Herpes Expert Forum
Not Contagious?
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Welcome to the Herpes forum. This forum is for questions and support pertaining to herpes simplex virus infections (HSV-1 and 2) and herpes zoster (shingles) and the virus that causes it, varicella zoster virus. Questions about genital herpes are welcome both here and on the STD Forum.

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Not Contagious?

Hi, I am involved with a man who has had herpes for over 15 years. He has had 2 children and has had several girlfriends and partners and said that he is not contagious because none of his previous partners contracted it. Is this possible? I don't think he has ever used any medications like Valtrex. I want to be with him but I am a little hesitant to believe all this because of asymptomatic shedding, do some people with herpes not shed the virus when symptoms aren't present? What precautions should I take?
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55646_tn?1263664409
I'm sure he doesn't mean to be deceptive.  However, there are several things wrong with this picture (or potentially wrong).  Unless every person he has had sex with has subsequently been been tested for HSV 2, there is no way to know for certain who has been infected and who has not.  It is felt that virtually everyone who has HSV 2 infection genitally shed at some point - the frequency is not known for most people.  We do know that medicines like acyclovir and valacyclovir reduce shedding and transmission.  

I would recommend that he be on suppression daily and that you have him use condoms with intercourse to have the greatest impact on transmission reduction.

Terri
13 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
So if we were naked together one time and our genitals rubbed against each other, should I worry that I have already gotten it? I was careful not to let him get too much friction.
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55646_tn?1263664409
Genital to genital rubbing can transmit herpes, yes, though that is less likely than with intercourse.  A one time encounter also is lower risk than repeated encounters.  If you've had no symptoms since the rubbing, that's a good sign.

Terri
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Avatar_n_tn
Should I get tested? Would one month be enough time to get a trusted result??
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55646_tn?1263664409
I don't think you need testing for this encounter.  However, if you've never been tested for herpes and have had sex in your life, you might want to get a baseline antibody test, just to see where you actually stand with infection.  No, one month is not longer enough - 3-4 months is better if you do decide you need to get tested because of this encounter.
Terri
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Avatar_n_tn
So what would be the difference if I got tested at 3 months as opposed to 4? I might be a little uneasy if I tested at 3 just because it says 3-4 months.
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55646_tn?1263664409
I think a few people will serconvert between 3 and 4 months.  I'm not clear exactly how many, but some will.  If you want extra reassurance, test at 4 months instead of 3.

Terri
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Avatar_n_tn
One more thing which I didn't think about until now. About a month ago, like a week or two after the exposure, I started getting little cracks between my vagina and anus. They itch and bleed and hurt when I wipe. When I put vaseline on it, it seems to get better but when I leave it alone it gets much worse and now I have several cracks in my skin. These have occurred before in the same place when I know I did not have herpes, but it seems worse this time. Could this be herpes?
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Avatar_n_tn
Also to the above posting, I think the cracks in my skin started before the exposure because I found a receipt for a cream I bought to relieve it before then. Would herpes make the situation worse? Because I read that herpes could cause cracks in the skin. So it has been going on for over a month and a half. I am going to the clinic on Monday to get tested.
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55646_tn?1263664409
Its good that you are going to the clinic tomorrow to be tested.  This could be yeast as well, but herpes normally doesn't go on and on.  Let me know how the visit goes tomorrow, OK?
Terri
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Avatar_m_tn
I agree that some people seroconvert between 3 and 4 months.  But there are also some (you stated around 5%) that take 6 months (and beyond).  I don't see why most people are advised that 3 months is sufficient!  I don't see how anyone could be confident in a 3 month result?
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Avatar_n_tn
Well I went to Planned Parenthood and she did a swab and found yeast. She also agreed that herpes would not persist this long. So I am going to try that treatment and she said we will do further testing if that doesn't work. So I feel a little better. Still concerned though.
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55646_tn?1263664409
I'm glad you followed up on that, good for you!  I'll bet the yeast medicine will take care of everything.  Best to you.

Terri
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55646_tn?1263664409
Terri Warren, RN, Adult Nurse Pr...Blank
Westover Heights Clinic
Portland, OR
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