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Genital HSV-1
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Genital HSV-1

Ok. I was recently diagnosed with Genital HSV-1, which I got from having oral sex with someone who had a teeny, tiny cold sore or lesion. After being disease free my whole life and practicing safe sex, it was a DEVASTATING way to contract genital herpes... Anyways, I have heard so many people go back and forth about the risks of transmission genitally of Genital HSV-1. I completely understand that there is ALWAYS risk of transmission of any sort if you have either herpes virus in either location, but I am SOOOOOOOOO scared to tell my new, current partner that I have Genital Herpes. I want to believe what some people say - 'if you have Genital HSV-1, the risk of transmission is so low, you dont have to feel obligated to tell your partner.' I take Valtrex daily, eat healthy, exercise regularly... Please tell me that all these factors combined significantly decrease my chances of spreading Genital HSV-1.
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17 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Most folks out there already have HSV-1 orally, so that gives them immunity to getting HSV-1 from you genitally. But you need to have your partners tested to make sure they already have HSV-1.

Why do you take Valtrex? Do you have a negative partner?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello,

I to contracted HSV1 genitally from oral sex from my hubby of 24 years.  He had a cold sore 8 days before we had oral sex this past xmas, we thought we were safe after all these years of me not contracting the virus and BAM it happened.  Yes it is devastating especially since I married my high school sweetheart and was a virgin when we married.  I totally understand your devastation, especially since you seem to have been careful and smart regarding your sexual health.  And yes having hsv1 is not has virulent has hsv2 ONLY because your outbreaks may not be as frequent and when they do happen they are not that severe after your primary outbreak.  Most people will have more OB'S the first year they have been exposed(2-4) total OB'S and then after that 1 a year and then after that MAYBE none.  There is not much research on Genital HSV1, but what there is is promising. I to am on Valtrex daily 500mg and I take 1250mg L-Lysine to prevent any OB'S, it is not a cure but it sure makes me have some comfort that it can keep them in check.  Yes, vlatrex does stop transmission of the virus by 95%,   BUT there is nor 100% gaurantee that you cannot give the virus to another.  The only hope that you are safe from passing it on to your new partner is to have him blood tested to see if he was ever exposed to HSV1, 80% of the adult population has been exposed(via cold sores).  If he has the research shows that he SHOULD have the immunity from catching the same strain you have genitally because his body already has the antibodies to fight it.  I know that sounds good, BUT in my personal opinion I do believe it is your moral duty to tell him and let him make the decision on how to proceed in your relationship.  Put yourself in his shoes, would'nt you want to know if the shoe was on the other foot?  Take care and keep smiling!!
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101028_tn?1419606604
Just to clarify - we don't know if daily suppressive therapy with valtrex reduces the chances of transmitting hsv1 from genitals to genitals ( or from oral to oral or oral to genital either for that matter ).

Also valtrex does not stop transmission of herpes by 95% either - no matter what type it is you are talking about.

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
I do not want to give bad information, but if I am not mistaken I read some of Dr. HHH in the STD professional forum qoute another person that if condoms and daily valtrex are used the risk of transmission was very low and I believe he stated it was 95%.  I do not want to sound like an idiot, but my OBGYN told me that if my hubby already had Hsv1 that it was VERY unlikely that he would get it from me genitally since he already had the antibody for the same strain of the virus.  So I am only relaying what a Doctor told me.  I guess since it seems no matter what i say seems to be wrong then i will no longer answer any questions and sign off.
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Avatar_f_tn
Speedmamma, I think you're in the right general area there. There's no need to stop posting, especially because your experience is really helpful for folks around here. I believe I've seen Handsfield say that the *combination* of condoms + meds comes close to zero and could be as good as 95%. Hell, I could be wrong about that. But, yeah, he's thrown out different numbers on various posts, so it's difficult to keep track of them. I've tried to bookmark some of his more noteworthy posts that have good statistical info in them, but I don't always remember to do that.

