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I have herpes (HSV-2) on my outter thigh
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I have herpes (HSV-2) on my outter thigh

I just found out that I have herpes (HSV-2) on my outer thigh. Two years earlier it was misdiagnosed as shingles. I'm pretty devastated about the news and the first thing that comes to mind is that I'll never be able to have a normal relationship again. I'm a young woman in her late 20s and I can't imagine someone wanting to date someone with herpes if given the choice. The person who passed it to me didn't tell me so I didn't have the option to say no. But I respect that I have to tell potential partners! I need to know more about transmission. I met with one doctor who didn't take my questions very seriously that I had prepared for her. I get the outbreak maybe 2 times a year always in very cold times when I'm very stressed out and my immune system is already weaker from flu/cold. The outbreak is on my upper left thigh on the outside. Whenever I have gotten the outbreak I usually cover it with a bandaid mainly because it's ugly, but now that I know what it is I guess it's good that I do that so I don't spread it anywhere else on my body.

Here are my main questions:

1. How do I keep from spreading it to others (besides no sex/oral during an outbreak)?
2. My doctor said since my outbreaks are at most 2 times a year I don't need to take daily meds, I can take them  when I feel the tingle start. Is this true?
3. Can I spread herpes from my genitals even though it's based only on my thigh?
4. What is the chance I'd spread to someone I'm intimate with when I don't have an outbreak? My thigh obviously isn't easy to cover every single time I have sex. My doctor made it seem like it's much harder to spread because it's on my thigh BUT it's not covered so isn't it much easier to spread?

Someone make me understand this spot (thigh) specific information please!!
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101028_tn?1348750963
1. How do I keep from spreading it to others (besides no sex/oral during an outbreak)?

Even though so far your ob's have been on the thigh - avoid sex whenever you have the ob present.  Also you are shedding the virus from the anogenital area during the ob on the thigh and periodically inbetween. The herpes handbook at www.westoverheights.com has terrific ( and free ) info on how precautions to consider with a partner to reduce transmission.  

2. My doctor said since my outbreaks are at most 2 times a year I don't need to take daily meds, I can take them  when I feel the tingle start. Is this true?

It's your choice ( and your partner's ).  The handbook goes into the differences between episodic therapy and daily suppressive therapy.


3. Can I spread herpes from my genitals even though it's based only on my thigh?

Yes.


4. What is the chance I'd spread to someone I'm intimate with when I don't have an outbreak? My thigh obviously isn't easy to cover every single time I have sex. My doctor made it seem like it's much harder to spread because it's on my thigh BUT it's not covered so isn't it much easier to spread?

I'm assuming you are female and have male partners. If so, overall the risk is about 4% a year of transmitting hsv2 to them if all you do is avoid sex during obvious symptoms. Anything above that you do just lowers their risk even more.

do you have a regular partner? Have they been tested yet?

How did they test you for herpes too?

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
I no longer had a regular partner but did for the past two years. I just found out last week and am planning to tell him in the next few days. I've been building up the guts to tell someone. Ive only told one person in my life and I'm very embarrassed. I'm trying to be strong about it but the first thing I always think about is that I'm never going to find love...I know dramatic. I guess it's dramatic to me because I've never known anyone whose had it or no ones ever told me so I feel very isolated!!

They tested me with a culture of the area. I'm on here because my doctor was no help. I asked questions and she was doing the same thing as me googling it!!

It seems like a small chance to spread the disease yet it's so widespread, I'm assuming it's spread more by those who don't know they have it or who aren't being responsible correct? Once you know you can take control and be careful it seems like.

I'm still confused on what medicine options to use. I have a prescription for valtrex for when I feel symptons coming on but nothing daily. I have time to think about it since I'm single. The medicine is so darn expensive too!

Thank you for your response...it's still very difficult for me. The website you recommended is nice. The one part on the handbook that says if someone rejects you...they're not rejecting YOU they are rejecting the herpes. That is a great way to think and is very helpful!!

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101028_tn?1348750963
If your insurance doesn't make valtrex affordable, look into acyclovir instead. it's WAY cheaper.  You just have to take it more often. the herpes handbook goes into the different medications in more detail.  I also have a journal entry here on medhelp on the medications too that might help you out.

I've had hsv2 for 22 years now. i've only ever been turned down twice because of it. It really hasn't been an issue.  Don't let it define you and keep you from going out and living the life you want to live!!  

yes, just knowing you have hsv2 has been shown to reduce the odds of transmitting to a partner. Taking precautions really does work to reduce the risk of transmission.

Hang in there - it's a lot to deal with at one time.

