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Is herpes transmission certain after contact with lesion?


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I just exposed my partner, not realizing that I was putting him in such danger. He fingered me and I'm almost positive he then touched his penis. I was not sure if I was having an outbreak when this happened, but I am almost positive now that I am. I read that if he touches my lesion and then touches himself, the virus can get transmitted. My question is: did it definitely get transmitted? If so, when will we know?

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Hi amanda,


Welcome to our community and I'm glad you're reaching out. This kind of thing can be scary to consider, I know. I've had my scares in the past.


And know that nothing is 100% when it comes to herpes transmission. Only higher rates of transmission *possibility* during an outbreak. Ultimately, the virus still has to make its way into his body. Your active herpes outbreak fills in 1/2 of that equation: There's a lot more virus on the surface of your skin that is available. But the other half of the transmission needs to be fulfilled, too: There needs to be some sort of breakage in his skin (yes, and it can be smaller than the eye can see) in order to let the virus in his body. It would be a much higher possibility that herpes was transmitted if it was direct sexual contact (penis rubbing directly against the area of your herpes outbreak), so the fact that it was his hand that then went to his penis lessens the possibility.


And you're right that there's nothing you can do about it at this time other than possibly think back to any sort of prodrome symptoms that you may have had (even if they were subtle) so you can better tell when outbreaks are coming in the future. The only way you'll know if he ended up getting herpes is if he has an active outbreak or if he gets a blood test (IgG or Western Blot) after 3 months so that the antibodies have time to build to detectable levels.


Here are some links that goes in deeper to all of the above:






I'm assuming you two have talked about risk factors and all that at the beginning of your sexual relationship?

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Yes. And at first he seemed ok with it. We have only had intercourse twice in the duration of our relationship. I did not ask him why until after we broke up. I was afraid it was because the herpes and I thought that if I knew that, I would be incredibly hurt. I had an opportunity to ask him and he confirmed that this was the reason. I pleaded with him to talk to his doctor about the actual risk, but it was obvious he had made up his mind. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me that he would perform oral sex on me, but not protected intercourse. I have not pointed this out to him for fear that he will take that away from me as well.


Today I had a notion that it may be a break out, however, I often get little tears from wiping after going to the bathroom because I have dry skin down there. I saw that sort of lesion when I felt pain from wiping. I hoped that it wasn't an outbreak, but I didn't tell him I suspected it (I'll never do that again) for two reasons: I fear that if he becomes aware of an actual breakout, he won't ever touch me again and I also DID NOT KNOW I was putting him at such a risk if it were only his hand touching me. It occurred to me about an hour after he left, I looked it up and was devastated by what I had done.

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Hello and Welcome :)


Yes - you are right - it does sound like the relationship is not founded on solid ground :/


So ask yourself this? Are you willing to settle for hand jobs and possibly oral sex for the rest of your life?


BTW, if you have HSV2, he's pretty safe as only 1% of all oral H is from HSV2. If you have H1, well, he could still get it from you orally.


So - Are you staying because this guy is "accepting" your status (even though it's only half-way accepting?) Are you ok with worrying every time you *might* be having an OB with what his reaction will be?

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Amanda, first off, listen to adrial. from what I understand herpes it isn't good when exposed to the air, hates oxygen so he, not only on top of all the stuff Adrial said would have had to be a ninja to get his hand to his privates quick enough.


and don't settle. there are plenty of men who would accept you as you are, some are h+ themselves, some not. if he truly accepted you and trusted you he would be fully intimate with you. I admit that im having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he has no issue with performing oral yet wont have protected intercourse? seems counter to how most people would think.


of course I may have hit on something here, you have thought you maybe had prodome but went ahead and didn't tell him? are you on suppressive? have you had H a while? maybe he isn't sure that you know enough about your OBs and he has picked up on it?

its not, im not sure if I was having an OB, its I was sure I wasn't. not to bust your chops, as we are all trying to figure this thing out. hell every itch on my body I think is H, and I itch a lot, just typing that made my beard itch.

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Thank you both for your comments. I feel like I have found close friends.


Yes I thought maybe I had prodome but went ahead and didn't tell him. So how's that for honesty. He only touched me there with his hands, nothing else. I was wrong not to say anything and I will never do that again. But I stand by my statement that I did not think I was putting him in danger since it was only his hands. I never thought that detail through. When I was first diagnosed, I was afraid to touch it even to clean it in the shower. That's when I was told that it doesn't live out in the open and that I couldn't spread it with my hands. Hence, I thought he was safe yesterday.


Even this morning I am not 100% convinced it is an outbreak. I still have the tear in my skin that totally resembles my dry skin problem. The thing is, and this is very weird to say, but the vaginal area is loaded with folds and tissue and skin and bumps and so many different shades of pink and purple... I wonder if I am able to accurately judge the presence of a mild outbreak. I'm 52 years old. It's not all pink and perky down there.


