I had outbreaks of HSV1 as a teenager. It had been 16 years since I had an active outbreak, and then I kissed somebody who was starting to get a cold sore, and I got one too (very mild, short duration, did not recur - but I did feel the associated tingling so don't believe it was anything else)
The reason I am asking, is because I am in a non-monogamous relationship. My husband got HSV2 blood testing last year and it turns out he was positive. He was likely exposed to it almost 20 years ago, and has never had any visible symptoms, we have been together almost a decade without me contracting it, so presumably its either dormant or he sheds very infrequently.
My husband will likely mainly end up dating people who are HSV2 positive now that he knows he has it, and I am wondering if there is any info out there about if somebody with a dormant virus has sexual contact with another HSV2 positive person who is shedding, does that making it more likely he will end up reactivating the virus and having an active outbreak and so it will be spread to me?
I saw one doctor give advice that two people with HSV2 use condoms without giving his reasoning, but no studies or other comments about this subject.
no, his hsv2 infection will have no bearing at all on someone else's. He won't trigger a recurrence or vice versa.
how was he diagnosed? has he has obvious symptoms or just a + blood test?
fyi - he is just as likely to infect you now as he was 20 years ago. the virus doesn't weaken over time and a lack of frequent recurrences doesn't mean he's shedding less often unfortunately. is he on daily suppressive therapy to help keep your risk of contracting hsv2 low?
he should absolutely always be using condoms with other partners as you should you!!! Not because of herpes but because there are many other std's out there that condoms do a decent job of protecting from. Hsv2 increases his risk of hiv infection too so condoms are a good idea with other partners. Extra pregnancy prevention from condom use is also a good reason to use them!
I was wondering if you have seen any studies on this, I wouldn't have even though of it if I hadn't had a cold sore triggered after 16 years. I also read yesterday that if the virus is in a certain area only, exposure from another person with an outbreak can spread the virus to other nerve clusters and areas, so I am leaning towards the idea that having a partner with an outbreak could cause an active outbreak in my husband too.
He was diagnosed by a blood test. He had started dating a woman who was HSV2+, and since so many people don't know they have it, it seemed fair to find out if he was + and didn't know it before ruling her out as a sexual partner.
She was involved in some recent HSV2 research testing at the U of Washington, and they found she was not shedding at all during the months of the study they did, so it turns out the amount and frequency of shedding really does vary by person.
Myself, while I don't want HSV2, I don't have any immune system problems that would make it a big deal if I get it, however my other long term partner does not want HSV2, which is my only concern. Since then I get tested every 6 months.
Of course condoms are a must, but since that only reduces the risk of transmission by 30% I don't expect condoms to protect me or anybody. I know I am just as likely to be infected now as 20 years ago. My husband does not take antivirals, though we have decided he will start if he ends up having another sexual partner whether or not they have HSV2.
Our safe sex protocols are on the strict side, I am very aware of STI risks, and am a health professional. I feel very secure in my knowledge and risks of most STI's by having more than one partner, I just can't find solid information on this particular aspect of HSV2. Thank you for your answer, and I would still welcome any input or links to studies about this subject!
yes shedding varies by person but the averages from many studies at U of washington confirm that on average it stays the same whether infected 2 years or 20 years.
did hubby get his testing done at the U and/ westover heights clinic to be sure he doesn't need additional confirmatory testing done ? If not if you want to post results here I will gladly take a look at them . just post his actual numeric results - e.g hsv 1 3.6 & hsv2 2.2 or whatever they are.
his hsv2 igg is a low positive and will need confirmed with further testing to see if it's a true positive or not. We recommend a herpes WB blood test . Living in washington state that should be easy for him to obtain from the U of washington lab. He needs to wait at least 4 months after he last had sex with a different partner to get it done.
thank goodness you found this forum to get accurate info!!!
I'm going to guess he is positive as everything I've read said blood tests are seldom false positives, but I am glad I posted here, He hasn't had any other partners for years, so I will get him off to get a follow up test soon for a western blot, thank you for the advice!
Then again the more I read the more contradictions there are about that area under 3.5, so I've called and ordered the test kit from the UW and I'll get him into the doctors next week. He'd like the peace of mind of being sure about it one way or another now that doubt has been raised, thanks again, I'll follow up with the results whichever way they happen to fall.
actually we have an ongoing poll on confirming low positive igg's with lots of accurate information in it. Up to half of all low positives can be false positives so it's well worth his confirming his status to know for sure.
I figured I would update this here. It took a long time to get a doctors appointment, and then over two weeks to get the results of the western blot today.
Results were - positive for hsv-1 and INDETERMINATE for antibody for HSV-2. It notes atypical HSV-2 western blot may be due to early seroconversion (obviously not the case for a positive test from 2 years ago), and that a repeat specimen be sent in 12-16 weeks. Frustrating to say the least.
There's no numeric results, and I don't know what else to do but have him get a follow up in three months, I hope running the two specimens together would provide clear answers, and when he gets his final results (assuming it's possible to get a clear positive or negative) I will post on the poll.
Ha well...he finally was able to go in and get a second Western Blot. The results had said ""Please indicate that second specimen is a "convalescent" serum so the two specimens can be run together." Apparently it wasn't because the results said the exact same thing. I asked the Dr for a followup with the UW and was told
"I've have spoken the UW lab serologist. She explained the results and informed me that the they would be the same even if they re- ran the test again with the "convalescent" added to it. Because the result bands from the tests are exactly the same for both test."
"She said that because your Type I is so elevated and your type two is atypical that you most like have both types. She also indicated that you may never have a type II outbreak because the type is so prevalent."
Therefore it look like after all that, we still have two "Indeterminate for antibody to HSV-2. western blots" after the low positive with the IgG type specific. I'm pretty grumpy about this, especially since as far as I know patients themselves can't ask to speak with anybody at the lab, but I guess I'll call it a definite positive result.
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