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How to protect myself from contracting HSV


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Hi, I met an awesome guy a couple of months ago. Then 2 weeks ago he told me that the has genital HSV.(not sure if it is 1 or 2). We have had no sexual intercourse, no sexual relations at all yet. So I am trying to find out how best to protect myself from getting HSV.

I've gone to have blood tests done on myself to find out if I maybe already have 1 or 2 - eventhough I have never had any reason or symptoms to think that I do. I await these results.

I have read up on HSV since finding this out - so during active outbreaks - we would abstain. But I am more worried about the shedding in between outbreaks. He tends to get small sores on two areas on his penis he says - so a condom would protect me from this area.

But then he also gets a sore above his penis, in his pubic hairline area. I am wondering if liquid bandaid applied over this area (not during outbreaks) would protect me from shedding? Or perhaps liquid latex? (since condoms are latex... would liquid latex applied to that area provide the same kind of protection?)

Or anything else that could be put over that small area just to minimize the risk of contracting it from that area in case it is shedding?

 

Also, if I play with him (with my hand) and it touches that area above his penis - is this pretty safe?

 

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@tc50

 

Hello and Welcome!

 

Glad you are doing your homework and getting informed. We'll do the best we can to help you to understand Herpes and how to protect yourself.

 

To be honest I never thought about/heard about the idea of using liquid bandaid or anything like it but it certainly wouldn't hurt. However, he *could* be shedding from anywhere in the boxer region, especially in the area of the the penis and the area where he has his other OB. More people get it from asymptomatic shedding than from someone with an open sore ... usually from someone who doesn't know they have it.

 

It *would* help to know which one he has, because HSV1 sheds a lot less downstairs ... so I'd encourage him to get those results. And come back when you get your results ... we can give you more to work with once you both know your status....

 

BTW, is he willing to go on antivirals??? That reduces your risk by at least 50%.

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Thank you so much for your feedback.

Firstly, I didn't realize that the shedding was not directly from where he actually usually gets the outbreaks. So basically the entire genital area is at risk all the time?

But before I get totally defeatist about it... I will hang on to hear my results. And speak with him to get his tested for the type.

He is somewhat willing to go onto antivirals...cost would be an issue - I have not investigated this at all. And also the fact of side effects etc of being on it 'forever' - I am not sure how this could damage his health in other areas like liver etc.

 

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Several things that you really need to understand.

 

80% of the population has Oral HSV1. 80% of them don't know it. So if you like oral sex, odds are you have been and likely will be exposed to it already and never got it that way.

 

15-20% have Genital Herpes and 80% of THEM don't know they have it. And those are the people who usually end up passing it on because they don't know their "rash" is Herpes or they are shedding asymptomatically.

 

Oh - and we haven't even mentioned HPV, which the CDC says everyone will get if you are at all sexually active... and you can't test men for it.

 

So unless you either want to become a Nun, you have to go into having sex with the understanding that unless you are in a LONG TERM, monogamous relationship where both have been tested at least 4 months post-last-sexual-encounter (including oral sex) there will ALWAYS be a risk involved of getting *something*.

 

Just as you get in your car every day, yet you *could* get hurt or killed.... and you ride with people who despite all their best intentions, *could* be driving and get you into an accident. And if we wish to use this kind of transport, we do it knowing that there is a risk involved every time we (hopefully) buckle that seat belt that something "bad" could happen.

 

http://supporttruthanddialog.com/driving-yourself-crazy/

 

And if you do any kind of extreme/risky sport this is even more relevant ... just look at how many people die from downhill skiing or whatever.... which is like sex in that most would rather not wear a helmet, and many pay the price for that choice... AND even if you DO use one, you could STILL have a life-altering accident.

 

As for the meds, the liver issue is usually a problem for people who already have liver issues. And you may decide down the line that you are ok with him going off of them. I'd suggest that ANYONE in a new relationship use the anti-virals simply because that first 3 months-1 yr is the rockiest and until you know you are on pretty solid ground, I'd want the extra protection simply because it's FAR less stressful *if* you get it when the relationship is solid than when you are still ironing out the kinks and wondering if this really IS a potential LTR. It takes one of the stressors out of the equation during that time. But it doesn't have to be a "forever" thing. We have guys on here who have never given it to their partner ... @ihaveittoo can you chime in here?

