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Recent diagnosis and seeking guidance


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Hello, I've been looking through the forum and have already found so much help and reassurance. I will try to keep my story short but want to also give background to get insight from others.

I am a 50 year old female who began a casual relationship with a man in February. We had a slow build up to intimacy and would see each other every couple weeks and have oral/penetrative sex separately or in some combination on most occasions (once or twice a month). We relied on the quick I'm safe are you conversation and had unprotected sex. Well, in April, I discovered his prescription for Valtrex. I was shocked but confronted him with an open mind and we had a very productive conversation and I got a very quick education on how low transmission rates were—he had been diagnosed decades ago and has been on Valtrex long term and said he hadn't had an outbreak in years. I made the decision to continue to see him.

Well, in the beginning of July I had my first outbreak—I think—I had what were like individual little bitty pimples on labia (which I have occasionally gotten) but multiple and they were preceded with the tingly feeling which is not typical of pimples I had in the past. Nothing was every blistery looking and nothing scabbed up. It took about a week into the "outbreak" for me to get in to my doc. She took a look and said "that's not herpes" and if it is, I can't get a good swab because nothing is oozing. She said it may have been a reaction to first time laser hair removal that I just had or just a pimple outbreak. She did a pap and ran HPV testing (negative). She also declined to give a blood test stating that they were so unreliable at this early stage. She sent me on my way and I felt reassured. Until a few weeks later when the same thing happened...so I called and had a phone consult. Again, she said if it looked the same as last time she wouldn't swab but based on the recurrence and tingles and that I had been with a confirmed HSV+ person, she prescribed 1G Valtrex daily. She said I should take for a year. 

Well, now, two+ months into taking the Valtrex, I still am having outbreaks right before my period. Again, these aren't very dramatic—the prodrone with the little pimples that seem heal quickly. Is it common to still be getting outbreaks if I've been taking the Valtrex daily? Should I talk to her about modifying the dose or changing to something else, or does it take time for the body to adjust? Any recommendations on other supplements that people have found relief from? 

Is there a chance that this isn't herpes and could be something else?

I would like to receive some sort of lab confirmation. Should I push for blood testing or go to my local planned parenthood and ask for testing? What is the gold standard for testing, if any and when is the ideal time to test? Will my taking Valtex affect the test accuracy? Are there home kits or online sources that are recommended? I'm pretty convinced that it's HSV but what if it's something else? I want to be open and disclose to other sex partners (I am no-longer seeing the man who I got it from) but I don't have a definitive diagnosis and tell them exactly what I have. 

My outbreaks are mild but frequent and I was really hoping that Valtex would've suppressed them by now. I know I've asked a lot of questions here and any insight and advice would be so appreciated. Thank you!

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Hello!

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I'm sure there are folks who can relate. 

I am so sorry that your partner did not disclose in the beginning. Although he hasn't had an outbreak in a very long time, it is still important to disclose it to others because sex is very personal and involves two people who both should partake in the decision-making. 

Do you know what type of HSV he has? 

Also, the outbreak before your period is very common, because hormone changes can trigger outbreaks to occur. Your doctor should have at least given you an IgM outbreak in the beginning, because IgM antibodies are the first to appear and spike high in number in the beginning and gradually decrease as time passes. After 12+ weeks, you can take an IgG antibody test to see if you have HSV. Although blood tests sometimes are inaccurate, it can help you put your mind at ease if you get a blood test. If your doctor refuses (which is absurd) you could go to Planned Parenthood and see if they will draw blood. You could also try your OBGYN or another doctor and explain the situation.   

It is very odd that she prescribed you 1 g of Valtrex to take daily for one year, especially if she refused to do blood work. Definitely talk to your doctor about it and ask them their opinion, and consult/see an OBGYN or your primary doctor, or even try Planned Parenthood. 

I hope this helps! 

Stay strong ❤️ I am praying for you! 

Blessings,

grace

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Thank you for your kind response. I appreciate your insights and suggestions.

The doctor I saw IS my primary care doctor. I think because her opinion was that it didn't look like herpes to her and that she was "taught" that the IgM test was "extremely inaccurate" as she told me, she advised against it. It wasn't until a couple weeks later with a second outbreak that she deduced it must be herpes based on recurrence of an outbreak and my exposure to an HSV+ sexual partner. I believe my partner told me he has HSV1.

I will send that primary care doc a message asking for the IgG bloodtest. If she pushes back I will pursue a different avenue like planned parenthood for testing—and perhaps a different doc. I think I am right near the 12-week mark from initial outbreak now. Will taking the Valtrex affect the results of the antibody testing, or is that irrelevant?

I guess I'm also frustrated that the Valtrex isn't stopping the outbreaks as I'd hoped. My outbreaks do seem relatively minor compared to so many cases that I've read about but they are nonetheless super annoying and not comfortable. Do you take any natural supplements and/or have any topicals that you find relief with?

Have a wonderful weekend. 

J

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Hello!

If your partner has GHSV-1, that is actually a good thing! HSV-1 is less likely to cause extreme outbreaks. 

The Valtrex shouldn't impact blood testing, but I am not 100% sure. Valtrex suppresses the virus, and the blood test is testing for antibodies, so I think the medicine has no impact on antibodies! But, I'd ask a doctor/whomever takes your blood. 

I'm so sorry your outbreaks are uncomfortable. Topically I used Lysine cream (it's lemon-balm based and actually was for oral cold sores, I think!).  Other people find great relief by soaking in Epsom salts (although it can be drying to the skin which can cause further irritation). 

I hope this helps! Stay kind to yourself ❤️ 

Blessings! 

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