Friday, June 27, 2008

Type 1 - to tell or not to tell?

(Revised.)

Is it necessary to reveal that you have had a type 1 genital episode, since the chances of transmission are so freakishly low? That's a very loaded question which can be hotly debated.

Do those with GHSV1 have more of an obligation to disclose than would someone who gets cold sores? If so, that would be more about stigma than actual risk, since those with cold sores are usually the source of the genital infection. They are contageous around 18% of the time from their mouth area, whether they are having a cold sore or not. Those with a genital type 1 infection are only contageous 0-5% of the time from their genital area, so they are very rarely the source of the infection. The way GHSV1 is almost always transmitted is just oral-->genital, during oral sex, by a person who gets cold sores.

So why aren't people who get cold sores freaking out that they have the ability to give someone an STD, but people who have that same exact virus genitally are, even though their risk to others is way less? Who knows. I guess that society encourages ignorance when it comes to cold sores. Abreva ads don't even so much as mention the word herpes, and doctors are encouraged to not mention the word herpes if a patient comes in with a cold sore. Let alone mention that their cold sore could give someone a mild form of genital herpes.

Yes, mild. Luckily when you get type 1 genitally, it is outside of its site of preference and therefore usually doesn’t thrive, so you have a primary episode but then the virus goes dormant. Unlike type 1 oral and type 2 genital, it very rarely if ever recurs or sheds, and so after some initial trauma it usually becomes pretty much a non-issue, for yourself and for the people you would want to avoid infecting.

Another factor is that the vast majority of the population already has type 1 herpes, so they have the antibodies and are immune. You can't give someone a virus they already have. It's similar to chicken pox, which is also a herpesvirus; once you have gotten it, you're not going to ever pick it up from someone again. With herpes, however, some people will get recurrences. It doesn't mean that they were exposed to the virus again, it means that the virus is reactivating in their body.

But that doesn't mean the unlucky minority aren't still out there. I had managed to somehow get through life without having been exposed to type 1, something I had never really pondered or thought about. But then, a guy I was seeing who wasn't even having a cold sore at the time gave me my first exposure to the virus, and even though we also kissed, the virus chose to infect me genitally when he gave me oral sex. I had an outbreak and went through a lot of trauma, because I didn't understand what had happened to me. I thought I was dirty and tainted forever.

Now I understand that I actually share the same virus that 90% of people have by the time they are 50. There was only a 10% chance that I would get through life and NOT pick up this virus. Just beause I got infected with it genitally doesn't make me any worse off than those who have it orally. Some may argue that it is actually better to have it genitally, since statistically the odds are that I will never pass it to someone else, and that I will never or hardly ever have a recurrence. And I will never have to experience getting cold sores smack dab on my mouth for all to see. Getting infected with type 1 genitally is almost like getting a vaccine against getting cold sores on the mouth! (although some people do get infected in both areas at the time of exposure, since their bodies haven't built up antibodies yet.)

In a perfect world, however, both those who have a history of cold sores AND those who have had a genital episode of type 1 will be open and discuss it before being intimate. But a conversation like that pretty much goes against all your instincts when it comes to how to behave in the bedroom, so no matter what our best intentions are, many will choose to not address it.

Whose burden is it to bring up this discussion, anyway? Shouldn't someone who believes that they don't have any STDs or viruses and wants to stay that way be asking questions as well? If they have sexual contact with someone without any kind of discussion beforehand, believing that a condom during intercourse is all it takes to be safe, then whose fault is it if they manage to get HSV? Knowing that the majority of the population is uneducated and doesn't even know that cold sores are actually causes by a herpesvirus, and they don't know if they have this virus or not, does the burden fall to those who do know, just because they took the time to get educated? Since not saying enough would cause an unneccesary alarm to go off in the other person's head, it would require quite a lengthy conversation and herpes lesson pre-sex. Is this really realistic? I wonder. Not even doctors choose to take on that burden, as they and the rest of society encourage herpes ignorance. So why should those who ARE educated have to swim against the current? Do we need a chalkbaord and pointer in our bedrooms?

I really don't know. I guess more than anything, I have gotten a wake up call. I am not "above" getting an STD just because I use condoms and am not a "slut." I don't have one night stands, I don't sleep with someone I barely know, I usually make someone I am dating wait. I am a good, educated person. But I am not above this. It is simply a virus. It doesn't reflect on anything about me, other than the fact that I have recieved oral sex in my life. I am a grown woman - what would you think if I had not? I have a common, non life-alterting virus that more people have than don't.

