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Genital herpes (HSV 1) and dating

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I was diagnosed with genital HSV 1 back in December. Like a majority of people, I got it from receiving oral sex from someone who I'm assuming had a history of cold sores, because they didn't have any visible ones at the time. It was someone that I wasn't in a relationship with, and after the fact things ended. I've been reading the forums and researching gHSV 1 and I'm aware of the transmission rates (4% a year from female to male, add anti-virals and consistent condom usage it lowers to approximately 1% a year with 2 sex acts a week). As well as asymptomatic shedding rates (genital HSV sheds between 3-5% a year, which is at most 18 days out of the 365). I've also compared it to oral HSV 1, which a majority of the population already has, and sheds asymptomatically 9-18% of the time. Therefore, I'm not necessarily concerned about how this will affect me health wise because ultimately I realized, it won't. I've had one outbreak and I've read that gHSV 1 rarely recurs, if it does.


So my concerns are in the relationship department. I'm a freshman in college, and dating is my concern. I'm sure that I would disclose, before sex, however, I'm not sure when the best timing would be. Before sex is on the table, or when a relationship is on the table? I've been extremely cautious with my sex life (only having sex with one person, only receiving oral from a couple) and I still managed to get an STD. I'm now in a place where I'm not emotionally prepared to have sex with someone, but when I am, I would like to be confident and prepared. So here are my questions


1) Within the first year of exposure, what are the rates of asymptomatic shedding (for gHSV 1)?


2) When do you disclose to someone? If sex is not an option yet in a relationship, would it be wrong to wait until it is to disclose? Or would it most likely lead them to feel like you were being deceitful?


3) anti-virals aren't usually suggested for people with gHSV 1 because of how rarely it sheds, however how long before being sexually active would it be recommended to start taking anti-virals? or is that a necessary precaution?


4) Is assuming 2 sex acts a week assuming sex acts 2 days out of the week? Or is that the equivalent to having sex 2 times a week?


5) What are some ways to prepare myself for the talk? I have the information, I'm just afraid to disclose, of course because of fear of rejection. How do I prepare myself for the talk to go smoothly? Also, what are some ways that you have successfully reassured your partner during or following disclosure? I don't want to make it seem as though I'm forcing them to accept me, but I don't want this to be a deal breaker either (although for some I'm sure it could be). I've read that some people have never been rejected over this, just as I've read some sad rejection stories.


6) Is gHSV 1 more likely to infect a partners mouth during oral sex than their genitals? I know genital to genital transmission is extremely rare. Is it safe to assume the same for genital to mouth transmission? Since one is contagious through asymptomatic shedding, which is rare for gHSV 1?


I know that was a lot of questions. I just want to be prepared when the time comes to disclose. Since I'm interested in someone now, this has caused a lot of anxiety. Also going through this in college has added to the stress, because I feel like if I was older, it would be easier to disclose because people are more interested in long-term relationships and would more likely be more accepting of the slight risk. As college students, I can't picture many being willing to take this risk because relationships are usually more temporary. Thanks in advance for any advice or insight :)

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Hello and Welcome!


BTW, the 4% female to male rates are for HSV2 ... the rate would be lower for HSV1 genitally ;)


So for your questions:


1) There isn't any data for asymptomatic shedding in the first year but of course it will be more than later ... as your body creates the antibodies to fight it the shedding will lessen. You just need to be careful to listen to your body and not play if you have *anything* suspicious going on (there's lots of other ways to have fun!!!)


2) Well, to be honest, there is no "perfect" time to tell. Each person finds not only what they are comfortable with but also each relationship tends to develop differently, so where you might tell someone really early on in one relationship (maybe they bring up STD's or you somehow have a "truth or dare" moment ;) ) yet another just may not feel right at first (maybe you are not sure of your feelings or their intentions). So really, you just have to play each one as they go ... unless you are like me and you are 100% "out" - in which case all this is a moot point and if they say they like me I know they are OK with my status :) .


3) There's different opinions between Dr's about whether you need antivirals with GHSV1 or not... I think if it makes you feel better, take them ... especially in the first year when you are still creating the antibodies and learning how to deal with it. You should take them for 10 days before you start to get intimate ...


