April 14, 2020 at 11:13 am #69910andrea366Participant
I am a 54 year old single female, and I have had HSV2 for 33 years. I am active and healthy except for hypothyroidism. I have outbreaks about once (occasionally twice) a year. I am seeking your assistance for statistics, or better yet, your expert estimation of rates of shedding, and % chances of transmission for someone with my stats who is on daily Valtrex suppression therapy. It has been years since I have done any deep research, and there is very little data out there on people in my age range who have had the virus 30+ years.
BACKGROUND: In my 20s & 30s, I had a very active sex life comprising several long term relationships and more than a few casual ones. I always disclosed, and to my knowledge, have never passed herpes on to any partner. I believe that is because I recognize the beginning signs of an outbreak, and I know my body well. I avoided contact at the first inkling of an outbreak, and rarely used condoms.
After 4 non-dating years, I’ve met a great guy. I don’t recall having this kind of connection with anyone before He is my age but has been very sheltered (conservative marriage, very few partners) from the perils of dating and sexual activity. It took him six months to kiss me! So when I disclosed, he freaked – having heard very little about things like this, let alone been exposed to them. He is CONVINCED he will contract herpes if he is with me and says he can’t take the chance. Though I know the risk is always present, I am confident that I can keep him safe (I have done it for 30+ years) but he only wants to be friends. This is my first rejection.
I am trying to gather the facts in order to educate him on my situation so that we can see if there is truly a future. Can you help?
And if he decides to make a go of it, which test should we get done periodically to make sure things are still ok?
Thank you for being here for us!
April 19, 2020 at 11:51 am #69948Terri WarrenKeymaster
Oh goodness, I hope this post helps you!
The fact that you’ve had herpes for 30+ years is excellent in terms of transmission. We know that the longer people have the virus, the less they transmit. So you’re very good in that respect.
Second, antivirals cut transmission in half.
If 100 infected females were having intercourse with 100 uninfected males, and nothing was done to reduce transmission, having sex twice per week, no condoms, no meds, 4 men would acquire HSV 2. If you took daily antiviral medicine, then 2 men out of 100 would become infected. If condoms were used, less than one man out of 100 would become infected. And the fact that you’ve had herpes for so long probably reduces this even more.
If he does agree to have sex with you and is curious about his status, he could use the IgG test every year or so to find out if he is infected.
Hope that’s helpful!
April 22, 2020 at 8:55 am #70000andrea366Participant
Thanks so much for the response! I have read your Herpes Handbook cover to cover so I am familiar with those statistics. But when you talked about the longer people have it the less they transmit, what did you mean by “So you’re very good in that respect.”?
Do you have any advice or input on asymptomatic shedding for someone like me (30+ year virus on meds)? I have read that shedding reduces significantly after the first year but there is so little data on older sufferers. Is it possible that I don’t shed anymore?
Thank you again!
April 29, 2020 at 2:24 pm #70054Terri WarrenKeymaster
I meant that since you’ve had this a long time, you are less likely to transmit.
I think you probably still shed virus from time to time. We did a study looking at people that had been infected for 10 years or more, asking them to do daily home swabbing, looking for the virus. Overall, that group had more days of no shedding than those infected for 2 years or less. But I did have one patient who shed on 93% of the days she swabbed, bless her heart. All without symptoms.
So though it is far more likely that you are shedding way less, sometimes there are people who shed more.
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