Since I know condoms don't protect from everything, and that the body doesn't test positive for HSV2 or HIV until around 4 months after exposure, am I going to demand that any guy I am with from now on waits 4 months and then gets standard STD testing along with an HSV type-specific blood test and an HIV test before we can be together? No, I'm not. Because that is just not realistic. But as long as I am educated and understand the risks, I can no longer feel like a victim. I can accept that with sex, as with anything, come risks. And I will do everything within reason to protect myself, but I will not let it take over my life.

Going through an episode of herpes on your boy or lady parts, however mild and unlikely to recur, is no fun for anyone. This whole drama I went through can be avoided by getting tested today to see if you are negative for HSV1 and therefore susceptible to getting it genitally. And while you’re at it, insist that all partners are tested as well, for both types of HSV and all other STDs, so you can know what precautions to use. Even though docors will tell you that HSV testing is unnecesary unless you have gotten an outbreak, I believe this is a decision you should be able to make for your own body. And for the well being of the body of the person you are having sex with. Some would argue that you should have full disclosure for those same reasons, no matter what type or where the virus lives or how low the risk is.

Take the bull by the horn and get educated. Sex ed and the mass media are not giving us the info we need. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Seriously.

44 comments:

auntiejessi said...

Oh you are too cute.

How about "hey, I have genital herpes type 1. Ever had a cold sore? Well, its the same virus, just in a different location. You should get tested so we know what, if any, precautions we need to take."

Of course, you can make it sound less clinical with your own phrasing in there, but its brief, and he'll get the idea that its not anything to freak out about. :)

Silver Lining said...

yeah, that might be easier! haha. thanks AJ

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your blog. I really appreciate the amount of time and research you've put into this. I've had an emotionally and physically traumatic couple of months. I contracted HSV just the same way...oral sex from someone who has had cold sores his whole life but was not having an outbreak at the time, just sunburned lips. I had mild discomfort and one bump that looked like a pimple about 2-3 weeks later. I was out of the country and saw a NP who did a culture and a blood test, which was sent to a New Zealand lab and came back + for HSV2. I did not see the results or ask for a copy (I should have, I guess I was just overwhelmed) and she just told me over the phone. Now that I'm back home and doing a lot of research, I have so many questions. My doc, who I love, doesn't seem to have many answers and instead referred me to the cdc website which led me to some forums and eventually to your site. I asked her about getting re-tested, since my symptoms are mild and I didn't get fever, flu, etc, and she said there is no point in it because we know I have it and now I just need to learn how to deal with it. Is it possible to contract HSV2 from oral herpes? It sounds like he's had it since he was a child, which is very likely HSV1, correct? Maybe it doesn't matter, but I feel like I might know better how to manage by body and, especially my mind, if I know exactly what my diagnosis is. Do you recommend getting re-tested or should I just be learning how to move on at this point? Again, thanks. I appreciate what you are doing here.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog, and its really helped me! I was diagnosed with HSV1 after a genital outbreak a few weeks ago- I didn't know anyone who has herpes, and I felt so alone and isolated- my close friends tried to console me, but they don't have it themselves. After research, I really felt much better about my situation, but then the new guy I was seeing dumped me last week. I had an outbreak after the first time we had sex, then been diagnosed, I told him that day, so he would know and get tested. At first, he was incredibly understanding and supportive- until one of his friends who is in medical school told him that he will most likely contract herpes from me if we continue to have sex. When he told me he wanted to end it to "protect his health", I argued with him, explaining again the statistics of herpes, how common it is, and the low possibility of future outbreaks from HSV1. I was so furious by the end of the conversation that I hung up on him. His friend completely freaked him out, and rather than do his own research and understand the facts of the situation, he treated me like a leper. I'm still dealing with how this will change my love life- but hey, I've never accepted ignorance in any other aspect of life, I'm not about to let it effect me now.

I guess I'm trying to say, thanks for putting out this blog- the more open people are about herpes, the less ignorance there will be out there.

Casey said...

I know we always hear about there possibly being a cure for HIV and HSV, but I think this tag team of two research companies might actually develop something that can be used to help fight the infected cells. I'm not going to hold my breath, but from what I can understand from this article it sounds like they are knocking on the door!

