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Genital hsv 1. What am I dealing with?

Hi All,

So my girlfriend just told me she has genital hsv 1. What am I dealing with here? Should I be concerned?

She referred me to this site if I had any questions and I have been reading up on some information and from the looks of it I shouldnt be concerned as it rarely sheds. How accurate it this?

I am a little concerned because the forums also state that there is a risk but its highly unlikely to spread from genital to genital but what about oral? Am I at risk for catching it orally?

I have been tested previously and am negative for both types of hsv. I always make sure I am tested for everything. I really love this girl and have know her since freshman year in college she is 23 and I am 26. I care about her so much but I'm not sure i want to contract this although she definitely defines and has everytihng I want in a woman. Can someone tell me what genital hsv 1 is and what it does to the body? Am I safe to have unprotected sex with her? We have always used condoms but after shes told me I've been a little less spontaneous in fear that I might contract her hsv 1.

I really dont want her to feel like Im pushing her away but its hard not to feel scared about this.

Is it really just a skin condition?
How come I have not acquired this yet? I have dated a handful of women and none have told me about any type of hsv 1. My gf said everyone has it in the form of cold sores on their mouths but to my knowledge I have not seen anyone with cold sores.

Can someone shed some light as I am very concerned and do not want to leave her without knowing the facts or what I will be dealing with.
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Avatar universal
There's a lot of great info on here. One thing I didn't see- sorry if someone mentioned it already and I missed it- that's worth bringing up is that:

Prior to the development of antiviral drugs, stigma surrounding herpes (oral or gential) was nonexistent.  Current social attitudes are a result of an aggressive marketing campaign by the pharmaceutical giant Burroughs Wellcome (now GlaxoSmithKline) in the 1970s and 80s after acyclovir "Zovirax" was first synthesized.

Don't believe it?   This type of shaping of public opinion is disturbingly common in the pharmaceutical industry...consider male pattern baldness, a once natural part of life now cause for significant mental illness as a result of aggressive marketing by Merck after the development of Propecia.
Helpful - 1
101028 tn?1419603004
her anxiety is making her think this way. I hope she finds a decent therapist soon :)

no real reason to think she has hiv either.
Helpful - 0
101028 tn?1419603004
you were more likely to have contracted hsv1 orally from a care giver as a child than you are to contract your partners hsv1 genital infection.   it's not being crazy to be in a relationship with someone who knows they have herpes!!

it's more about your genes if you are from a family that no one seems to get cold sores. It doesn't mean no one has hsv1 orally, it means you can thank mom and dad for something good about their gene pool - the gene that makes you less likely to get obvious cold sores if you contract hsv1 orally :)    
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
That sounds great! One last question (I think) I like having sex and since I've known her she also likes to have sex. She contracted hsv 1 from her ex who didnt tell her he had cold sores. How spontaneous can we be in the bedroom? I dont want to hold back because I like being very affectionate and get into the whole oral, anal, vaginal thing. (sorry for being so graphic) but how safe am I to do that? I dont want to spread her hsv 1 to her anal area because I can only imagine how painful that would be. But how does this work?

Lets say if I did have hsv 1 oraly and I gave her oral sex am I infecting her with even more of the virus? or once she has it she has it she cant get mroe now it wont replicate?
Helpful - 0
101028 tn?1419603004
you can do anything you want in the bedroom as well as in the living room and even outdoors as long as you aren't breaking any laws.  also remember to put away the sex swing if mom and dad are coming to visit   ;)   the only changes in your sex life would be if she has anything going on genitally, avoid sex until things are back to normal :)

you wouldn't spread hsv1 to her anal area - it's already there. when she was infected with genital herpes, it infected the entire sacral nerve ganglia which supplies are nerve function from the waist down.  When she sheds the virus, it sheds from the entire urogenital/anal area already.  

if you do have hsv1 orally and aren't testing accurately on the igg blood tests for it, you won't make things "worse" for her by performing oral sex on her. she can't get "worse" what she already has.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
haha I love that! Thanks so much Grace! I guess my fear was that Im dating someone that has an STD but I really care for this girl and have even told her that I see her as the mother of my kids :) Shes a great catch and it was very unfortunate for her to get this but shes strong and is dealing with it.