 

So - the question is, do you love him enough that a risk of, say, 5-10% PER YEAR (without any form of protection) is tolerable? Is the relationship solid enough for you to trust him to do what he can to protect you, knowing that you still could get it anyway (just as you could be injured in a car accident even though he drives sober, maintains his tires/brakes, and makes you wear a seat belt?). If you are in doubt take it slow, don't jump into sex until YOU are ready. One thing we have found on here is that this alone actually makes Herpes a good Wingman for those of us with the virus, because we really get to know the other person FIRST before we complicate things with Oxytocin and all the other lovely sex-related hormones that cloud our brains from rational thinking :)

 

(((HUGS)))

 

 

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Thanks again... yes I agree totally. I realize there's always going to be that risk and yes thats exactly it.... due to this relationship being early days is why I am most fearful. I want to take all necessary precautions for in case we don't work out. But eventually in time if we are solid etc then I wouldn't care as much.

And it has been wonderful getting to really know each other first and taking it slow on the sexual side of things.

I am eager to know my results and eager to get him to go and get his type tested. This will already clarify options.

Thank you so much and will chat back again also when I know more.

hugs

 

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I just thought of something... if maybe you know please? If the results come back and give a positive to either HSV1 or HSV2 - how will I know if say its HSV2 - how do I know if I have genital HSV2 or oral HSV2? Do you know if the blood test should stipulate this too?

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@tc50 much credit to your guy for being open and honest with you (so many aren't-or don't know) and much credit to you for gathering all the information to make an INFORMED decision. I will say this for you to think about..... the risk you would be taking with a man who KNOWS he has herpes, KNOWS his symptoms and had fully disclosed to you is technically a FAR LOWER risk than sleeping with a man who is unaware of his status (or doesn't disclose). As you will learn, most new cases of herpes are contracted from people who DIDN'T KNOW THEY HAD IT! Taking precautions to protect you during shedding is actually going to make your risk very low and if he can take the anti-virals, it will further reduce your risk in a BIG WAY. He doesn't have to be on them forever but in new relationships it's important for the herpes positive partner to do everything they can to minimize the risk. Eventually you can decide together whether or not to continue. As you move forward and get to know this guy, try to remember what dancer said.... all decisions in life involve risk, if you decide not to pursue a sexual relationship with him, do it because you don't see a future with HIM not because he has a skin condition called herpes.

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@fitgirl Thank you so much also for your input. I am truly thankful that he has disclosed for sure as now we can try to be as safe as possible going into this. I am definitely going to talk to him about going onto the anti-virals. If we work long-term then we can discuss to make changes.

One question from what you said - "Taking precautions to protect you during shedding is actually going to make your risk very low" - since there is no way of knowing when he is shedding... do you mean the use of condoms at all times (initially in the relationship anyway)? or another way in between outbreaks that can reduce risk that I maybe don't know of? (other than anti-virals).

thank you

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The two best known ways to protect a partner are condoms and anti-virals .... but personal vigilance is a biggie too ... and not having sex if you have any open sores/ingrown hairs/etc down there (be really careful about shaving as razor burn is a super highway for the virus) .... and it won't hurt to have an Apple Cider rinse on hand to clean off with afterwards as the cider is anti-viral too....

 

And of course, no sex at all during an OB :)

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@WCSDander2010

@fitgirl

Hi, so I found out yesterday that the test for HSV 1 is positive. I haven't had a chance yet to look into how this affects our options for intimacy... if he has HSV1 if we're basically ok? If he has HSV2 then I could probably still give him 1 and he give me 2? But not sure of the stats and likelihood as I read somewhere that since I now know I have some antibodies my body could help fight against this... so chances of getting HSV2 would be really low. However, I will go research more on this.

Was just wondering what your thoughts and experience is on this please?

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Hey @tc50, just wanted to say it's awesome that you are taking the time to educate yourself and make an informed decision. If you do pursue this relationship, you'll come to realize how herpes is really a non-issue 95% of the time. Since you are HSV-1 positive, you do already have antibodies that will protect you against contracting it in another location... ie: if you have HSV1 orally, and he has HSV1 genitally... very slim that you would contract it genitally unless he had an outbreak, or your immune system was compromised etc. And bonus, in that case, oral sex is fair game. ;) Having HSV-1 will also protect you against HSV-2, if that's the type he has... however, there is still a chance you can contract genitally (orally is very rare). I, for one, have both types. (Lucky me!) My boyfriend has HSV1 oral only. I am taking antivirals, and we do not use condoms anymore. Essentially, it becomes a matter of being aware... just keeping yourself healthy, and maybe using supplements to boost your immune system, restraining from sex if there is an active outbreaks, or if either of you feels like one might be coming on. We also use coconut oil as a lubricant, cause it has natural anti-viral properties (but don't use that with latex condoms, can tear) and we use diluted apple cider vinegar as a cleanse after, which also has antiviral properties. The most important thing is to be honest and open about it...and you are off to a good start it seems. If you do decide to pursue this once you find out his type, it might be scary at first, for both of you, but take things slow, and see how it all evolves. Hope this helps!

