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Newby here. Confused about first herpes outbreak (or not) and Acyclovir started Late

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Hello. Thank you for including me in the membership here. I'm 58 and just found out I have HV2. I'm pretty confused about some things, hoping someone here can help since my Google-Fu doesn't seem to find my particular circumstances.


I started seeing a man last September (10 months ago) and we have had a crazy busy sex life - all good for both of us. I will mention that he is married, and he and his wife have been barely speaking roommates for the past 7 years, with that unlikely to change. They have 3 kids in college, one in med school, so he's going nowhere for a while. I'm okay with that, I've been single now for 9 years and am not ready for a full-time live-in relationship. This works for both of us, (who knows down the road) and we are monogamous. We decided to take a vacation to Florida for a week. I jumped into the tanning bed and got my base tan so I wouldn't burn on the beach. I'm a 3-year breast cancer survivor and didn't want to invite another form of cancer by burning. Right before we were ready to leave, I stayed 20 minutes in the bed and I could feel my tailbone burning a little by that evening. It even itched a little at the very top of my buttocks. I've had that happen before when I got sweaty or had to sit too long - I would put hydrocortisone cream on it and it would be gone in a day.


We were intimate the entire week. The spot didn't heal up quickly like before, and I even got a second place that itched and burned. I kept putting cream on it. I didn't have anything on my labia, anus, or vagina - just the very upper part of my buttocks and tailbone. By the time I got home I knew something was up. I managed to stand in front of a camera and take a picture of it since I couldn't see it with a mirror. It looked like herpes to me, and I'd never really seen herpes other than pictures. I called the doctor the next morning, I also called my fella and said, "We may have a problem." After some explanation and an apology from me for possibly exposing him, (if it didn't come from him) he assured me it would be ok, just go see the doc. I told him if he came into the relationship with it I would forgive him and we would deal, and if I gave it to him would he forgive me. He said of course.


Doc took one look at it and said herpes 2. He was also 99% sure the tanning bed triggered the outbreak. He took a culture of a fresh cluster of blisters and put me on Acyclovir 800mg 3x daily for 14 days. I told my fella to go get tested the next day. He did and came back negative, so I've not gotten this from him, and we have not practiced safe sex. Here's the thing. I've never had anything like this in my life - never an outbreak with blisters in several places. This acts like a primary outbreak. It's been burny-itchy, but not necessarily painful. I don't feel sick, but like I said - never anything this bad. I am 15 days post first symptoms, 5 full days on Acyclovir, and these sores are just now starting to look better. No new ones have come up, but they have been slow to heal.


I know I could have been exposed 20 years ago, but would I just now be having a first outbreak, or would my first outbreak have been barely noticeable. I thought first outbreaks were the worst, and generally occurred within 20 days of exposure. Also, is it normal for Acyclovir to be so slow to heal these, or is it because I was a good ten days into this before i started taking it?


I'll save my emotional destruction and fear over this for another post. I appreciate any feedback from you good folks. Thank you in advance.

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Hi @ Beowy :) Welcome! I'm sorry this happened, but you're definitely gonna be okay. Anti-virals work best if started before an outbreak actually starts, so during the "prodrome" stage (the prodrome is just the signs your body gives when it's getting ready to have an OB. It can be different for everyone but typically involves tingling, burning, nerve pain, etc). They're less effective when started after an OB, but from my experience what you said (symptoms improving after 5 days on anti-viral) sounds about right. Sometimes that's how long it takes for mine to start to clear up, even if I start anti-virals a couple days early. The first outbreak can be longer than normal, too.


It is possible that you could have had the virus in your system for years and never had an outbreak until now. Some people have outbreaks right away; with other people, herpes can hide away for years. 80% of people with it never know they have it. For some people, outbreaks are mild and attributed to other factors such as an ingrown hair or yeast infection. Sometimes there will be a triggering event (such as stress, trauma... or a tanning bed...) that cause a primary OB years after the initial "infection." You said you've had something similar in previous years -- those could have been minor outbreaks, and for some reason the tanning bed just triggered a more severe one. I know the sun (and sunburn) can be a trigger for people, so I assume a tanning bed would be a similar thing.


I'm sure you're going through an enormous amount emotionally right now, but know that it is normal and okay -- allow yourself to feel every nasty bit of it. There's no way to get "around" it other than walking right through it. Embrace the shitty emotions so they can go on their way, and know that it WILL get better. I of course don't know the specifics of your relationship, but be encouraged by the fact that things don't necessarily have to change... there are plenty of people (and I'm sure you'll hear from lots of them on here!) that are with non-H partners and have been for years without transmitting it.


