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Genital herpes transmission/ suppression questions
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Genital herpes transmission/ suppression questions

Hi. I was diagnosed with HSV 2 about 8 months ago, this was done via positive culture while having blisters. I have been taking aciclovyr as suppressive therapy since. I am not sure whether I have had an outbreak as such since. I certainly have had no visible blisters but have had occassions where discharge seems more prominent. I was just wondering how likely it is that I will pass it on to a non infected partner if no condoms are used and sex is avoided during any visible symptoms. Does anyone have experience of being on suppressive therapy but still transmitting? Also, is aciclovyr as effective as valtrex as this appears to be the drug that has been used in the studies. Many thanks
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Avatar_f_tn
I would use protection to be on the safe side its better to be safe than sorry.However regardless if there is no visible outbreaks doesn't mean it's safe to have unprotected intercourse because you are still shedding the virus. Although you are taking suppressive theraphy I wouldn't chance it. Anyway valtrex and acyclovir both works fine but acyclovir is the oldest drug.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for your comment. I would appreciate any feedback on discordant couples with one on suppressive therapy and no condom use.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am not sure about that like I said it would be best to not have unprotected sex unless you explain your condition to your partner and if they are willing to have unprotected intercourse with you and understands your situation then so be it. But how would you feel if you found out you infected someone. On the other hand I would recommend that you talk to your doctor in reference to this. They may have a better answer for you. I understand that you are taking your medication and you want to know what is the likelihood of me having unprotected sex and not infecting my partner. Still sounds risky but it can also depend on how long you have been taking suppressive theraphy and how often you have outbreaks.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks again, any other comments and experiences would be appreciated
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101028_tn?1348750963
you've listed your gender as male but are you male or female? what is your partner's gender?

you don't have to have protected sex just because you have genital herpes. using a condom does help reduce the risk of your partner contracting hsv2 but it's all totally up to the two of you.

The transmission studies were only done with valtrex because it's more convenient to take as well as acyclovir was generic at the time so no money to be made off of doing them with acyclovir.  acyclovir reduces shedding and ob's at the same rate as valtrex, you just have to take it more often. we assume the outcomes would be similar when acyclovir is used instead of valtrex. valtrex is an acyclovir prodrug which means you swallow valtrex and your body converts it into acyclovir inside. you get more active acyclovir available in the body to kick a little herpes butt which is why you don't take valtrex as often as acyclovir.

until my latest partner, I've always been in discordant relationships. I've been on suppressive therapy with acyclovir. My partners have stayed hsv2 negative ( they are male and I am female ). I don't use condoms in long term relationships.  

grace
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks very much for your comment grace, that's very informative. I am female and my partner is male. I know every situation is unique but it's good to know there are examples of couples, who taking measures, can prevent infection to a non infected partner and it doesn't mean you will transmit as soon as you get intimate with someone.
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101028_tn?1348750963
if you did nothing but avoid sex anytime you had anything going on genitally, on average your partner has a 96% likelihood each year of NOT contracting hsv2 from you. suppressive therapy cuts his risk in half.   so yes you can transmit it to a partner but the risk in general is very low as long as you know you are infected and avoid sex when you have anything going on genitally.  anything over and above that that you do just puts the odds even more in your partners favor of staying negative!

has your partner been tested to know their status?
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Avatar_m_tn
No but it's the age old statement that he has never shown any symptoms therefore he has never felt the need. By anything going on genitally I take it you mean the slightest change which could indicate an outbreak. As I said earlier I have only had one visible blister outbreak since being diagnosed. I am slightly worried that I am going to spend the rest of my life being massively paranoid by the slightest thing going on down there! For example I have started over analysing my discharge and convincing myself it's an outbreak when it's probably just normal monthly discharge.
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Avatar_f_tn
I understand what you are feeling about your outbreaks and transmission. However don't let genital herpes ruin your life of course we tend to get stressed sometimes because this virus can be tricky but when you take control of it it's not so bad.

You mentioned something about your partner not having any symptoms and not getting tested completely explains that you are taking precautions. On the other hand how long have you been taking your meds because you said something about you only had one outbreak since being diagnosed.

However outbreaks varies everybody outbreaks tend to be different. In the begining my outbreaks were horrible I'm saying horrible because I experienced them every couple of weeks to once and even sometimes twice a month.
I wasn't on any meds at the time and I experienced these outbreaks for about 2 years that's why I'm saying horrible.

I been on daily suppressive theraphy acyclovir for about five months now and things are just fine I feel much better than before. You did mention something about your discharge things of that nature are normal with this virus because it produces alot of discharge so you may be worried that an outbreak is on the way don't worry it could be the prodrome stage when an outbreak seems like it is getting ready to come on and then it doesn't that is why I'm saying that this disease is tricky because it tends to have you stressing about another outbreak.