I am recently divorced. I have had three relationships (all via match.com, if that matters). I am currently still seeing two of them - both of whom I have broken up with but continue to see. The man in this story is a terrible boyfriend, but I am incredibly attracted to him and his charm and attention make me feel like a million bucks, except when I'm being honest with myself about how he treats me vis a vis the H problem. The other man is the perfect boyfriend, but I am not attracted to him and being physical with him is really uncomfortable. I know I should rid myself of both and move on, but I'm not the strongest when it comes to doing the right thing about letting people go. The third man was the one who probably infected me - via oral sex when he had a cold sore.



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I am going to call you out here....and it's just to help you not to judge ok?


"his charm adn attention make me feel like a million bucks, except when I'm being honest with myself about how he treats me vis a vis the H problem"




He is not making you feel like a million bucks....you think he is because you are insecure b/c of your divorce and your virus friend. You think an attractive man finding you attractive will solve your problems, but I can tell you it won't and when it ends....and it will b/c how long can you go in a relationship without intercourse....you will be hurt and worse off. If he is not accepting ALL of you, how can that make you feel like a million bucks? You are convincing yourself that his attention makes you feel worthy. You are worthy in your own right.


"The other man is the perfect boyfriend but I am not attracted to him and being physical with him is really uncomfortable".....well then it is not so perfect.


You are patching all these men together to make one man that you want. It doesn't work that way. You won't find the right man for you until you release these ones. Start working on your self esteem....listen, mine was in the gutter and it's taking me a long time to build it up after damage from my last relationship which seems a little like yours and your "prince charming"...trust me....you end up way worse off....that feeling of a million bucks transforms to feeling realy shitty that you let him do that to you...let him make you feel unworthy when the dust settles. Attraction is wonderful, it's hot, it's steamy, it's a release, but by no means will it ever make you feel "WHOLE".


You are going to be fine. Love yourself again because we all do!





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I already know all of that. All of it!


I suffered a lot during my divorce. I blamed myself for ruining my marriage (adultery - I might as well be honest about everything here). I will suffer immediately following letting these two men go. I like them both and enjoy their friendship so much. I know I will be better off in the long run. And yet I am not, at the moment, ready to endure the sadness and pain that will come from walking away from them.


There have been so many huge changes in my life - I had to go back to work after 16 years to a job that I despised. (The field I have my degrees in is the only career that will pay me enough to live. I don't get alimony.) I have herpes. I have to live with the guilt that my sons now are "children of divorce." My attractive, fit ex husband has no trouble finding girls to date (one 11 month long relationship he had was with a 26 year old!) while my only choice is match.com. In the three years I have been on my own, I have met ZERO single men in the real world in my demographic. And it's not like I haven't put myself out there. I'm terrified of being alone in my old age. Or, God forbid I get sick or hurt and I can't work.


I go to therapy, am on anti depressants, as well as, of course, Valtrex. (Yay! I have to take Valtex! Everybody knows what that means, and it is impossible for it not to be revealed every now and then.) I am in many ways getting along very well, progressing nicely. Obviously I'm not done accepting my new reality.


I am going to have a talk with the man who won't provide me with the intimacy that I crave. His reaction will determine if I stick around anymore. I have no delusions that he is a man who will ever commit to me and not just because of the virus.


The other man - I am honest with him about an amazing number of things. I need to be honest with him that I really will never be attracted to him, no matter what he does and how awesome he is a friend. I almost told him last night. But I chickened out.


As I have said, I broke up with both of them. They keep coming back to ME and I have not been able to resist the temptation to stay in contact. It takes away the pain. I am human.

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They keep coming back to ME and I have not been able to resist the temptation to stay in contact.


SEE! You ARE desirable - but honey, we got to kiss a lot of toads to find our prince ;)


Some reality checks here:


I blamed myself for ruining my marriage (adultery - I might as well be honest about everything here).


No judgement here. If it was a one-off, I would guess there was a "good" reason for it - lack of feeling loved/ poor communication/ distant or workaholic spouse. Not that it makes it right or wrong. But in a marriage, there are two sides, and when the communication starts to crumble its up to BOTH sides to step up. I have a client who is an escort and she says most of her married clients just want to he held and have someone who will LISTEN to them .... so stop punishing yourself. If your kids screw up, how long is their punishment? Certainly not a lifetime... usually a day or so, maybe a few weeks, yes? You've done your penance. LET IT GO.


I had to go back to work after 16 years to a job that I despised. (The field I have my degrees in is the only career that will pay me enough to live. I don't get alimony.)


Sorry to hear that. But it's a reality for MANY in this economy. Any chance you can do online/night school to get a new career? I had to get on the fast track when I divorced 10 yrs ago - retrained as a Massage Therapist because my degrees wouldn't get me the work I wanted.


