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Herpes disclosure - herpes transmission rates for genital HSV1

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Hi everyone,


I'm new here and I looked through the other forums so I hope I didn't miss someone asking this exact question.


I'm a 28 year old female and I got diagnosed with genital type 1 a few months ago and was fairly devastated. I've been going to a therapist for a while for other issues unrelated to herpes for about a year now and she has been very helpful. It's still a struggle some days though. I'm also divorced and it feels a bit sometimes like I've got a big old "DAMAGED" stamp on my forehead. Anyways, the point for this posting --- Since the diagnosis, I've disclosed to two potential partners. One, who told me he had cold sores in his mouth, TEXTED me (after an in-person disclosure when I told him he was the first one I'd told) a few days later to tell me he "genuinely wanted to hang out as friends again." The other didn't care one bit and we had sex plenty. The first rejection was fairly painful and I'm currently dating again and trying to figure out exactly what to say about the risks of transmission to potential partners.


Those of you with genital type 1, do you quote exact statistics? If so, what do you say? I know that it's very low and I told both of the men about the posting I'd seen from Dr. Hansfield that he had never seen a genital-to-genital type 1 transmission, and also that if they had type 1 already, it was basically impossible for me to give it to them.


Do you take suppressive therapy? I got an Rx for it but as I am not sleeping with anyone at the moment, I haven't been taking it. Since the chances of another outbreak are so low, my only motivation was to prevent transmission (and I know the statistics on this are sketchy/nonexistent for GHSV1 anyway) but I figured it couldn't hurt.


Also, do you tell casual partners about type 1? I'm not sure I even want to have casual sex again, but if I do, I'm afraid that no one will be interested in having casual relations with me if they know about the herpes. With the risks so low, I've had friends tell me not to tell casual partners at all. I don't know how I feel about this. I'd love to say that I'm comfortable with that, but I just don't know. I've had a total of 6 casual (bar/party/we barely know each other) partners and none have even asked about my STD status and I always use condoms.


Thank you all for your help. This has been a challenging time for me and reading other peoples' posts has been very helpful.

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I'm trying to get to the bottom of all the discussions (Man it's busy here today!) but I have to get out the door in a few minutes... but quick reply


One, who told me he had cold sores in his mouth, TEXTED me (after an in-person disclosure when I told him he was the first one I'd told) a few days later to tell me he "genuinely wanted to hang out as friends again."


If he has cold sores he has HSV1 orally which means you couldn't pass it back to him because he already has it.... in fact, I would have texted him back and told him that you got it from someone with a cold sore and that he should stop having oral sex until he learns the FACTS of HSV1...because 50% of the new genital herpes diagnosis are fro HSV1 thanks to the ignorance around the link between "cold sores" and GHSV1. He couldn't have got it genitally from you because he already had the antibodies to it.


However, Herpes acted as your wing man on that one ... if he walked away KNOWING he has the same thing he wasn't into YOU , he just wanted to GET into you.




Yes - learn what you can about the statistics/transmission facts. It makes disclosure a whole lot easier :)


Supressive therapy: If your partner has HSV1 oral or genital, you don't need to "protect them". So it would depend on whether they have it or not.


Gotta go - I know others will help pitch in here but that's a start :)



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Thank you!


I read about the transmission stuff but I thought that the information on the disclosure guide was for type 2, so I was just wondering what people say regarding type 1. (Or am I confused on that?)


And yes, I told the texter that I couldn't give it back to him and he still made his choice. I didn't give it up in 3 dates and so I think that's really the issue... He knew I wasn't going to let him in as quickly as he wanted! So in that case I was thrilled to have it weed him out. But I am pretty scared to tell people in the future.

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I believe the transmission rates are overall on the flier (Type 1 &2) but if you look at the shedding rates you see that you shed a whole lot less of the time with HVSV1 genital, so of course your chances of passing it on are less :)


So Herpes has already helped you weed out one jerk. Take that as your lead around Herpes... that it will help you to differentiate between the jerks and the keepers ;)

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Well, what if the guy performs oral sex on your vagina? If he is HSV1 negative, you could very well give it to him orally if you're asymptomatically shedding. You obviously feel apprehensive about not telling casual partners about your situation. Disclose, even with your casual sex partners. You can do it in a cool way, i.e. right before dropping your pants say, "Oh, BTW, I have HSV1 down there, it's the same strand that gives you cold sores on your mouth. Just use a condom and don't do oral and you should be OK, but I'm not a doctor." Now what guy that you are having casual sex with do you think is going to reject you at that point, especially after a few drinks?

