January 12, 2015 at 8:49 pm #2866
I was diagnosed with genital HSV 1 over 1 year ago, and since my initial outbreak (I really hate that word, so I will say “episode”), I have had only 2 very mild episodes. Since being diagnosed, I have stayed away from having any sexual contact out of fear of (1) disclosing to a potential partner and (2) that the risk to a potential partner is too great for me to put them at jeopardy. I also wanted to understand the virus and how it reacted in my body before sleeping with anyone.
Now that I realize that I rarely have “episodes” and the ones that I do have are extremely mild, I am curious about the risk that is posed to potential partners. I have recently been scouring the internet for reputable and reliable information for genital-to-genital transmission rates and genital-to-oral transmission rates for genital HSV 1, and I have not found much that is reliable. I am aware that genital HSV 1 typically sheds much less frequently than genital HSV 2, however, I just need some hard, reliable facts for the following questions:
(1) What is the risk of genital-to-genital HSV 1 transmission?
(2) What is the risk of genital-to-oral HSV 1 transmission?
(3) Is HSV 1 transmitted through vaginal secretions, through contact with skin or both?
(4) I will always disclose to potential partners (once I have them), however, is there any debate amongst the medical community as to whether disclosure is necessary for genital HSV 1?
(5) Are we close to having a vaccine for non-infected individuals?
Thank you in advance for your anticipated help.
January 13, 2015 at 1:03 am #2874
Probably the reason you haven’t found much is that we don’t have much!
1) we don’t know
2) we don’t know
3) more skin to skin than secretions, but I wouldn’t completely rule that out
4) There is debate, yes. And if you are having sex with someone who already has oral HSV 1 (cold sores) they are not at risk. My feeling personally is that you should disclose because if this turns out to be a long term thing, it will come out and they may be angry that you did not disclose.
5) no, we are not.
Please feel free to ask two more questions/posts, knowing that I may not have the answers that you seek.
January 13, 2015 at 2:30 am #2880
Thank you for getting back to me.. The lack of information is so disheartening! My GYN basically acts like this diagnosis is no big deal whatsoever. She told me that most people will be exposed to it or will contract it at some point in their lives. Do you agree?
Even though there are no studies on genital HSV 1 transmission, in your vast experience, have you seen many cases of people catching HSV 1 from the genitals only? I understand that it is virtually impossible to tell whether people have told you the truth about their sexual activities, but I am hoping you can base your answer off of patients’ representations to you.
January 13, 2015 at 7:29 am #2894
fifty six percent of the population of people in the US ages 14-49 have HSV 1, so yes, very common, and the rates go up over 49.
Though we have no study, in my experience, genital to genital transmission of HSV 1 is very uncommon – most HSV 1 that I see genitally comes from receiving oral sex from someone who either had a cold sore or has a history of cold sores.
January 15, 2015 at 4:49 pm #2980
Thank you so much for your information thus far!
My last question is what would you recommend that I do to protect future partners who don’t have HSV 1 already? Condom use is a given, but should they be using dental dams? Should I take daily viral suppressants?
January 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm #2981
If you are having sex with someone who is documented HSV 1 and 2 negative, you may want to consider daily antiviral therapy to reduce the risk of transmission. But go with test results on that one, not just an opinion as most people infected with HSV 1 and 2 are not aware of their infection. i don’t know about dental dams – you should discuss that with a potential partner. It or something like it would be the most safe, yes.
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