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prodrome and unprotected sex

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Hi, this is my first post and I'm super scared but figured I'd try anyways. So, I got diagnosed HSV2 this July and it was the shock of a lifetime. I had the impression my whole life that girls like me didn't get herpes, and all of my friends had been way more sexually active than I had been so what did I do wrong? Transitioning to now, I have/had been together with a guy when I got diagnosed and he was understanding which made me feel a teensie pit less alone in this world. I was prescribed 500mg valtrex and would take it pretty consistently for the first month than I realized that it made me have what I now know as prodrome symptoms. So, when I knew I was going to see him I would take the 500mg valtrex maybe one or two days before or the night of (my doctor said that this is one way I could use it and still reduce transmission?). Before and since I have disclosed, we do not use condoms. Two days ago and yesterday I began to feel prodrome (again, did not know what it was at the time) and took 500mg two days ago and 1000 mg yesterday because I knew I was seeing him. I avoided sex last night but woke up this morning and did not feel symptoms of prodrome. I took a 500mg 30 minutes before we had sex, but again it was unprotected. After sex I felt pain in my genitals and saw a small cut in my lower vulva (from sex, I am assuming). I apologize for being graphic but I am scared that I put him at risk and that I could have possibly spread HSV to him. I have been looking online for answers but wasn't sure how the valtrex, unprotected sex, and prodrome interacted. Please let me know any thoughts or suggestions on how to approach this.



Super scared college girl :(

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Hey! Well, there's not going to be a straightforward answer for you. There are so many factors that go into transmission. All you can do is try to minimize the factors you can control and do your best. And yes, since you're having sex without condoms, not taking daily suppressive medication and you were feeling prodrome symptoms the risk is higher, but it's not definitive. If you take a look at the handouts — https://herpesopportunity.com/free-ebook-signup.html — you'll see that still even with no protection, no meds and no visible outbreak, the chances of spreading herpes to males is 4% per year (10% for females). So the only way to tell for sure if you passed herpes onto him is if he gets a visible outbreak and gets it swabbed for testing or if he gets a blood test in a few months (once herpes antibodies have enough time to reach detectable levels). And by the way, taking meds immediately before sex doesn't help to minimize the risk. Generally, it's best to be taking daily suppressive therapy and not miss a day. If you miss a day, double up on your dosage (what Terri Warren suggests).


Ultimately, you did disclose, which is awesome, because that means you two are in relationship around keeping him safe, and you're also both in relationship around the risk of passing it. If having sex without a condom is something that you both discussed and made a decision on together, then he is deciding to take on that risk as well. It's not fair for you to shoulder all the burden of possibly giving him herpes. Best you can do is enjoy each other, keep an open line of communication, try not to be paranoid (be cautious, not paranoid) and live your life. There are much bigger things out there than herpes that deserve your attention. :)

This content is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis. I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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