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Statistics on Oral HSV2 transmission
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Statistics on Oral HSV2 transmission

Hello.  I was reading a separate post from a year ago in which someone asked for some information about oral HSV2.  It seems I am one of the rare people who has the oral form of the HSV2 virus.  I had one oral herpes breakout when I was 5 years old (and nothing after that) and it was assumed that I had contracted HSV1.  I got tested for herpes in my thirties and at that time found out that I was HSV1 negative and HSV2 positive.  I also learned that it was possible that I had contracted the virus during birth (though there were no signs/complications/symptoms of HSV at the time of birth).  I have had no recurrences of breakouts that I attributed to HSV since the one outbreak at 5 yrs old.  My past sexual partners (they were limited and I checked with all) have all tested negative for the virus.  

My questions are the following:

I wanted to confirm that if you have oral HSV2 only, that it cannot be passed through intercourse (this was implied in an answer to a separate question but not specifically stated).  Is the fact that it cannot be passed through intercourse independend of whether or not a breakout is occurring (I am aware that oral HSV can be passed through kissing and oral sex)?  I ask this because I was told by my doctor that there is a chance of passing the virus on through intercourse even if the infection is oral, and while condoms are always advisable I would like to know what I am exposing a potential partner to if I am ever in a committed long term relationship and the choice of whether or not to use condoms comes up.

Secondly, it was stated that the likelihood of passing on oral herpes was statistically very small.  That recurrances were extremely rare and that  viral shedding in absense of an outbreak are also rare.  Do you have any statistics on this?  On the chances of passing it on and on the odds that I shed the virus without the presence of symptoms.

Lastly, does the length of time that I have had the virus in any way lessen the odds that I am contageous?  I have at least had HSV2 since I was 5, and possibly since birth.  Any statistics on how much time lessens the odds of being contageous?

Thank you for any clarity you can provide on this.


This discussion is related to confirmed oral hsv2, do I have genital too?.
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101028_tn?1348750963
there are several very good herpes support groups in the CA area. I recommend contacting them for help with specific providers in your area.  you can find them on the ashastd.org website under the herpes section under support groups.
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20 Comments Post a Comment
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101028_tn?1348750963
you tried to post to someone else's post on the std expert forum so it was bumped over to here. you have to pay and make your own post.

it's not likely that you contracted hsv2 orally when you were a 5 year old child. If you had contracted it during birth, you would've been very ill within a few weeks after birth and required hospitalization.

at this point, the best you can do is if you get a return of oral symptoms, be seen within 48 hours of their appearance for a lesion culture and typing.

do you recall the numeric result of your hsv2 testing - e.g. hsv 2 igg .78 or whatever it was?

grace
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Avatar_m_tn
I did not actually get the test results.  They went directly to my doctor and I was only told the results verbally.  I was actually tested twice, about 2 months apart.  Both HSV1 tests were negative.  The first HSV2 test was "equivalent" which I guess means that it was borderline.  The second test was conclusively positive.

I'm unsure what the test numbers mean, so I guess I would have to figure that out before I could make any sense out of them anyway.

Thank you for letting me know about the post and payment.  I am a complete newbie to this website so I guess I will have to work my way through the details to be able to get the answers I need.

I realize how unlikely my story sounds.  The fact is that I have never had a herpes outbreak that I was aware of, and I only know of the one when I was 5 because my mother told me about it seem questionable.  I really have only been intimate (and when I say "intimate" I mean anything beyond kissing) with 3 people, all of whom I feel I can trust to tell me the truth about their STD status and they were all tested... some multiple times since I've been with them.  And if I had herpes at 5 (at least) and it wasn't type 1, that doesn't leave a whole lot of choices.  I know it's possible to have oral and genital type 2 herpes simultaneously, but that usually comes through a sexual act.  That situation doesn't seem to apply to me either.    

I also understand how unlikely it is that I contracted it at birth.  I've talked to two doctors and both have said it is more likely to contract it at birth, even without symptoms, than to get the virus at age 5.  In their opinion birth or child abuse (not applicable to me) are the most likely reasons.  

I have no idea if they know what they are talking about, but that's partially why I'm here.

Thanks for the response.  

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101028_tn?1348750963
call your doctor and get the last hsv2 igg test results to post here so I can better help you - thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
I will get the results and post them asap.

I do have some questions that perhaps you can help me with.  Based on the extremely limited amount of reading I have done of your posts it seems that at the least you are knowledgeable about herpes, and that you are possibly in the medical field (this was not completely clear to me).

If we go under the assumption that I contracted HSV2 at birth and it's oral only, can I pass it on through intercourse?  Most of what I've read seems to indicate that it is not possible, and even that the liklihood of being contageous with oral HSV2 is fairly low.  I'm running into problems getting info due to the fact that my particular circumstances seem so far out of the norm as to be highly unlikely, however I have had to back into this conclusion due to the fact that nothing else seems to make sense.

I had one cold sore when I was 5.  It wasn't a big breakout, just one blister.  Recently, after a pretty stressful situation I think it is possible that I had a second breakout that I didn't recognize at the time.  I got fever-like symptoms for 2 days with swollen lymph nodes in my neck (the lymph nodes in my groin did not hurt at all) and, after that went away, I had a single blister in my navel (nothing on my face or genitals) that went away after about 3 days.  I didn't know I had HSV at the time, and the belly button seems such a random place to get an outbreak that I didn't think about it until later after the test came back.  If you can get HSV through broken skin, I assume it would be possible to get the infection in the belly button when the umbilical cord is cut at birth????  Maybe that makes no logical sense.  And at this point I have no way of knowing if that was an HSV outbreak, but it was out of the ordinary for me, so I lean toward thinking it may have been.

