October 19, 2022 at 11:24 am #79162
I’ve recently started seeing a girl (I’m a man) who has been very forthcoming and up front about her genital HSV 1. She contracted it about 2 years ago and minus the initial “painful” outbreak, she says she maybe gets 1 or 2 outbreaks a year. And they are super tame and nothing more than an ingrown hair appearance.
I’ve read through a lot of what has been posted here, and I really appreciate what you’re doing to calm the herpes stigma. Because I was one of those people and I feel I may have let a cool girl walk away because I didn’t do my homework and seek out sites and information like is provided here.
Anyway…enough about me!
My general question pertains to transmission levels. As an anxious guy myself, her herpes is worsening it.
From what I’ve been able to gather here, after a couple years and very minimal/tame outbreaks the transmission rate is super low when we are talking about genital to genital transmission? And then with condoms and possibly antiviral medication the risk is lowered even further to almost nothing? Is that the general consensus from what I’m reading here? Plus it sounds unlikely to even spread through fingering, cross touch through hands and such? Simply because it’s just not shedding. Naturally we would cease doing anything at a sign of an outbreak.
I think I’m allowed a follow up question too. I think I only have one more real concern. She says that she’s been told by medical professionals that since she’s never had a cold sore or anything around her mouth, oral sex on me is safe and there’s minimal/no risk of the herpes transmitting to my penis because she’s only ever experienced herpes in the genital region, suggesting she does not have oral herpes, true?
One more follow up, then I’m all done!
How easily transferred is it from her genitals to her mouth? I know she’s careful, but I’m curious. Along those same lines, without me performing oral sex on her, my chances of getting it orally is minimal to none?
October 22, 2022 at 8:13 am #79192
I applaud you for taking such a thoughtful approach to this situation. And, BTW, you get three posts, not just three questions within a post.
You are correct HSV 1 is quite a benign condition for the vast majority of people who have it. By the time someone has been infected for two years, they average about 4 days of shedding out of 365 days.
A person who has oral HSV 1, in the form of cold sores or ever having had a cold sore, sheds far more often – and that’s about 50% of the population.
I would ask – have you ever in your life had a cold sore on your lip or in your nose or ever tested positive for HSV 1 – or even been tested for HSV 1? If you have HSV 1 already, the likelihood that you would ever get it genitally is close to zero.
The same applies to her – if she has it genitally she will likely never get it orally. And thus there is no risk of her giving you oral sex.
I have yet to see a case of genital to genital transmission of HSV 1 but it has been documented in the literature.
October 22, 2022 at 1:16 pm #79210
I try to be thorough in my decision making. I appreciate the compliment!
Interesting…I shall get an HSV 1 test done at some point.
That’s what I read here is that after a couple years of GHSV1 it’s pretty tame and doesn’t shed often at all.
I think this goes without saying but…
So, if shedding is rare and the incidents of genital to genital is also very rare. Condom use only makes that risk that much lower? And she’s planning on going on antivirals as well, partially for my peace of mind. I think I read that since there’s so little shedding anyway, antivirals may not make a difference anyway?
I guess my question is…
The risk of genital to genital is so low anyway. Condom use and antivirals (and no sex during outbreaks) lowers transmission to an even supremely lower level right?
October 30, 2022 at 8:25 am #79240
Yes, condom use and daily antiviral medication make the likelihood of transmission extremely low.
Someone giving you oral sex who has HSV 1 orally, even if they don’t have recognized cold sores, is a significantly higher risk of transmission than the scenario you describe.
November 2, 2022 at 6:31 pm #79279
Thanks Terri! Your knowledge is much appreciated.
The only remaining concern I have is what I would reference as “cross contamination.”
As we know, sex isn’t always as simple as penis in vagina.
I think this question has been asked but just to clarify…
What if I finger her just generally. Then I was to touch my penis or my lips or her lips, etc. Any form of “cross contamination” like that.
For some reason that’s a fear of mine. Just getting it by being willy nilly with touching each other’s genitals. From reading, it appears clear that it’s more the act of constant rubbing up against sores while not using protection seems to be the major transmission type. Is that right?
November 6, 2022 at 8:12 am #79317
Experts in this field really don’t worry about hands to genital cross contamination, as you mention.
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