On the one hand do you know about herbs that can be helpful in suppressing outbreaks such as lysine, herbal teas, citrus bioflavonoids, vitaminC, zinc these herbs and vitamins can be found in the health food store some of these herbs are beneficial it all depends I read that they are go for individuals with GHSV2 I read about the herbs in my Home remedies books.

It's a good idea to read and know about the virus that way you have a better chance of controlling your outbreaks. As for me I try not to stress alot and get plenty of rest and take my medication on time eat alot of fruits and vegetables and things are working out just fine I don't think I have had an outbreak now for about 2 months now that is improvement from my previous outbreaks.
                                                          
Good Luck isab31 Take care.
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101028_tn?1348750963
lysine really isn't effective for herpes. neither are any herbal teas or vitamins.  obviously the book you have at home is one of those that just reprints info they find online without making sure first that there is quality research to back it :(  

you are not having ob's because you are on suppressive therapy, not because of your diet or supplements.

grace
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101028_tn?1348750963
when I say anything going on genitally, I meant more like the obvious stuff - redness, irritation, frequent urination, abnormal discharge , open cuts etc.  If you have to get out the mirror and inspect yourself because you don't feel anything, it's not something you have to worry about ( and I don't recommend daily mirror inspections either! ).

it will get easier in time - this is still relatively new for you.  you already are doing a lot to protect your partner by taking daily suppressive therapy and just being aware of your body!!  Focus on the positives about this , not just the negatives :)

hang in there!
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Avatar_f_tn
Grace i don't know how many times I am going to stress to you about diet and remaining stress free. I understand what you are saying about you diet you told me earlier that diet and stress really aren;t factors for outbreaks to some degree I believe you. I been on daily suppressive theraphy for about 5 months know. I contracted HSV2 in August 2008. I didn't start my medication until June 2010 stop and then started back in September2010 and I been taking it ever since.Grace I got to give you credit in this area even if you aren't a doctor. I been living this Genital Hepes for almost 3years now and I know so much about it by reading and understanding my body as well as my ractions. Grace the reason why I continue to talk about stress an diet is because when I was first noticed my intial outbreak and other outbreaks afterwards I was under tremendous amounts of stress and I was eating alot of junkfood at the time and when I started to cut backfrom those things it seemed like the outbreaks began to decrease. Don't get me wrong it varies with each and every individual. Grace i am not saying that you are wrong about what you sid about diet and stress because I am still eating oreos and potatoe chips and icecream etc but I read an article about genital herpes that said something about chocolate it was considered a trigger so that is why I cut down on it grace and gelatin is not a good idea because it causes flare ups also. The artcle mentioned that herpes thrives off of chocolate and gelatin it produces more outbreaks. Grace I am learning alot about this disease and I;m seeing tremendous improvement from the things that I am doing to keep it under control.
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101028_tn?1348750963
you have to know the difference between worthwhile research and articles that just continue the myths about herpes.  they are actually using arginine now to treat herpes which just even further disproves the lysine/arginine theory that was actually disproven over 15 years ago I think it was.  very few people have dietary triggers for their herpes so no reason to change your diet unless you notice a direct correlation between a certain food and ob's through a food diary. Of course eating healthy in general is best for the body - it's something I practice myself by eating a vegetable and whole grain based diet however no difference in herpes shedding rates or ob's in folks who eat "healthy" and those who think food comes from a drive through .

   Stress has been proven over and over again to not be a trigger for herpes ob's either though of course keeping your stress level down when you can is a good idea for your body as a whole.  we try really hard though here on this forum to make sure it's recommending proven treatments for herpes that have sound research behind them.  we also don't like to waste people's money by making them think they need to take multiple supplements either. we stress the proven treatments and educate with proven recommendations.  we also support folks and educate them on herpes, plenty of other places to go for whole mind and body changes that are good for the body in general.

