This forum is an un-mediated, patient-to-patient forum for questions and support regarding herpes issues such as: Herpes symptoms and treatments, causes, diagnosis, and herpes in men, tests, telling your spouse or partner.
I am old enough to know better and to communicate better! I had sex 2 weeks ago with a man I have been seeing off and on over the past 2 years. It is a long distance relationship, we are both in our late 40's. We have had sex about 5 times in the 2 years, and this relationship has been very slow starting and we are both very cautious people when it comes to sharing our feelings, both having been hurt. He is not the best communicator in between visits, but we do text back and forth. He is the only man i have been sexual with in the last 5 years! Each time we have had sex, he has always used condoms, every time...has been very consistent and responsible. This last time, in the heat of the moment, I suggested not using one. We had a 2 second conversation, basically that we agreed to trust each other. Now I realize how silly, especially at our ages, that was. I am trying not to get caught up in self blame as it doesn't help anything! The point is, about a week later I noticed i was very sore on one side of my outer labia, looked, and saw a raised patch with a red ring around it. I went to Planned Parenthood, and am waiting for the culture results, but the Dr. said it looks like Herpes, and her hunch is HSV 1. SHe also said Herpes has been given a "bad rap" in that on the pyramid of STI's, it is one that is better to get than some others..she said she is NOT downplaying the psychological impact however. SHe said it is a very complicated situation as far as When, Who, How, etc. I have not told the man i was with yet, I feel very confused and sad and angry at MYSELF, and him, a little...but also compassionate for both of us. My questions: Am I the carrier and could have gotten it years ago from someone else, and am having a first outbreak?? If so, I need to tell this man I am carrying it!! OR, did this current man give it to me, and if so, did he KNOW he had it, or not?? If he did, should I be angry?? Maybe he is just ignorant or embarrassed about it. Do people ever "wait" to tell someone after they have gotten to know them a little better?? He doesn't communicate with me well until we are in person, and so should i wait and tell him in person, not knowing when out next meeting will be?? Or should I write him an email if it looks like we won't be seeing each other very soon?? The last time I heard from him was on Valentine's Day when he emailed me a sweet card, one week after we had been together. I have sent texts since then, but he hasn't responded yet, which is sometimes just how he is. But I am getting paranoid that maybe he also got blisters and is freaked out and is avoiding me, IF i somehow gave it to HIM!! HELP!! I need clarity and advice from others experience!! thanks!!!
odds are that neither of you have ever been tested for herpes before to know who has what. I suggest giving your man a call, letting him know what is going on with you and asking him to go and get a type specific herpes igg blood test to see what his status is. you two should also pursue one regardless of your results of your herpes lesion culture.
you absolutely can not determine type by looking at a lesion!
did they also test you for yeast and bacterial infections vaginally too while you were there?
I'm not sure how to use this forum yet, so please bear with me! Thank you for your answer! No, they didn't test me for yeast or bacterial infections...just wondering why you ask that...are you saying i might NOT have herpes?? My "blisters" did look like the pics of Herpes I found online, so....am afraid and expecting the worst, but will be extremely relieved if it's not, obviously! I'm wondering why you suggest having a blood test? the Dr. who took the swab said that the lesions were at a good stage in which to get a swab for culturing. Would a blood test somehow establish how LONG the virus has been in my system, if I have it??? How accurate is a blood test for detecting Herpes??
it's very common for yeast and bacterial infections to go hand in hand with herpes and to also cause symptoms similar to herpes. A visual diagnosis is wrong 1/3 of the time which is why a full work up is always the best course of action.
A blood test will help you and your partner both know who has what so that you can make educated decisions about what precautions to take together. it won't tell you how long you've had herpes though.
I got the official diagnosis today, the culture was positive for Herpes 2....am a bit down, guess i was still hoping that maybe it wasn't Herpes at all! The doc said on a scale of 1-10 as far as the actual blisters looked, my first outbreak was about a 3. I felt sore, and it got worse for about a day, then healed. All in all, not that bad. And I have read the first outbreak is usually the worst, which she confirmed. She said she wasn't at all downplaying the psychological stress from this, but that compared to chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV...HSV is not so bad - no major health impact from it as with those other STD's.
