February 11, 2015 at 7:40 am #3689
Thank you so much for providing this service! My head has been spinning since I got my diagnosis of genital HSV-1. It was passed on by my kinda-phasing-out boyfriend, who didn’t realize that that cut on his lip was a cold sore, of which he’d had a history. I am the canary in the coal mine for my other divorced, single mom girlfriends. Ugh! : (
Anyway, for context, I should tell you that I had a clear STD panel in October, though I did have some HSV-1 antibody titer. That was from a blood test, though I don’t know by what method they determined my antibody counts.
I’m actually wondering about a different partner, whom I feel obliged (though terrified) to tell. My GYN says there’s no need, but I would like further info, if I may.
Here’s the chronology:
– I have been seeing my kinda-phasing-out boyfriend roughly once a week since after Thanksgiving, but I don’t remember the cold sore visit specifically. It was probably in the past 6 weeks or so….
– On a recent Thursday AM, I thought I have the stirrings of a UTI: some stinging when I peed.
– I drank tons of water & lemon juice, and by afternoon I no longer had symptoms, so I felt like I’d kicked it.
– On Thursday night, partner B checks in, we grab drinks, go back to my place, take a very hot bath, and though I mentioned condoms, we didn’t use one. We’ve slept together on and off for a year, mostly without condoms. I was (naively) worried about his other partners….
– On Friday I had a curious lesion on my outer labia. To my untrained eye, it seemed like a bacterial colony. Maybe that UTI WAS there and somehow the bacteria had spread to my labia, thanks to having had sex??
– By Saturday the lesions had spread to other parts of my labia and seemed to march around my vulva as though by contact.
– On Monday I saw the OB/GYN and get cultures. Negative for bacteria in urine. Eventually I learned the other bacterial cultures were negative, too.
– The following Monday I learned that I’m positive for genital HSV-1.
1. My GYN says it’s highly unlikely partner B was exposed, and he doesn’t think it’s imperative that I tell him. What is your take on that?
2. The CDC website says that the average incubation period is 4 days, with a range of 2-12 days. Does that mean that if he hasn’t had symptoms yet (18 days later), he likely didn’t get the virus? Is 12 days the maximum?
3. Is it true that if you’ve had cold sores, you’re basically immune to genital HSV-1?
4. Is it true that he is highly unlikely to have contracted HSV-1 genitally? I read on your site that HSV-1 rarely transmits genitally, especially not from woman to man.
5. My GYN cited a statistic that 1/10,000 people with genital HSV-1 shed the virus when asymptomatic. Is that true? Your materials seem to indicate different numbers.
I think that’s it. Hoping that this turns into a sorting mechanism, to separate the men from the boys. I’ve already had a boy recoil in horror, so he’s clearly out of contention.
Thanks so much for your advice! You can’t imagine how helpful, reassuring, calming it is to have an expert to reach out to in a time of uncertainty and fear!
February 11, 2015 at 3:30 pm #3690Terri WarrenKeymaster
I’m a little confused.
First, how exactly were you diagnosed with HSV 1? Was it from a swab test of the lesions that you describe above in the sceanrio? Was the HSV 1 antibody positive from October a long time before this encounter that you describe?
My basic question is did you have a positive HSV 1 antibody test (October) prior to having what you note in the scenario above? When was the last time you had sex with someone else prior to the scenario you describe above?
Before I an answer the rest of your questions, I need this clarification.
February 11, 2015 at 5:16 pm #3695
To answer your questions:
– I was, indeed, diagnosed with HSV-1 from a swab test of the lesions I described above.
– The doctor said that the lesions looked like the kind of sores teenagers get from HSV-1 on the inside of their lips.
– The HSV-1 antibody positive test was from this past October (2014), just a few months prior to these encounters. I thought, at the time, that my body had seen the virus and developed an immune response, but I’d never had symptoms I’d been aware of before or infected by the virus. I’ve never had cold sores.
– I think the last time I’d had sex with anyone other than these two guys was at least six months to a year before all of these incidents…. not always, always with condoms, I must admit.
– Additional info that I realize is likely relevant: Along with the lesions I described above, I also had swollen lymph nodes in my groin and I think a fleeting low fever, though I’m not sure about that…. My theory is that this was my primary infection w/ the virus, though perhaps you are reaching a different conclusion.
– I don’t want to confuse things, but I do remember on two occasions having what seemed like a clogged pore on my labia, once I’m almost certain it actually was. The second time, the spot bled a tiny bit when I tried to unclog it. It wasn’t a blister or sore or anything like that. Not sure if this is relevant or just trying to make sense of stuff in retrospect.
Does that give you the additional information you need?
Thanks again for your prompt reply!!
February 11, 2015 at 5:35 pm #3696
shoot… one more piece of info that might be relevant:
– I started dating that boyfriend I refer to above this past June. He’s the one w/ the history of cold sores. My STD tests were the following October….
February 11, 2015 at 11:51 pm #3701Terri WarrenKeymaster
So if you had antibody to HSV 1 at your October test, then the outbreak that you describe could not be your first infection because you already had antibody. You were infected at some point prior to October. I don’t know if they symptoms that you describe about other possible outbreaks were herpes or not, just know that you had HSV 1 prior to the test in October
As for partner B, he may well have been exposed to your HSV 1 infection, yes, but if he has any history of cold sores or tests positive for HSV 1, then he is not at risk from your HSV 1 infection.
I certainly have no idea where your doctor came up with that statistic of 1/10,000. That seems off to me, but since we have no statistic about HSV 1 transmission, I cannot give you an alternative number.
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