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Scared and HSV-2 positive

Hello,
I just recently found out I am HSV-2 positive. I really dont know if I have ever had an outbreak.  The blood test result showed >5.00 and I am confused as to what that means, exactly. I am pretty devastated, frightened and concerned.  Two days before I found out, I had unprotected sex with someone and feel as if I should tell him. It was the first and only time but we are good friends.  Can you please tell me what his risk is of catching this from me? I just want to be able to give him all information that was not given to me. I also have two little girls I am concerned about. Should I worry about towel sharing or anything else?      

Thank you so much for your help!
1 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Welcome to the STD forum.

There is a lot that could be said here, but the information has been discussed frequently and answers can be found in many other threads.  I'll make some general comments then answer your questions directly.

About 20% of the US population has positive HSV-2 blood tests, so you share that in common with at least 60 million Americans (assuming you are in the US).  Don't feel like you have been singled out!  Most such people have no recollection of symptoms of genital herpes.  However, about 60% come to recognize symptoms of recurrent herpes once they know what to look for.  Basically, pay attention to otherewise unexplained minor itching, irritation, or sore spots mostly on the genitals, but could be anywhere on the body parts that would be covered by men's boxer shorts -- i.e., buttocks, anus, lower abdomen.  If anything pops up, see a provider within 1-2 days to confirm whether or not it's herpes.

If you are average, HSV-2 would be detectable in your genital area (vagina, labia, etc) about 10% of the time.  During those times, the infection can be transmitted to sex partners.  Not all such exposures result in transmission, so the chance your partner will catch the virus from a single event is very low, maybe 1 in 1,000 or less.  Still, you should let him know of your infection so he can be on the lookout for symptoms.  And you'll need to routinely inform other partners before you have sex with them.  

HSV-2 is never transmitted in households, by towels or anything else.  The ONLY people at risk for catching it from you are people you have sex with.  Your daughters definitely are not at risk.

If you are typical, you will have lots of questions.  It would be best to find a health care provider who understands herpes well.  That might include your personal ObG or whoever you see for primary care.  If uncertain about his or her expertise, Planned Parenthood is a good bet.  You also can telephone the American Social Health Association (www.ashastd.org) and speak to a herpes-knowledgeable counselor.  Also consider dropping by the MedHelp herpes community forum, where the moderators are genuine experts.  There's also lots of excellent information on the ASHA website, and some other good herpes resources are at www.cdc.gov/std and www.westoverheights.com.

As to other information on this forum, just use the search link and enter such things as "genital herpes", "herpes symptoms", "HSV", HSV transmission", etc.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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