I have several questions for you that i forgot to ask her: IF I got this from the man I was with 2.5 weeks ago, and I also performed oral sex with him, without a condom....could I have gotten HSV 2 on my mouth?? OR does HSV 2 almost always manifest in the genital area? Now that I have it, and IF i am ever sexual with this man again, is there a risk of getting an outbreak on my mouth if i do oral sex with him?
also, do you know how any statistics on how many people have their first outbreak many years after actually being infected?? I am wondering if i could have gotten this from someone else years ago. OR is it too coincidental that I had an outbreak right after unprotected sex with this current man?
Last question: Are these posts showing up in the general Herpes Forum?? I go there and don't see my question!
you can get hsv2 orally but odds are that you won't. if you didn't have any sore throat type symptoms by now, odds are you didn't contract it orally.
did you also have any blood testing for herpes done too or just a lesion culture?
studies have shown that about 1/2 of all presumed newly acquired infections aren't and are just the first obvious recurrence of a previous infection. The way we figure that out is if you have igg blood testing done at the time of symptoms and it's +, that means you were infected previously and this is just your first obvious recurrence. About 80% of folks who have genital herpes, get obvious symptoms, just most of them either aren't noticing them or aren't attributing them to herpes as a cause.
yes your posts are showing up in the patient to patient herpes forum. I couldn't see them to reply if they weren't :)
I am a little confused about what you said about 1/2 of all new infections are actually new. I've been reading, and was told by the clinic where I was tested, that the first outbreak is usually the worst.... but you're saying you can have symptoms that aren't obvious for a time period, maybe even years, and then have an obvious outbreak? So do you not agree that the first actual symptoms/outbreak is NOT the worst??
thanks for all of your time and patience in this... I am alternately freaking out and putting it out of my mind..... It's upsetting to think that I could have gotten HSV 2 from having sex just ONCE without protection, but then again, the clinic said i could have gotten it from this man even when he was wearing a condom, which he always has (the 4 other times we have had sex). I'm feeling GUILTY and bad that it was ME who asked HIM in the heat of the moment if we could go without the condom that time! It wasn't fair of me to put him on the spot like that....I really don't think he thought he could give Herpes to me (IF he has it) because maybe he really doesn't know you can infect someone without having symptoms.
Hmm.....I reread my question and realize it was a little confusing, and probably why I don't understand your answer. Basically I am asking IF it's true that the first outbreak is usually the worst, then WHY would you have milder symptoms for months or years BEFORE one that you really notice??
So ARE you saying that you CAN have Herpes 2 for months or years with just mild symptoms and then at some point you can have a bad outbreak randomly, for no apparent reason?? I keep reading that the first outbreak is the WORST!! but does it mean that you can be infected with Herpes 2 for weeks or years and later have your first full fledged outbreak??!! Thanks and i hope this is clear! I have not had a yeast or any other symptoms of infection for many years! SO can I assume that I was just RECENTLY infected with Herpes 2?
The answer is your inital outbreak is the worst usually. But it can be mild. It is different for each person as each body is different.
The other side is you can have a worse outbreak from time to time. Though it is typically not something that happens but you can also notice the symptoms from time to time if you are thinking about the area.
You will always have an inital outbreak. It is just some people don't know what the symptoms are and ignore it. Or they ignore the symptoms as something else.
Your reply makes much more sense, thanks! Now I'm even more worried that i could have had this for years and given it to the relatively new partner I was with a few weeks before my outbreak!
but Mistakeguy789 says there is always an initial outbreak and it's usually the worst, which is what my doc told me. so again, and sorry if I am repeating myself, wouldn't I have noticed some symptoms??
Now I am thinking maybe I should have the blood test to determine if the virus was in my system BEFORE this outbreak? Is there still time to do this???? My sexual contact was about 3 weeks ago, blisters appeared a week later, and I had the swab taken a week after that. If antibodies don't start showing up in your blood until about 3 months from the time of being infected, if I have a blood test now that is positive for HSV 2, does that definitively mean I was infected before the most recent sexual contact?
