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My husband gave me herpes

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Hi all!

This has been the hardest week of my life, both physically and emotionally. I unknowingly had sex with my husband while he was having an outbreak. He was exposed to it 20 years ago in a foreign land and due to age or inexperience or a language barrier he went into some sort of denial over what it really was. So while he never disclosed it to me, he never really disclosed it to himself either, if that makes sense. And the fact that it went dormant for 20 years after his initial outbreak validated (in his mind, not mine) his rationalization that it wasn't herpes.

Obviously, I'm mad at him. If he had ever bothered to tell me about his experience 20 years ago then precautions could have been taken. But I can't change the past and the more I read the more I realize that with the prevalence of the disease, it could've just as easily been me that transmitted it to him and I hope he would be forgiving of me if the roles were reversed. And I also realize I'm lucky to be in a committed marriage and not out there dating and dealing with disclosure.

But I'm processing a lot of emotions right now. I don't feel sexy anymore. I don't feel like it will ever feel good to have sex again. The sores are so painful. I can't walk, sit, go to the bathroom, or even take a bath without screaming. My life feels like it has totally changed. Like, what if I get an outbreak during this big, planned trip I have with friends? What if I am someone who gets frequent outbreaks? Tampons, sex, and tight underwear are all triggers? This is what the rest of my life looks like?

I do have a couple questions that I've looked for answers to here but haven't found so perhaps this community can help me.

Question one: if my husband and I are in the prodome stage of an outbreak but don't know it, can we trigger an outbreak for the other person? Everything I read advises avoiding sex during an outbreak, but what is the risk to the partner who carries the virus but isn't currently having an outbreak?

Question two: Has anyone here had success with the chicken pox vaccine? I read anecdotally a couple people online say it lessened their outbreaks and severity. I'm totally willing to try it if it even has a chance of giving me back the life I had just a week ago. I know the virus is in me forever and I know there isn't a cure, but I'm willing to try anything realistic.

Thanks for listening. Even if no one responds it just feels good to type up my story.

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I'm not trying to defend your husband withholding information from you, and I have no idea where he is from exactly, but in a lot of foreign lands there is not a stigma against herpes even close to what it is in the West (US/Canada/Australia specifically). The factors you mentioned, combined with he may have never known it was a big deal or something that laid dormant for 20 years, I think could lead to something like this happening. Just wanted to add my personal experience and perspective. Sorry that you have it though.


Question one is a good one. I'll leave it to the experts. My guess is if you guys both have the same version of herpes which seems incredibly likely, then you guys are good.


Question two is a good question as well. You are asking questions that I do not often see here which is nice :-) As you probably know chicken pox (herpes zoster/varicella virus) is in the same family as herpes simplex, but not the exact same. If you have bad, reoccuring outbreaks then I would suggest anti-virals and/or natural supplements like garlic/echinacea/vit c/vit d/oregano oil/tea tree oil/etc.


Good luck. I know getting herpes can feel like it knocks the wind out of you, but know it's temporary.

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Not sure from what you wrote what type of H you and your husband have. Assuming you both have the same type, once you have it you can't give each other more of it. As far as not having sex during an outbreak, for me its about the friction. You can make the sores worse and prolong the healing time by engaging in intercourse.


As far as triggers go its different for everyone. The ones you mentioned are common triggers but they may have no effect one you. After about six months or so you should have a fairly good idea what your triggers may be. Have you been prescribed antivirals? They can be helpful if you are having frequent outbreaks.


Not sure about the chicken pox vaccine. Had it over 40 years ago now so I figure its a little late in my case.


Check out WCSDancer2010's blog http://supporttruthanddialog.com/. Its an excellent resource of herpes information and tips on how to handle it physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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