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Avatar universal

HSV-2 communicability; age, antiviral variables

I am 59, and had a first HSV-2(diagnosed from swabbed lesion) outbreak 8 years ago. I have had a total of three outbreaks, the last being three years ago. The outbreak has located a half inch below my navel. I also have HSV-1. I know that outbreaks typically decrease with age. 1) If my age-related immune system functioning keeps the virus dormant from now on, is it true that my risk for communicating HSV-2 also goes down? 2) If yes, is that because I therefore shed less, or even stop eventually? 3) If my lesion site never located on my genitalia, can my semen still transmit the virus, possibly originating from urethral mucosae, or from the genitalia skin?  4) If I additionally take famciclovir 250mg tid, does this significantly reduce my risk of communicating the virus through fellated ejaculation? 5) Does a hot soapy shower in fact temporarily (1-3 hrs.) reduce possible shedding? 6) Lastly, how do I test for shedding, or, viral load in my semen? I know that's a lot of questions to ask; please let me know how I can help any organization you like working with HSV or STI awareness or treatment. I have already donated to PP.
5 Responses
101028 tn?1419603004
are you sure that they typed your infection or just that it was + for herpes and assumed to be hsv2 since it was below the waist?   if you aren't sure, well worth trying to find out.

It doesn't matter how long you've been infected. We have studies showing that the virus sheds as much whether you've been infected 3 years or over 20 years.

makes no difference where you typically get lesions either. You are contagious from the area of the lesions when you have them as well as the virus is shedding from the anal/genital area too during active lesions. in between obvious recurrences, the virus sheds periodically from the anal/genital area.

we don't have studies on famvir reducing transmission to a partner. we assume that since all 3 antivirals for herpes reduce shedding about the same that being on any herpes antiviral would reduce the risk of transmission to a partner in general.   no reason to take famvir 3x/day though for suppressive therapy.  

soap and water can only kill virus on the skins surface. the friction of any sex act would still expose a partner to herpes virus if you were actively shedding at that time.

what do you mean for testing for virus in your semen?


Avatar universal
Thank you for such a prompt reply. The diagnosis is certain; the roof of an active lesion was lifted, and swabbed, so no assumptions were made by my MD. Also, I take Famvir twice a day - I should have written "bid" - the standard preventive dose. As far as testing, I was wondering if there was any practice of testing whether a person might be shedding. I suppose it's hit and miss; a negative test could still mean that shedding would occur later. I had read that the virus could be transmitted via semen, but that may be mistaken (?)
101028 tn?1419603004
herpes can be present in semen but just exposure to semen without actual sex is very low risk. ( hope that makes sense )

we don't have any helpful shedding test that would give any real time answers as to shedding. we also know that shedding sometimes literally only happens for a few hours at a time so any shedding tests that would be done, wouldn't be 100% accurate.  
Avatar universal
Then I am guessing that it's possible for HSV2 to be transmitted if the semen is in contact with the soft tissues of the mouth, with or without any open cuts/sores? However, I have read on the site that HSV2 does not seem to transmit easily in the oral environment, so perhaps this is another one of those unresearched, speculative situations. It does seem to me to be worth understanding - both HSV2 and oral sex are so common.
101028 tn?1419603004
if you just ejaculated into someone's open mouth without them having had performed oral on you, it's not a real risk at all.  it also takes heat and friction to transmit herpes, not just contact with any virus that would be in the semen. hope I was understanding what you were referring to.
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