September 18, 2015 at 1:49 pm #9508
First of all I want to thank you for this site. I have been going crazy on the internet trying to get as much information as I can and honestly there is so much misinformation out there.
I am a 48 yr old woman that was diagnosed with genital HSV2 about 30 years ago. I also have oral HSV1 – although for the life of me I have no idea how long I’ve had it. I don’t remember if I had cold sores as a child. I have not had an HSV2 outbreak in about 20+ years which I am thankful for – however for the past few years that I can recall I get one HSV1 outbreak a year – usually after the beach but this past 1 (just getting over it now) came out of nowhere.
I have been married to the same man for over 20 years but have recently become single and have met a man whom I deeply care for. When I was first diagnosed in the 80’s I was told that I was only contagious when there was an outbreak. I have since learned about asymptomstic shedding and its stressing me out.
From what I understand the fewer outbreaks you have the less you shed? So my HSV2 shedding percentage should be low?
But since I get HSV1 once a year do I shed that more often? And since I’m battling both am I shedding each one at different times so it’s safe to say I’m shedding twice as much as the average person?
Does one only shed from location of where outbreaks are? (I.e. If I have HSV2 genitally can I shed virus orally? To me this would totally eliminate me being able to give oral as I could possibly be shedding either virus at any given time.
I’m confused, distressed and overwhelmed. I truly care about this man and do not want to hurt him in any way. I don’t plan on talking to him about it until I have the facts. Any statistics/percentages would be greatly appreciated as well. Thank you
September 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm #9519
It is true that people who don’t have recognized outbreaks do shed less, correct. And you will shed periodically from the mouth as well. And it is common to shed from both sites at the same times, I suppose because something causes the immune system to dip a little and the virus to emerge. You only shed HSV 2 from the genitals and HSV 1 from the mouth.
If you take daily medicine, you can reduce the risk of infecting someone else by almost 50%. That’s huge, in my mind. And some medicines need only be taken once per day (though the cheaper and just as effective medicine is twice a day). If you take medicine daily, the risk of infecting him is about 2% per year – which means if there were 100 uninfected men having sex one on one with 100 infected women, having sex about twice per week while taking medicine, no outbreaks and he knows, 2 men would get infected, on average.
We don’t have statistics on HSV 1 transmission via oral sex but we do know that the medicine works on HSV 1 as well. At age 48, a large percentage of people already have HSV 1 and I’m guessing he might as well. When you tell him, I would suggest that he get tested – 80% of people with HSV 2 don’t know they have it. The proper test is the HSV 1 and 2 IgG and this can be done on the internet without a clinician order.
By the way sun is a trigger for HSV 1 so be careful to use abundant sunscreen when you are outside.
September 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm #9534
I am so glad you suggested the Valtrex. My Dr did not want to prescribe it. She didn’t feel it was necessary because of my low % of OB’s. But I told her I still carry the virus and why wouldn’t I do everything possible to NOT infect someone else??! I
convinced her and picked it up 10 minutes ago. I was
prescribed 500 mg of valacyclovir once daily. How long should I be taking it before it works to its full capacity?
Is the 1 time a year that I seem to be getting HSV1 OB’s
considered a lot? What are the percentages that each HSV is asymptomatically shed on average?
Also when is it considered “safe” after a cold sore on lip is gone? This one never actually blistered (maybe I caught it in time with Abreva but there’s still a small mark on my lip.)
Lastly is your 2% risk factor that you stated above with or
without a condom?
Thank you so much again. Maybe I’m not a leper after all…
September 18, 2015 at 6:09 pm #9538
Good for you for being proactive. It might be useful for her future patients if you went online and printed out an article with first author Larry Corey in 2004 describing the benefits of suppression to reducing transmission. New England Journal of Medicine (I am also an author on that paper)
One time a year outbreaks is about average. You should take it for five days before it is fully effective. HSV 1 orally shed on 9-18% of days. Shedding can happen at any time with or without an outbreak. The 2% is without condoms so with condoms it is even lower!
Not a leper at all. Just a person with a very common viral infection. Keep reminding yourself of that, OK?
September 24, 2015 at 7:31 am #9657
Good to know the Valtrex works for HSV1 as well.
So there are no stats/percentages available regarding oral HSV1 and oral sex???
Giving my partner that 2% or less statistic for HSV2 is such a huge thing. (Even though he is not comfortable taking that chance right now – I get it.). But we both do like and have performed oral sex but unfortunately I’ve been double whammied having both HSV1 & 2 and now that I know so much (it feels like a curse to know so much) I’m afraid to give him oral as well.
If he does happen to be HSV1 positive as so many people are – does that minimize his chances (and do you know by what percentage) of getting it genitally since he would already have the antibodies?
And if he’s not HSV1 positive – there’s really no stats on this??? You mentioned a test you can order online for that. Can you give me the link in case he’s willing?
Also what are his chances of getting HSV1 orally if he performs oral sex on me?? And again all these questions revolve around asymptomatic shedding – not during OB’s.
It looks to me now that regular sex is less chancy for him then oral – I guess because of condoms (and no I’m not wrapping his penis in Saran Wrap lol) or am I missing something here? Does oral HSV1 asymptomatically shed less than genital HSV2?
I’ve also read that when you asymptomatically shed – it’s not an “all day” occurrence – that it is random times throughout that particular day. Is that true?
I need something to hang on to here. Life is really hard sometimes – I’m not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel….
September 26, 2015 at 7:26 am #9667
If he has HSV 1 also, it is extremely unlikely that he will get your HSV 1 genitally or for you to get his HSV 1.
No, there are REALLY no stats on this. It is difficult to study because such a huge percentage of the population has HSV 1 AND the screening test for HSV 1 is so poor (misses 27% of infections).
He could certainly get HSV 1 orally from giving you oral sex but that is also not very likely because HSV 1 genitally sheds so infrequently. In your situation, HSV 2 is less likely for transmission with condom and meds than HSV 1, yes. I would say that genital HSV 2 and oral HSV 1 shed approximately the same amount yes, and medicine is very useful to reduce that for both.
Yes, HSV 2 transmission with your methods of reduction is unlikely for him. H needs testing to see where everyone actually stands.
Please try hard to remember that both of these infection, oral HSV 1 and genital HSV 2, and the combination of having both, is very common, particularly in women. These are bothersome and stigmatized problems that are not normally medical problems. Both are easily handled with medicine. Well suited and compatible partners are not easy to find, by any means. The trick here is getting the emotions in sync with the medical facts. I hope you can find this balance with him.
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