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new herpes diagnosis - lots of questions!

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I'm going to try not to babble. I've been with my husband for almost 4 years. I've never had herpes symptoms, he had a cold sore (just once) as a kid but never since. On April 2, 2013 I gave birth to our son. We waited the 6 weeks to have sex. A couple days later I got what I thought was an ingrown hair. I picked at it a little but didn't find a hair. Then another bump popped up, then another, by last weekend I was in excrutiating pain and i had more blisters on my vulva and rectal area then I could count. I went to the doctors on Monday and she confirmed what I deep down (despite convincing myself that it had to be an allergic reaction to soap or something) already knew. She sent of blood work, and was told today that my IGM came back positive, and my IGG negative. She said based on everything she was pretty confident that it was a recent exposure.


Since this is my first outbreak and it was a day or two after sex (both oral and vaginal) with my husband. He has absolutely NO symptoms other then back pain but he works construction so he always has back problems. He is going to get tested, but I know there is no way to tell if I got it from Oral or genital sex. I am assuming that I got it through oral since my understanding from literature is that its rare to contract HSV1 with just sex.


So I have two questions. 1. How do we handle sex from here on out? Especially since he has no symptoms. I have no desire to have sores on my mouth, but I'm scared to kiss on him since I never know when he is actively shedding. We are fairly sure he is mouth infected because he had cold sores as a kid but never an ob as an adult in either mouth or genital region. What are the best ways to ensure we don't cross infect each other, especially if he doesn't have symptoms?


2. I obviously want to avoid exposure to my newborn. Could I have been exposed to HSV1 on my mouth and not have an outbreak? Or is it fairly safe to assume i am only infected in the genital area, and as long as I don't have an ob on my mouth, I am safe to kiss on the baby? Is it wrong for me to ask my husband not to kiss on the baby until we can figure out some sort of physical symptom that might indicate that he is shedding the virus?

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Also this is really effecting our marriage. My husband is blaming himself and thinks I am mad/blaming him. I am mad, but not at him specifically, just at the whole situtation. How can we both process this in a healthy way. I feel like he is pushing me away because he infected me with herpes and concerned about infecting the baby.

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Hey Done,


Deeeeep breath. I totally get the frustration and anger at the situation. And I totally get how he could be taking all that personally due to his feelings of guilt. Both of you get to have your individual experiences and come together when you can to support each other or talk about it.


For a foundational understanding of all the facts and figures, download these 2 handouts and read them over:




... and here's an article on how you get herpes:



As to your specific questions ...


1. 80% of people have oral HSV-1 (cold sores). It's super common. The only way to avoid getting it is to never kiss anybody. That said, kiss your husband. You will never know when he's actively shedding, but you already have HSV-1 genitally now, so your body is already building up antibodies and immunity to being able to get the virus elsewhere on the body. The likelihood of you getting cold sores from kissing your husband goes less and less as time goes on.


2. The chances of infecting your newborn by gentle kisses, even if you do have latent oral HSV-1, is very small. The way that most children get cold sores is from mis-informed adults kissing them WITH active outbreaks. In order to spread herpes, there has to be some nice friction goin' on (if you know what I mean). And that goes for your husband, too. As long as he is cognizant of when he might be developing a cold sore or not (feeling a tingling on the area on his lips where he normally develops an outbreak), he can kiss the baby with a very slim chance of passing herpes. Be safe, but don't be paranoid. The kisses and love from you to your child are much more powerful than herpes is dangerous. Don't let that hold you back from loving your child.


Does this help?

Note: This 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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The problem is that my husband has no symptoms, he still has to get a blood test. He had a cold sore once as a child. That's probably the most frustrating part is his lack of symptoms. He was with his ex wife for 19 years and never once had an ob and she never did either...so if he has no symptoms how do we know when it's ok to kiss on the baby? He got it as a child so why can't a baby?

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15-20% of people who get herpes never have an outbreak. And yes, there is always a chance of passing it to the baby. Did you read what I wrote above? The way that most children get oral herpes (cold sores) from their relatives is when their relatives have an actual active outbreak on their lips and then kiss the baby. Herpes is many, many times more contagious when an oozing lesion is present. Viral shedding sheds so little of the virus that there is such a small chance of herpes being spread to the child. But as a precautionary measure since a newborn baby has such delicate skin, be more cautious of that since herpes spreads through mucous membranes and easy access past the skin. And yes, there is still a chance. And it's up for both of you to decide, but don't treat it like your husband is a walking contagion that's definitely going to infect your baby with a kiss, because the chances are smaller than you might think. (And I can imagine your motherly instincts wanting to protect your child, which I totally honor; just wanting to make sure you see this as true to life as it is without blowing anything out of proportion.)

Note: This 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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I'm just trying to help you get the correct information. What you do with that information is totally up to you. :) Much love, Done!

Note: This 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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