One more question: Is it more difficult for the virus to pass from a woman to a man, than the other way around? and is it possible for 2 people to develop symptoms at the same time? How likely is it that I am the one with the virus and not my partner? IF i am the carrier, could he have had an outbreak after sex with me 3 weeks ago too?? what i mean is, what are the chances of him having a first outbreak at the same time as myself??? I am so worried that it is why I haven't heard from him in a couple of weeks, that he is covered in blisters and is freaked out!!! Yet I know that it's likely maybe i got it from him. THis is so awkward and complicated!! sorry for such a long post, and thanks for help with any or all questions!!
As I said also you sometimes write off the symptoms because you don't think anything of it. Bad yeast infection or something else. When you don't worry about herpes if you have a mild outbreak you aren't going to worry about it. Some people do have a mild outbreak. If people don't know what to look for they don't think they have HSV. When you get an outbreak that is more severe which does happen sometimes you start to think of it and get it checked.
Blood testing is diffcult because each person is different. Some people build up antibodies faster and by 2 weeks will test positive. So there is no way you would know if you had this a while or if it is new. If you got a negative test now it could mean you didn't have it or that the test missed it.
Men are more likely to transmit the virus than women.
If you got herpes from him then you could say he already knows. But something to remember is that not every encounter will lead to transmission. It can happen but not all the time. Your partner himself should get tested to know his own status. Though if he is hard at communicating with then you may have to slap him around.
Thanks Mistakeguy!! He is VERY hard to communicate with at times...except in person, then it's much better....I am torn about trying to call him and leaving a message saying I gotta talk to him about something, and it's a bit awkward, or waiting until we get together the next time...and I don't know when that will be. you see, he and I have opposite schedules and live over 3 hours apart...and he works 12 all night shifts, and overtime..so doesn't answer his phone much!! Anyway, you're right....I need to slap him around when I have access to him next!! LOL! I needed a laugh, thanks again!
it doesn't take 3 months to develop detectable antibiodies - in fact about 1/2 of folks get + igg results just 2-3 weeks into being infected. You testing + at this point wouldn't be worthwhile as to figuring out who had it first. We recommend waiting 3 or 4 months to test because by that point, the majority of people infected with herpes have seroconverted for their infections to be detected on the herpes igg blood tests we currently use.
honey I work 12 hour nights and I find the time to stop in here and help folks every single day. I might not answer my phone while I'm sleeping or at work but I do get back to folks who call as well as I make the time to talk to my children and my bf every single day as well as I keep in touch with my friends regularly too. don't make excuses for him - remind him that you are supposed to be an important part of his life so he should act like it! this is something important to you and he needs to acknowledge that and should be supporting you while you are going through this.
Thanks Grace, I guess I do make excuses for him, and thanks for the reality check! He is an odd guy when it comes to communication, but you're right, this is important to me. It's just awkward, because it's a relatively new relationship...telling him is going to be awkward at best...and I am more than a little nervous about it! I really want to have this talk in person, and so I am torn between trying to arrange us getting together soon, and not telling him until then...OR do I try to call him and tell him that way. How long can this wait?? I know it's a very personal decision, but I would appreciate your very honest opinion!
And thank you for the energy you give this when you are working 12 hour nights!!! It can't be easy, and you are very generous!
you can wait as long as you want as long as it's before the next time you have sex. it won't get easier to talk about the longer you wait and you'll get faster answers if you do it sooner rather than later so that he can pursue testing to see what his own status is. also there is the whole trust issue with a long distance relationship like this too. Probably far less suspicion on his part if you talk to him as soon as you can I would think so he knows you didn't make any effort to "hide" any of this. I know that's my expectation of my partner - tell me and tell me early so we can deal with it.
I subscribe to the theory as warren zevon - I"ll sleep when I"m dead :) you get a lot more done that way!!!!
Love the quote..!! But with that philosophy I'm guessing you can't be more than 35 years old?? :) none of my business, just wondering...and envious of
your stamina! I like your advice and am sending him an email today to ask about getting together this weekend...if that isn't good for him, I will then try to call him, leave a msg that i have to talk about something...
Another question plaguing me: IS it possible that 2 people can have first outbreaks after having sex, at the same time?? what I mean is, I guess I am still terrified that I may have given it to him, and he's not contacting me because he developed blisters at the same time I did, and is angry at me?? even though my gut says its more likely I got it from him! Maybe I'm in denial about me being infected and maybe i "should" be upset if he infected me??? yes, the long distance has built trust issues....one of the first things he asked me after not seeing me for months (i tried, but he was too busy with work and family stress) was whether or not i had been with anyone else? he asked it in a coy way, kind of shyly, smiling and kind of teasing, but I could tell he was really wanting to know...he said he hadn't, that he had been devoted to his job.