4) 2 sex acts per week I believe ...


5) The first thing to do to to prepare is to realize that *if* you get rejected, it is NOT about you. Consider it just another deal breaker for some ... like smoking or children or age or whatever. For instance, someone who is OCD or a germphobe may find it very stressful to consider the risk. But for someone who feels they take good care of their bodies and don't worry about every little bug, scar, or twinge, the risk may not seem to be a big deal. Having the handouts from here is a great resource (try to get them to not look at Google Images because the worst photos are on the first page!). Tell him that you will help him to find RELIABLE sources for info if they want to research...


And Herpes makes a GREAT wingman ... sounds nuts I know, but it's true:





http://supporttruthanddialog.com/rejection_its-all-about-perspective/ (my blog)



Herpes as a relationship filter Adrial


Personally I wonder if those who never get rejected are telling the whole truth ... some Drs tell their clients they are ok as long as they don't have an outbreak ... which isn't true ... but then the person uses that as a way to make it seem like the risk is nil without a lesion, and most people are totally ignorant about the facts ... and then there will be the people who are more interested in getting INTO you than getting into YOU who may turn tail at disclosure. Just accept that if they do walk away, they are just not the person for you.


6) Again, I don't think there are any studies around this but given that 60% of kids have oral HSV1 by the time they are young adults and the other 20% who get it as adults probably get it by kissing during their younger years, AND that it sheds a lot less genitally than it does orally, I'd say that anyone who is out there making out in any way is at a LOT higher risk than they are to get it from oral sex (because most of the people who they are with likely don't know they have oral HSV1 and may not realize they can pass it on). If the person already has had cold sores you are good to go anyway...




As for how many will be willing to take a risk ... honey... most college kids are taking risks all the time simply because most have no frickin idea about the truth about STD's. AND on top of that, there's a lot of drunk sex going on ... a lot of raging hormones ... the honest truth is that in a way YOU are safer simply because you know to slow things down and have the talk and make sure that the person knows their risk, and that YOU know THEIR status too (ie, make sure they know they need to ASK for a herpes test, and make sure they get a copy of their results ... explain that without that they are ASSUMING that they were tested for everything ... seeing it on paper, they can make sure all bases were covered including chlamydia, HPV, etc... )


Bottom line, when someone is a genuinely good person, someone will see that and Herpes won't be a big deal... a smart man will take a little virus over crazy or drama queens ;)




Handouts + disclosure e-book:



Herpes facts video


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Thank you so much for your response! It has eased a little anxiety I've had over this, and I've begun to realize a lot of my worries about relationships were there prior to getting HSV 1. They're just amplified when you throw the stress of disclosure in the mix. :) I'm aware that college students are already taking a lot of risks, but I feel like I'm holding a lot of responsibility on my shoulders because I KNOW that I am positive, KNOW that I can pass it to someone else, and am planning on disclosing. The stigma attached to that is my main concern, as I'm sure most people here understand. Although they may be taking risks by hopping into bed with someone, the difference is knowing versus not knowing. Personally, I would rather know. If the person who got cold sores had told me about it, I would've taken my time deciding on whether to be intimate with them or not, looked at the relationship more closely and would not be here. However, some people are not me, and I just don't want to be judged. I'm not "easy" or "promiscuous", I just got unlucky.


You're completely "out" about having herpes, has that negatively impacted your life? My biggest fear is telling someone and it getting around, because it is a little embarassing and I feel like that kind of information is personal (along with anything else in my sex or personal life).


Also, are prodomal feelings a sign of asymptomatic shedding, if there aren't any visible symptoms following them?

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I have to head to bed but wanted to add this quickly.


My coming out over a year ago has been a very positive experience ... I came out on FB and to pretty much everyone but my 86 yr old father (who just wouldn't deal with it well - he's starting to get confused about things as it is.. he doesn't need to have to worry about me which he likely would if I told him). I'll post a few links about my coming out and a few others that came out since ... as well as prodrome info... gotta get some Zzzzz's :)








Ash Beckhams Closet Ted Talk

http://herpeslife.com/herpes-thoughts-carrier/ My journey










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