August 5, 2021 at 4:14 am #74473chelsea3456Participant
I read your book and I’d like to start by thanking you for making it available. I found it very helpful!
I’m a woman and have a new partner who disclosed that he is HSV-1 positive (genitally). He recently got retested and shared the results with me (IgG) 56.00 and negative for HSV-2.
In your book, it says, “I wouldn’t worry about getting HSV 1 in a new location of your body if you already have it.”
So, I decided to get tested because I vaguely remembered getting a cold sore on my lip as a kid. My (IgG) test came back negative for HSV-2 and positive for HSV-1 values 6.20, I was told my antibodies are well-established. At that point I felt confident about a condom-free sexual relationship because I have antibodies and even though I didn’t know 100% where my HSV-1 was, I should be protected from contracting it genitally (which is my main concern).
Then a few days after the test, I spoke with my gyno who told me that if my HSV-1 is oral, I can still contract HSV-1 genitally from him because in her words, “The viral load of my antibodies isn’t enough to offer me full protection.”
This left me stumped and confused because of what I read in your book and other sources that share your opinion. I poked around the web and read in the FAQ section for genital herpes at plannedparenthoodaction.org and it says, “…if you have an oral HSV-1 infection you might have some degree of protection against acquiring HSV-1 infection in your genitals – but we don’t know to what degree a previous HSV-1 infection protects us from subsequent infections elsewhere in our bodies…more study is needed to answer this question.”
So I feel very confused and I’m hoping you can clarify it for me.
How much protection does my HSV-1 antibodies give me, if any?
Will I contract HSV-1 genitally from my partner if my HSV-1 is oral and we have unprotected sex?
August 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm #74543Terri WarrenKeymaster
First of all, the index value of your test has nothing to do with how well protected you are. That is unimportant and meaningless. What matters is that we do believe that once you are infected at one location on your body, you are highly unlikely to get HSV of the same type at a new location. In addition, in the rare instance in which you might get HSV 1 genitally, it rarely recurs and would be even less likely to recur, given your antibody response to your oral infection.
I can say that both my husband and I have HSV1 orally and I have zero concerns about getting it genitally (oral HSV 1 shed way more often than genital HSV 1). Is there a perfect answer to this question? No. Its difficult to prove a negative but I can tell you that I have seen only one person in my practice of 35 years who told me that she had a history of cold sores and was now positive, by swab test, form a genital lesion. I also had one person tell me this online in their history.
Your call to make but I wouldn’t worry about it myself. At all.
September 3, 2021 at 8:25 pm #74766chelsea3456Participant
Thank you for your advice, I appreciated it.
I’ve read in a few conversations that HSV-1 is less contagious the longer you have the virus. Is this because you have fewer breakouts? And how many years would a person have to have the virus for it to be considered less contagious?
September 8, 2021 at 10:54 pm #74804Terri WarrenKeymaster
Both HSV 1 and HSV 2 are usually less infectious, the longer you have them. It is because the body’s immune system gets better at handling the virus. We see a decrease in viral shedding after 6 months and again after 2 years.
Something similar is also true for HSV 1.
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