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
i want to thank you! your advice is so helpful and is really calming me down.

i guess my biggest question is how do i talk to people about this? i feel so embarrassed and ashamed. i don't know how to tell someone or what words to use so that it doesn't seem like a scary thing. do you have any advice or even how you've done it before?

happy new year to you!
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101028_tn?1348750963
I approach it from the standpoint of talking about all std's, birth control and condom use.  I know what I have and I can take precautions so I want to know if they've been tested and what they might have.I also don't want to find out that they aren't planning on using a condom right as we are ready to have sex. Same with birth control is pretty darn important too!   I'm pretty matter of fact about it too - I have oral hsv1 and genital hsv2 - what do you know about herpes? and then go from there. I give them some brief facts, let them know what precautions I am planning on using and how it reduces their risk and let them know that I'll gladly forward them some links to some information for more reading if they want.    To me it's something I can't change so no reason to boohoo about it, apologize or anything else.  Most of the guys I've told about it really respect my honesty because it seems like they all know someone who got genital herpes from someone who didn't talk about it first so they are just glad that I do talk about it first.  the reality is - if we all had this 'talk' and went thru testing with our partners, this forum would be incredibly slow and so would the std forum and jess and I would have to get better hobby's :)

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
I was just reading conflicting stories and studies about people with HSV2 receiving oral sex. One story said that it's very very rare for HSV2 to spread to the mouth. Another said you can never get oral sex again.
Again, it's on my outter thigh so I'm just very confused on what I can and cannot do. I won't even consider doing anything during a break out. And I know that there is shedding even without a break out. My doctor said the shedding tends to spread from the area where the outbreaks are usually.
So my question is can I receive oral sex without automatically giving someone herpes?
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101028_tn?1348750963
Your doctor is misinformed about where herpes sheds from ( or explained it to you in a way you didn't understand - no idea which ).  When you have an active lesion present, regardless of where it is, you are actively shedding the virus from that area. Studies have also shown that you also shed the virus at the same time from the anogenital area too. So say you have a lesion on the thigh.  You are shedding active virus from the thigh lesion. You are also most likely shedding the virus from the anal area as well as the vaginal area too at the same time which is why you need to avoid sex when you have obvious lesions present. The skin on the thigh is very thick though so unless you have an active lesion on it, the virus isn't going to shed from there without an obvious lesion present. It will however still shed periodically from the anal and vaginal area though in between obvious lesions.  

As for oral sex - you can transmit hsv2 to the oral area but the risk is lower.  You can ultilize barrier protection for oral sex if your partner is hsv2 negative - it's up to the two of you.  Also you being on daily suppressive therapy also lowers your partner's risk quite a bit.  If your partner already has hsv2, it's really not an issue, just don't either of you perform oral sex on active genital lesions on the other.

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
Unfortunately my doctor was either misinformed or just didn't care. I went to a follow up appointment prepared with questions and I went through them and she seemed to have no interest in answering them. She gave me really quick answers and seemed uninterested. She wouldn't even discuss the different medication methods with me. It was ridiculous. I'm changing doctors immediately!
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101028_tn?1348750963
I'm just glad you sought out accurate answers for your questions :)  Keep asking them as you have them :)

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
It's me again...so after having this for two years and only having outbreaks 2 times per year before even knowing what it was, I know know what it is and I've had 4 outbreaks in the past 4 months!! I'm not doing anything different that I think would cause this. I've even been taking Lysine hoping that would help. Its not painful...just has an itch sometimes which I of course don't itch or ever touch. It's just very strange that I didn't have outbreaks often until I found out I had it. I'm not having any sexual contact or anything, I'm worried something else might be wrong. Any thoughts?
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101028_tn?1348750963
Lysine doesn't do much at all for genital herpes. Switch to suppressive therapy with one of the herpes antivirals.

Also follow up with your provider to see if anything else is going on.  

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
Back again...I've had HSV since March 07 and between then and November 08 I had FOUR total outbreaks. Since I was actually diagnosed correctly (read above) in November 08 I've had FIVE outbreaks. I've been eating healthier, working out and avoiding foods they say to avoid. I can't understand why all of a sudden my outbreaks are sooo frequent :(
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101028_tn?1348750963
Did you follow up and get tested for yeast and bacterial vaginal infections as I suggested?

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes and I everything checked out A ok! My outbreaks are still on my leg only. Same patch every time!
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101028_tn?1348750963
Well the only other thing to do is to return to a dermatologist and make sure that it's really all herpes going on and not something else that you maybe picked up at the gym with all that working out ( I keep telling y'all exercise and the gym is bad for you but none of you listen...hehe he ).

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
So a dermatologist can help me with Herpes? I've just been going to a general medicine doctor. I'm afraid that by the time I can get in for an appointment it will be gone. How frustrating!!
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Avatar_f_tn
okay i have an ob on my outter thigh n one of my kids sleep me with me and i just found out it was an ob is it possible that my child can get it just from maybe rubbing his legs on me possibly while sleeping? i am so scared i dont want to give it to my baby!
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Avatar_f_tn
So what if a lession on my outter tigh was jus starting and wasn't blistered yet and I had unprotected sex how likly is it that it spread :(
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