I have herpes.


And so does one in 4 or 5 of the people around you ... they are all just hiding it like you .... and if you include oral H, 4 out of 5 have it. Welcome to the club!


I have to live with the guilt that my sons now are "children of divorce."


Ask any child who has lived in a family where one or both parents were miserable in the marriage - they will tell you that they would have rather the parents split, because they get caught in the crossfire even if you try to protect them... Better to find your happiness alone (and you CAN do it) than to set the example that you have to suffer and be miserable. And this is the thing - how you live NOW is still setting an example for your children. Do you want them to grow up feeling empowered to move forward after a blow, or to feel you have to curl up in a ball and give up? Because how YOU deal with this WILL be noticed by them, even if they don't know WHY you are unhappy.


My attractive, fit ex husband has no trouble finding girls to date (one 11 month long relationship he had was with a 26 year old!) while my only choice is match.com.


1) if he's picking up 26 yr olds at his age, it's called Mid-life crisis and it shows who he is. That's nothing to be jealous of ;)


2) There's a LOT more than Match.com out there. Meetup.com is a GREAT and SAFE place to meet people and get out and do things. I think it might be just what you need to get your confidence back. They have groups for EVERYTHING - dance, hiking, knitting, you name it, there's a group for it ;)


And then you can go out and find things like places to learn to dance, or just take yourself for a hike (I did that recently .... first time hiking alone. Talked to several people on the way even tho it was a really quiet day... I bet on a busy day I could have had a great chat with a potential suitor ;) ) Whatever you like to do, GO OUT AND DO IT! It will be good for your depression AND you never know who you will meet!


I'm 53 - I get it ... it's HARD to find someone that "fits" you...and I live in the STICKS of the Hudson Valley in NY. I've been dating on and off for about 12 yrs now - had 2 three year relationships along the way, got my heart broken, broke a heart, and since then I actually took 3 yrs off dating and fell back in love with MYSELF ... rejoined the dating treadmill last year, had 3 false starts and am currently starting to see a guy who has potential... so believe me, I totally hear how frustrating it is.








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I have been in a few relationships like yours.....trust me....I allowed myself to do it for the exact same reason...I am human! And sometimes yes, we need to allow ourselves to do things that maybe may not be so healthy so we give us time to prepare ourselves to do the things we know we need to do. You are right at that spot.


You just need to know when the time is to let go. I did....I was devastated....I did it kicking and screaming....it was the hardest thing I ever had to do my whole life....but I am here telling you the other side isn't so bad.


And I will tell you another secret......the minute I started liking myself....feeling confident....I radiated....I got hit on all the time.....I didn't look any different....I was different inside and people noticed that....they felt it....honestly, I had strangers, husbands and wives randomly telling me how great I looked...it was odd....but that is because I radiated....not because I looked a certain way. And this came all after my devastation. The minute you start finding yourself attractive again....finding that you are worthy....your insides will shine out and others will see it.



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You guys are so nice, it makes me cry.


This is a sad confession: I did start loving myself again and in particular stopped my negative self talk. Once the not-so-nice boyfriend came back to me and started doing the same things he did before, the negative talk came flying back. So, see, I know I'm not doing right by my real self.


And the other guy appreciates my intellect and my charming idiosyncrasies (see, I do have some self love) to such a deep degree, it's intoxicating. He's so reassuring that I am as cool as I think I have the potential to feel free to be.


I'm going to talk to both of them. The first guy about how his behavior makes me depressed and that I'm afraid to ever tell him I have breakouts. Those are the main points.


The other one I need to tell at least two things: I don't have hope that my attraction to him will suddenly appear. And I really want to tell him that I have another man in my life, that I see, that I am sexual with. My reluctance to have done so yet are: he'll be really hurt and I am free to see other people without telling him because I broke up with him. Plus, I am not having intercourse with either one! We are not a committed couple. In the match.com world, it seems to be common knowledge that until you have "the commitment talk," you are free to see other people without having to be forthcoming, until, of course, the talk.


I got a huge boost into developing self love by reading books by Cheri Huber. She spoke my language. Most especially understood the depths of hatred that negative self talk can reach. I highly recommend her, obviously, to anybody who experiences depression. She has many titles. The titles will speak to whatever issue you are stuck in, so it isn't difficult to decide which ones to pick.


I started with meetup.com about two weeks after separating from my marriage. I now backpack regularly and am on a cycle team. I joined both to meet men, have not met any, but have instead discovered two incredible activities that go a long way in defining who I have become. I absolutely love them both. I also jointed and love Crossfit. I have made many new friends, but not friends with whom I talk with like I do my two men. That last issue is huge when it comes to actually saying good bye to them.