Cellectis and Genomic Vision receive 10 million euros of funding from Oséo-ISI to develop a revolutionary treatment for HIV and herpes

http://www.euronext.com/news/companypressrelease/companypressrelease.jsp?lan=NL&docid=598398&cha=1721

Again, I'm not a spammer, just someone who is hoping against the odds that someone on this planet can find a way to fight these viruses.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much for all the information. You have helped me feel so much better about this situation. I contracted HSV1 two years ago, i have only had 1 inital outbreak which i can say was the worst, i even had to go to hospital because i wasnt treated for herpes straight away, stupid doctors!!!

Anyways its been 2 years and i have never had an outbreak since. Sometimes i forget i have it until i meet someone i like and know i have to tell them. I would want to be told by the person especially because i wasnt told by the guy who gave it to me.

I guess what im trying to say is it hasnt affected my life and nor should it. The one thing i want to work on is how to tell the person i want to have sexual activity with. Im so scared they will judge me because of all the stimgma out there associated with this. But i guess ill know if the person it worth it or not.

generic viagra said...

what a horrible disease, the worst part of this disease is that a simple kiss can infect you, yeah we have certain kind of herpes in our mouth.

deb030857 said...

I agree: where is the medical community in all this!!!! It is outrageous and criminal that a person with a cold sore can give an innocent person this virus, and go on their merry way. The victim (who has such a very small chance of transferring the virus 0-5%) is expected to tell his partner?? Until the oral HSV-1 people are told to tell all partners by the medical community (these people are far more dangerous) -- then and only then should people with HSV-1 genital should tell. Someone really should start a campaign of awareness or something ...

kamagra said...

this is the type that are provoked by public lice, right? for this reason I don't want to be with someone that I don't know, monogamy is the key.

Anonymous said...

I agree with debo30857. The medical community spreads a LOT of misinformation about herpes, and sex ed in school doesn't seem to cover the types of herpes and how it is transmitted. Education about herpes is sorely lacking! I have seen posters on other forums say that they feel it is the responsibility of hsv carriers to educate others in order to fight the stigma. Frankly, I feel that is asking too much, especially on top of dealing with physical symptoms, personal shame, embarrassment of disclosure, and the psychologically debilitating social stigma. The ignorant masses hear "herpes" and get hysterical. It should be the job of medical professionals and sex educators to calm that hysteria. And no, oral hsv carriers are NEVER instructed to disclose, even though they often have frequent outbreaks, are contagious at least 18% of the time, and they are the cause of ghsv1. Only 40% of ghsv1 carriers EVER have another outbreak, and of those, most have 1 or 2 more and then never again. Plus, genital-to genital transmission of hsv1 is RARE. Dr. Hansfield on Medhelp website states he has not seen EVEN ONE CASE of genital-to-genital transmission of HSV-1 in his 30+ years as an STI specialist. Given this, and the fact that only 25% of ghsv1 carriers shed, and of that 25%, they only shed 1-5% of the time, and the fact that 50-90% of Americans already have hsv1 and therefore won't catch it again, I don't see that the risk of ghsv1 warrants mandatory disclosure. The true danger here is the psychological damage that ignorant people can cruelly inflict by treating a ghsv1 carrier like a leper. I would recommend that ghsv1 carriers take some common sense precautions. Don't have sex during a primary outbreak (who would want to?) or the 1-2 outbreaks that follow. After a few years, most do not have outbreaks. I think preaching to ghsv1 carriers that they MUST disclose or else they are immoral dirtbags that shouldn't be able to sleep at night is just adding to stigma. It is making a huge deal out of a strain/location of hsv that does not pose a threat to anyone. Efforts should be directed at educating the public that cold sores can be transmitted genitally through oral sex. Then we'd see the end of this ugly stigma.

Anonymous said...

The way so many sites, forums, yahoo answers etc.. discuss hsv1 and ghsv1 only serves to reinforce the stigma. People need to get a grip and move on. By the time we hit the old folks home 90% of people will have hsv1. In the western world well over 50% of people have hsv1. In the developing world many countries have hsv1 rates of well over 90%. For those over the age of 25 in the West, it is safe to say that most people have hsv1. A study in Ontario about 8 years ago showed that 88% of women 40-44 had hsv1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC149555/


Most people don't know they have hsv1. Most people who make herpes jokes and stigmatize those with herpes or hsv1 actually have hsv1 themselves. Get over it. I had hsv1 diagnosed by blood test. Never had symptoms. Have no idea where it is and frankly do not care. If you are honestly worried about stigma from hsv1 you need counselling.