grace
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1383158_tn?1279625614
Everybody is different. I actually started taking lysine for the past two months and no outbreaks but this past weekend i went chocolate crazy from candy bars to cookies etc. and i got an OB in the last two days.
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Avatar_f_tn
I thought I was freaking out grace has a lot to say about stress and diet she says that it doesn't play a part in outbreaks but maybe some people bodies are sensitive to certain foods and sweets. At one point I was eating excessive amounts of chocolate and I started feeling an outbreak coming on in as little as two days. However I still endulge in my snacks but the outbreaks just aren't that bad. They were really bad when I wasn't taking medication. At times I get alot of backache, itching, pain and irritaion in the vaginal area. Sometimes it feels like an outbreak is getting ready to happen. Like right now it feels like one is getting ready to come on. That's why I like to take my tablets at the same time everytime. It seems like the longer you wait to take your next tablet the symptoms start to come. I don't now about your symptoms but that is how my symptoms start.I hope I don't get an outbreak but my period is due on Friday that is probably why I feel like an outbreak is about to come on. Sometimes I get a outbreak while I'm on my period or just before it get ready to come on it's very annoying.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for your comments tedabell. It's so good to talk to people in a similar situation. I've been taking meds pretty much for the 8 months because I was so devastated and wanted to do all I could to minimise it coming back.
As I said I've had no outbreak like the primary one since just maybe 2 or 3 occasions where things didn't feel quite normal.
I consider myself healthy, I'm a vegetarian., work out 4 times a work and am very rarely Ill so am hoping this all goes in my favour.
I've just recently started taking lysine and immune support tablets. It's just the thought of being able to pass it on without control that scares me.
What are the herbal teas that are beneficial? Thanks again  
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Avatar_f_tn
The herbal teas that I read about and take are echinacea and Pau D Arco Tea.I am not drinking the tea as of now but I was taking them about two months ago. However I came down with a cold/flulike virus in december I don't know if it was relating to my HSV2. It could of been because I think when you have the virus your system is very sensitive and your immune system maybe weak so you can easily catch a cold. Or it could of been just that my HSV was flaring up.On the one hand how does the Lysine and immune support tablets work for you and are on daily suppressive theraphy acyclovir and how often do you get outbreaks. Another thing have you ever had a outbreak during your period.
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Avatar_m_tn
I think I've had one other outbreak since my primary outbreak in may but the second one was more irritation due to itchiness and could well have been thrush as I do suffer with that. I can't really remember anything significant that may have brought it on, I seem to recall it was after sex, so whether this was a factor. I was on suppressive tablets at the time too. I have only recently started taking the lysine and immune support tablets, just as another measure really to try and help, even if it's just psychologically.
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Avatar_f_tn
I think sex can be a factor to trigger an outbreak the reason why I'm saying this is because I experienced an outbreak right after sex my partner and I was intimate at night and I started itching terribly and then the next morning an outbreak on my clitoris. It was small like a pimple. However in the begining my outbreaks were large. I think outbreaks tend to get smaller depending on the length of time you take your med.What do you think. Anyway I don't know your gender whether you are male/female the reason why I'm asking is because in my earlier post I mentioned if you have outbreaks during your period and you didn't specify maybe you are a male I don't know. How is you outbreaks as of now and how often do you get them. By the way when was your last outbreak and are they painful and do they bleed and itch all the times or sometimes and do you have anal itching at the time of an outbreak or as a symptom.
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1383158_tn?1279625614
I myself also get a small flare up of an ob when my period is about to come on. but they only last a day or two then go away. that was a couple of months ago before i started taking the lysine. ..im going through and ob now becuz i stuffed my face with chocolate last week and i would say this would be my 3 serious out break.  i got diagnosed of july last year. and some times i can actually feel when im shedding my lower back starts to feel funny like it becomes stiff usually the time of my period. around that time i dont have intercourse. but so far so good my partner has not contracted it yet. I dont take suppressive pills often i just keep them on stand by for and extreme ob. and plus its hard for me to get them cuz money is tight right now.hope this helps
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1174003_tn?1308164419
While I rarely comment on threads this long and where grace has gone into some pretty good detail...  I would like to throw a monkey wrench into some of what everyone is saying.  

One of the posts talks about how "I went choocolate crazy" and another "I had sex and.." then an outbreak occured.  Folks... How did you know your body wasn't going to have an outbreak without the chocolate or the sex?  You simply don't have that "knowledge" that you are not going to have the outbreak.  HSV is a tricky and complicated virus.

The researchers that do these study's with HSV and "finding the triggers" are doing this for a reason and have been researchers for a while.  These people that do these studies want to find the answers for pure resons of either finding the "fix" for the virus or to help people out completely.  For those that say lysine is going to work and so forth.  Let me ask you how do you think those researchers figured it doesn't work in those studies.  

Furthermore if lysine worked so well then why doesn't it have a study with all the money they are making to prove to the medical community that it works?  Think about this people if there was a magical fix for this then a company would be making some money off it.  Think of Valtrex.  There is a medical/scientific proof that it works.  That it does reduce outbreaks and it does reduce virial shedding.  Hence why the medical community recommends it.  

I truly understand that many people which I am assuming you both are trying to do is figure this out.  You want the answer to know what you can do to help prevent the outbreaks and making sure they don't come for various reasons of "Not wanting to deal with it or risk spreading it."  The cold hard fact is that there is not much to prove your idea of a product working to prevent outbreaks.

With all due respect if you find something works for you I can't say it doesn't work.  What I can say is that science and research has a far good track record but money proves something works better.  If Herpes truly was controlled so good with these level of products they would make tons of money off people and right now they know that.  They know even more that their money is coming in because of myths and fear from people, not anything backed by science or a majority of people.
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