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First Outbreak - was I just exposed? Do I tell him?

I've been monogamous with the same partner for 3 1/2 months. About a month in the relationship I came down with a case of bacterial vaginosis which was treated and went away. We pretty much always use protection...except this past weekend. We had sex on a Thursday & Saturday. By Monday I felt weird, like I had a discharge, and just chafing from vigorous sex. Then Tuesday morning noticed dryness/cracks. By Thursday I saw a nurse practitioner and upon visual examination they diagnosed me with a primary outbreak of HSV and did a culture (no results yet). I was beyond hysterical. I'm in my 30s and have never really had a serious boyfriend. Now I've found someone I really really like and this happens. I had a follow up the next day with the doctor who also agreed it was HSV and a primary outbreak and did a blood test (no results yet). They both seemed pretty convinced that I was just exposed. They also told me I should tell my partner because he most likely has it and gave it to me. I've been crying for days, unable to go to work, in so much pain, and confused with so many questions. My guy is dying to see me, keeps sending me sexy text messages, and I'm wallowing in depression and shame. My questions are, did I most likely get it from him? He had no symptoms. Why didn't I get it sooner? How can I break this news to him I'm TERRIFIED he will be repulsed and never want to speak with me again? We have never even had a discussion about our "status." How long until I tell him? We live in different cities and I think it should really be done in person. I feel incomprehensibly paralyzed by the thought of telling him about this I hyperventilate.
12 Responses
3149845 tn?1506627771
Hi, dont let anxiety take hold till the results come in. Visual diagnoses of herpes is not accurate at all and from what you describe really dont seem herpes related. Often with a primary outbreak esp genital herpes there is body aches and fever as the immune system is mounting a defense building antibodies. Also with outbreaks there would be clear liquid sores not just cracks.
If he did not have any visible lip or genital sores present at the time of sex then the risk of contracting it would be quite low as shedding doesnot occur that often.
Do let us know the test results.
Avatar universal
After my exhaustive internet research and the two visual diagnoses I'm kind of convinced of what it might be. I have not had body aches & pains, but I did have some swollen lymph nodes along my bikini line. I think I also had a low grade fever around 99 a few times (that's a fever for me my temp is usually low). They are definitely sores, not just cracks. They started out that way but rapidly progressed to more like blisters. Ugh. Typing this just makes me more sad :( I'm going to wait for the results before I talk to my partner, but if they do come back positive how do I convey that I got it from him? Both of my doctors said I did because this is a "text book primary outbreak." I saw zero signs of a breakout on him whatsoever so I really don't think he'll be expecting this news. Our relationship is so physical I'm afraid this may end it forever.
1998092 tn?1391242845
Your symptoms sound like my primary outbreak as well. And my gifter also did not have obvious symptoms. It is not true that shedding does not occur often: HSV-2 sheds 20% of days - that's 1 out of every 5 days.

Your partner needs to know that he has HSV. This was not your fault. Let me repeat that - this was not your fault. He needs to know so that he is aware for the future. Disclose to him for his sake. Did they tell you how long it would take for the test results to come back?
Avatar universal
I should know the results this week. It feels like forever!!! They did a culture and a blood test. Part of me hopes it shows a recent infection so he is the only one I have to tell. I'm so horrified by all of this. I'm certain he has NO idea. I can't believe I didn't have the courage to talk to him about our relationship status last time we were together now I'm going to have to talk about THIS. He lives about 1 hour away so that drive is going to be the death of me. I am so worried he may make me leave right away. If I do have it, and it shows a recent infection, and we had unprotected sex, doesn't that mean he has it and shouldn't be worried about being with me again if I'm free & clear of an OB?
3149845 tn?1506627771
Without an outbreak for sure reduces the risk he contracted it (if you infact have it).
Avatar universal
So the nurse practitioner called and said that I tested positive on my culture (but she didn't have any details about it....like if it was type 1 or type 2). And for my blood only the HgM was back and that was "less than 1 to 10" she said. So she said I definitely have HSV because the culture says so but that this first blood test is "negative." They are still waiting on the HgG I guess. Does this mean it is in fact a recent infection since I don't have the antibodies? If so, there is no other explanation that my unprotected sex last weekend, therefore my partner has it and gave it to me right? I have an appointment with a psychiatrist tomorrow because I feel like I'm definitely going crazy. I'm going to stop at the GYN office to see these results in person and maybe get the actual numbers. This sucks and is so confusing!!!
1998092 tn?1391242845
Yes, a positive swab and a negative IgG does point to a recent infection - probably less than 4 months. I strongly encourage you to tell your partner. He needs to know and be tested.