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Yes, you CAN pass it to him if he has oral sex with you... but AGAIN, look at the difference in shedding rates. Genitally, HSV2 sheds 15-30% of the time... HSV1 sheds 3-5% of the time. Now it's difficult to do the exact math and I don't know that there are any studies out there on this, but if transmission is at worst 10% (which is mostly from the virus being where it WANTS to be ...HSV2 in the genitals, HSV1 in the mouth) and you look at the shedding rates, it's fair to assume that given that HSV1 genital sheds about 1/5th as much as HSV2, that your risk would then be *about* 2% with no anti-virals and no condoms/protection during oral sex. If you use anti-virals the risk would be 1% or less.


Remember that only 20% of the population will TEST negative for HSV1 ... but most people have never been tested for it. One way you can approach it if you are only planning on oral sex is to ask if they ever had a cold sore. If they say yes, you can tell them you have the same thing down under and that you guys are "safe" as far as HSV1 is concerned. Just remember my friend, if you take their word that they have been tested, you have now started a new round of Russian Roulette with your own sexual health.

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I have not read that paper/article...but given that HSV1 genital sheds so much less AND the virus doesn't like it much down there, I expect that transference is much lower... however, I'm not sure that there are any studies to confirm that - an awful lot of people engage in oral sex so I don't know how he came up with that statement without having a study group that would agree to not have oral sex for a long enough time to prove his statement. :p

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Yeah, it wasn't a study I was referencing... It was this posting: http://www.medhelp.org/posts/STDs/Female-to-Male-Genital-HSV1-Transmission/show/249397


I realize it is not a rigorous study (I have several graduate degrees, so I understand the importance of sampling, following study protocol, etc) - or a study at all - but I haven't read anything online of someone reporting getting GHSV1 from anything but oral sex. And as someone with high anxiety, I've read a LOT of postings :-) So, I'm sure it's possible, but just very very unlikely.


And WCSDancer - I totally get you there. I'm not even sure that I WANT to have casual sex again. While I'm pretty sure I got this from a long-term boyfriend, it definitely made me realize how risky casual sex is. The hardest thing for me right now is being angry at all the people who've been far less safe than me and who don't have to have this awkward discussion and deal with social stigma. I realize that it's not that big of a deal, but it's also not awesome.


I also was just looking for feedback from anyone who has GHSV1 and what they tell potential partners, as I don't know anyone who has this.


Thanks everyone :-)

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@stars I gave genital HSV1. I haven't truly had to disclose yet, but I did tell a guy that I hung out with for a little over a year and we had never had sex. He wasn't my giver, but just a lonely cuddle talk buddy. I told him and he accepted it and we had sex for the very first time, after my diagnosis. So it happens, but we haven't again since that time. That's a weird situation which I won't go into. But he knew me before H so he knew how I was, which I think made him accept it and look past it. I think that's key. They need to really know you before you tell them.


Maybe I will have a successful disclosure in the future but I am just not ready to date yet. I am angry at the same thing you are. I didn have sex for a year and this was the first guy who went down on me in three years.... Boom, I have genital herpes type 1. Me and the giver didn't even have sex until after my diagnosis. He literally just went down on me and a week later I broke out. After the first round of valtrex, me and my giver had sex. So strangely enough, I've slept with two men who knew I had it, one the giver and one was not. But I am angry too because my friends do far much more than me and I get this? It was bullshit. And still is in my eyes. So I understand you. Happens to the best of us I truly think. I sometimes think this happened to me because I put my vagina on a pedestal for so long... Payback for not letting any guy get it. It's a shame.

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The hardest thing for me right now is being angry at all the people who've been far less safe than me and who don't have to have this awkward discussion and deal with social stigma.


How do you know? Remember, *MOST* people won't discuss their status with people when they have STD's. Remember, 1:6 has HSV2, 4:5 have HSV1 (oral OR genital), pretty much EVERYONE will get HPV at some time in their life (anyone with an abnormal pap smear likely had HPV), and then you have all the other STD's. Just chew on those statistics. You are not as alone as you like to think you are my friends ;)



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