Just use this as a wake up call. Be safe, and treat your body well. Enjoy life and be glad you dont have hsv2, HIV, HEPC, a war in your backyard...

Anonymous said...

When I was 16, I had sex for the first time. Three weeks later I had herpes. My life was over, in my eyes. I was ruined forever. I am now 21. A doctor mentioned to me that since I never got another outbreak after my initial, which was horrible I probably only have type 1. So I got my blood tested, even though I didn't believe it.

I only have type 1 herpes, just on my lady parts.

So thank you, your blog just helped me.. a lot.

AmandaK said...

I was monogamous and still contracted ghsv1. Thankfully I haven't had another outbreak in the last 6mo, but I'm terrified to fall for someone and have to tell them.

Joseph shepherd said...

I still feel its unethical. I want to feel it's okay. the problem is you don't mention you have gsv1, then you start sleeping together, then it turns into a relationship and when you finally say "hey I have genital herpes" shit is going to hit the fan. sure the stigma is bullshit, but you have to live in this world and be in relationships with people who buy into it. all of you hsv1 carriers are going to get hsv2 one day after not disclosing to an equally deceitful partner.

Anonymous said...

"all of you hsv1 carriers are going to get hsv2 one day after not disclosing to an equally deceitful partner." I cannot even begin to express how disappointing the senselessness of this comment is. I hope no one else has to go through reading an immature expression from you again. This blog helps people who've been forced to fight against an invisible and more psychological than anything battle. I have it. Due to a rape. I've been suffering really hard to be able to live with it. What helps me out is that it could've been worse. It's infuriating for people to tell you that to get over it, but when you start to fall in love, when you want to live your life again it becomes an incredibly suffocating deal. There's no right moment to bring it up to anyone, you take a huge risk. My particular circumstances make it easier for someone to understand. I have respect for those whose only crime was try to have a normal sex life with someone they trusted and go through the difficulty of letting someone they care greatly for know about it and work through it. Thanks for getting me a step closer to learning how to live with it.

Anonymous said...

in 2011 I had gotten a cold sore for the first time ever, a few months later it popped up on my vagina (The doctor things I transferred it while wiping after going to the bathroom), when I got tested it was ghsv-1. My doctor had told me it was only contagious while visible and never told me about the shedding, I had done research on my own. But seeing how I haven't had an outbreak in two years, nor have any of my partners had problems I never realized how low the chances of contracting it were. The only guy I told I had it freaked out but stayed with me. I think if you have hvs2 you should most definitely tell your partner, but that's up to you.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you very helpful info,HSV1 but doc told me HSV2 on acccident then changed it back to HSV1. Ah what a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so, so much for this post. I just got diagnosed with hsv1 on my genitals and have been wallowing in my own self-shaming the whole time. I'm pretty sure I know who it is that gave it to me, as I've only been with two people since my last STD test, but I'm afraid of telling them because it sounds like such an accusation.

I'm really, really afraid of what the future holds in terms of looking for partners. I'm ready for something serious, and I already feel hopeless for various other reasons, and this just seems to be the cherry on top. I'm afraid I'll never find someone to love me, even though I know that that is a stupid thought. Thank you for making me feel less stupid.

If you know someone gave it to you, and you know that it was orally (no genital-to-genital sex with either of these people), are you as socially obligated to tell them? Most people know they have hsv1, or that most people have hsv1 because if you've ever had a cold sore you've got it. So what would be the point of informing them, other than to say "Hey, btw. I've been acting weird because you gave me herpes." And also stigmatizing yourself by telling them that you have genital herpes...?

I'm not sure I even want to continue things with either of these people again, so why give them a reason to avoid me and/or possibly spread gossip about me...?

Anonymous said...

Hey, i have recently been diagnosed with genital hsv1 and to be quite honest i thought my life was over. The more i am reading on forums like this the better im feeling about it all. When i had the outbreak i assumed it was hsv2 and immediately burst into tears. I knew i had to tell my boyfriend though as i would have liked to be warned in the first place. He was great, shocked but great. His response was 'well it cant kill me so dont worry about it'. Now that its been confirmed as ghsv1 i will need to tell him and leave it up to him to make his decision about us. At the end of the day, many more people in the world have life threatening illnesses so at the least i can be thankful this is not. Im 26. Thanks for making me feel better girls and guys :-)

Anonymous said...