Also, my first HSV2 test that came back "equivalent" was before the (possible) belly-button outbreak, and the second test that came back conclusively positive was afterwards, which possibly accounts for the differences in the two tests.

My main question is whether or not you can pass on oral HSV2 through intercourse.  I provided the history just in case you read something and it struck you as likely that I had somehow contracted HSV2 vaginally, though with all my past partners testing negative, I'm not sure I see how it would be possible.

Thank you for your assistance.  It is much appreciated.  I am having an extremely difficult time finding information that seems to relate to my specific (and highly improbable) set of circumstances.


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1174003_tn?1308164419
The thing about these forums is that regardless of our professions we are just people talking to you.  Some of us know more than others.  Some of us go through it.  

Getting HSV-2 without you knowing it shortly afterwards is hard to believe.  Did you talk to your mother does she have HSV-2?  

Yes you can still shed HSV-2 orally though it is not often you are shedding the virus there is a risk to partners still.  

Get the results and let us help you.  Asking us questions which may not apply is kind of pointless.
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101028_tn?1348750963
also do you currently have a partner? if so, do you mind getting their test results to to post here? thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
Well it seems that I cannot get the numerical value from my test results.  I called my doctor's office and was told that all that is displayed to them is the result of "positive" or "negative", or I guess also "equivalent" in my case.  How important is the numerical result?  Does it tell me anything that a positive test result does not?  I just need to know this inorder to figure out if I should go try to get a test somewhere that can actually give me that info.

Grace - I had a partner but the test results ended that relationship.  He has the same HMO insurance that I do and I would probably guess that he only has positive/negative results available to him as well, but I can check.  Again, how important is this info, and will it tell me anything?

Mistakeguy - yes, my mother does have HSV2.  She has had it since before I was born.

Thank you.
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101028_tn?1348750963
unless it was an immunoblot or a herpes WB, it has numeric results. sometimes the lab just reports with + or - and not the actual numbers even though they have them. at this point it's probably just easiest to try to get a herpes Wb to confirm your infection or a biokit hsv2 igg.

if you are no longer with that partner, their test results are meaningless to us now unless they got tested and called you to say that they too have hsv2.
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Avatar_m_tn
Not to sound totally niave (which I am), but any info on how to do this and how long the results take would be appreciated.  A link to a resource in getting the test, or instructions maybe?
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101028_tn?1348750963
if your provider uses quest labs, it's test # 34534 for the herpes WB.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your help. I am trying to get the WB test.  I have one question: I know you cannot diagnose, but I did have a blister on my lip when I was very young that my mother thought was a cold sore. I have never had anything similar since that time.  Is a blister on the lip ever NOT herpes?
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101028_tn?1348750963
yes they can be due to other things than herpes.
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Avatar_m_tn
One more quick question:  I am from the CA East Bay.  I highly doubt you are from this area but I wondered if (through your discussions with other people on this forum) you know of a specific doctor that performs the biokit/surevue test in their office.  I am pursuing this as well as the WB but would prefer to get the test that will get me the answers the most quickly.  The Biokit would be ideal but I do not know where to get it done and internet searches have been unhelpful.  I will have to go outside of my HMO to do this but do not mind paying out of pocket.
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101028_tn?1348750963
there are several very good herpes support groups in the CA area. I recommend contacting them for help with specific providers in your area.  you can find them on the ashastd.org website under the herpes section under support groups.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you very much!  I got irritated that I was unable to get the #s for my positive test result through my HMO so I had another test done at LabCorp just to see if my results were in the high or low positive range.  The test came back negative for HSV-1 & 2.  I have a call into a doctor to see if they will order me the WB test and I will follow up on the link you provided as well to see if I can get a quicker confirmation of my HSV status.  

I really appreciate all the help you have given me.  These results have been so damaging already that even if I end up with a negative result, it will likely be a bittersweet victory.  But I wanted to say that I think the work you do on here is amazing and regardless of my final results, you and the information on this website have been an invaluable resourse.

Thank you.
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Avatar_m_tn
Seems I have one additional question.  When following up with my doctor to get the numerical value from my second HSV test that came back positive I was told "that a titer is not usually done. If you want a titer you would have to have a repeat special test."

My partner at the time confirmed that he did not get a numerical result on his own test when he questioned his doctor (he has the same HMO insurance that I do) and that his doctor confirmed that the test was one of the ELISA tests, but was no more specific than that.

My question is the following.  What does it mean if a test is done without titers (spelling?).  Secondly, is this standard practice?

Thanks for your help.  Just looking to understand my test results a little better while I'm waiting for my WB test results.
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Avatar_m_tn
My WB test came back negative.  Thank you again for all your help.
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101028_tn?1348750963
congrats!

I'll bump up our low positive post if you don't mind adding a link to your story there or providing a short version of your experiences to it - thanks!

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Avatar_m_tn
I believe I found the low positive post you were referring to and I added a summarized version of my story.  

:)
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101028_tn?1348750963
yes you did - thanks! I had bumped it back up that day but then obviously it falls off the front page every day. I did put a link to it in the read before posting post since they only allow me to anchor one post on the forum.
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