STDs Expert Forum
Living with a positive hsv partner & wants to pregnant.
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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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Living with a positive hsv partner & wants to pregnant.

Dear Dr. Hunter Handsfield,
I have a positive hsv husband and i had decided to keep the marriage. I would like to conceive a baby too. Here's my few questions which i couldn't find an answer to my problems. I sincerely hope that you will reply this message.
1. Is a man's sperm will be affected with HSV?
2. I had thought of using IUI or IVF to conceive the baby, is this possible? Or are there any other methods?
3. Do condoms protect me 100% from getting infected?
4. Is there a medication that my husband or me to consume while having the sexual intercourse with a condom?
5. I am currently living in Seattle, do you accept patients consultation? I would like to make an appointment to talk to you directly. Or do you have any recommendation of other specialized doctors who has been close in this field like you do.

Please help me. Thank you very much. Here's my number 2063499690.
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Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your question.

My responses will be more complete, and probably more helpful to you, if you can provide some more information..  Does your husband have oral or genital herpes?  With which virus type, HSV-1 or HSV-2?  When did he acqure it?  Does he have recurrent outbreaks?  If so, how often?  Is he on treatment for herpes?

Also, presumably the two of you have been (and continue to be) sexually active.  Is that right?  Are you using condoms?  

While I wait to learn more, my first advice (and in my opinion, the most important) is that you should not let this relatively minor problem have any serious impact on your life together -- romantically, sexually, or parentally.  Every couple in which one person has genital herpes can safely conceive, bear and raise children.  In fact, many couples in your situation just decide to let nature take its course, i.e. to take no special precautions to prevent transmission, except in special circumstances.  Pregnancy is one of those -- but this won't be an issue until someday you are pregnant.

Some preliminary replies to your specific questions:

1) No, sperm and semen generally don't carry the virus.

2) These methods are not necessary nor recommended in your situation.  You should plan on conceving in the normal manner!

3) Condoms are nowhere near 100% reliable in preventing HSV-2 transmission.  More like 50%.

4) Your husband could take one of the anti-herpes drugs (acyclovir or valacyclovir) to help prevent transmission.  But the need depends on the virus type and other factors.

5) There are many doctors in Seattle who would do an excellent job in this situation.  I'll have MedHelp email you some referral advice.

Fill in the missing information and I'll have more to say on all this.  In the meantime, stay relaxed.  In the long run your husband's herpes isn't going to be a very important issue in your life.

Regards--  HHH, MD

5 Comments
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Dear Dr. Hunter Handsfield,

Here's his test result for HSV II IgG 8.97. He had actually discussed this when he took his test result and was confirmed that he has Genital Herpes.

We are not sexually active yet because I'd just returned from a trip. I am not sure how to detect when he had acquired the disease and how he got it. The last sexual intercourse was beginning 2012 and July 2012. So I quickly took a test for HSV II one week ago and it came back negative. I'd also took a test on end of July 2012 for TORCH and came back negative for HSV II. We do not have any protected sex because I am trying to be pregnant. He also do not have any outbreaks and currently do not take on any medications.

Actually i'm not the one who feel burdened about this disease. My husband is having an unstable emotion regarding this matter and do not want to infect me. So I'm trying to convince him that there's nothing wrong with having it. But again, I'm not the one who got infected so i dare not comment or speak more without any expert's advise.  

Regarding your opinion, I'm wondering .. isnt it dangerous for me and the baby if I conceive in the normal manner?

How effective the anti-herpes drugs? Is it more affective than using a condom?

Thank you very much for the prompt reply.
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Thanks for the additional information.  I'm sorry to hear you and your partner have worked yourself into such heightened concern about herpes.  It isn't warranted.

His positive test is definitive; he clearly has HSV-2 and you can assume it is a genital infection.  The next step should be for both you and your partner to be evaluated by a genuine herpes expert.  Among the things you will learn is that he can take treatment to reduce the risk of transmission to you and that the combination of treatment plus consistent condom use will likely keep you free of infection .  Of course you would have to stop the condoms mid-cycle, until you conceive -- but if he is on suppressive treatment, the chance of transmission during those sexual exposures will be low.

It isn't at all dangerous for you to conceive in the normal matter, i.e. by unprotected intercourse.  The average transmission risk, when one partner has HSV-2, is once for every few hundred episodes of unprotected vaginal sex.  And the danger to a baby does not come at conception -- only if you are unlucky enough to acquire a new HSV infection in the last 3 months of pregnancy.  Safe sex (or perhaps abstaining) will be much more important in late pregnancy than it is now.

By themselves, consistent condom use and anti-HSV treatment reduce transmission risk by around 50%.  Together, they probably are at least 90% effective.  However, you shouldn't be all that concerned about catching HSV-2, except after you become pregnant.  If it happens, you may have no symptoms at all; and symptoms usually can be easily controlled with treatment.  The greatest single issue that drives fear of herpes in most people is the potential for infecting new partners -- but in a committed/married couple, with dating days over, this shouldn't be a concern for you or your husband.

As I said, the best approach is for both you and your husband to be directly evaluated by an expert.  Ideally this would be an ObG who would also manage your anticipated pregnancy.  I will email MedHelp administration with some suggestions to be forwarded to you.  In the meantime, stay mellow about all this.  As I said yesterday, when all is said and done your partner's herpes will be a minor inconvenience for you, and with proper care will carry no risk for your pregnancies or having health children.
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Dear Dr. Hunter Handsfield,

Thank you very much for your time in replying questions. I have some questions which I couldn't find an answer and regarding what the doctor had told us.

Currently, my husband likes to use drugs such as cocaine and cracks because of his unstable emotions. Will this affect anything in his current situation and if he uses the medications? He is a heavy smoker too. Do smoking affect anything?

Once in a while, he will drink alcohol but I think the rate of his drinking is lower than drugs. The doctor that he went to did mentioned about getting into stress and alcohol will lead to outbreak.

If my husband has a wound, can I be infected just by touching his blood? Do blood transmit the disease?

Is there any food that he needs to avoid?

About the pregnancy, if I do get infected with conceiving it normally within that 3 months
1. Is there medications to help me to prevent outbreak?

2. I had read online that preganancy isn't a problem especially when you had the virus for a long time in the body. And the placenta will create an antibody to the baby. Is this true?

3. Is it true that with antibody will protect the baby from the virus? In other words that the baby will not get the virus?

4. What are the successful chances nowadays in pregnancy with HSV?

Thinking about your first reply,
I did asked my doctor why I wasn't transmitted and he told me that it's possible. is it still possible I won't be transmitted even with more than 5x unprotected sex + w/o medication?

3 years ago tested His test came back negative. If a person just get the virus how long it needs to be inside the body til it can be transmitted to someone else?  

Once again, thank you very much for answering my questions. I'll wait for the email. Do you need my email address?
I'll be waiting for the email from medhelp.

Best Regards, Seattlewife :)  
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We're glad to have helped, but these are getting a bit detailed for online advice.  I'll just say that the "success rate" in delivering a health child when either parent has genital herpes is 100%.  The key is knowing a risk exists, in which case there is 100% ability to prevent a serious outcome either for mom or baby.  Nationwide in the US, each year probably around 1 million babies are born to couples in which one or both parents has HSV-2.  The few cases of neonatal herpes (infection of the baby) occur almost entirely when the parent's herpes hasn't previously been diagnosed and therefore prevention methods weren't possible.

This whole issue simply isn't worth all the worry you are putting into it.  You'll come to understand this much better after you have had the expert care we have discussed.

Best wishes.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
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