Why should any one have to tell they have herpes if 80% of the people that have herpes don´t even know they do?? It doesn´t make statistical sense to go through this. In fact, statisticly the chance of your partner catching herpes from someone else ramdomly is much greater than with you if you take appropriate measures (condom + antivirus/lysine). And that´s coming from some one who thought I had it, but just found out I don´t. My gf found out a few weeks ago, so I had to get tested. Read about it all this time and made my mind up about it. So Just take the precautions and stop the stigma in the begnning!

misinformed lunatics said...

I tested positive for hsv-1 and hsv-2 on 5th of last month and reading some of these comments baffles me to no end. I had a great experience of talking to a medical professional and she basically guided me and gave me accurate and upstanding information versus the bullshit a lot of these people are putting out there. First and foremost to everyone newly diagnosed whether it be hsv-1 or 2 it is not the end of the fucking world. Second, hsv1 and hsv2 are essentially the same fucking virus trust me I would know I have both. Hsv2 tends to be more aggressive then hsv1 but both cause cold sores you know why i know because i have hsv1 and 2 orally that's right didn't know that could happen did you. i am was a virgin got it from kissing and oral sex. I noticed people with hsv-1 feel that they do not need to disclose they have oral or genital herpes because more people have it then type 2 but no matter what you still do. It's not a battle of the good virus or the bad virus it's a fact that both could be transmitted so both are just a serious regardless of what you may want to think or if you want to play it down because it's the cold sore kind.YOU STILL HAVE FUCKING HERPES PLEASE DISCLOSE IT! granted hsv-2 like i mentioned earlier is more agressive that is not the case for all honestly I have had fucking cold sores all month and have managed to get all swabbed and it is always positive for damn hsv-1. guess what the fucking hsv-1 is the nightmare. im walking around with these damn cold sores and the shit is not fun. basically what I am saying is hsv1 and hsv2 are interchangeable and if you have either your ass needs to say something but please don't fall into the stigma that the world wants you to be in because hsv-2 is the supposedly the sexual variety. as you can see here and from my story hsv-1 is not a STD until you get it from oral sex or other sexual behaviors at that point you actually get hsv-1 through those means you are indeed infected with a lifelong STD no different then HSV2 so get real and face it. i wish people were just honest. disclose you have cold sores or genital herpes and stop downplaying because of which type you have. dude you fucking have herpes. thank you :-)

Kiki said...

I had my first genital herpes type 1 outbreak 1 year ago. My boyfriend of one year at the time had hsv1 on his lips and did not currently have an outbreak when he gave me oral sex and I contracted it. I was scared and felt so alone and dirty. I got it when I was only 19.
My boyfriend and I had a lot of problems. He had bad anger management issues and began drinking very often and heavily. Gradually the relationship turned emotionally abusive and I felt like I couldn't leave because I would have to date again with hsv1. I was scared of rejection and of being alone but the alternative wasn't very bright either.
I finally had the courage to dump the boyfriend last week after 2 years of dating. It took me an additional year of emotional abuse and feeling scared but I finally did it and I feel so proud of myself. It was a very stressful time so after dumping him I had a minor outbreak but I know that things will get better.
I wanted to get back into the dating scene and after reading your blog post, I agree that it is not necessary to tell someone that you have hsv1 in the genital area right away. I have a close friend who has HSV1 on her lips and gets worse and more frequent outbreaks than I do but she does not disclose that she gets cold sores because there is no stigma attached. I'll continue having a healthy sex life and just avoid having sex if I have an outbreak and use protection the rest of the time. If someone was to contract HSV1 from me, I would feel terrible but say that I get oral cold sores and that it must have come from oral sex. I plan on disclosing that I get cold sores sometimes in passing so they have some idea. Many people arent freaked out by oral cold sores so in my head, its about the same as telling them i have HSV1 genitally just because its the same virus just a different location and has no stigma.
I hope this helps any young girls are reading this and feel scared or alone. I put up with a controlling and alcoholic boyfriend for one year longer than I would have if the stigma of HSV1 didn't restrain me from dumping him sooner. Please remember that it will get better and cold sores are the same thing so you are not dirty or ruined. If you are in an unhappy relationship, staying in it because of fear related to HSV1 will just draw out the inevitable.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you so so much for writing this blog, I cannot even begin to tell you how much it has helped me. I too contracted herpes type 1 genitally and felt as though my life was over, as melodramatic as that sounds. Reading your blog has helped me begin to love myself again, and cope with something that, as you say, really isn't so bad after all. So thank you, your commitment to this blog means the world to me!

Anonymous said...

