met with a nurse who reviewed my history, file, etc.

Based on the type of contact I had with this man, in addition to the site of manifestation, the nurse believed the outbreak to be a recurrence, a viral latency, from a previous partner. She said that almost all new OBs occur in the genital/anal area. I have a hard time believing this, though, especially when I developed these symptoms within the typical GH window period, after sexual contact with these new man I was dating, a person known to carry the virus. I have also never had such symptoms before in my life. The only yeast infection I've had was well over 10 years ago. I am so confused, stressed out about this. It caused so much grief that things ended between me and this new guy.

Everywhere I read online, including this site, deny the possibility of contacting GH through hand contact, especially when he wasn't stimulating himself at the time and doesn't have a history of outbreaks on the hand. The only thing I can recall is that he used the washroom 10 or so minutes before our encounter (and possibility didn't wash properly). I can't believe this would be enough to transfer the virus. Could it? It seems so entirely unfair to have possibly contracted this through something so seemingly safe as hand contact. Could this be a reoccurence or is it an initial OB? I'm so confused....and whilst everyone says it doesn't matter how it was transmitted, it does to me. I've been beating myself up for allowing him to touch my genitals when I was sure about the direction of the relationship. The guilt is killing me.

I pray you can help me with some answers.


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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
I agree 110% with what you were told. You absolutely did not get herpes from the encounter you described.

Studies have shown over and over again that over 90% of folks who have hsv2, have no idea they have it until tested. Not knowing you were infected until you got a rash that was troublesome enough to be seen for is far more common than I think you realize.

betsy

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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:26 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:06 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Surrey
Thank you. I have many questions and hope you will bear with me:

Will hand contact ever transmit the virus? Or is it always safe under any circumstance? If not, what circumstances could it transmit it?

I'm still having a hard time believing this is not a primary infection. Could the virus lay dormant for, say 10 years, never causing a noticeable symptom and then surface years later causing back to back outbreaks? It just seems very odd, to say the least.

You are an real angel for answering all these questions... :P


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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:28 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
you manually stimulating a partner will not transmit your herpes. A partner manually stimulating you can potentially cause hsv2 on their hands but as long as the skin on their hands isn't broken, odds are very low of that occurring.

one really good study done a few years back took a group of folks who tested + for hsv2 but who thought that they had never had a symptom of herpes genitally and properly educated them on genital herpes, signs and symptoms. 80% of those folks from that point forward were able to start recognizing the signs of recurrences ( confirmed with culture as being hsv2). You could've been having mild symptoms that you never thought were anything to think twice about ( who doesn't get a little red and tender after a really "good" weekend with your partner? ) or you even could've been having ob's on your cervix and of course we can't see up there at home. Herpes is frequently misdiagnosed as uti's, vaginitis, rashes etc even by practitioners. hopefully now that you know that you have it, you'll get better at recognizing the signs of recurrences.

keep asking questions :)

betsy

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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:06 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Surrey
Thank you again for you answers. And thank you for bearing with me.

I'm still finding it difficult to believe I didn't contract it from this most recent "hand-genital" encounter. You mention that if I did contract it well before this encounter I likely had symptoms I simply didn't recognize as part of the infection. But, quite honestly, apart from a yeast infection ten years ago I haven't had anything, a rash, UTI, etc., down there at all. Is it possible for the virus to be completely symptomless and then cause horrible symptoms years later?

Does indirect hand contact, such as a GH positive person (shedding at the time, for example) touching themselves and then touching their partner ever have the possibility of transmitting the virus?

I'm feeling like a walking biohazzard these days. Every website I visit on this issue focuses almost exclusively on "what you shouldn't do" when infected, nothing positive. I can't imagine anyone wanting to be with someone with this virus. I can't stop crying and worrying about it. How did you handle the initial diagnosis? Do you ever get down about it now?


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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:07 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
There's absolutely NOTHING you can't do because you have genital herpes. Avoiding sex when you have any genital symptoms goes a long away and daily suppressive therapy and condom use reduce a partner's risk down to minimal. Nothing you have to avoid sexually or anything like that. No particular sexual activity is more risky than others.

No, a partner touching themselves and then touching you isn't going to transmit the virus either. Just not that much active virus to be picked up on the hand and transmitted to a partner.

