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I'm very confused as to what to do next?


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My wife of 15 years found out a year ago that she has HSV2. Her first outbreak was 5 years ago. She thought it was something else. We've had normal sex over these past years and I've never had any symptoms.

 

My question is two-fold:

 

1. Could I be asymptomatic and have given it to her (her first sympotms were 5 years ago? ) I've never had a cold sore or any signs whatsoever.

2. Or, could she have gotten it years ago (she led a somewhat promiscuous lifestyle) and the first outbreak show up 5 years ago?

 

I'm very confused. I know she and I have been faithful. I have never been tested and now since I've been on these forums, I've gotten obsessed with the topic. Our sex life is non-existent. What should I do next? Our discussions about it have been very open and honest — I love her very much.

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Hey printforfood,

 

Welcome to the forums, bro. Short answer: You'll never know who gave it to who. It's a normal reaction to try to go to the root of it to see who might have given it to who. But you could go back and forth on this until your head spins and there will never be a definitive answer. From what I understand, the IgG blood test for herpes can give you a semi-accurate timeline of when you were first exposed, but that's only for when you were exposed recently.

 

So with that part out of the way, to answer your questions specifically:

 

1. Could you be asymptomatic and passed it to her? Yes. Asymptomatic viral shedding happens 5-10% of the time without any visible signs or symptoms. Even though nothing is there visibly, it might as well be an outbreak in full bloom because it's just as easy to pass along during these times. The unfortunate part is you never know when this 5-10% is happening. If you still don't have it (find out with a blood test called IgG to be sure), then you can have her take suppressive therapy to lessen the viral shedding/outbreaks and therefore lessen the chance of passing it.

 

2. Could she have gotten herpes years ago and only have an outbreak 5 years ago? Yes, definitely. For example, I had an initial outbreak (at that time I didn't know that it was a herpes outbreak) and then didn't have my next outbreak until many years later. I was convinced I didn't have herpes (the IgG test wasn't available then). But even in those intervening years I was having asymptomatic viral shedding and had no idea. There are many cases like this where people get exposed to herpes and NEVER have an outbreak.

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • 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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Thanks

I guess the fact that she got her initial outbreak 10 years into our marriage was eating at me? Most of the posts I read here show people having an outbreak just a few weeks after exposure? Could the incubation period be 10 years or more?

 

Now I need to figure out a way to stop freaking out about catching it since I might already have it and try to get back into a normal lifestyle. I'm 53 and she is 43. I'm too old to worry too much. :) She is the one who has the sores and hurts. I can support her. I guess me getting tested would do no good or have any purpose at this point.

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You're welcome.

 

And the whole 10-years-into-marriage-first-outbreak thing ... Don't think of it as an "incubation period" ... it's actually quite possible she got the virus and just never got an outbreak even though she was having asymptomatic viral shedding. No outbreak doesn't mean the virus is still incubating; it just means the person is a silent carrier.

 

If it will help ease your mind to know whether you have it or not, I'd suggest you go get an IgG test. You have to ask for it specifically (it's not included in regular STD testing). It will give you a definitive answer and if you have it, will tell you which strain you have, HSV1 or HSV2. Then at least if you DON'T have it, then your wife can get on suppressive therapy to lessen the chances of you getting it. If you DO have it, then all is good; you can continue as you are ...

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • 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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Yes, perfect. Acyclovir is right on. I am taking 400mg 2x/day to keep my girlfriend herpes-free. It's been working for the past few years! Glad to hear your wife is doing the same.

Notes:

  • My mother is now in hospice with end-stage cancer, so I am at her house a lot these days helping where I can until she passes. Thank you in advance for understanding if I am not as quick to respond as I normally would be. This is a precious and bittersweet time …
  • 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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