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Ex-boyfriend denies giving me herpes

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Hi all, so glad I found this site! So...I was diagnosed with genital herpes-1 about a month ago. I feel confident that my ex-boyfriend gave it to me. He had a small red bump on his lower lip, which to me looked like a blemish, not a cold sore. He had given me oral sex at that time. That is the only way I can guess how and who I got it from. We were in an exclusive 2 year relationship. No problems at all during that time. Then boom! Within a week I came down with flu-like symptoms. That apparently was my first primary outbreak. I guess I started Acyclovir in time before developing blisters. I only had a few tiny 'bubble-looking' bumps. That was it. So as of yet I have not had the classic herpes symptoms.


When I talked to my ex-boyfriend over the phone with the news, I tried to be as sensitive as possible. He got defensive and denied it. He said he didn't have it, therefore could not have given it to me. He said he knew all about herpes. Apparently he didn't. I myself obviously was not educated on the more recent findings within the last few years. So, I am obviously hurt by his reaction and lack of concern. Is this attitude and reaction more common with men than women? I'd like some feedback, as this is all new to me. On a more positive note, I am glad I have type 1 rather than 2.

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Welcome to the forums, CL. Glad you're here reaching out.


I don't see denial and defensiveness as more of a feminine/masculine trait and more of a human being trait. Defensiveness is protectiveness. It sounds like a part of him knows that he passed herpes to you. Because of this rampant ignorance about cold sores being able to be passed to the genitals (where they magically transform into genital herpes!), this phenomenon of oral-sex-to-genitals is why over 50% of every new genital herpes case is HSV-1 due to oral sex! And it continues to happen since 80% of Americans 14-49 have cold sores (oral HSV-1).



As far as the antibodies go, it takes weeks on average for your body to develop enough of them to be detectable on the IgM or IgG blood test. (I'd have to look deeper to give you exact timeframes, but I seem to remember it's about 6-10 weeks?)

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. 

Helpful resources:

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Welcome CL! I can relate to the situation you experienced with your ex. I had my initial outbreak during a long-term relationship, and we did a good job of shoving down the emotions while we were together, but during the breakup a lot of stuff came back up to the surface. He went to speak with a nurse who told him there was no way he could have herpes because he never had an outbreak (just another example of the misinformation out there within the medical profession). He ran with that...there was no way he had it and no way he gave it to me. At one point, we had a heated discussion when I suggested he tell any future partners that he'd had unprotected sex for 3 years with someone who'd had genital herpes. It wasn't a very pretty ending. So I empathize. You're not alone.

Much love, Beckie

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Thanks Beckie, btw I was 'CountryLover' but now I'm Lioness. Unbelievable about the nurse and her lack of information! I have learned so much on here and can totally see how people are confused and/or don't want to accept and take responsibility. I wasn't aware of the 5-10% viral shedding. My ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend (who he was with exclusively before me) has oral cold sore HSV-1 and she could have very well passed it onto him. Although she said she was careful and didn't kiss him or have oral sex during an outbreak, she still could have passed it through the viral shedding. She said there was no way she could have passed it onto him. I really do feel she gave him the cold sore type 1, then he gave me genital type-1. I sent him info with links on herpes via email and he thinks it's BS. Very sad.


So...a couple questions on what I'm not clear on...

(1) Since there were no antibodies present in my results, does that indicate I have not previously been infected? If so, then that means I know for sure I got it from my ex-boyfriend.

(2) Since I have genital type-1, does that mean I will always have outbreaks only genitally? Or could I still have cold sores/fever blisters as well?

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Hey Lioness (LOVE the name btw:),


As far as I know, antibodies start to develop right after contraction, so it would seem likely that you did get it from your ex if there were no antibodies present during your first outbreak. If anyone else has more info on this, jump in!


