STDs Expert Forum
Safety with HSV-2
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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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Safety with HSV-2

I am HSV-2 negative (HSV-1 positive), my partner is HSV-2 positive.  She is on acyclovir for suppression and has not had an outbreak for a number of months.  We were away last week and used condoms for one act of intercourse and had unprotected oral sex.
My understanding is that unprotected oral sex, esp while between breakouts is relatively safe... and that protected intercourse while on acyclovir is pretty safe.
Am I correct? Thank you!
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I have reviewed your over 30 posts to this and other MedHelp forums about herpes.  You are quite knowledgeable about the infection and you and your partner are taking the proper precautions to prevent transmission.  In a large study of over 1500 couples in your situation, with the steps you are taking (condoms for vaginal sex,  avoidance of sex during outbreaks and suppressive antiviral therapy) persons such as yourself experienced about a 50% reduction in their rates of HSV acquisition to less than 3% per year.  In addition, it is reasonable to think that at least some of the participants in that study may not have taken the preventative steps perfectly.  Putting all of this together, your risk of herpes is very, very low, probably lower than it would be if you were out "in the world" having sex with a partner who had a 1 in 4 chance of having HSV-2 (that is the national average for women) but did not know it and therefore did not take precautions.  

Your risk of infection is reduced over and above others as well by virtue of the fact that you do have HSV-1 which will confer increased to resistance to infection over someone who did not have HSV-1.  

Risk from receipt of unprotected sex from a partner with genital HSV-2 when you already have HSV-1 -close to zero.

Bottom line, you really have nothing to worry about.

Hope this helps.  Please however, no follow-up "what if" questions.  EWH
3 Comments
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Oh and in light of the recent study, I am circumcised.
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655746_tn?1242088167
Thanks you very much!  Great work on this site!
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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