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@positivelyBeautiful Thank you so much for your input. I strangely do somehow feel 'excited' for at least having HSV1... is that totally crazy on my part... :) But yes, I would like to take our relationship to the next level (not necessarily 'all the way' yet, but some kind of intimacy - which we've been holding off on too) and the more information I am getting the less scary this seems.

By having some antibodies in me already, and then using condoms, getting him onto antivirals, cleaning after - I am hopeful.

I am assuming I have oral... since no genital signs & perhaps if I think with colds or flu I got nose sores this could very well have been the herpes sores all along ... but I suppose I really have no sure way of knowing.

I appreciate all the information coming my way. thank you

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@tc50 as dancer and positively beautiful have said, the anti virals, condoms and body awareness will vastly reduce your risk. Shedding happens without symptoms but if you are using condoms and he is on anti-virals, you risk is very minimal. And..... YOU have herpes :). Once you have herpes in one location of your body it is EXTREMELY rare to get the same herpes elsewhere (if you have had the virus for a while). There are apparent cases on this forum where someone has type 1 in two locations but every doctor (and I have some really exceptional ones) I have asked has indicated that one you have herpes, you won't catch it again in another place on your body. Speaking of the same type in two places. Obviously in this world there is always someone who will beat all odds and all stats but it is simply not the norm. In the event he has type 2 then yes it is possible for you to give him type 1 and for him to give you type 2. HSV2 orally is another one of those anomalies.... very very rare. But you already have herpes orally (and we are assuming it's orally because you don't have OB's) so..... once again, you already have herpes girlfriend! The question now becomes whether you are willing to take the risk to get MORE herpes :)

This is the part of reasoning I don't understand..... I don't get why people are more afraid and more stigmatized by genital herpes than oral herpes. Its herpes for fuck sakes! You kiss more people than you sleep with and your mouth is visible for the world to see if you get a coldsore YET a person with genital herpes can have a full blown OB and no one would ever know, they put less people at risk of transfer merely by location and "how" you get it. You kiss friends, children, parents..... yet you didn't know you had herpes and wouldn't know when you are shedding. See my point here? If your guy doesn't have hsv1, then HE will now also be in a position to decide if he wants to take the risk of MORE herpes. If he has GHSV1 then you are both golden as far as I see it. Bottom line, think this through with your new information and come to a decision YOU are comfortable with. Just remember 80% of the population has herpes, is it worth giving up a relationship because of it? Chances are, the next guy you meet will have it too :)

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@positivelybeautiful

In your post you say that having H1 will protect tc50 to some extent from catching H2. Somehow I must have missed that fact, despite reading quite a lot about the virus. I have just met someone who has H1 orally (I have H2), so I would appreciate if you cared to elaborate a bit on this. I do know that the two strains are quite similar in their DNA, but that's about all I know.

 

By the way, she was really cool about it when I told her during our first (unplanned) make out session. Funny enough, I asked her if she knew anything about herpes. She said she didn't, but then went on to tell me that an ex boyfriend gave her H1 orally. I laughed a bit to myself, and then said "so then you are familiar with it after all". This all took place in Europe, where H is not that big of a deal.

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Hi @Ihaveittoo1975, glad to hear you had a so-far-successful disclosure!! As I understand it, since the two stains are very similar in DNA, having one adds a level of immunity to the other... the antibodies you have for one type can help your body fight off the other type... but again, this is not complete protection... I managed to get both types and I think @WCSDancer2010 has both as well. She would probably be able to elaborate further.

 

@tc50, glad we could help. The stigma is often scarier than the virus itself. Hope it all works out for you guys!

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Quick addition to the above:

 

Yes I have both ... bot HSV1 around 4 yrs old (have the photos to prove it) and HSV2 genitally (from my first time having sex... go me!)

 

The latest thinking that I have seen is that it's believed HSV2 protects against getting HSV1 better than than the other way around ... HSV1 doesn't seem to give as much protection from getting HSV2.

 

And having HSV1 in one place gives you *some* protection from getting it in another area... but we have had a small handful of people on here with HSV1 in both places.

 

And no matter what you have, again, awareness and education likely give you as much or more protection as anything else ... ;)

 

 

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