I was diagnosed with ms about 5 years ago and take copaxone for it. I've been doing well (knock on wood) and haven't had a relapse since I was first diagnosed. I've started dating someone that informed me that she's got genital herpes and I'm just wondering if anyone out there has experienced something similar. To be honest it scares the crap out of me knowing that I've got one problem and may now need to worry about possibly getting another. I know condoms are one way to help prevent the spread but it could still be possible to get even with the use of a condom. Anyone got any words of wisdom for me? Thanks
I have MS and Type I genital herpes. I take an antiviral drug twice a day and haven't had an outbreak other than the primary one when I first got the virus seven years ago. An antiviral will reduce the viral load and make us less contagious while the virus is dormant. It reduces the risk of transmission to around 2 percent. Using a condom during intercourse and a mouth dam during oral sex reduces the risk of transmission to near zero. Of course, no one should have intercourse/oral sex while the virus is active and there are blisters present, that's just asking for trouble.
Also know that 80-90 percent of the adult population already has the antibodies for Type I herpes, it's so easily spread through casual skin contact with a person who has facial cold sores that most of us have the antibodies but have never had symptoms. You might already have the antibodies, which would make you immune to Type I and mostly immune to contracting Type II, though there is some risk. You can have either type facially and on the genitals.
If you are very concerned, you could have your doc do a blood test to see if you have the antibodies. Also know that if you are infected, the herpes virus is harmless in that it won't damage your organs or cause death. On the other hand, any kind of viral flare-up might trigger an MS exacerbation. In my case, it has not. Everyone is different.
There are many types of herpes viruses, including: mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr), shingles, and chicken pox. Any of these viruses could trigger a flare as well, not to mention cold viruses and bacterial infections such as a UTI or sinus infection. If you are taking an MS drug that suppresses the immune system, you are at higher risk of contracting any number of these things, just to put it all in a larger perspective.
No causal relationship between Epstein-Barr virus and MS has been proven. Studies have only noted that patients who have the antibodies for Epstein-Barr virus, especially a high viral load, have a higher risk of developing MS. But other risk factors must be present as well for a person to develop MS, including a genetic predisposition.
Thank you for replying Kim, the reason I'm concerned is its the Type 2 in question. I get the god awful cold sores myself but exposing myself to the type2 is what I'm concerned about. I don't have it so I really don't want it. I'm aware of the being at a greater risk of all sorts of infections while taking my drug (copaxone) that's why it really has me concerned. I've learned a lot the past couple of weeks regarding herpes and to be honest its really been enlightening.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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