Since this doesnt have any long term effects on her body? no diformities or anything How will she do in child birth? Will she be under medication? Will the doctors know how to test this? (Im sorry I know I said that was my last question but you are mankign me feel very at ease making the next move with her)
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Another question Grace that just came to mind from reading other threads, what about shedding? If we are going to bump and grind all over the place dont I risk getting hsv 1 if we do have sex every day? Before her diagnoses we had a lot of unprotected sex because I knew who she was with and she knew who I was with prior and we were both tested so no issue there but what about now?

What is the likelyhood that I will end up with this if I plan on marrying her? Will I eventually get it? Id asymptomatic shedding with no symptoms?
Helpful - 0
101028 tn?1419603004
hsv1 genitally is active about a dozen days out of the year. the odds that you'd be having sex on one of those days overall is rather low.

no long term effects to having herpes either orally or genitally, regardless of type.

the risk of transmitting genital herpes to a baby during birth is less than 1% if she doesn't have any obvious lesions at the time of delivery. If she would have an obvious recurrence near the time of birth, a c section would be done to protect the baby.

no one teaches us to understand std's - we are taught to fear them in hopes that it keeps us from being sexually active. Obviously doesn't work too well and just leads to people fearing things they don't understand needlessly.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi grace, im not going to lie but I am a bit concerned. I woke up today very scared. I had a couple of friends over who mentioned tht the worst things to get were aids and herpes. I stayed shut and ignored them. No one knows my gfs hsv status, that comment hurt a little because i know someone who has herpes and shes my gf. If people found out they would look at her like shes contagious and disgusting and i wouldnt want that.

I am thinking about whether i should stay in the relationship or just leave. Its hard to think about what i want to do. Her hsv is the only thing im afraid of.

What do you suggest?.:( very concerned here
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
honestly, your friends are morons to actually dedicate a conversation to speculate "what is the worst thing to get". I bet my paycheck they don't even know the difference between hsv1 and hsv2 or anything regarding genital herpes at all.

maybe you should stop listening to people and just consider that you have a wonderful partner (as you said it yourself) who has a stds that sheds to infrequently that will most probably never transmit it to you and that it's just a minor nuissance in everyday life.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi Bob,

I know i felt bad i didnt give my opinion or anything i just felt it was disrespectful. From what ive been reading ghsv1 is far less contagious then all the other types of hsv's besides oral hsv 2.

Im still trying to deal with this. Im struggling with the fact that its an std :/ any tips On how you dealth with this or having a negative partner and having transmitted ghsv1?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I appreciate my gf telling me about this, she could have kept it to herself like some of the people On the forums ive read because it rarely sheds and is spread.

But On the other side its concerning. If hsv 1 is not an std just because its On the genitals its an std.
Helpful - 0
101028 tn?1419603004
I've had hsv2 for 25 years now. I have passed it on twice - once before I had it and once after diagnosed when I was a moron ( some may argue I am still a moron....lol ).  Ever since then, I've never passed it on to a partner and most of my partners have been hsv2 negative. as far as I know, I've never passed on my hsv1 infection.   So yes indeed precautions do work - regardless of what type we are talking about.