I guess I hope he knows me well enough to know i wouldn't want to "hide" this, but that maybe i would have to build up the courage to tell him!
LOL!! I didn't exactly mean that we would both get infected at the same time out of nowhere..! I meant IF, say, I had been infected years ago and didn't know it, and he was not infected...and we had sex this last time and suddenly i have a first outbreak, and he does too, is it preposterous or possible that 2 people can have a first outbreak simultaneously (even if one of them had been infected but it had been dormant)?!
yes we do sometimes get couples where one partner gets their first recognizable herpes ob and transmit it to the other around the same time and they end up with rashes around the same time.
have you asked him if he's being monogamous when he asked you?
I've been in long distance relationships myself for many years now. they can be complicated but trust is imperative for them to work. I'm old enough to prefer not having a man around 24/7/365....he he he
yes, I did ask him after he asked me. He looked into my eyes, seemed very sincere and matter of fact, and said he had not been with another soul, that he had been dedicated to his work (for the months we hadn't seen each other). And I believe him about work.
I agree that long distance relationships are best handled by those of us who are "old enough" and mature enough! Girl, you got that right.....I'm on the same page as far as not necessarily wanting a man around all the time - and this guy knows I am like that, sometimes has made sort of teasing comments about it to me! But I DO like more communication than he offers at times! For instance, he hasn't contacted me for 2.5 weeks and I am very STRESSED that one possibility is that he was infected with herpes by me and is angry...but I am projecting this and have no idea if it's true, cause i don't now who infected who, if either of us did??!! But then again, this has been his pattern all along, to be "silent" for a week or 3, and then contact me out of the blue and write very regularly for awhile, and I have partially come to accept that it's just how he is. I emailed him last night about getting together this weekend - I really really want to talk about this in person.
Am i right to feel that sending him a letter telling him would be very awkward??? Better in person??
There aren't any set "rules" for this - especially in this sort of situation. do you what works for you and your situation. If he's in the "non-talking" mood, telling him why you need to talk to him might be the trigger for him to know he has to make contact with you. I would think that if he had symptoms he would've contacted you but then again I don't know this guy to know his reaction.
My bf and I laugh about my not needing him too...lol. I'm trying to learn how to be helpless about some things - hard to pretend I can't change a light bulb when I've been doing it myself for most of my life....he he he Thankfully every time my daughter touches the lawn mower it seems to break so that keeps him feeling needed all summer long and saves me from having to haul it off to the shop all the time to get fixed!
Or telling him why I need to talk to him might cause him to run for the hills!! he is someone who is NOT a good communicator, expects you to read his mind, takes a long time to think things through... And won't he feel a lot of guilt if he knows he has herpes and then gave it to me?? I need to figure out what message to leave on his phone for him to call me back, and he rarely does, partly because of our opposite schedules, which is why he texts. You're right, I too think he would have contacted me if he had symptoms, but I'm not certain of that...believe it or not we are really still just getting to know each other...have only spent 5 times together in 2 years, and talked on the phone a handful of times, mostly texting.
just curious, how long distance is your relationship, how many hours apart? and how often do you see each other?
Hey, maybe if I seemed more helpless things would go better with myself and this guy! i can relate, have taken care of myself mostly for years! i know when i asked this guy to help me figure out how to use my cellphone he jumped right on it!! ancient programming i guess!
we see each other 2x/month on average. he works 2 jobs, I work nights and have kids. It's been hard work but we make it work. Advantage of being long out of our 20's I think ;)
I'd just say that you went to the doctors this week and received some surprising news and you two need to talk about it. That way he knows that it's a health related issue and hopefully gets back to you one way or the other. Just let him know that you've been diagnosed with herpes, aren't sure if it's a newly acquired infection or not and that he'll need tested to know his own status so that you can make educated decisions together about what precautions to take when you see each other from here on out when you do get a chance to talk more to him about it. That presents it as being non-accusatory as well as doesn't make it seem like it's a run for the hills situation - it's something to deal with a rational adults. If you had this prior to meeting him, you can get his risk for contracting hsv2 from you down to 1%/year if he doesn't have it already.
