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Confused got HSV2 but not through sex not sure where and if can give someone through sex or where I might be contagious

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Hi I got HSV2 in a General STD test and confirmed with specific test. I have never had an outbreak and was shocked. I did not get it though sex as not active since divorce 6 years ago and had my ex tested and she was negative. I am not sure where and how I got it and if I am contagious or where I am contagious. As I understand it is mostly skin to skin.  Doctor at a men's health urgent care said I could have got it in a number of ways and places most likely from the relative that had it that was staying with me from time to time over 3 years. Not sure if could get it through kissing but only kissed a few women in last 6 years since my divorce. She said could have gotten it many ways and several places like through cuts, eyes, mouth and private areas if you had gotten contaminated or something like sharing a towel.
So, I don't know where I got it and how I could give it to someone else. I don't know if there is a way to determine that. I have not found very little information on sites as most assume you get it through sex. 
The doctor said you will have to wait for an outbreak to find a location that I got it. She also did not think HSV2 was that big of deal health wise to most people. She thought there was a good chance I am not contagious as I did not get it through sex. And she did not advise using any medicine unless I have an outbreak as it is hard on the body. My immunity system seems strong as I rarely get sick and covid just was a day and a half of sniffles. 

Question: How to find out where I got it at? Things I should do to prevent others from getting it? If I get it in a non sexual area, can it move to the sexual area? Most of the information is about sex transmission and looking for information about non sex transmission or migration.


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I hope you are well. 

Many people, especially men, are asymptomatic, meaning they don't show symptoms and outbreaks don't occur or are unnoticeable, or mistaken for an ingrown hair or a rash. 

Herpes spreads through direct skin to skin contact with the infected area, so if you got it from someone who was staying with you, you would have had to touch them on an active lesion or while they were virally shedding. Herpes doesn't spread through bedding, towels, or clothing. It doesn't spread through toilet seats, either! However, it can spread through sex toys and other objects shared during intimacy.

It is much more likely you contracted it from someone who also was asymptomatic. It isn't their fault, it isn't your fault. The reason herpes is so common is because it often spreads without anyone noticing or knowing they had it to begin with! 

Here are some facts about the topics you requested:

LOCATION OF OUTBREAK: Your body builds up antibodies to herpes, so you cannot give it to yourself. Could you hypothetically? Sure. But it would literally be like you rub an open sore with your hands and then lick your hands and repeat this a few time... But no one would do that! So, you are safe. 

People can infect other parts of their bodies before their body builds up immunity. So, for example, during someone's first outbreak, they could spread the illness to other parts of the body. However, after the body builds up IgG antibodies (about 12+ weeks after the first encounter of infection) you are safe. Rest assured, you are okay! It seems your antibodies built up enough that they were detected via blood.

TRANSMISSION: Because your herpes is asymptomatic, and you've never had an outbreak before, it is really hard to predict when you are shedding the virus (the virus is active). Typically, symptomatic people have little warning signs that warn them they are shedding and/or are about to have an outbreak. These warning signs, called prodrome symptoms, help someone and their partner(s) stay safe, as during these symptoms/outbreak, the person would abstain from sex and physical intimacy with the infected area, and often times take an antiviral to slow the shedding, increase sore healing, and help reduce pain. 

It seems you have never noticed any prodrome symptoms after a sexual encounter with a partner (tingling, itching, flue-like symptoms, redness or sores on the genitals, anus, or mouth or throat). This means you don't know when you are shedding the virus as easily as someone who has the "warning signs". People who asymptomatically shed can take antiviral as a supressive medication to help them reduce the likelihood of shedding and passing their herpes to their partner. However, the medication does not prevent outbreaks or stop any possible transmission. It works to reduce shedding, reduce outbreaks, and speed up outbreak healing. The antivirals do NOT prevent transmission. 


You could have gotten HSV-2 orally by preforming oral sex on someone with it, or by kissing someone with it (however, oral HSV-2 is uncommon).

You could have gotten HSV-2 genitally or anally if you received oral sex from someone with HSV-2 (again, unlikely for someone to have oral HSV-2) or if you had sex or your lower area came into contact with the parts of someone who has genital HSV-2.

Since you are unsure who and when you got it from, it would be a good idea to reach out to recent partners and ask them if they have been tested. This is good for their own health reasons, as if you possibly gave it to them after you got it from someone previously, it is ethical to tell them. No blame, no judgement. Just mature adults talking about sexual health and being honest. 🙂

I hope that this helps!! Also, I wanted to ask, did you have an IgG antibody test or an IgM test? 



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@Flowerteacher55 is so knowledgeable and right on about everything. Except for one small issue. You CAN autoinfect yourself during your initial outbreak, which Flowerteacher55 alluded to. If it’s your 1st OB, before you’ve built antibodies, you CAN touch your sore and infect other areas of your body. This is called herpetic whitlow. It usually occurs on the hands but you can spread it elsewhere, the main concern is spreading it to your eyes, which can cause blindness (in very, very rare cases). 

I’ll just reiterate that herpes can lie dormant for DECADES! I recently had an 80yo F patient with her “first” outbreak despite being celibate for > 20 yrs. Recent radiation treatments activated a previously latent HSV2 infection she was unaware she had. So your infection came before your marriage and you were asymptomatic until now. This is very similar to my own herpes experience. I was celibate for a long while and then had an “initial” outbreak, seemingly out of nowhere. 

This is a wily and tricky disease. Hang in there.  For most of us it’s a mild inconvenience. 

Good luck and good health!

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Yes!! I am so sorry I did not mention the key fact above!! As said by @Ebelskiver, you can autoinfect yourself during the early, pre-antibody stage. That's why washing your hands after touching sores is so important!

Wow, that is so interesting that radiation activated the virus. I hope the patient is doing okay ❤️.

Honestly, there is still so much research to be done about this quite sassy virus! 

Thank you so much for helping us all, @Ebelskiver ❤️. It's so nice to feel heard and get help from a professional!!

Blessings to you all!! ❤️  

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You could have gotten H prior to marrying your husband provided you had sex with others before marrying him. It can lay dormant for years and its possible you never passed it to him. I never passed it to my late husband. Or, if your husband didn't specifically ask for the herpes test to be included in his std testing, they could have excluded it. That is very common, I have no idea why

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