Herpes Expert Forum
Worried for my partner
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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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Worried for my partner

Background:
I have been dating a woman for 8 months, I am mid 30 and my gf late 30's, I received std testing(minus herpes) back in December and was clean. I did not do the hsv test as I have had cold sores since I was a kid. Her status is unknown but was married for 10 yrs before we dated. She is aware I get cold Sores as we talked about it early on, I was not (stupidly) aware that you could transmit oral hsv-1 to the genitals, nor do I think she was aware of that. We routinely have unprotected oral and unprotected intercourse 3 - 5 times a week. and I am always cautious and if I get the typical tingling feeling we cease all contact with my mouth until symptoms have bee gone for a few days.

Situation:
Day 0, I had a tingle in my lips that only lasted a few hours, I thought I just burnt my lip from almost two packs of smoking the night before. Day 2, I performed unprotected oral and unprotected intercourse with my gf. appropriately 1/2 after finishing I started feeling the tingle in my lip again. I figured I had aggravated my lips, but the feeling did not go away. On day 6 I woke up with a cold sore. I told her that I now have a cold sore but I have not told her how worried I am about transmitting it to her.

Questions:
- What is her risk of contracting genital hsv-1 from me on this occasion?
- What is her risk of contracting genital hsv-1 from me typically?
- Should I tell her that I am worried about the risk of transmitting to her genitals?
55646_tn?1263664409
Assessing her risk is not possible without knowing her HSV 1 status.  That is key here.  She should definitely get tested so you can know what kind of sex is risky and what is not.  If she is also HSV 1 positive, then you don't need to concern yourself with transmitting HSV 1 to her via oral sex, even if she only has HSV 1 orally.  

Let's assume for a moment that she is HSV 1 negative.  There is a chance that you have exposed her to new HSV 1 infection.  We don't have good numbers about how likely that is, but we do know that people shed HSV 1 virus from their mouth when they have no symptoms.  I have seen transmission happen in this way.  

If your relationship is a meaningful one, I would tell her your concerns, yes, of course!  I think relationships work best when concerns of this kind are shared between people, instead of you having this thing going on in your head that she is unaware of.  

For the next couple of weeks, she should just be aware of any unusual genital symptoms, and be checked right away should something show up, rather than waiting to see what happens.  It is best to treat herpes right away, rather than waiting until skin/mucous membrane damage is done.  

I wish I could quantify the risk for you, I just can't.   Please see that she gets tested so this issue of risk can be clarified for you both.

Terri
4 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the reply.

I know this is a discussion that I have to have with her but assuming that she is Negative for HSV-1 (She has never had a cold sore, I know that's not conclusive) is the risk significant, meaning that we should abstain from oral sex completely?
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55646_tn?1263664409
Again, that is a decision that the two of you must make after careful discussion.  Since we can't quantify the risk, and we don't know when you are infectious, and genital HSV 1 is no big deal, you'll just have to talk about how comfortable both of you are with some risk.

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
I have never had a coldsore before.. My partner performed oral sex in me whilst he had a coldsore, not knowing that coldsores are a type of herpes! A week later i had a tiny 'cut' down there what i thought could have been from shaving.. During a pap smear i asked for it to be looked at, it was tested and came bak positive for herpes type 1.. I wish we had of known to avoid interourse while he had a coldsore. Because now i have this for life, although that tiny 'cut' is the only symptoms to this day ive had, it still sucks to know i can never get rid of it.. And i was unlucky to contract it down below instead of a normal coldsore on my lip.. From what ive been told of my doctor, if u have herpes type1 on ur lip, u cant catch the same virus down below and vice versa.. So my partner and I can have unprotected sex at any time? Im not sure if this is true but i would ask ur partner to be tested, if she happens to already have the virus, and if my doctor is correct then you wouldnt have anything to worry about...
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55646_tn?1263664409
Terri Warren, RN, Adult Nurse Pr...Blank
Westover Heights Clinic
Portland, OR
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