To Kiki: I also have HSV1 genitally and was also in the situation of staying in an emotionally abusive relationship due to fears that I wouldn't find someone else once I was single again and the fear of having the talk. Thank you for your post - I totally understand how you felt - it's like being trapped. Once I left my boyfriend (who gave it to me through oral sex), I felt an enormous sense of relief, like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I am still depressed about having this stupid life-long virus, mainly because of society's stigma about it as it hardly affects me physically. So now I am having the attitude that yes I will tell future partners and if they reject me as a result of the herpes infection, it's the herpes they are rejecting, not me. I really wish I didn't have to have this virus as it is just another hurdle to being in a loving relationship, but perhaps it weeds out the ones that are only half interested.

Anonymous said...

Seems everyone is right 1&2 are the same no one is happy and life sucks . No talk about anyone involved .. No happy relationships nothing !! So what's the point of these forums? To remind us of how different we are ? How our lives have changed because someone wasn't honest and how stupid we were .. No wonder why society runs we are the 20th century lepers ...

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend sent me a link to your blog and I can say this has helped me so much... I was diagnosed with having hsv 1 in the genital are....I cried and felt like my life was over and I wanted to die...I told my boyfriend as well as my family and they are the best security blanket I have...I still feel depressed about it...but as soon as I read your blog I cried because you understand exactly what I'm going through and for that I cannot ever thank you enough...thank you for sharing this post ...thank you

Anonymous said...

I have genital HSV-1 (my boyfriend had a coldsore on his mouth and gave me oral.. we just didn't know what it was!), have been in several relationships since I contracted it, and so far.. no rejection :) I understand why people don't disclose, and in a way I get it, it's fair enough, 90% of the population age 0-50 have herpes, just because we are not ignorant of ours, why should we have to say anything? But here's the thing, I am a very honest person, and I feel far to guilty to not disclose this information to a partner before we have sex! For those of you who don't know how to tell someone, well, I will tell you what I do, you never know it may serve as inspiration! So when we are together and alone and comfortable I just say something along the lines of 'I'm going to tell you something personal, because I trust you and want you to know. You know cold sores? Well I have the virus that causes those, except that I got it when my ex boyfriend gave me oral, so when I had a coldsore 4 years ago from him it was in 'that' area. So basically I have a mild form of herpes, it's ridiculously unlikely that you could ever possibly get it from me, in fact I am more likely to get pregnant from us having protected sex than you are to get HSV-1 from me, but I'm an honest person and wanted you to know what I know.' I then go on to ask whether he wants me to explain why it's so incredibly unlikely, and if so I give him a mini science lecture. I find this whole thing usually generates a conversation where I can throw in random facts and figures about how many people have it etc. So far, everyone I've dated hasn't cared and we've used condoms for a bit, then as it got more serious they chose to stop using them and no one ever caught it. I do get nervous everytime I'm about to tell someone though! I've just started seeing someone new and will be telling him soon, and yes I'm scared, but the way I see it if they care about you as a person, and think that you are worth it, then at the very least they will take some time to think about a decision, and very best won't mind at all (as I have found so far). At the end of a day, if you're partner or love interest is a jerk about it, then firstly they aren't worth it (no one likes jerks) and secondly they are an ignorant jerk who buys into social stigma (and I wouldn't forget to tell them that ;) ) So chin up! Love conquers all, ever Herpes! x

Aurora Stevenson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed 2 years ago, with type 1 hsv. What we call cold sores but in a more unfortunate area. I have always been a very careful person and even before this a bit awkward socially especially regarding relationships. This really has gotten into my head, and even though I haven't had a recurrence ever. every time I get a bump or abrasion there I get very upset, I always get checked and I went to the dr today not my normal GP regarding an abrasion from sex with my partner. He doesn't know i was ever infected as I was under the impression that it very rarely reoccurred and would come with warning sympotms and also we live 900km apart, he has cold sores sometimes anyway. I also believe we haven't been serious enough, but i was considering telling him soon, as weve been friends for years. Then all this happened. anyway this dr looked at the abrasion and before swabbing it told me that I had a herpes recurrence and that it was a miracle it hadn't reoccurred before this and that I have probably given it to my partner, and that if he never called back that was why. She made me feel like a leper. This through me back Ito depression again, and I really have no idea what to do. I only saw my doctor today, and I'm dreading talking to my partner... He knows that our sex caused an abrasion, but what do I say if it turns out that this was really bad timing and this occurred on the one weekend that I get to see him every 4 months?