I hope you won't stop posting here. :( This place needs all the help it can get. This forum also needs a FAQ for the somatizers and hypochondriacs, IMO.
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Avatar_f_tn
THANKS!  For the support, I am trying not to give bad info, I sure am not an expert, but I get private messages all the time and I do try to go to the doc forums and others to give the best answers I can give people.  It helps me to move forward and go on with my life.  I need all of you more than you guys know it!  :))  You have given me strength to say this is not a death sentence, it SUCKS for sure but life goes on!!  I have read your posts and you are 100% ACCURATE, we need a forum for people who just seem not to believe the medical advice they are given that they are not infected with this virus.  I wish my Doc gave me their positive news.  I think you are right to tell them like it is, they need a wake up call!  Take care.  Keep smiling!!
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101028_tn?1419606604
Sorry if I upset you speedmamma but I just wanted to clarify what you said that's all.  It does get confusing to keep all the numbers straight and HHH also likes to throw in some different numbers every now and then too.  He tends to use the 5% of couples will have hsv2 transmitted in a year instead of the way I usually break it down by gender.  

And yes your doctor is right - having hsv1 orally means your hubby is incredibly unlikely to contract hsv1 genitally ( but still avoid sex during any genital symptoms to err on the side of caution ).

The valtrex and transmission study only looked at hsv2 in discordant couples.  It reduced the chances of transmitting the virus to the uninfected partner by 50%.  We have no info on hsv1 genitally and suppressive therapy reducing transmission to a partner.  I believe we only really have info on famvir reducing the shedding of hsv1 genitally - not sure we even have that info on valtrex to be honest.  

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
I to am sorry, it is just a little overwhelming sometimes keeping track of what the docs tell me what the forums say and of course other web sites have to offer.  I usually have a tougher skin and do not sweat the small things, but it has been a tough 5 weeks for me and I am still trying to get all the knowledge I can.  Knowledge is power and I know life MUST move on.  YOU and all the others have been a great support for me and I must say THANKS!! from the bottom of my heart.  Keep smiling and any info you have for me is a definate plus!  :))
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Avatar_n_tn
Is it possible that HSV-1 transmits more frequently from cold sore (mouth) to genitals than genitals to genitals?

I have genital hsv-1 too and my wife is herpes free (both hsv-1 and hsv-2) and I thought the best I can do is to avoid sex during outbreaks and use condoms and barriers for sex.

I didn't know that Valtrex or other medication help.
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Avatar_f_tn
If your wife is negative for both types of virus, then you can EASILY give the virus to her either on her lips or genitals.  She has never been exposed to either types, which would make it easier for her to be exposed.  I know I was also hsv1 and hsv2 negative my hubby has hsv1 and he gave it to me after 24 years of marriage.  We were always careful or so we thought and this past xmas as youv'e read in my post we had oral sex 8 days after he had a cold sore, but I must admit he had many over the months, that year 2007 was bad for outbreaks for him.  It just so happened with all the former OB's he HAD to of been shedding the virus and I got exposed that way.  I have read that oral hsv sheds about 18% of the time.  So please whatever you do take caution and give your wife all the info so that she can decide if the risk is worth it. ANd of course do not have sex when you think you have an OB.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Why do I take Valtrex?  I've only had HSV-1 genital herpes for like 4 months. My doctor told me to take Valtrex once daily to see how the first year goes and then we'll re-evaluate everything when I go back for my annual. I dont know. I hope it's still helpful for Genital HSV-1...
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your posts speedmamma. It's reassuring but, again, it just goes back and forth and back and forth. Such varying opinions and 'statistics'... it's difficult to learn about and understand this.