thanks for answering again...I seem to be having a delayed emotional reaction to all this, feel very depressed today and have been crying a lot.. Intellectually I KNOW herpes is not the end of the world and there are far more serious STDs but it just changes everything... Its hard enough for this man in my life to reach out to me sometimes, and even though I really like your suggestion of what to say in a message, I'm very scared he won't call me back because he might be scared, he might feel very very guilty if he did already have it, and even though my tone in the message won't be angry, it will be caring, he has a lot of trust and abandonment issues, and may retreat. I really really want to talk to him in person, it's the best way with us. But not knowing when he can get together again, it could be a while. I know you said the longer i wait to tell him, the more suspicious he might be when I do tell him,l that i was hiding it. Did you mean he might think (IF he is not the one who gave it to me and didn't have it himself) I had it before and knew i did?? or did you mean something else..?
wow, you guys DO work at it with those schedules!! 2x a month would be amazing for me and the man I'm seeing...hmmm...also wondering how far apart you live?
I asked my provider why she didn't mention the option of having a blood test along with the culture that was taken. She knew I was confused about who may have infected me, and it seems from what i've read that if a blood text came back negative I would at least know it was a new infection!
She said something about how they focus on treatment there (Planned Parenthood) and that's why she didn't offer it, but said I could have one if I wanted to. She said the igg blood test isn't that accurate because antibodies from a new infection increase at first but then go down, or something like that..? She said the igm test is more accurate as far as figuring out if it is not a new infection because it measures "persistent" antibodies. She said that I could still have the igm test, that it's not too late to have it to rule out that whether or not i was infected before this outbreak, but she's going to check with a lab to be sure.
I still am amazed that they wouldn't understand more fully WHY someone would want to know if thier infection was NEW, and want a blood test along with a culture to know this!
Does any of this sound accurate to you?
The IGM is NOT accurate at all! I am so tired of hearing about doctors that say that. Yes the theory is that IGM is produced first and then IgG antibodies. Thats the theory which while maybe true the IGM results cross react with some many different things that you will never know whats going on. Thats what makes it inaccurate. It's not specific to an issue.
You having an anitbody test would have been the best way to go because of the anitbodies not being detectable at the time you tested and then 3 months later testing again with a positive result would be far more accurate on telling someone they just got HSV.
Sadly that is the way some places work. They aren't worried about if you had it for a while its more of a "you have it lets treat it". Sucks I don't think I could do that to a patient myself I would want someone to look out for me just like I would look out for someone else.
I think what grace was saying was leave a message to let him know you have something medical that went on and to call you back. Then explain to him the herpes stuff on the phone with him. Maybe if you guys have a computer you can use Skype or MSN Video chat to discuss this as if you were in person. It at this point doesn't matter who gave who what. You don't know his status. Even if he did have it and you show open arms of acceptance for him he may just move past it with you.
I appluad you both on your relationships. Guess my age does show. I couldn't go a long period without talking to my girlfriend. Heck when I was dating anything over 10 hours I was wondering what was wrong.
I received my my blood test result and it was NEGATIVE for antibodies for both HSV 1 and 2. My culture had been positive. The practitioner said that I can be fairly certain that the negative blood test means that it is a new infection. So it was very helpful to me in that now i am sure i got this from the man i've mentioned who I visited and had sex with in February. Haven't been with anyone else except him, and hadn't been with him for almost a year. Actually, my initial distress has subsided...I still have to have that conversation with him before we have sex again, as you suggested Grace. but I did try to call him a couple weeks ago, and he just isn't good at returning calls. I didn't tell him it was important in my message, so.... We usually text due to our opposite work schedules, and I'm not going to tell him that way! just hoping we get together sooner than later... so, am i NUTS for not feeling angry, or like i want to rush to tell him?
oh, one more thing... i just read on here your post to someone else where you said that the chances of being infected from having sex once with someone who has herpes 2 is very low...but it would seem that's what has happened to me. we had unprotected sex for the first time - MY idea, unfortunately. I'm wondering percentage wise, how low the chances are??
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