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asymptomatic herpes ethics.
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asymptomatic herpes ethics.

Hi there

About two years ago, a partner told me he tested positive for herpes by blood test but never had any symptoms. I've never had any symptoms myself and went to a clinic. The doctor advised that a blood test for asymptomatic herpes will not be helpful and strongly suggested that having a positive blood test will be more detrimental than useful. I did ask about transmission rates and have continued having mostly protected sex since then. I think the question is, should I take the advice of doctors here? Sometimes, I feel really guilty. On one hand, I think taking the blood test is the right thing but on the other, I think the stigma will be too much for me to handle.
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897535_tn?1295210035
I always like to think of the tables turned - how would you feel if your partner thought perhaps he had herpes but didn't test and didn't tell you, only to transmit herpes to you? You'd probably be upset about that. It's being sexually responsible to know your own herpes status, and in turn for your partner to know as well. It's as much about protecting yourself as it is others.

Could your past partner have transmitted his herpes to you? Yes he could have, and even more so statistically, no. Your doctor is misinformed about herpes testing in that folks who have no symptoms or obvious ones both have herpes antibodies and thus can be tested by blood test. A person either has herpes or they don't, and asymptomatic shedding occurs the same for folks with and without regular outbreaks.  

You'd want an IgG type specific blood test (not IgM) to find out your status.
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1907326_tn?1323898389
Get tested, know your status and see a different doctor!!  You are better armed if you know. Why live in denial??
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Avatar_f_tn
This is the one thing keeping me from thinking I actually deserve a proper relationship. Guess I'm also afraid I'll never have a relationship again if I do actually have herpes.
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Avatar_f_tn
One more thing is.. my doctor is aware there is a blood test but she didn't recommend testing. In fact her exact words, "If you do test positive, it's on you." I don't know. Wish I didn't have to think about this. I mean, if the guy never told me he had a positive blood test, herpes would never ever have crossed my mind.
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101028_tn?1348750963
I've had hsv2 for over 25 years now. I've only ever been turned down twice because of it. yes, I'd told more than 3 or 4 people I have it too :)

it really isn't the red flag most folks assume it is. No one takes the time to teach us about herpes so we tend to be scared of it instead of informed!  Unfortunately most of us only receive abstinence teaching for sex or are only told to use a condom to protect us from hiv.

Statistically 1 out of every 2-3 people you know has hsv1. 1 out of every 4-5 has hsv2 if you are under 50.  It's incredibly common and part of why it is is because folks don't get tested to know their status. You had a prior partner who has hsv2. Recommendations are that you get tested to know your status. You can't make educated decisions with a partner as to what precautions to take during sex until you know who has what.  Ignorance is not bliss dear, it's being irresponsible!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm not trying to shirk responsibility or get out of it. It's really been on my mind and I feel guilty about not getting the test but, what precautions can I take beyond using condoms if I never have had an outbreak? I know it's also about letting my partner have a say in what level of risk he is willing to take but is that the end of me having casual sex too then? I guess another thing is that I tie a lot of my identity to my sexuality too.

I get tested for every other STD but herpes just seems like such a dealbreaker. Just seem like too many people who will refuse you because of what some term "a skin condition" or "the end of the world." Same thing for HPV, I guess although I've had partners tell me "it's common and no bid deal."

I know the bottomline is just get the damn test but I'm almost certain I can't be the only person struggling with these questions. Whatever it is, thank you all for the replies.
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101028_tn?1348750963
you can avoid sex anytime anything is going on genitally ( redness, itching, discharge, obvious lesions, anal itching, frequent urination etc ), take daily suppressive therapy and use a condom for sex. that gets the risk to a male partner down to 1%/year of contracting hsv2 from you if you have it.  same as if you have hsv1 and a partner doesn't, you can discuss whether to only have protected oral sex or not too. Studies have shown that just knowing you are infected with herpes, lowers the risk to a partner.

It's a shame your provider has confused you like this :(  Many providers don't like to deal with herpes testing and teaching and needlessly talk their patients out of testing.  
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