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Questions re: genital HSV-1
Hi,

I am confused and am hoping to get some answers re: genital HSV-1.

I am a 42-year old female and contracted genital HSV-1 about a year and a half ago via oral sex from someone I was dating. He said he hadn't had a cold sore in almost 10 years and didn't know he could spread the virus. I had one initial (and excruciating) outbreak, but nothing since. I have been taking Acyclovir (400mg 2x/day) for about a year+.

I have learned that taking Acyclovir on a regular basis has about a 98% effective rate in preventing future outbreaks as well as preventing transmission to others. Is this still correct?

My other questions are:
- In that existing 2% chance, can I transmit my genital HSV-1 to another person orally? Or only genitally?
- I am in a new relationship and have not told my partner about the HSV-1 yet. We have had unprotected sex a couple times. I want to tell him, but am at a loss for even where to start. I feel so ashamed and don't even know how to begin. I realize telling him could potentially ruin the relationship and I so do not want that to happen. How can I approach this with him in the most delicate manner?
- How powerful is the HSV-1 virus in terms of giving it to others?
- Is there any news of a "cure" for HSV-1?

Thanks so much for any input.
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3 Answers
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101028 tn?1419606604
actually we don't know how effective acyclovir is for hsv1 genitally. typically hsv1 genitally doesn't shed very often ( about 3% of days which is less than a dozen days out of an entire year ) and it's too hard for us to study transmission rates of it in general let alone while on suppressive therapy. it's also very hard to find discordant couples when it comes to hsv1 too - most adults have it.

so what do you do with your new partner? Well remember when you have "the talk" that it's so much more than the hsv1 you know you have. Talk about your partners std past. ask when he was last tested and if he specifically knows for what. most people do not pursue std testing and those who do, tend to only get tested for 2-3 std's.  also discuss condom use as well as birth control too.  when it's time to talk about yourself, let him know your own testing as well as that you know you have hsv1 genitally. ask him what he knows about it and go from there. odds are he's never been tested so even if he can recall a history of cold sores, he'll still need tested to make sure he doesn't have hsv2.

1 out of every 2-3 people you know has hsv1 . it's THAT common. Yours just happens to be in the genital area instead of the oral area. It sheds far less genitally than it does orally , rarely reoccurs and isn't easy to transmit to a partner. In general, we don't even recommend daily suppressive therapy for it because you really don't get a lot of bang for your buck and the effort of taking it.

are we close to a cure for herpes? unfortunately no we are not. we don't have cures for any viruses at all yet :(  

keep asking questions!

grace
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Wow! Grace, thank you so much for your response. My doctor recommended I take the daily Acyclovir, but you're suggesting it's not really doing anything?

Also, if I did happen to transmit to anyone, can I transmit it to them orally and genitally? If they gave me oral sex could they then start getting cold sores on their mouth or can I only transmit genitally?

Also, I don't remember what the initial symptoms were when I had my one, and only, outbreak as I was initially told I had a hemorrhoid, then shingles, and finally HSV1. What are the most telling symptoms I should watch out for?

Thank you again for your response - I so appreciate it!
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101028 tn?1419606604
you could potentially transmit it to someone's oral area if they performed oral sex on you or their genital area through sex.  

recurrences for the most part will be milder than your initial ob. typically it's just one lesion and it won't stick around as long as your initial ob did.  
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