The IgM is not a conclusive test - it can pick up other viruses, like chickenpox or mono. It really tells you very little. You can disregard it.

Your feelings are valid - please be gentle with yourself. A counselor is a good idea if you think you need one. Also, fetching a hard copy of your test is a good idea as well.
Avatar universal
I don't have my IgG tests back. Maybe tomorrow. Yesterday the psychiatrist canceled on me so I have an appointment with them in the morning. Also my partner is coming to visit tomorrow! He is suuuuper excited to see me and I know he is totally thinking he's going to get some action. Little does he know I'm going to drop this bomb on him. I'm nauseous thinking about the conversation. I don't want to ruin the whole day. Is there a way to "downplay" it? I don't want him immediately turning around and driving home. Or not wanting to share a bed with me. I'm dreading this talk so much but I miss him and can't wait to see him.
1998092 tn?1391242845
If you approach it in a way that shows that you're feeling concern for him, that he needs to get tested for his own sake, because the knowledge will be important for the future, he won't see it as an accusation. But he does need to know that the tests indicate this is your first infection. That will make it imperative for him to get tested, knowing he probably gave it to you. In fact, you might suggest that the two of you get tested together, for everything, so that you're both aware of what each of you brings to the relationship.
Avatar universal
Okay so an update....my IGG results came back and were <.91 for both HSV1 and HSV2. Also, I spoke with my partner and he was very understanding. I cried but tried not to overdo it on the negatives. He stayed in town with me all weekend and we had a great time, but no sexual activity other than kissing. My doctors didn't even bother to call and tell me the results I had to look them up on my online chart or whatever. I think that this means it was a recent infection right?

My partner did say that he has had cold sores his whole life. And so did his mom and grandma. And that he's never had a genital problem or known to have given anyone else a problem.

Since our weekend together he's been distant though. Not communicating as much as I would like an I'm completely worried and freaking out about it again. Since my psychiatrist appointment she put me on Lexapro and Trazodone to help me sleep. I'm not dealing well with all of this at all. Given that I'm Type A with OCD and depressed about my diagnoses and paranoid my relationship is not going to work out. Any advice out there? I don't want to chase this guy down, but I love him.
Avatar universal
the first thing I would do is ask to find out what type of HSV you are positive for.   And if they are giving you the run-around, you need to make an issue of it.  You deserve to know what you have!

There is literally a world of difference regarding what you can expect from being diagnosed with HSV1 vs. HSV2.  HSV1, for example is known to be a much easier infection to deal with based on the fact that you can expect to have far fewer outbreaks.  Like less than 1 per year.
1998092 tn?1391242845
Your guy may be feeling bad about having possibly infected you. He does need to get a reliable blood test to determine his status. Tell him you've been told that for his sake he needs to get tested. Having no symptoms below the waist is not a guarantee that he doesn't have it below the waist. Up to 90% of HSV+ people are unaware they have it due to a lack of recognizable symptoms.

There is no guarantee that genital HSV1 will not give you multiple outbreaks - a new person in my support group has them regularly, so I don't want to mislead you. Her case is not common, however. If it is indeed HSV-1, there is a good chance yours will become nothing more than a minor annoyance as time passes, if you have symptoms at all.

Follow up with another reliable blood test after 16 weeks - either the IgG (good) or the Western Blot (best). Be aware that the IgG has had problems with accuracy in a percentage of tests. Best wishes to you. Please feel free to continue to ask questions.
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