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    Starting to date someone with HSV-2
    An_209151 posted:
    I recently met a woman with whom I'm interested in exploring a long-term relationship. The other day, she confided to me that she contracted HSV-2 several years ago from a former partner who didn't know he was infected.

    I've seen the statistics showing how wide-spread HSV-2 has become and at this time, we have not been intimate. She just began taking Valtrex and we've had a number of conversations to discuss this, where we are in our relationship and how we would like our relationship to progress.

    While I plan on speaking with my physicial and being tested for HSV-2 and other STDs as a precaution. Assuming my test results come back negative:

    - What are the possibilities of contracting HSV-2 through protected sex?

    - Does HSV-2 preclude a couple from engaging in oral sex between outbreaks?

    - Are there other ways to supress the virus other than or in addition to Valtrex/other meds?

    - Are there other precautions we can take (beyond using a condom) that will lessen the possibility of transmitting the virus and protecting our individual health?

    Many thanks in advance. Thoughts from those with a similar experience will be most appreciated.
    betsyo1967 responded:
    glad you are seeking out info about this very common infection

    if you two did nothing but avoid sex any time she had anything going on genitally, you are 96% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from her. If she takes daily suppressive therapy and you use condoms, you are 99% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from her on average.

    can you get hsv2 orally? yes you can but the risk is low. Her being on daily suppressive therapy helps to protect you too. You can also discuss only having protected oral sex too for even more protection.
    Talking about std testing is NORMAL and something we all should be doing EVERY TIME before we have sex with a new partner :)
    An_209152 replied to betsyo1967's response:
    Thanks for your reply, Betsy.

    I'll be honest - I was extremely nervous about getting into a relationship with her because of herpes but between research and books; comments posted here and other threads; and most of all, her honesty and openness, I feel 100% certain that I can have a fulfilling relationship with a very special woman.

    Many thanks ~
    betsyo1967 replied to An_209152's response:
    if you think of any more questions - just ask
    Talking about std testing is NORMAL and something we all should be doing EVERY TIME before we have sex with a new partner :)
    luvtosmile responded:
    you sound like a great guy... it is so hard to find a good match in life. The way you approached educating yourself about H, makes me think you have a great perspective on life and can be very happy and fulfilled with this woman;)
    Lorraine428 replied to betsyo1967's response:
    betsyo, I'm new to this site, can I ask where you are getting your statistics from. I too am in a new relationship and am dating a guy who has hsv2. We have not been intimate as I am concerned about contracting hsv2. I have done my research and from what I have read, daily suppressive therapy only cuts down your chances of contracting hsv2 by 50%. Condoms only by 30%.

    I do know it's more likely for a girl to contract hsv2 from a guy then it is for a guy to contract it from a girl.

    I was just wondering where you were getting your statistical information from. I'm just trying to do all the research I can, so I can make the best decision.

    The guy I'm dating is a great guy. I hate to walk away from a good relationship due to hsv2. But I need to understand my risk.

    Sooki7 replied to Lorraine428's response:
    Lorraine, I'm in the exact same position you are with meeting a seemingly great guy who was open and honest about his possible hsv2 condition. He has not officially been diagnosed, but has told me that he has what he thinks is a "fever blister" that appears on his penis about 1x per year - which he is fully aware that it is most likely hsv2 - he has mentioned it to his dr and his dr said he can't diagnose properly unless he takes a culture when this blister occurs.
    We have not become intimate with each other, but moving in that direction and he wanted to be open and honest with me about it, to which, I absolutely appreciated and thanked him about doing so. Now the ball is in my court on what to do. I feel as though with proper research and discussions with my own primary doctor and discussions with other people going through the same thing, maybe there is a way I can live with it and we can move forward with our relationship - I mean, I owe him at least that much after having him tell me. That alone speaks volume on his character - which makes me like him even more! BUT I'm with you, I want to fully understand my risk to make the best decision.

    I'm equally curious on your questions and my biggest question is, if there is no evidence of outbreak *no blister* and we were to have unprotected sex, what is my risk of contracting?

    Also, same goes for if I were to apply oral sex with no evidence of outbreak, can I contract this virus in my mouth?

