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May have given herpes to my partner... how do I support him now

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Hi! I haven't seen this particular topic on any of the forums and need some advice.

I've had HSV1 for almost ten years now. I used to not break out often but this past year I've had frequent breakouts. I am seeing someone new and I did disclose to him. It went quite well. He got a lil distant for some time but did come around and seemed to get over it. That being said, due to other things going on in his life, we recently decided to part ways. I was really bummed because we had a good connection (and I had disclosed and it was successful).  He also had mixed feelings about our break up bc he does like me, but basically he just isn't ready for a new relationship (he has a daughter and this was his first dating experience following her mother, and he just realized its too soon).

Anyways, before parting ways we did have one last sexual encounter (and didn't use a condom in the heat of the moment). I was on 500mg of valtrex at the time and wasn't in an active break out. We've only had sex twice total - the first was with use of a condom and the second was the one just described.

Today, he messaged me and its been 2 days since our last sexual encounter and he says he thinks he got it. He is experiencing itchiness and some tingling. I'm kinda horrified 😞 I have never in my ten years knowingly given it to someone. So I don't exactly know how to handle it.

 Things are also weird, we were on our way out of our short relationship and we were about to end contact (so I could move on in a healthy way), and now this happens... I have a lot of anxiety around his thoughts and feelings about me now bc I do still care about him and he cares about me. We prob would still have been together if we met when he was more ready. 

I just don't know how to handle all of this. Do I stay in his life to help him navigate this if he does end up having it? What next steps do I take? How do I support him through this?


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Transmission of HSV-1 genital to genital is extremely rare.
Viral shedding of HSV-1 genital herpes is less than 2%.
You get HSV-1 from oral sex if you have HSV-1 oral.
If he never got tested before being with you, you can't know. 
80% of population already has HSV-1.


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35 minutes ago, My thoughts said:

Transmission of HSV-1 genital to genital is extremely rare.
Viral shedding of HSV-1 genital herpes is less than 2%.
You get HSV-1 from oral sex if you have HSV-1 oral.
If he never got tested before being with you, you can't know. 
80% of population already has HSV-1.


Ok thanks My thoughts - this does put my mind at ease. I haven't had to deal with managing all this in a relationship in a while. 

What about if I was having or approaching having an active breakout (with hsv1) and did have unprotected sex? What are the chances of transmission?

Thanks for your help

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If I were you, I'd stop thinking about it.
80% of population has HSV-1. What if he had it and doesn't know it? What if he got it when he was a kid? What if he already got it and won't get it genitally? What if... What if... What if
There are always chances, but there are chances he already has it, etc. 
HSV-1 is really common, and you can't know if he didn't get tested before bbeing with you, or if he gets tested now.
I'd suugest you to ask him to get tested.
Also, the frequence of outbreaks you have are high. Are you sure you have HSV-1 and not HSV-2?
Normally, HSV-1 genital outbreaks are not often (1.2 per year) and just occur in the first 1-2 years, since HSV-1 doesn't really like the sacral ganglia. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello!! @dreamer05

I hope you are well. 

I just saw this and wanted to reach out. I totally feel for your anxiety, and it can feel really scary and embarrassing to think you may have given it to someone! I also have Genital HSV1, but I have only had about three outbreaks in two years, like @My thoughts was saying.  If I even think I might be having an outbreak, I abstain from sexual interactions to be super safe and keep my mind calm and happy. I have such bad OCD and anxiety I just can't handle worrying. However, I've gotten so much better since joining this forum!!! Everyone is so nice and helpful!!!  💛🌄

What matters it you were HONEST about it. He knew the risks. You are both consenting adults and you did your part (took your 500 mg Valtrex, told him, made sure you weren't having an active outbreak, etc). However, not using a condom is always risky, but again, two consenting adults here! 

Did his test actually come back positive? If no, YAY! If yes, just breathe. Again, you told him, he knew. There wasn't a condom, consenting adults. You can be kind and understanding, but in no way be a punching bag for him or take on any not nice feelings he has. Break-ups happen for a reason and you deserve someone who is kind and understanding of ALL of you!!    

I hope everything is okay! I am sending prayers and happiness to you and those in your life. It'll all be okay! 

Be Kinder to Yourself! 💛🌄

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Thanks for the messages above @My thoughts and @Flowerteacher55 😁

I think I do need to be kinder to myself in all of this! I saw your message @Flowerteacher55on a day when I really needed to see it. And it reminded me to be kind to self. It reached me at the perfect time. I appreciate it.

In terms of what you said @My thoughts re: being sure if I have HSV1 bs HSV2 .. to be honest I've wondered that myself too! It was only this past year that I've had really frequent breakouts...before that it was like 2-3 breakouts over 5 years. I do vividly remember the doc (he was an OBGYN) who initially diagnosed me explaining me the difference between 1 and 2 and telling me I had 1 and the upside of lower frequency breakouts. But after this year I've felt some uncertainty.  Where I am in Ontario, Canada, they don't do testing if you don't have an active breakout. I think most of the people on here who say 'go get tested' are in the states. This has been my experience here and various docs have told me the same thing. I'm not sure if any one else on here in Canada has had the same experience - pls message and let me know if different. So they really only diagnose when you breakout. They take a swab from the lesion. I could do a testing next time i breakout to be sure about the 1 vs 2 things I guess.

As a follow up to my initial story with the guy I had recently broke up with: he didnt experience any more symptoms following the initial worry he had. I think he may have been in his head. We've parted ways since then. I guess I was all worried for nothing. But thanks again for your support. ❤️ 

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