1. I've gotten mixed information about how often herpes is spread. Most websites have said that having sex with an infected partner over a one year period you'll have a 5-10% chance of contracting it while taking the right precautions. Another said two-thirds of people who have sex with an infected person will get it usually within three months (they didn't clarify if this was with protection). My doctor also said there's about a 2/1000 chance with protection. Can anyone clarify if any of these are at all correct (at least somewhat?)
2. Is the virus passed asymptomatically from direct skin-to-skin contact only where an outbreak occurs (ie. if someone has *never* had an outbreak on their testicles, are they still able to pass the virus from there)?
3. Is HPV and herpes the same thing (and if not, what's the difference), and when someone talks about a herpes outbreak are they referring to an outbreak of genital warts caused by the herpes virus?
you asked 3 questions. i don't know the answer to question 1. i highly recommend checking out http://www.herpes.com for more info, and if you can't find what you're looking for, i will have access to an STD encyclopedia with really good info next week. if its the transmission even with protection that you're confused by: herpes can be spread even if you are using barriers because it is possible to have the herpes virus outside of the area that is covered by a barrier.
question 2 was about transmission of herpes from a site were there was not an outbreak. based on info in std books and websites, including the herpes site: here's the thing with asymptomatic shedding: you don't need to have had an outbreak to have the virus in a particular area of the body. so, lets say you had an outbreak on the shaft of the penis, and it went away. you could asymptomatically shed from that area. but, you could have the virus infection in on the testicles as well, even if you've never had an outbreak there, and so it would be possible to asymptomatically shed from there as well. does that make sense (it was a bit difficult to figure out a clear way to explain it, i hope that worked!)
and question 3: the difference betweeen herpes and HPV. they are very different things. herpes caused by the herpes simplex virus, while HPV is caused by the human papilloma virus. they are both viruses, and thus cannot be cured. however, their symptoms are fairly different, with herpes generally causing blister-like sores that are often preceded by a tingling sensation (this is a major oversimplification of herpes symptoms: for more details, check the _infection section_ of scarleteen, or the herpes page), while hpv, often known as genital worts, will cause small whitish raised bumps, or flat smooth warts (again, an oversimplification. for more info about HPV, please check the American Social Health Associaton site, http://www.ashastd.org/). both are frequently asymptomatic, and can be transmitted without the presense of symptoms.
i hope that answered your question. i sadly don't have time til tonight to write out a more detailed explanation of the difference between HPV and Herpes, but i highly recommend both of those sites for information about the symptoms and transmission rates and methods of those viruses.
hugs and off to the gyn for some testing of my own! -rek
Posts: 72 | From: oberlin, oh / new york city | Registered: Dec 2001
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Based on rekling's information, I'd say that the chances are less if a condom is used, provided that the partner with herpes has no symptoms. According to Planned Parenthood ( http://www.plannedparenthood.org/sti-safesex/herpes.htm ). "Over the course of one year, the chance of getting genital herpes from an infected partner who has no symptoms is 10 percent."
The reason for that 10%, as rekling explained, is that herpes can be transmitted from skin-to-skin contact with any infected area. However, an area may be infected and still by asymptomatic, i.e., show no signs of infection.
A condom will cover the shaft of the penis, thus protecting you against any transmission to or from that area. However, if you think about it, there's a lot of other warm, moist skin besides that on the penis that comes in contact during intercourse.
Best option: If you suspect you have herpes, see a doctor. If you are thinking about becoming sexually intimate with somebody who has herpes, visit a doctor or clinic together to talk about minimizing the risks for transmission.
My personal opinion is that herpes and HPV are two of the best arguments ever for getting to know somebody pretty well before engaging in sexual activity.
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