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Had unprotected sex with a girl who has genital herpes... chance of infection?

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Hi everyone,


No easy way to say this so I'll just come right out... I had unprotected sex yesterday with a girl I really like who has had genital herpes for well over 10 years. She has been on antivirals (aciclovir?) for a long time and said she hasn't had an outbreak in over a year, and has never to her knowledge passed it on to any other partners. To be honest, and much to her credit, she informed me in advance of her condition, but in a moment of passion I rather stupidly decided to just inspect her visually and then go for it. I was under the impression that it was only contagious during the OB period, and wasn't aware of asymptomatic shedding until I started researching later.


I wound up doing unprotected oral on her for over an hour, and for a few minutes later on we engaged in intercourse, along with plenty of other genital-to-genital contact, all unprotected.


Now, the next day, I am of course freaking out and kicking myself for being so reckless... I spent all night and all day today googling information, which led me here. So my question is, what are the chances that I've picked up the virus from this event, taking into consideration the length of time she's had it, the constant medication, and long time since her last OB? Am I fairly safe or am I hosed?


I'd like to be in a relationship with her because we click really well and like each other a lot, but really don't want to pick up the disease for the sake of my future love interests, if we don't work out. Not to mention for my own personal health. If I stay with her it will be nearly impossible to resist more unprotected sex and oral... am I pretty much guaranteed to pick it up in this case?


I'm a crazy jumble of thoughts right now and don't know what to think or do.


Thanks in advance for your input.

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While it is contagious at any time, during OB is a definite no no. Everyone is different but my bf and I have been together 7 years and he has never had any symptons. Just keep an eye out. Doctors can also do a blood test if you don't have symptoms. Also just fyi it's still possible to contract it during protected sex.

Btw I laughed out loud at 'inspect her visually'!

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Haha... yeah I guess that was inadvertently a bit comical. Shows you my level of ignorance though... ugh.


Do you and your BF regularly have unprotected sex and oral? According to my calculations, if the female-to-male transmission rate is 2% per year of regular sex when an antiviral but no condom is used, that equates to roughly a .0015% chance of transmission per round of sex (assuming sex 2-3 times per week).


So "theoretically", there is roughly a .0015% chance that I contracted it last night? I'm also guessing significantly less than that for the oral portion? Does that sound accurate?

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First, STAY OFF GOOGLE. It will make you crazy.


Second, Yes there is a risk you could have had herpes passed along to you. There is ALWAYS a risk. Even with protected sex. However, if she is on suppressive meds then the chance is very small. If she was not experiencing prodome, an outbreak, or shedding then that risk is pretty much non existent. The thing is, she could be have a pending outbreak (prodome) and not know it. Every time it can be different in mildness and symptoms. Herpes is a no rule virus. It seems like you probably would not have gotten it passed to you though. The risk would be extremely small.


The best thing you can do is just watch your body closely, and if it still bothers you after you've had time to think rationally again (totally normal to panic right now), get tested in about 3 months. That's all you can do really. You mentioned that the two of you really click and you could see it going somewhere. If so, know that you are always at risk and then decide if you are willing to take that risk.

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Honey ... BREATHE!!! You are waaay overthinking this.


So here is a reality check that @Unhappy1 came up with:


Look, there were 135 Space Shuttle flights, two of them blew up. That means there was a 1.5% risk of death for going up in the shuttle. No man in the U.S. would ever say no if NASA gave him a seat on the shuttle, I assure you of that! Now if he's willing to take a 1.5% chance of death for a good ride, don't you think he would take a .015% chance of a skin infection for your ride? [Risk of transmission when no outbreak, on Valtrex, and with condoms is about 1.5% per year (which includes sex 2x week for 52 weeks about 100 occurrences).]


Or as I like to point out,


If we get in our car, we do certain things to reduce the risk of injury to ourselves and others. We get a license. We wear a seat belt. We buy a car with Airbags... some also have traction control/all-wheel drive/warning systems/etc. We maintain the tires and brakes. We obey traffic signals and laws. And hopefully we don't drive impaired. Now, in spite of all that, we might be in an accident some day. AND, some people take more precautions than others. Some barely pay any mind to any of them. The chance of you dying in a car accident in your lifetime is 2%... but that doesn't keep you from driving, does it?


So- it would be useful to know which variety she has HSV1 or 2 ... if it's H1, it doesn't shed as much so with the antivirals your risk will be even lower than the 2% you rightly quoted.


So here's the deal - you have a much better chance of getting it from someone else who believes they are H- but who likely hasn't been tested. Sounds like this young lady knows her body and is on the antivirals... as someone who has had this 35 yrs I have not knowingly passed it to anyone since I got divorced (I didn't know I had it and gave it to my ex hubby, but our split was over something completely unrelated).