as I've said before - 1 out of every 2-3 of us has hsv1 . If you kissed 4 girls in the next year, odds are 2 of them would have it. it really is that common.  Odds that you'd contract it - still very low even though hsv1 orally sheds more. your friends are ignorant and I betcha not a one of them practices protected oral sex or knows about the risk of hsv1 being transmitted to the genitals!!   They probably also haven't had their gardasil shots and believe that the stats of 1 out of every 3 of us has a std in their lifetime are made up.  invite me to hang out with you and your friends - I'll set them straight and it'll only cost you a drink or two :)

we can't make the choice for you whether to continue in this relationship or not. It's your choice to make. if the worse thing you can find wrong with this gal is that she has hsv1 though, better snatch her up and never let her go :)  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Thanks grace that was very reassuring. I will take this info and digest it. One last question did the 2 guys you passed it to already have hsv 1? How did they react once they found out?
Helpful - 0
101028 tn?1419603004
no idea if they had hsv1 or not, that was 25 years ago.  

neither was pleased to find out they had herpes. I would've never known I had it if the first guy hadn't come and talked to me about it. I had had no idea but it was pretty clear it came from me. Ironically I had had sex with 2 guys that same night and only one got it even - imagine those odds!  The 2nd guy was of course pissed that I knew I had it but hadn't told him. was a lesson I learned and have never repeated and always tell before sex now.   needless to say my deception led to the end of the relationship quickly :(  thankfully I've grown up a hell of a lot in the last 25 years!

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Lets say if i do aquire hsv 1 am i at risk for encephalitis or meningitia, blindness or ocular herpes
Helpful - 0
897535 tn?1295206435
Better chance of getting hit by an asteroid no doubt. Do you know of anyone who has had any of those illnesses? No. And chances are, they, or your grandma or your mom or a number of other people in your life, have HSV1. I have it and never, ever think such thoughts!

I agree with Grace, if this is the worst thing about this girl, you are one lucky guy :-)  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi Petal,

yea she is great has a good Job, personality, down to earth, a family and church girl. It was very unfortunate this has happened. Her ex was an ***hole. He left her when she needed him the most and made her feel like s*=t.

Im still concerned about her ghsv1. She still worries that she might transmit this to me. Shes always thinking about it and fears i will catch it because we do like to be intimate. I caught her reading up On it once and then cried when i told her to stop.

Im worried about my risks but try not to think of it because i do see her as someone i will ultimately love. Just a little afraid of this.

One last question (i know ive said this before) being that her ghsv1 is not likely to shed there is a 1-3% chance in 365 days that i will catch hsv 1? If i marry her eventually i will get it?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi Grace a couple more questions. Are we safe to have sex with condoms? I have read that condoms do not protect against hsv. I am confused, so i am at risk even with or without condoms? What if she doesnt get a recurrence is she still shedding or she wont shed?

If its so unlikely that it sheds then i wont catch it?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Also should she start taking suppressive Therapy? From what i know she doesnt take medication for this. Her last and first outbreak was in january.

Should she start for my protection? Does valtrex have any long term effect On her or our future child if we plan On having one?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Is she affecting herself by not taking the medication? If she doesnt take it will she most likely develop outbreaks. She doesnt like taking pills, as you can tell im very concerned both for myself and herself.

Since this lives in the nerve will it cause nerve damage or anything.
Helpful - 0
101028 tn?1419603004
the majority of people who have herpes, regardless of type, don't take herpes antivirals. Treating herpes only helps to speed healing of recurrences and in the case of hsv2, helps to reduce transmission to a partner.

we don't have stats as to the risk of you contracting hsv1 from her. it happens but not enough for us to have stats on.  

no, it doesn't cause any nerve damage.

sounds like her anxiety about her herpes is affecting you too?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Yes because she fears she will pass this On to me and she criea sometimes with me and sometimes at home. I worry about her and her anxiety is rubbing off On me just because i want to be there for her but am concerned about my risk too.

She wanted to go to a therapist because she us real sensitive and she has days when she says its just a skin condition then she has other days when she cries and wants to kill herself.

I dont know what to do or tell her to make her feel better and not worry :(
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Shes really worried about passing it to me and I tell her everything is going to be okay but then she cries and it gets me really upset and I sometimes want to find her ex and beat the **** out of him.
Helpful - 0
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