I do have one random question. It's said that 80% of Americans have been exposed to the HSV-1 virus - often times orally or whatever. Of those, MANY people dont realize they have it. And is that because lots of people have oral HSV-1 and never get cold sores really? I thought that herpes isnt automatically included in STD testing with most doctors and you have to ask to be tested aside from the usual tests. So that leads me to believe a lot of people dont check it out until they get symptoms. But do lots of people have HSV-1 with literally no symptoms and therefore dont know?
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Avatar_f_tn
I can answer some of the questions you have, why take Valtrex, I know I take it because I am hoping it prevents some outbreaks, and yes my doctor also said i should take it for the first year and get re-evaluated.  Yes 80% of people have been exposed to hsv1 due to cold sores by the time they are adults.  I was in the so called minority and never was exposed most people will know sometime in their life if they ever had a cold sore.  HSV is NOT included in a STD panel you must request it separately, that is why so many people pass it to others because they do not get tested for it until they have physical symptoms and then sometimes they have unknowingly transmitted it to their partners.  I know it can get overwhelming and confusing but remember you are still the same person do not let this change you.  I know it is hard and I to have difficult days with this virus, but I am 43 and i cannot let this ruin the rest of my life.  SOme days i cry and some days I just say life goes on.  I know as time goes by it will get better and that keeps my hopes up.  So please keep your chin up and know that you must keep looking to the future.  :))
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Avatar_f_tn
Lazyleggs (great screen name BTW). you are right about how people assume they are negative. Just check out the post up above this one from the guy who got kissed and is freaking out about type 1 - on his mouth! (Called "herpes contagion" or some such title) That guy is in for a very lonely life if he attempts to avoid getting oral HSV1. But the problem is he believes he is "negative" because he has never had symptoms. It's really sad how uneducated folks really area.
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Avatar_n_tn
i to have HSV-1. i am on meds (ACYCLOVIR 2 times a day its cheaper though my insurance) because my partner does not have it .i have not been able to find alot about HSV-1 since this is considered the "good herpes" . this is all new to me because i was just told about 3 months ago i have it .. i dont know weather its oral or genital because i have not had an out brake . i am very open about it and have found out some close friends also have it that i didnt know . i am going back and forth about telling my parents . i am 32 and very close to them, i feel they dont need to know because its not life threatening . but on the other hand i feel like i am withholding info. from them.. my partner is ok with it but she is clean . this making it hard for me to really open up and have fun with her like we use to .she thinks its her but i tell her its me and something i have to work though. i know its more of a mental thing but i am scared for me and her .. no one wants it and i for sure dont wanna pass it . this is why i am taking the meds .. i dont know if it will help but it cant hurt right ? thanks for letting me vent alittle.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just discovered this forum and I am relieved to hear others dealing with the confusion that surrounds genital HSV 1.  I am 30 years old and just five years ago discovered that the infrequent (about once every 2 years) but rather disheartening symptoms I had been having for 10 years were actually caused by genital HSV 1.

I contracted HSV 1 when I was only 15.  Completely uneducated at that time about the risks associated with oral sex, I engaged in this activity with a boy with an active cold sore.  For years, I would run to my doctor fearful and confused when I would have an outbreak.  I knew something was very wrong, but I continued to get a "clean bill of health" because I was being tested only for HSV 2.  At the urging of my now husband when I was 25, I finally went to see a specialist.  She gave me a blood test right after an outbreak and found heightened HSV 1 antibody levels in my system.  As someone who has never had a cold sore, I can only assume that I do, indeed, have genital HSV 1.

Currently my marriage is shaky, and there is a possibility my husband and I may part ways.  The potential that I could get divorced, and for the first time as a single person know that I have an STD, makes me feel like I've been diagnosed all over again.

I've been lucky in that I've never had to tell a potential partner that I have an STD.  My husband and I were already engaged at the time I had my blood test and we were so in love that he didn't even blink.  We've been married for 5 years and he is still herpes-free.  But now fears of rejection and uncertainty about transmission risk make the decision about whether to continue in my marriage even more complicated than it already is.

I'm in real need of direction from some people who have "been out there" with genital HSV 1.  If I do end up back in the singles game, do the usual rules apply?  Thanks.
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Avatar_m_tn
hi speedmamma. I picked you specifically since you seemed to have the most experience with regard to this condition. Basically, I met a girl recently that whom I like but haven't been sexually active with. She just recently told me that she has HSV 1 but in her genital area. She wanted to make sure that I knew in advance, which in a way I appreciate. I am unsure whether she take Valtrex or Lysine or any other anti viral medication. I also have really no experience in this situation because its just never happened. I have never had a cole sore myself. She sort of propositioned me about whether this is an issue, and I am trying to gauge the situation. While I know its not HSV 2, I am still withdrawn a bit. She has not had an Outbreak since November and she is a very health conscious person. Bad situation.
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