Sending lots of love and sunshine (the non-triggering kind!) your way :)

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Thank you, Kanoa. He's being great about all of this. Even after (especially after) finding out he was negative. I'm dying a thousand deaths inside and he's all, "It will be ok" and can't wait to get back to intimacy. He's leaving that to my direction.


So another question on the mechanics of this virus, let's assume this thing did lay dormant for a decade or two, or that any prior outbreaks were very mild. Now that I've had a grandaddy of an outbreak does that mean I will probably get these more often, as in 4 - 6 times per year as the reading material out there suggests? Because if that's the case, at 3 - 4 weeks to heal and some buffer time to stop shedding, I'm going to be out of commission most of the year. That's a lot to ask of a partner. Thanks again.

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Hi @Beowy!

Just because youve had an o.b. doesnt necessarily mean you will have more. Yes there is a chance, in which case u could go on suppressive meds for s couple months or so, the act of tsking them daily will help to slow down ir even stop o.b. it is also super helpful with transmission (any where from 60% to 80%) to you partner. But maybe wait and see for a few weeks, you body may not need em!


Also... have ur swabs came back possitive for hsv2? I just read in another post that u have had shingles before, is it possible this is ur shingles acting up ?



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The doc thought it looked like classic HP2 blisters, plus they were on both sides and he said if it were shingles it would just affect one side. He did do a culture last Tuesday, but I haven't heard back yet. Maybe today. My partner is negative now, but will re-test in a few months in case I did infect him while on vacation and he just hasn't had time to build antibodies. Personally, I don't know how I didn't infect him during the last 10 months if asymptomatic shedding occurs. We've been pretty frequent and .... "athletic" for lack of a better term, lol.


I can't get over how well he is taking this. Here are some of the things he has said:


Me: If you want to back away from this, I completely understand.

Him: What. Where would I go?


Me: I dunno. You could leave yourself open for other women. I would still help you with the CDs and...

Him: And what kind of life would you have? What would *you* do?


Me: There are dating sites for people with herpes. If I really felt I had to be with someone I could go there. Or, I could just keep to myself - that wouldn't bother me, either.

Him (with a small smile): Ummm, no. We will be fine. Before you I went seven years without. I think I can wait through any outbreaks you might have.


Me: But what if you test positive in a couple of months?

Him: Then I will do what you are doing now.

Him: I'm not leaving. How's that for an answer?


Me: ...

Him: What would you like tonight - a back rub, a hair rub, or just snuggle?


And then on chat the next day I told him thank you for the encouraging words, that I could use all I could get. His reply:


"you are fine


you are pretty


you have a great heart


you are smart


how could I walk away from that?"


-- -- -- -- --


I will post my results when I get the call, but I'm not expecting good news. :/ Thank you again.


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He is definitely a sweetie, and I don't feel deserving right now. I'm 58, I've had multiple marriages, and I've been sexually active since I've been single. I should know to go get tested. This was my first hint of trouble, but that's no excuse.


My head tells me that this isn't the end of the world or even the end of us, and my grieving periods are coming farther apart, but still there are times when I water up at the drop of a hat - right in the middle of doing something I will need to just stop and go have a short pity cry. Ironic, they could cure the breast cancer, but I can't cure this.

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In all honesty tho, im glad theyre trying to cure cancer first.

i mean herpes is just a minor skin condition in comparrison.


(And once and a while i have a little cry myself too. But herpes is mind over matter. Not life or death!

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YES, I'm with you on the cancer curing priority, or I might not be here to wallow in self-pity over my occasional nuisance virus. Perspective is everything. Thank you for the reminder. I'm not so sure that even if they are trying they will ever find a cure. That seems to be the nature of viri. If they could cure viri we would have done something about the common cold by now. And definitely HIV. I've lost a couple of very dear friends to AIDS, one of whom I personally cared for until his last minute. Now a vaccine? I have more confidence that will come before a cure.

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Swab test is back. Positive for HV2. Praying at this point that the tanning bed was my trigger, and if I stay out of them my outbreaks will be few, far apart, mild, or never come again. If stress were my trigger one would think I'd have broken out during my cancer diagnosis and treatment. *sighs*

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Just adding a thought ... you got great advice here,.... but you may be able to tan and just wear bikini bottoms that cover that area ....


I'm guessing that the heat of the bed may have irritated the area too ... so maybe put a towel between you and the bed.


And I teared up reading what your guy said. What a wonderful guy. ;)

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Awww, thank you. He has been absolutely amazing considering our situation. He's been a rock. I'm kinda like you. I think if I wore bottoms and laid on my tummy instead of my back, I could at least finish out the sessions I paid for. The last couple of times I went I upped the time to a full 20 minutes, trying to darken my tan before the Florida trip, and I could feel the heat hard on my tailbone, but i didn't think anything about it since that's the part of me that bears the weight up against the bed when I lie on my back like that.

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