John said...

Great blog..........!
For funeral photo designing template & make your photo more attractive and good looking please visit my site
http://elegantmemorials.com/

John said...

Great blog..........!
For funeral photo designing template & make your photo more attractive and good looking please visit my site
http://elegantmemorials.com/

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. We need to see more of this discussion in our lives out in public. Its shameful that we let so many people feel fear and stigmatized because of misinformation. Thank you so much for speaking out. :)

Anonymous said...

Your doctor doesn't know crap. It is NOT a "miracle that it hadn't recurred before this". A lot of people with ghsv1 NEVER have another recurrence. Also, it is NOT probable that you gave it to your partner. Genital-to-genital transmission is extremely uncommon. Transmission almost always happens via oral sex. And no, it is NOT probable that you gave it to your partner because as you've stated, he has cold sores, which means he has hsv1 oral and he is highly immune from getting ghsv1 from you.

Anonymous said...

Yesssss.
AMEN.!

Anonymous said...

I feel a heck of a lot better now that I've discoverd this site

Anonymous said...

This is a great article. Definitely the stigma of HSV-1 is ridiculous. It is more similar to chickenpox or mono than hiv or chlamydia. Heck, chickenpox can give you outbreaks and lives with you forever. They are both simple skin diseases, no big deal.

It rarely causes any discomfort. The chances of vertical transfer are ridiculously low (1 in 5500), about 15 times less likely than having a child with Down syndrome at 35. It is because of greedy people like those jerks at burroughs wellcome and their disease mongering in the 70s that HSV is under such heavy stigma.

And yeah, even if HSV-2 is more contagious, and more annoying, it is not that big of a deal either. But that is not the point of this article.

I have done a lot of research about it, and there is one thing that baffles me. I actually haven't seen a single person saying "I got HSV-1 through intercourse". It is theoretically possible of course, some sources say it "has been documented", which makes it sound like some extraordinarily rare occurrence might have been registered once in the last 50 years.

I still think that it is important to disclose, but if you can say that "it is so rare that I have yet to find one case", makes things a bit simpler.

So If anyone sees this comment and happens to have gotten HSV-1 through intercourse, please share your experience. I am not expecting many, if any replies.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read a story quite like mine, so I'll share my devastating tale. A few weeks ago I got what I thought was a yeast infection after my period. Not uncommon, have gotten many of them...only this time the itchy, feeling down there did not subside. It got worse, and painful. I was up for 2 nights because I was in so much pain, although all I saw was a swollen labia and a little red cluster of bumps. Called the OB that morn and got right in. She said it was probably just an irritation but swabbed me for HSV anyway. I thought "WHAT?!?!?" in my head, but was relieved when she said it didn't look like Herpes to her. A few days and a few more painful clusters later I got a call with the news GHSV-1. I was going crazy! I am married, have been with my husband for 5 years now and I had to tell him this? The doctor sent me to get blood work done to verify if this was a newly contracted virus or if I had older antibodies (1GG)already in my system indicating that I indeed contracted this years ago and it just laid dormant until now.

Today I got the call. The antibodies show that I have had not only GHSV-1, but ALSO HSV-2 for quite some time. My one initial outbreak a couple weeks ago was positive for GHSV-1 though. I am so confused, mortified, and depressed. What exactly does that mean for me? I know that GHSV-1 outbreaks are recur less, but since I have both does that mean sometimes I will have an outbreak of type 1, and sometimes type 2??

My husband is handling this a good as can be expected, however I can just imagine our sex life is going to be greatly affected by this. He is going to get tested for both types soon. If he comes out positive for one or both types, it is most likely he got them from me and it has been really hard to live with realizing that that may very well be the case. Just wish there was more info on cases with people with BOTH types of GENITAL herpes. :(

Al said...

I am actually quite confused. I thought I had gHSV-1. I got diagnosed 3 years ago through a DNA test. I really didn't have any visible lesions but had pain urinating for 6 days. It wasn't even that bad.
Anyway DNA said I had it, and I well, I literally hadn't had sex in 3 years. I just haven't felt I met someone that well to go through it. So now girls get the wrong impression.
I am onto something very serious now and I didn't want to ruin it. I wanted to tell her and get my meds and even get latex underwear and whatnot. Well, when I asked for a prescription the doctor asked why would I want that. He doubted I even had hsv-1 so I got one of those herpes select test. Both were negative!
For a few days I felt relieved and almost had sex with the gf, I even pulled out a condom, but didn't happen because we got an unrelated interruption...