I would get tested now (because I assume you have never been tested for Herpes....and likely not chlamydia either because you have to ASK for both of them with your STD panel). Then if you are still worried, get tested in about 4-5 months if you don't have any symptoms. From now on, or at least until you feel more comfortable with the relationship and how she manages her Herpes, use a condom from now on. And if it doesn't work out, use this as a learning experience to at least use a condom in the early days of a relationship... for your own safety and theirs... until you are sure you want to be exclusive. Then go get tested together... that way you know for sure about your status and theirs ;)



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Thank you very much for the feedback and advice everyone. It's going to be one heck of a decision, that's for sure. We talked about it at length last night and she answered all of my questions. Apparently she has both HSV-1 and HSV-2, but has only had several cold sores on her mouth over the last 15+ years. The HSV-2 affects her lower labia.


She is taking Acyclovir twice daily, but she said she only takes it once per day when she's single and there is no chance of her having sex. Is that an acceptable way of taking it?


Should *I* take it as a preventative? Not sure if it will prevent contraction of the disease but might be worth it if it can.


She has had several partners that she was with for years at a time, and apparently they never used any protection, nor was she on antivirals at the time, and she did not pass it on to any of them. Even to this day she says she asks them about it whenever she talks to them and they say they're clean and to stop worrying... lol.


Is it possible that some people might be less likely to pass it on than others? As much as I like her I just don't know if I can justify the risk... if it's not already too late for me. :(


Thanks again all.

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She is taking Acyclovir twice daily, but she said she only takes it once per day when she's single and there is no chance of her having sex. Is that an acceptable way of taking it?


Twice a day is the normal prescribed amount and I don't blame her for cutting to one a day when she's not with anyone. I don't take it at all except for OB's when I'm single.


Should *I* take it as a preventative?


It is not prescribed as a preventative


I have also had 2 partners that were 3 yrs, used anti-virals for one because he was like you and was very scared of getting it... didn't for the other because he didn't care. Neither caught it from me. My ex hubby got it from me but I was having a lot of OB's then and thought it was heat rash because back then they tested even less for it then (30 years ago) than they do now :(


I *personally* think you are in a way safer with someone who KNOWS they have it than with most other people who are blissfully ignorant and believe they have been tested when most of them have indeed never been tested for it. So unless you plan to DRASTICALLY change your sexual practices (Date for at LEAST 4 months with no sex and then skip to the STD clinic together to get tested before doing the deed) know that EVERY SEXUAL ENCOUNTER WITH A NEW PARTNER ASSUMES THE RISK OF AN STD AND/OR PREGNANCY. The CDC says we will ALL likely get HPV at some point in our lives. 80% of the population has Herpes and 80% of them don't know it..


If you are that worried, you better go out and buy the safest car you can find, wear a helmet, and wrap yourself in bubble wrap before you drive next time.... because your risk of just getting INJURED in a car accident is likely higher than you getting HSV from her if she's on the antivirals and you can reduce it even more by using condoms if you are that worried. (Which is not a bad idea if you don't want "Baby-daddy" added to your status on FB... I tell young guys all the time that my daughter got pregnant while on BC.... so if you don't want THAT responsibility, wrap it up!)


Bottom line. LIFE.ASSUMES.RISK. Period. If she means enough to you, IMO she's worth the risk. If you are not sure, go back to dating until you are sure. But I believe as a carrier that I'm one hell of a catch and one day, the right guy will realize that... because I have waaay more integrity than most of the women out there both around my sexual life and my personal life. She sounds like she is another who is TRYING to be honest with you. If you choose to move on based on her HSV status, then do so knowing that your next partner may not be as honest and forthcoming ;)





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PS: In all reality you should go get blood tested NOW because there is every chance you have at least one of the 2 strains anyway... many (80%) are asymptomatic and 60% of young people have HSV1 oral by adulthood. So you should know your status before you go getting all freaked out anyway.... and if you come up H+ now, it means you have had it for some time and you didn't get it from her ;)

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Excellent input Dancer, and I will take it into significant consideration. Thank you!


By the way, is it an accurate assumption that HSV-2 transmission from genitals to the face is even more rare than genital to genital? I only ask because I'm a guy who loves to spend hours on foreplay alone...

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I think it would help you to re-read the handouts on here (print them out so you can refer to them) because a lot of the stats are on there :)






Disclosure e-book:



But - less than 1% of ALL HSV2 cases are oral ... so don't worry about oral sex... just don't play down there when she's having an OB. ;)


An BTW, OB's are the perfect excuse to explore other ways to be intimate because you are forced to get creative :D

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Well guys, thought I'd update you on my decision.


I've decided to stick it out with this girl and see what happens. I'm planning to take an HSV-1 & HSV-2 test in a couple weeks to get a baseline and make sure I don't already have anything to begin with. Then in a few months or if things don't work out, get tested again.


Thanks for the feedback and advice everyone. She's too much of a kindred spirit to just drop because of this.


Take care.

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Congratulations on what seems to be a promising budding relationship. Exciting! That's the thing ... kindred spirits don't tend to get separated simply because a little skin condition. ;) Keep us updated on the relationship and enjoy it!


P.S. Seems that a name change might be in order since you're no longer running ... :)

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