I am new to this message board. I am a 45 year old woman, and I contracted herpes from my soon-to-be-ex-husband. We were married for 12 years, together for 14 years, and have been living separately for 8 months. He had unprotected sex with an infected girlfriend prior to me, assumed he did not get infected since he never had an outbreak, and then in 2007, he had his first outbreak. Of course, while we were dating, he told me he was "clean" because he tested negative for STDs, NEVER told me about his previous girlfriend's infection, and neglected to get tested for herpes even though he knowingly exposed himself to the virus. This is not why I'm divorcing him, but I do feel like Hester Prynne with a scarlet H metaphorically plastered to my forehead. I also think his behavior was unethical, and am clearly still seething with anger. I feel like I'll never be rid of him.
A couple months ago, I met a wonderful 47 year-old man, and I care deeply about him. I went to my ObGyn, got the complete battery of STD tests, and as expected tested positive for HSV-2 - negative for everything else, thank God. I have never had an outbreak, so the nurses recommend using condoms during sex. They do not feel I need to take suppressant medicine since I have never had symptoms.
Last Saturday night, I had a date with my boyfriend. Late in the evening, before we became intimate, I told him about my herpes. I was scared that he would lose his interest in and attraction for me, but he was remarkably empathic. I explained to him the need to use condoms to protect him from contracting the virus, but that oral sex was fine according to the nurse with whom I spoke. He told me that he has NEVER successfully used condoms and dislikes them intensely. He recently had a full physical for work, and he tested negative for all STDs including herpes.
I have been doing some reading online, specifically the handbook on the Westoverheights.com website, and I believe that my boyfriend's risk of contracting HSV-2 without taking any precautions is 4% per year. If I take suppressant medication and do not use condoms, his risk of infection is about 2.08% per year. Would you recommend this? I want to have a rewarding and intimate sex life with this man, and I would appreciate any advice you can give. I absolutely do not want to infect him with this virus but fear that if I insist on using condoms, it will stifle our relationship. Although it's entirely up to him to decide the amount of risk to which he's willing to be exposed, I feel that I am obligated to do what I can to reduce his risk.