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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Likelihood of Contracting Herpes Simplex 2?

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Author Topic: Likelihood of Contracting Herpes Simplex 2?
katiebird
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I recently found out my boyfriend has tested positive for herpes simplex 2, however, he is categorized as “abnormal” because he has never shown any symptoms. The doctor advised him to come back in 3 months and test again, just to make sure it is not a false positive. He is not sure when he would have contracted it.

I did a fully screening about a year ago and tested negative for everything (including herpes). I was tested after a long-term relationship with my previous boyfriend, the boyfriend before this current boyfriend.

I spoke to my obgyn about this – he explained the basics to me – that is a virus you carry for life, but may never show symptoms for, but you are able to pass onto others still. He explained that it does not affect my fertility, and that the only risk with childbirth would be if I had a breakout when I was giving birth, and in that case, I would just do a Cesarean. When I asked him what the likelihood of contracting it from my boyfriend when he does not have a breakout, my obgyn didn’t seem concerned, and told me it was unlikely. I even mentioned to my obgyn that my boyfriend is someone I’d like to be with long-term, and would want to eventually have “uninhibited” sex life with – aka, without condoms (I am thinking oral sex and much later down the line intercourse).

But the articles I’ve read and the stats are making me a bit nervous. I thought I felt OK having unprotected oral sex but my boyfriend seems hesitant about allowing me to because he’s worried of passing it on to me. This is someone I can see myself with for a long time (I’m 23), and I feel at some point, I need to just accept the risk if I want to have an uninhibited, monogamous relationship. I’m looking for some facts here and some general advice I guess.

- He’s abnormal, and has never shown symptoms – so what are the chances of contracting it through unprotected sex? Unprotected vaginal sex?
- Is it possible that even though he is abnormal and his “number” (he explained to me they give you a number when you’re tested positive) is very low that if I contract if, my number could be very high and I could have regular outbreaks?
- I’m not really as concerned if I contract it and I stay with this partner, but my main concern is the worst case scenario…I contract it (and it’s possibly more “severe” whatever that looks like) and we breakup, and then this is something that could impact my sex life with future partners…

Posts: 90 | From: east | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Really, it sounds to me like your doctor did an excellent job here, and I would trust that information.

The chances of picking it up from him are not greater or lesser because he has never had symptoms he noticed. In fact, that is not that atypical, especially with genital herpes with someone with a penis. And the fact that he has not had outbreaks, or any he could see, does not tell us anything about what your experience would be like were you to contract the virus.

As with any case of HSV, the way to best reduce risks is by practicing safer sex, including orally, and the next best way is to at least be sure to do that if and when he does ever have any active sores. Again, your doctor gave yiu good education here: while it is possible to contract HsV from someone without an outbreak or one coming on, that is always considered a low risk, as it is understood to occur far, far less frequently than when there was an active outbreak of sores.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Btw, I personally would not frame safer sex as being inhibited, and going without barriers as being uninhibited. That word really does not mean that, as people can be both uninhibited AND do so while practicing safer sex.

Safer sex does not have to feel like a drag or a limitation (in fact, it can allow us sometimes to explore things we might not otherwise because they are so high- risk to our health without safer sex), but if we or others frame it like it is, it can be a whole lot more likely to experience it that way, you know?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
katiebird
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I completely understand what you mean that it doesn't have to feel like a drag or limitation, but personally, it would feel that way to me after a certain point with this person. If I'm married to him, and monogamous, I know I'm not going to want to have to always protect myself with condoms. I have practiced safer sex in all domains (oral, intercourse), and I think with this person, eventually, I'd like to be able to have unprotected sex with (and I say this because of the possibility of having children with him) and unprotected oral sex (because I enjoy it more, physically). So I'd agree with your statement normally, but that's how I feel with this person, so that's why I was concerned about the possibility of contracting...because I know that as some point, I will want to do those things unprotected. And I guess that's me trying to figure out if having that is more important to me than having 0% chance of contracting from him...And I'm still not sure..
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, how about focusing your thoughts and choices for now more in the present than the future?

Figuring out what you might want, for instance, per procreating with someone when that is nothing close to something you intend to be dojng soon can be impossible to figure out so far ahead in a lot of ways, and what you might want then also probably has little to do with what you do, and what you both feel best about, now.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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