Aa
A
A
A
Close
Herpes Community
27.6k Members
Avatar universal

GHSV-1: Safe sex options

Hi all, thank you for your time!

I have been seeing a girl who has GHSV-1 but we have thus far abstained from genital intercourse. While I have done a very large amount of research on transmission rates and methods, I am hoping to better understand what is in the realm of my control and give her as normal and fulfilling of a relationship as possible. I am aware of the already low rates of transmission for GHSV-1. My questions are as follows:

1. Are there any other ways to reduce likelihood of transmission during intercourse beyond condoms/antivirals? For example, wearing briefs in addition to the condom to reduce skin contact

2. If I touch her genitals with my hands and then touch my genitals inadvertently is there a material risk of transmission?

3. Are there any known cases of genital to genital HSV-1 transmission in a relationship abstaining from genital intercourse (or ~once every couple of months)

4. If I were to semi-purposefully contract oral HSV-1 from her, would this then reduce my likelihood of getting it genitally? I have never had cold sores and tested negative recently

5. If I am wearing underwear and she 'grinds' on me to the point of abrasion on my genitals, is there a risk of transmission?

Thank you so very much again for your time and for sharing your knowledge.
1 Responses
207091 tn?1337709493
COMMUNITY LEADER
I will answer your questions, but let me start by saying the chances of you getting hsv1 from her ghsv1 are essentially zero. Ghsv1 rarely sheds, and rarely recurs, making transmission almost never happen.

1. Are there any other ways to reduce likelihood of transmission during intercourse beyond condoms/antivirals? For example, wearing briefs in addition to the condom to reduce skin contact

How long has she had ghsv1? If she's had it longer than 2 years, recent studies show that she is probably shedding 4 days a year. If it's a new infection, shedding rates are higher. We have no studies on what Valtrex or acyclovir does for ghsv1, but assuming it works the same way, your partner has to decide if taking a daily medication is worth it for her.

2. If I touch her genitals with my hands and then touch my genitals inadvertently is there a material risk of transmission?

Hands do not transmit any STD. There is too much involvement with air and movement to make hands a risk factor.

3. Are there any known cases of genital to genital HSV-1 transmission in a relationship abstaining from genital intercourse (or ~once every couple of months)

No and I've never heard of any transmission where people are actually having sex. Don't deprive yourselves of anything you want based on herpes. If she gets outbreaks, just avoid sex when she has outbreaks. Wait until they've healed.

4. If I were to semi-purposefully contract oral HSV-1 from her, would this then reduce my likelihood of getting it genitally? I have never had cold sores and tested negative recently

No, I wouldn't do this. You are more infectious from the mouth, and could get frequent cold sores. The chances of you getting it genitally are so small that this doesn't make a lot of sense. Also, the hsv1 IgG misses 30% of infections. You could already have it and not know it. I mean, it would work - you couldn't get ghsv1 from her this way, but you could end up suffering far more than you need to.

5. If I am wearing underwear and she 'grinds' on me to the point of abrasion on my genitals, is there a risk of transmission?

No, it doesn't go through clothing. No STD does.


I understand your concerns, but you are way overthinking this. She isn't a walking infection or biohazard. You can touch her, give her oral, have sex with her, enjoy her. If she's recently infected, the shedding rates might be higher, and taking daily suppression might be a good idea, but if she's had it more than 2 years, personally, I wouldn't bother unless she's getting outbreaks.

If you find you can't relax about this, let her go. She deserves someone who won't worry about every little touch, and you deserve to relax and enjoy sex.
4 Comments
Thank you for your response!

We both have prodigious 'appetites' so any % decrease helps. In order for me to feel relaxed I need to feel fully informed, especially when it comes to both my and her health. Getting answers like the one you provided help to achieve that goal - so I am very grateful!

Regarding antivirals, your last comment is exactly what we are debating now - as transmission rates are so low we need to decide whether or not it's worth it to continuously take that medication due to potential but unlikely side effects. She contracted it from her ex-fiance ~4 years ago but has had relatively frequent recurrences
That's a decision I can't make for anyone. I've had hsv2 for 15+ years, and have taken suppression ever since with no side effects, and it has really helped my outbreaks. Obviously, I don't know her health history, so I can't say her experience will be like mine.

She may want to talk to her doctor. Some doctors are hesitant about prescribing suppression for ghsv1, and I don't know what "relatively frequent" means, but some don't like to prescribe them for ghsv2 even unless you're getting more than 10 outbreaks a year. (I think that's crazy, btw.) Just use that info how you will.

If she wants to get a physical first, with some blood work done, that's fine, too.

You can get them online, if you have a hard time finding a doc who will prescribe it. I'm not endorsing them, but https://www.getroman.com/ is one that other members have used. (I think they are only US based.) There are others, but that's the one I know of offhand.

Thank you very much!

Yes, she is going to have a discussion with her doc this week about antivirals. I'm glad to hear that you have had no side effects! That is reassuring! She's otherwise healthy and frequency is certainly less than 10 p.a. - 3-5ish.

Really appreciate you taking time out of your day to share your experience :)
You're welcome!

Let us know if you have any other questions. We're happy to help. Let us know how she does with her doctor.
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Here are 16 facts you need to know to protect yourself from contracting or spreading a sexually transmitted disease.
How do you keep things safer between the sheets? We explore your options.
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.
Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia provides insight to the most commonly asked question about the transfer of HIV between partners.
The warning signs of HIV may not be what you think. Our HIV and STD expert Sean Cummings reports in-depth on the HIV "Triad" and other early symptoms of this disease.