And regarding your second question, Adrial wrote a blog that talks about this:


"Worried about spreading it to other parts of your body? Based on my experience and everything I’ve heard from the medical community and people in the support group, it’s difficult to spread herpes manually from one part of the body to another. It is possible, but it’s hard to do. Keep in mind that for some people, the virus shows up in the exact same spot for every herpes outbreak, while for other people, their outbreaks move around a bit (the virus might use a different nerve system/”herpes highway” to get to the surface of the skin). For those where it moves around a bit, this is most likely not because of anything you’ve done. In order for you to manually move the virus to other parts of your body, you’ll have to transfer the fluid from within a herpes sore to another part of your body that has an opening (a cut, a mucous membrane). And because of the rapid breakdown of the herpes virus in open air, this would have to be done with ninja-like swiftness. But if you have any sort of paranoia, simply wash your hands after touching any herpes sore and you’re definitely home-free."




Hugs! Beckie :)

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1) It would seem that your assumption would be correct, but that's more of a question for the doctor. I don't know enough about that specific question to give you an absolute answer that could hold up in a court of law. ;)


2) You could also have cold sores/fever blisters, but they won't spontaneously show up on your lips unless you touch your genital sores and then touch your lips OR if you kiss someone else who also has oral HSV-1. Currently, your HSV-1 is camping out at your basal ganglia, which is located at the base of your spine (oral HSV-1 camps out near the top of the spine. If you only have HSV-1 genitally, the virus doesn't travel up the spine to get to your lips. The path of least resistance from the base of your spine is to your genitals. Of course, what this question doesn't take into consideration is maybe you already have HSV-1 orally but haven't had a visible outbreak yet. And these days, it'll be damn hard to completely protect yourself from oral HSV-1. 80% of Americans 14-49 have it.


One sidenote to what I said in that blog article is that it IS actually pretty easy to spread herpes to your eyes. And ocular herpes is pretty uncomfortable from what I hear. So just use soap and you're all good. But don't be paranoid about it. Just be safe.


And check out these handouts for all the pertinent facts & figures:



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. 

Helpful resources:

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Thank you both Adrial and Beckie, this helps a lot! :)

I also had a severe case of Bacterial Vaginosis at the same time, which is what actually made me break down and go the the doctor. It was then during an exam that they saw a herpes lesion. Because of the severity of my BV, I don't know if the herpes symptoms/sores were 'masked.' However, I do remember seeing a few tiny bumps which were very temporary, I think because I started the antiviral soon enough to prevent a full outbreak? My guess only. But the timing in all this makes sense to me. I had flu-like symptoms 2 days before I went to the doctor. It's been a month since this ordeal and so far all is good, I'm back to normal. :) But I still have no idea what to expect with my next outbreak because of the nature of my first experience.


I will say I am lucky to have not contracted HSV in my earlier years. I'm almost 50 (Beckie, that is where my 'Lioness' comes from, I'm a Leo), so my experience is not typical of the average age group. I think anyway!

I have accepted having HSV and feel no shame (that may be due to being older?).

I just feel very sad about how my ex is choosing to totally ignore me and denying having it in the first place. Btw, we were still together when all this happened. So I am still raw with emotions, as it has been only 1 month. Who knows, maybe someday he will come around and be willing to open up and 'man up.' Right now he obviously is in denial.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a quick note about infecting yourself again in some other part.


I have read tons of medic literature and there is no any evidence of such behavior. I wouldn't say is impossible because I have not read it nor find any lead but it seems highly unlikely.


Adrial, do you have that article about spreading H to the eyes? I would like to take a look at it


What I found out is there is a huge misconception (even among some family doctors) about the very nature of herpes outbreaks. To the point of hearing a Doctor giving advice about using underwear so the penis won't touch the legs and therefore spreading the infection to the thighs LOL.


I believe Adrial has uploaded some information about how the genital HSV could show symptom anywhere around the basal ganglia zone, also known as the underwear zone. So, my answer is no, you don''t infect yourself in other parts of the body, as you don't get reinfected with the same HSV type if you get sex with a positive partner. It's a matter of building defenses that's keeps the H at bay.


Said that, unless I see significant medical facts about it, it's just part of the paranoid behavior we develop along the years.


In addition, cleaning your hands after touching the sores or your genitalia it should granted and off the discussion here :))

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