Now the doctor said that according to my medical history, it looks like the DNA test that I had is more reliable so I may have it after all. I could get a western blot from U. Washington but even then a negative wouldn't mean I don't have it. Furthermore he said (and shown documents) saying that therapy to reduce transmission (valacyclovir) has only been shown to be effective for HSV-2. Transmission rates for HSV-1 are not known but estimated to be much lower than HSV-2.

So I am in an unknown case for a disease that is super unlikely to pass on that gives me no symptoms whatsoever. Do I really have to tell? It sounds nasty, but given the results I could say that I didn't know I had it. Half a lie, because I actually don't know but I suspect.

The Dr. actually said I shouldn't tell... but it still bothers me, and I don't want to lose this girl.

I really think this is ridiculous. It is almost as if this was a bigger deal than having diabetes or something really problematic. Heck! even chickenpox stays with you forever. Mono too and the symptoms are worse.

How did this disease become so stigmatized?

Anonymous said...

Al, if you haven't had any visible symptoms, I wouldn't worry about it. You could take some more accurate tests to see, but I think for now, just wrap it up and pay attention to see if you ever exhibit any symptoms. Good luck. I think everyone who has it should speak to a medical professional, and if possible, also a naturopathic/homeopathic doctor. There are many things you can do to control this including herbs/supplements, antivirals, diet/lifestyle changes. The more you learn about it, the less anxious you will feel. You should disclose to a potential partner. Also, there are many herpes dating sites. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article! I found out about 6 months ago I got GHSV-1, and yes, through intercourse and intercourse alone. I know it is very rare, but I had a one night stand and got it from a girl. The first outbreak was super painful, and I've had 2 very very minor outbreaks since, probably due to a little too much partying. Keeping healthy is very important. I also had to tell a girl that I really love that I have it and she accepted me anyways. Don't be afraid of the stigma, it's not the end of the world. You're still lovable along with the other millions of people in the world who have it too. Just learn your lesson!

Anonymous said...

thank you for this article. It was very helpful, more so to my psychological well being, since ive researched insanely since getting this. Same: oral = ghsv1. who knew?! i think what overwhelms me is the whole stigma, and basically this disregard for complete knowledge about the most common std.

Today wasnt a good day for me...this article helped. Thanks

Sarah Deanfneil said...

Hello let me share this testimony to the world to hear about him too this man really exit I was HIV positive over 9year I have being in medication and I try to look for cure to my problem and I go through internet doctor and I found a tradition doctor named DR. okorom I contacted him for help he give me all his laws and rule that if I get cured I should write about him and that is what am doing now, this man ask for some information about me, which I give him this man cure me from HIV what a great man thank for your help when he get the information he told me that he is about to work on it 20 to 30 minute this man email me and told me what to do for the curing which I did after all the things needed for the cure is provide the man call me in 45mins later and tell me to go for test what a great day to me I was negative thanks dr. okorom you can Dr. okorom you can also contact him through his email address, dr.okoromspellhome@live.com

John Dudley said...

for more info on juvederm xc delhi please visit :http://www.skindelhi.com/dermalfillers.html

Anonymous said...

To those who wonder what to say if they decide to disclose: I now juts causally mention that several years ago I had a blood test that came back positive for hsv-1 and that is what causes cold sores, but that I've never gotten them (not a lie!). I mention that they also likely have it but that if this is something they are worried about, they should get a test, because while the risk is low, I could pass on cold sore or genital herpes to them. I tell them that because I don't get cold sores I don't even really know WHERE I have it, so that just not having oral sex doesn't eliminate all risk but that if I had it genitally the risk of passing it would be even lower (that's my little white lie). Then I let them decide. I have found that not disclosing the outbreak (and I've had only ONE, almost 10 years ago, nothing since) avoids most of the freak out. Guys don't like to think about the girl they are seeing with an active outbreak. Mature reaction ? No. But it's reality. So this is how I have found I can be accountable to myself and have disclosed any potential risk to a partner. So far I've never had anyone run away! And my current boyfriend is a complete germophobe who actually knows he is hsv-1 and 2 negative. I'm pretty sure it sometimes worry him but he did his research and saw that anyone he will ever be with is likely to have it too. I spent a long time agonizing over this, but as time passed and I never got another outbreak I came to peace with it and with this disclosure I feel like if the 0.005 chance of me passing it to someone occurred, my conscience would be clear.