Instead of focusing on the "when did I get herpes", it's probably better at this point to focus on what can you do to control your herpes now that you know you have it. Most people never figure out the when and from whom parts. you absolutely did not get it from this most recent encounter. change your thinking to , "ok so I know I have genital herpes and have had it for awhile. I can't change what happened in the past but I can control the future so this is what I"m going to do to reduce transmission to my partners as well as keep my recurrences to a minimum." Make sure you have antivirals on hand to start at the very first sign of a recurrence so that it heals fastest. Consider going on suppressive therapy if your next partner is hsv2 negative. I also recommend buying Terri Warren's new book "the good news about the bad news" ( under $15 on amazon ) if you can afford it. it really spends a lot more time on the psychological side of having herpes than her free handbook does. It's a terrific resource that will educate you about your herpes so you do feel more in control and can be ready to go out and start dating again.

From my own experience, I had hsv2 and never knew it until a former partner came to be to tell me that he had been diagnosed as having hsv2 and was pretty sure he got it from me. I had no idea I had it until then. It wasn't until a year later that I got a rip roaring recurrence that even a first year medical student could identify as being herpes. If I hadn't already known that I had it, I would've assumed it was a newly acquired infection. it was a real humdinger. From that point forward I started having frequent recurrences. I even had a humdinger of an ob 16 years into being infected while on suppressive therapy. They happen sometimes. I've read stories of gals online who had hsv2 15+ years and never realized it until they got a very obvious recurrence and when they and their partner got tested, figured out they had had it since before they had met. Terri Warren has even had patients who had been widowed for many years, not sexually active at all who in their 70's show up at her clinic with their first obvious recurrence. it happens that way far more than most folks realize. One study even showed that as many as 1/2 of all people presenting to a clinic with hsv2, were reallly just having a recurrence and not newly infected as they assumed they had been.

did my having herpes ever get me down? no. It's just one more thing about me I have to deal with and actually one of the easiest things I can control. Not many things in my life I can control with 2 pills a day unfortunately.

I know it's a lot to absorb at one time but take baby steps and you will get through this :)

betsy

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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:45 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:06 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Surrey
Thank you Betsy.

Been thinking, reading, doing tons of yoga. The skies are more blue today.

Have a couple more questions based on my reading, etc:

1. How does a woman with GH ever have children (if her partner is HSV negative). The sites all say condoms are a must for every sexual contact. That said, how does conception ever happen? I understand you have children. Post or pre HSV?

2. Have you ever encountered a GH negative man who was willing to have "condomless" sex with you (or do you know of other such stories of this happening)?

3. Most sites, including Warren's book, say that the first outbreak is in the vaginal/anal area (or is symptomless) and the subsequent outbreaks can be in any place in what they call the boxer short area. Is this an accurate understanding?

Thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
you don't have to use condoms just because you have herpes. it's totally the choice of you and your partners. if you and a partner just avoid sex anytime you have obvious genital symptoms, he is 96% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from you. You taking daily suppressive therapy with valtrex and his odds go up to 98% likely NOT to contract hsv2 from you each year. throwing condoms into the mix too, takes his odds up to 99% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from you. Not a significant difference between using condoms and not using them for males.

All my partners have been hsv2 negative except 3. The guy I got this from ( pretty sure I know who it was but not 100% sure ), a guy I met a few years ago on a herpes dating site and my current partner who never knew he had hsv2 until he got tested before we started having sex ( yes he was surprised! ). I don't use condoms all the time in all my relationships. I didn't use them when I was married either. I typically use them the beginning of a relationship and then once we are both comfortable, stop using them. I have transmitted the virus twice - once before I had any idea I had it and then soon after wards when I was being stupid and had when I had symptoms. I haven't transmitted it as far as I know in 23 years. I typically am on daily suppressive therapy all the time.

betsy

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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:08 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Florence
I have just been diagnosed with HSV2 and have some questions regarding transmission. I am a female that has been in a relationship for the past year. I just had my first outbreak. I was married previously to a man that had genital herpes. He did not make me aware of this until after we were married. We were married for 12 years. I never developed symptoms or signs until now. I assumed I never got it. To our knowledge my current partner did not have it. He is now being tested. He has never had symptoms either. My first lesion was in my panty line. I was checked out by my Gyn and there were not visible signs inside. She made a comment to me that it would be more likely he would not get it if we practiced safe sex.

