Herpes Expert Forum
Transmission risk from recent sexual encounter
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Transmission risk from recent sexual encounter

I am a 44- year-old woman who has had HSV-2 for about 13 years. I take Valtrex daily, usually 500 mg but sometimes 1,000 mg if I feel that I need the "extra" protection. I do not have regular break outs, but I am aware of viral shedding and the associated risks/transmission issues.

Two weeks ago I had a sexual encounter with a new partner (who has been tested and does NOT have HSV-2). He is aware of my status. This sexual encounter involved penetration, both vaginal and anal, with condoms. At one point, I also touched my vagina and then fingered him anally.

My partner now has red bumps near and inside his rectal opening, as well as some red bumps on his penis and he is worried he has contracted herpes from me, despite our precautions.

In particular, he is worried that I spread the virus when I fingered him anally after touching myself (I always believed, based on what I have read, that this type of transmission, hand-to-genitals, was virtually impossible).

He is also worried about the penetration, because, as everyone knows, condoms do not provide 100 per cent coverage.

I am looking for your medical opinion of the odds of transmission based on the abovementioned.

I am fairly confident that he is fine, but hoping to set his mind at ease.

Thank you in advance
55646_tn?1263664409
I think the risk in the situation your describe is truly minimal (the finger to anus contact).  

There are wo  reasons the intercourse contact is also low risk  - your taking antiviral therapy daily and the use of condoms.  

Even though he knows about your herpes and has agreed to take a risk, it is to be expected that this will be on his mind.  

He should have the red bumps checked out immediately to see what's going on, for clarity for both of you.

Terri
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you. I also suggested he have the bumps looked at; not sure he took my advice. He did say that they seemed to be clearing up; I pointed out that testing while something is visible is the best way to be sure, but, well, as they say, you can lead a horse to water....

As to be expected, he did a lot of reading up on his own. One thing I found a bit disturbing is all of the articles, posts, etc he found that indicated that "touching" can spread the virus, and by this I mean sexual activity such as I described: me touching myself, then touching him with the same hand, etc. There seems to be a lot of information out there that leads people to believe that you can spread the virus this way, without having direct skin-to-skin contact, which is worrisome.
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55646_tn?1263664409
Yup, I know the stuff he is reading.  Here's the deal.  We can't say that herpes certainly cannot be transmitted in that way, but we can say that if it happens, it happens very very rarely.  Sometimes you just have to go with the odds on things.  If you were worried that you could be killed in a car accident, even if you wore your seat belt every time you got in, you might never drive again.  Everything has some risk, it is unavoidable, but this behavior, to me, seems incredibly low risk.

Terri
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Terri Warren, RN, Adult Nurse Pr...Blank
Westover Heights Clinic
Portland, OR
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