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Can infected parents transmit herpes to non-infected children
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Can infected parents transmit herpes to non-infected children

I had several unprotected (banging my head on the wall about the stupidity of it) oral and vaginal sexual contacts with a partner that did not know she was infected with HSV-2. She did not have any symptoms at the time but found a single small irritated area on her labia a few days after our last encounter and tested positive with a swab test.

Our first encounter was 4 months ago and our last was 2 weeks ago. I never have shown any symptoms. Nonetheless, I had a blood test made and I'm still awaiting the results.

How likely is it that I have been infected?

I have read all of the descriptions about the precautions to take to avoid infecting a sexual partner. But I have not seen anything about the risks and precaution for other family members. We have two children. If it turns out I am infected (and thus most likely my wife too), what precautions (if any) should be take to protect the children?

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239123_tn?1267651214
Before I even read your question in its entirety, my response--simply to the title of your question--is a simple no.  To my knowledge HSV-2 (the most likely cause of your partner's herpes) has never been transmitted nonsexually to household members.

Now to your question:  I really cannot predict the risk.  On the one hand, among monogamous couples in which one has herpes due to HSV-2, and having sex 2-3 times a week, the average risk of transmission is 3-4% per year; so the risk for any particular exposure is low.  On the other hand, transmission is much more likely in the first few months of a relationship; and since she had a lesion within a few days of one of your sexual exposures, the odds are good that you were exposed when she was shedding virus.

Don't worry about your kids, just your wife; she might not yet be infected.  You should avoid sex with her (or use condoms) until you wait at least 3-4 weeks after your last sex with your other partner and haven't had symptoms to suggest infection; and until you learn your current blood test is negative.  To be absolutely certain, you will need to have yet another blood test around 3 months after the last exposure to your infected partner.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
3 Comments
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79258_tn?1190634010
None. If it turns out you have herpes, you have nothing to worry about. Herpes is a *sexually transmitted disease*, and not transmittable through casual household contact. You don't have to worry at all about giving it to your kids.
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Avatar_m_tn
It can be passed to children durning the birth process, so if you passed it to your wife and she then had a child and a herpes eruption it would be reason for c section delivery.
Herpes can be very dangerous if passed to a baby during birth.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
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