Thanks again. You have no idea how great your input has been. Friends.

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OK...first guy....with me....I tried to do the ..."when you do this, it makes me feel that...." with him. He tried, but he couldn't change his behaviour even though I knew he cared until finally I just had had enough. So even if you tell the first guy, he may not care how his behaviour makes you feel...personally, it sounds like he doesn't so I don't even think you need to give him an explanation besides, "hey, it's not working out - thanks but no thanks"...you can add your touches...


And the second guy, I would not tell him you are not attracted to him....if he treats you well, etc....maybe hold out a little bit longer to see if something blossoms....seems like you are finding yourself and your new self may start feeling attracted to him....if not, no harm...it happens. One of the men I have recently been attracted to in my life is 20 years my senior.....I would have never thought in a million years, that I would be attracted to someone that much older than me in a sexual way....sometimes as you evolve, your tastes evolve. So no rush, but if you "know" it's not going to be anything more than "friends" then ask to keep a "friend" relationship. May not be what he wants but he may appreciate the closeness you 2 share as well.


Good luck...keep us posted.

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The advent of online dating has certainly changed the face of dating.


Nowadays it's deemed ok (almost mandatory by some) to have sex (or at least very intimate enounters like oral sex) with someone before you are a "monogamous" entity .... and I personally just have a hard time playing that game. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE sex, but when I go there it's because I feel a personal connection to the other person that I don't want to share with another ... and I think it really feeds into the male's ability to want to have their cake and eat it (so to speak... ahem...) too. I'm struggling with that right now ... dating someone who claims to want to get to know me, who I initially felt safe enough to spend the night with (we kept pants on ... that was my agreement for staying) but things got pretty hot and now I'm feeling pulled further in than may be healthy for me just yet (ie, still working out the kinks of things like our communication styles and whether he's dating others/is ready for a commitment) ... I'm talking to other guys but don't know that I could multi-date and continue to do overnights with him even though we are not having intercourse. Trying to figure out what works for *me* here .... and then trying to find someone who is willing to play within that in today's dating world .... well, lets just say that it's not easy.


@seeker - don't check out. There are women like me who are desperate for a "decent" guy to come along who doesn't play games. Believe me ;)

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sorry dancer but as they say in Missouri " show me" I just don't see it out there. I see superficiality ruling the day ( and ive been told im a pretty good looking feller, I have all my teeth). I would never conceive of sex on a first date, that's bar pickups where its expected to possibly happen but not on an actual " lets meet for coffee or a drink, etc" thing. Oprah and movies have jacked up dating. id go on but im feeling that this is becoming a thread hijack.

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I was just thinking that (hijack) but that doesn't mean this isn't an important conversation.


I had a very anxious day today. I'm between a rock and hard place with these men. I am so afraid of having transmitted the virus to guy one. I haven't heard from him much since the incident. That's kind of a relief, but still bothers me. I've tried the "it's not working, goodbye" routine with him before. And it didn't work. But if he says it to me, it would push me in the right direction and prevent me from being a hanger-on. I can only imagine the reason he hasn't communicated.


Guy number two got real complicated because of our discussion and my soul is reeling on that one. I think I'm going to tell him I need a break at least. I need my space, man.


I do believe I will find a good man, one who l like and is good to me. But I'm impatient and have jealousy issues. These two things get in my way of just chillin' til he comes my way.


And seeker: girls like bad boys, men like supermodels/younger women. I think there is a parallel there. So, you say good guy wants to check out. I say being an older single woman is a scary place to be. And the "medical condition" (as guy one calls it) that we on this forum all share only exacerbates the anxiety.

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I was in the exact same situation as u with guy one. Ok not exactly but the whole I wish u would break up with me so I wouldn't have to break up with u b I am not strong enuff.


Well u know what? It took a lot of bandaid to rip off but I finally did it. It sent me reeling but I did it.


And I still cry about it even today but it was the best decision in the end for me. The damage it did to my Self esteem (although didnt realize at the time) I am still trying to repair.


Rip off the bandaid. Whatever he got he knew u had it. It's a risk no matter what u did or didn't do and if he was decent he would have created am open environment for you to be honest with him. It's not entirely ur fault so to speak.


You will never be completely ready to end it. Trust me.

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@whitedaisies is right, and I can tell you her story really is VERY similar to yours. Rip the band-aid off ... you will be amazed how good you feel afterwards ;)


And then go get help for the impatience/jealousy issues. ( get you on impatience ... I want answers yesterday ;) ) Jealousy is toxic and that is something I would definitely work on BEFORE you get with someone else ... you will be a better person for them and you will be happier in all your relationships in the end :)




Read these until you get it - the one thing that H makes people do is to get more real about the RELATIONSHIP first, and it's having amazing results here




and specifically this one by another guy



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