I have several things I would like to get your opinion on.

1. How do you feel about alternative medicines instead of Valtrex for supression? I have chosen to use natural supplements because of the side effects of the Valtrex but I want to make the right decision.
2. Along with reading on the internet, my physician indicated that transmission from female to male was less rare than male to female. Do you feel this is correct?
3. My partner has been very supportive but is still leary of having intercourse again. I do understand because I do not want to pass it along to anyone. If his test come back negative, do you feel that if condoms are used and I take daily supplements, his chances of getting it are less likely.

I would appreciate any insight you might give me.

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:42 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
How were you diagnosed as having hsv2? did you have any testing done?

1. How do you feel about alternative medicines instead of Valtrex for supression? I have chosen to use natural supplements because of the side effects of the Valtrex but I want to make the right decision.
what side effects of valtrex are you worried about? there aren't any long term side effects from it to worry about. the natural supplements don't really work for herpes. we also don't have any studies on their effects on viral shedding which is the most important part in a discordant relationship. I really encourage you to discuss further your reluctance to go with valtrex so we can help clear up any misconceptions you might have about it.

2. Along with reading on the internet, my physician indicated that transmission from female to male was less rare than male to female. Do you feel this is correct?

already answered this in the above post that you posted this on. ask any questions you might have about it.

3. My partner has been very supportive but is still leary of having intercourse again. I do understand because I do not want to pass it along to anyone. If his test come back negative, do you feel that if condoms are used and I take daily supplements, his chances of getting it are less likely.

supplements as far as we know won't reduce his risk. You'd be at the risk of just avoiding sex during symptoms and using condoms which is about 3% risk/year of his contracting hsv2 from you.


betsy

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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:46 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:08 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Florence
They did a culture on a lesion that came back HSV2 positive. They didn't give me any type of numbers.

I was advised that Valtrex could cause liver damage and was advised by my Doctor to go the natural route. Since my breakout though, I have continued taking the acyclovor on a daily basis. I guess in the back of my mind I have been scared to stop taking it. I have been taking either 2 or 3 400 mg. x day. As you stated in one of your post, the Doctor feels the pharmacutical reps only promote the valtrex for more money.

Do you feel the generic Valtrex is effective as the name brand?


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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:14 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
you won't get any numeric results with a lesion culture.

there isn't any liver damage or kidney damage with any of the 3 herpes antivirals we have available. Your doctor is way under educated if he thinks that. the research supporting the safety and efficacy of the herpes antivirals is vast and it's impossible at this point to believe that it's merely the drug companies pushing their product. you can reduce ob's by 70% on average with daily suppressive therapy so that there are less interruptions to your sex life. you can reduce viral shedding by 80-90% with suppressive therapy so there's less chance of a partner even coming in contact with hsv2 to risk being infected. we only have 1 study on reduction of transmission to a partner and that was 50% reduction with valtrex. we assume all 3 will reduce transmission about the same.

yes the generic version of valtrex works as well. it contains all the same active ingredients as valtrex.

acyclovir also works well. we don't have actual studies on reduction in transmission to a partner with it and we never will. it's been a cheap generic for too long so no one is going to pay the huge costs of doing a reduction in transmission study with it. it reduces shedding and ob's comparable to valtrex so we still recommend it. it's far cheaper than even generic valtrex it's just that you have to take it 2x/day to be effective. For under $20/month for suppressive therapy with it even if you don't have insurance, it's cheaper than most supplements that are entirely unproven cost even so you really are getting far more value for your money.

if your provider won't prescribe suppressive therapy for you, get a new one.

betsy

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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:32 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:08 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Florence
I have a call into her to call in the perscription. Thanks for your speedy responses to my questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:38 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:08 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Florence
I do have one more question. I have also been told you should not stay on the Valtrex any more than a year. What are your thoughts on that?


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 Post subject: Re: Trasmission Question
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:42 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
you can stay on it for a lifetime even if you want :)

There's a terrific article on the safety of valtrex and acyclovir long term - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12353186 . we have info on folks taking acyclovir non-stop for over 20 years now. info on folks taking valtrex non-stop for 10 years or so now. there are no long term reported side effects ( valtrex is an acyclovir pro drug ). I myself have been taking acyclovir more than I haven't for the last 24 years.

betsy

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