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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:09 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:41 am
Posts: 1
Location: United States
I have had herpes for approximately 20 years and have had a blood test within the past 5 years confirming I have both HSV 1 & HSV 2. I have never had cold sores on my mouth and my breakouts are only vaginally. After being divorced I recently re-entered the dating world and take Valtrex daily, plus have read the resources of the CDC, your website and the Westover Heights handbook to educate myself. There is one area where I haven’t been able find an answer on the message board or the websites I mentioned didn’t address it very specifically. I’m hoping I can get clear answer to my questions so I am fully educated:

1. Seeing that I have both types of herpes if I perform oral sex on an uninfected partner without using a condom can I transmit it to him?

2. If an uninfected partner performs unprotected oral sex on me can they contract the virus in their mouth and therefore have breakouts in/around the area?

3. Is it safe to assume that since I have never had any break outs involving my mouth that should a man have herpes, I don’t have to worry about suddenly getting break outs? (I’m asking this as former spouse had herpes (don’t know type, but had cold sores so possibly HSV 1 at least), and we didn’t use condoms)

4. Are the transmission rates as low with having unprotected oral sex even with taking daily Valtrex as they are for intercourse using a condom w/or without Valtrex?

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hi serenity, thanks for your post and questions.

1. Seeing that I have both types of herpes if I perform oral sex on an uninfected partner without using a condom can I transmit it to him?

The short answer is yes. A reasonable precaution is simply not to perform oral sex during a time when cold sores are present, and I see from your post that you aren't aware of ever having had cold sores. Using a condom is also reasonable, and that's a decision a couple makes re: oral HSV depending on their comfort level. Some are ok with just abstaining during an outbreak of oral/facial herpes, while others choose to use condoms, especially early in a new relationship. HSV-1 is most often associated with an oral infection, and probably isn't active as often without symptoms as genital HSV-2. There can still be times when the virus is active without any obvious signs.

2. If an uninfected partner performs unprotected oral sex on me can they contract the virus in their mouth and therefore have breakouts in/around the area?

A partner could contract oral herpes that way and potentially have oral/facial outbreaks, it's true, but keep in mind that most Americans already have oral herpes by the time they become adults and are sexually active. As mentioned above, a reasonable precaution is not to have any type of sex during times of symptoms.


3. Is it safe to assume that since I have never had any break outs involving my mouth that should a man have herpes, I don’t have to worry about suddenly getting break outs? (I’m asking this as former spouse had herpes (don’t know type, but had cold sores so possibly HSV 1 at least), and we didn’t use condoms)

Someone with oral or genital herpes won't make an existing infection active or "worse" somehow by additional exposure to HSV.

4. Are the transmission rates as low with having unprotected oral sex even with taking daily Valtrex as they are for intercourse using a condom w/or without Valtrex?

I haven't read any studies that offer a head-to-head comparison of the scenarios you're asking about, but it makes sense that using a condom along with Valtrex will probably offer increased protection over using Valtrex alone. For those unfamiliar, Valtrex is one of the three antiviral medications used to treat herpes outbreaks. Taken daily, Valtrex can reduce (or perhaps even eliminate) the number of outbreaks a person has and can also reduce transmission rates to uninfected partners by about half. Condoms also have value in reducing the risk, but only provide protection (obviously) for the skin they cover.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:07 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:08 pm
Posts: 2
Location: here
hello,
i am new to this forum. i am an sti free male and considering entering a relationship with a woman who has hsv-2. from my research i see that if all precautions are taken, my chances of getting the virus is approximately 2% over an 8 month period. i have been scouring the primary literature for information on the probability of transmission via oral sex both with and without condoms/dental dams. is there any information about this?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:16 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
actually if she's on daily suppressive therapy , you avoid sex anytime she has any genital symptoms and also use condoms properly, you have a 1% risk over the course of an entire year. It's very low risk in general.

I assume you've been tested to know your full herpes status?

You can contract hsv2 from oral sex but the risk of doing so is very low in general if all you do is avoid performing oral on her when she has obvious genital symptoms. her taking daily suppressive therapy lowers the risk even more. we don't have the same stats for transmission of hsv2 to the oral area as we do the genital area because it doesn't occur enough for us to easily compile them. Your risk is higher for transmission to the genital area than the oral area and as you can see from the info in the first paragraph in my reply, that is very low in general.

betsy

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:08 pm
Posts: 2
Location: here
betsy,
wow! thanks for you response. and it was so quick. :-)

i have not been tested for hsv-2 recently but plan on doing so before we become sexually active with each other. i've never had any symptoms....but you never know. it would make th decision much easier if i was already positive.

so there is generally less than 1% chance of getting hsv-2 from oral sex given daily valtrex and avoiding sex during outbreaks? is this true even if dental dams are not used? also, what about her performing oral sex on me? what is the risk there? with/without condoms?

thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
1% risk/year is for genital sex.

we don't have stats for oral sex - unprotected or not. overall hsv2 is about the cause of 3% of all oral herpes infections. it happens but not often. her being on daily suppressive therapy helps lower your risk all around.

daily suppressive therapy reduces shedding of hsv1 too so if you are hsv1 negative, overall the risk is still very low of you contracting hsv1 genitally from her performing oral sex on you.

keep asking questions!

betsy

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