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Can I get some Herpes Statistics and Facts?

Hi everyone. I was diagnosed with HSV1 three months ago after a sexual partner of mine transmitted it to me vaginally via oral sex (he had it on his mouth, he had a sore popping up and did not realize it).

As traumatic as this was for me, finding out information and facts and being armed with said into for future partners has been incredibly important for me. I want to be able to talk to people openly about this and explain my quality of life and sex life is still great, etc.

Can y’all throw some statistics at me, preferably with sources backing it up? If no sources that’s fine, I’m doing my own digging and research too. This is motivated from the fact that I have a potential new partner that I need to have this conversation with and I want to be as open and prepared to discuss as possible. He appears as fact oriented as I am.

So—
1. Per year with a male partner, what are my chances of giving it to him using protection or not using protection?

2. What are my chances of transmitting it to him through foreplay (oral sex, fingering, rubbing genitals) if I do not appear to be actively shedding the virus?

3. any tips on things I can tell him that may be comforting and lower his anxiety levels? I realize this is a very personal issue and I’m prepared for whatever his answer may be. But I want to be a good experience for him in an encounter with someone with an STD.

4. What are some common signs that I’m about to have a breakout? I haven’t had one since initial transmission and I want to be actively prepared. I’ve read about the tingling and pain and tiredness. Any other tips for staying in touch with my body?

Thanks!
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Avatar universal
Oh another question:

If you already have one type on one part of your body, can you get it elsewhere? Like because I have it vaginally, could I get it on my mouth? Thanks!
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207091 tn?1337709493
COMMUNITY LEADER
Okay, so we don't have a lot of the same stats for ghsv1 that we do for ghsv2. Transmission hasn't been studied the same way, but we can extrapolate some things. Keep in mind that you are newly infected, and probably more infectious now than you will be later.

However, if your new partner already has hsv1, this is all moot, as you can't give him what he already has. He should get a type specific IgG blood test to find out, if he doesn't already know that he has it (tested positive before, a history of cold sores, etc.).

Most of this info comes from the Herpes Handbook, which I linked below. If you have questions about a specific item, and need a source, let me know.


So—
1. Per year with a male partner, what are my chances of giving it to him using protection or not using protection?

We don't have these stats like we do for ghsv2. I'll give you shedding information for both, and the transmission stats for ghsv2, and you can sort of interpret those. All of this is found in the Herpes Handbook - https://westoverheights.com/herpes/the-updated-herpes-handbook/


Shedding rates:

HSV 2 genital 15-30% of days evaluated

HSV 1 genital 3-5% of days evaluated
  
HSV 1 oral 25% of days evaluated

HSV 2 oral 1% of days evaluated

We also know that ghsv1 generally results in far fewer outbreaks than ghsv2, and many people never get another outbreak after their first. That, combined with the lower shedding rates, means lower transmission.

So for transmission rates. We don't know the exact transmission rates for ghsv1, but here are the rates for ghsv2, and if your math is better than mine, maybe you can extrapolate some figures.

Ghsv2 transmission, female to male, over the course of a year, assuming sex 2-3 times a week:

Only avoiding sex during an outbreak - 4-5%

Adding condoms OR daily suppression - 2-3%

Adding condoms AND daily suppression - 1-2%


2. What are my chances of transmitting it to him through foreplay (oral sex, fingering, rubbing genitals) if I do not appear to be actively shedding the virus?

Shedding the virus is called asymptomatic viral shedding - you won't know when this happens. If you have any symptoms of anything - itching, discharge, sores, etc., you should avoid sex. That's a good rule of thumb whether you have herpes or not. Even if you just have a yeast infection, there is a chance you could just pass it back and forth.

The following assumes you have no symptoms, no outbreaks:

Oral sex - herpes doesn't like to go from the genitals to the mouth. This is true for both hsv1 and hsv2. It is possible, but not likely. It's more likely when symptoms are present.

Fingering - very low risk. There is something called herpetic whitlow, which is herpes on the finger, but most people who get this are dental health professionals. It's possible, but not something I'd overly worry about unless you have an outbreak.

Rubbing genitals - this is possible, depending on how vigorous the rubbing is. Herpes needs friction to transmit. Also, your mucus membranes need to be rubbing, not the thicker skin, say thighs. The thicker skin is too thick for the virus to penetrate.

3. any tips on things I can tell him that may be comforting and lower his anxiety levels? I realize this is a very personal issue and I’m prepared for whatever his answer may be. But I want to be a good experience for him in an encounter with someone with an STD.

Yes, be factual, calm, and don't do this right before you're about to have sex, naked and panting, so to speak. Be ready to answer questions. Don't take the questions personally. Have the Herpes Handbook ready, or whatever other sources you find. (I'm going to recommend us, of course, and Terri Warren's forum, https://westoverheights.com/forum/ - she gets a LOT of questions on ghsv1, and she is the world's foremost expert on herpes.)

Don't use words like terrible, horrible, shocking, as in, "I have something terrible to tell you that may shock you." First, it's not terrible, nor really all that shocking. If you lead into it with those words, he's going to be bracing himself for the worst, and will be associating herpes with "terrible and shocking".

Don't give him an out, like, "I'll understand totally if you don't want to be with me." Everyone has an out when they're dating. It's part of dating. He doesn't need your permission, and really, herpes isn't a good enough reason to leave a good relationship, nor to stay in a bad one.

Make it part of a bigger STD conversation. Remember that he may have something that is of concern to you, and now that you have herpes, it doesn't mean that his information isn't as important to you as it was before.



4. What are some common signs that I’m about to have a breakout? I haven’t had one since initial transmission and I want to be actively prepared. I’ve read about the tingling and pain and tiredness. Any other tips for staying in touch with my body?

Don't obsess over this. I know it's easier said than done, but you'll figure yours out over time, or maybe not. Some people with ghsv1 never get another outbreak. I've had ghsv2 for 15+ years, and I'm not sure I know my warning signs entirely because I've been on suppression, and rarely get them.

You will get some tingles and itches and twinges - you've had these your whole life and just never paid attention. Try not to get hyper-aware of it all now.


If you already have one type on one part of your body, can you get it elsewhere? Like because I have it vaginally, could I get it on my mouth? Thanks!

If you didn't get it orally at the same time you got it genitally - and you may have and didn't get an oral outbreak, you probably won't get it orally now if you've had time to develop antibodies.

I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions.
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