    If anyone can help us with our concerns, it would be greatly appreciated!

    Good luck Lorraine!!
    Lorraine428 replied to Sooki7's response:
    Sooki, when I did my research, I called and spoke to the CDC to confirm the information I had found online.

    The CDC confirmed that if the guy is on supressive medication that it only protects him from transmitting hsv2 to you by 50%. Even if he's not having an out break.

    I've read that condoms will protect you up to 30%, but I wasn't able to get CDC to confirm this. My understanding is, that condoms will protect you, only if the condom covers the area where the guy has his out breaks. For example, if the guy has out breaks at the base of his shaft or in the ball area, your not going to be covered with the condom.

    A guy can transmitt hsv2 to you even when he's not having an outbreak. And yes my understanding it can be transmitted to your mouth if you were to give him oral.

    My statistics I was given by the CDC and what I have read online doesn't fall in line with what betsyo had listed, and that is why I had asked where she had gotten her info. I'm not saying her info isn't correct. I was actually wanting to know where she got it from so I couldn't read more info, and do more research. I'd love to find that her info is correct. It would make me feel a lot more comfortable and make my decision a lot easier. As her statistics look much better then mine.

    I highly suggest to you that you call the CDC and talk to someone to get your questions answered. They are very helpful and will answer any questions you have.

    I hope this helps. Good luck! I know how hard of a decision this is.
    Lorraine428 replied to Lorraine428's response:

    I found this website with some of the statistics Betsyo had come up with. This makes a lot more sense. And makes me feel a bit better. Take a look at this site. Under Prevention.
    Sooki7 replied to Lorraine428's response:
    Hi Lorraine.
    Thanks so much for your very detailed response!! I will most definitely take that website info and check it out.

    I would scare myself away from this man if I started thinking that even kissing him would put me at risk. I want to be as informed as possible. Trouble is, trusting the source of information.

    On a side note, he has told me that in the 2 previous long term relationships he had (one for 4 years and the other for 2 years) that both partners agreed on unprotected sex during non-outbreak and to this day, he said neither of them have had any evidence of contracting. He also said that he read somewhere on this site that a woman can have the HSV2 virus, and show absolutely NO evidence or outbreak of it and spread it unknowingly. WOAH. Is that something you've come across in your findings??

    I guess my other question is, how soon after contracting, would an outbreak occur? Is it immediate?

    THis is pretty scary stuff....I've tried to call my own doctor who is on vacation for the next week. Trying to stay sane, but it's hard - the more I'm with this new man, the more I can see falling for him!

    Thanks again for your help.
    Lorraine428 replied to Sooki7's response:
    Sooki, yes in my research, and talking to the CDC it is possible to contract HSV2 and not have any signs. A lot of people have HSV2 and don't even know that they do. This is why having STD tests done, especially blood tests done is so important.

    From my understanding tranmission of HSV2 happens during shedding, which is just prior to an outbreak, and then also during an out break. Some people will know when their shedding and others will not.

    I have spoken to the CDC, my gyno Dr and also have done a TON of research. I highly suggest you do the same. I also suggest you speak to the guy you are dating. He needs to understand your concerns. You should also understand where physically his out breaks are. Whether a condom will cover that are. If so, you are in luck and protected a lot more then others who might have an out break in an area that a condom might not cover. Like around the base of the shaft.

    No matter how much info you have, and no matter how much you understand HSV, I understand how hard of a decision this is. It's been very difficult for me.

    I wish you the best of luck.
    betsyo1967 replied to Lorraine428's response:
    the stats for male to female transmission are different. It's a 8-10% risk/year of contracting hsv2 if all you do is avoid sex during obvious genital symptoms. daily suppressive therapy and condoms take the risk down to 2-3%/year.

    All this is mentioned in the herpes handbook that we reference regularly here and is listed in our resource center.

    the reduction in transmission info comes from the valtrex and reduction in transmission study - NEJM jan 2004 ( I think that's the year ).

    You are correct on your condom info too. It is a 30% reduction. that comes from a recently published study ( totally blanking at the moment on the journal and date ).
    Talking about std testing is NORMAL and something we all should be doing EVERY TIME before we have sex with a new partner :)
    BIRD6 responded:

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