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positive guide to herpes disclosure






 

 

My Girlfriend has Herpes

Hello all,

I have been reading through all of your posts and find everything to be rather helpful, so I would like to share my story as to shed some background on my question.

I have been with a lovely woman whom I met 8 months ago. I have never met a woman who cares about me like her, completely and unconditionally. She confessed to me that she had oral herpes 4 months into our relationship. She had only kept this from me because she didn't see oral herpes as such a big deal, until I had mentioned it in a conversation to her that same evening. She had told me she thought she got it from her host family that she baby sits, as the children, and both parents, have this. Since then I have had the upmost trouble becoming close with her, and developing the feelings I know I want to have for her. Kissing her has become an issue for me, mentally I do not show my discomfort physically or share it with her. I know my issue is only this. She has had one outbreak since I have been with her and we both abstained from kissing until the sore was completely healed. She is also on preventive medication which reduces her percentage of shedding.

My question is this: I see myself spending many years with this woman, and I know that. But I am having trouble continuing and developing emotionally because of the herpes that she has, which is always on my mind. Do any of you, or do any of you know of anyone, who has, or is in, a long term relationship, or marriage, where one spouse has oral herpes, and has not transmitted to the other?

I am not a shallow person, I educated myself well on herpes, and that has not changed my opinion of her in anyway. But it is complicating me on an emotional level.

Please share your stories, I would like to know. I cannot find any examples of my question on the internet and the community here seem very supportive, mature, and informative.

Comments

  • edited January 3
    In your specific case, it might be worthwhile to get yourself tested (IgG type specific blood test) for HSV1 and HSV2. It is not something I would normally recommend, but given your anxiety level about contracting HSV1, it could be worthwhile for you to know if you are even vulnerable to doing so. If you already carry HSV1 in any location *or* HSV2, you would be largely protected from contracting oral HSV1.

    Bear in mind most people contract HSV1 during the course of a lifetime, many during childhood. Before people become sexual, it is typically contracted orally. After becoming sexual, it is typically contracted orally or genitally. Some people who contract it genitally as adults wish they had contracted it orally instead as there is lesser stigma associated with cold sores. On the other hand, an oral HSV1 infection sheds much more frequently than a genital HSV1 infection. And it does not protect against genital HSV2, so contracting genital herpes would still be possible, though they would be largely protected from contracting genital HSV1. Outside of initial outbreaks which can range from unnoticeable to very painful, most people tolerate oral HSV1 well and either have no symptoms or mild symptoms. For those with more bothersome or frequent symptoms, and for those with painful primary outbreaks, antivirals are usually helpful.

    After further education and perhaps testing, if you find you continue to have this level of anxiety or avoid intimacy with this woman, I would suggest moving on and considering this a simple incompatibility issue. Each of you deserves to be with someone who is comfortable being intimate and affectionate with you.
  • I would definitely recommend getting yourself tested for herpes before you get too concerned about contracting from your girlfriend, as it is possible to have it and not know yourself.
    If you end up showing negative results, you can ask her to take suppression medicine (valacyclovir, or equivalent), just make sure you approach the subject delicately. You don't want to plant negative feelings about the condition into your relationship, a simple few words of reassurance go a long way on this topic.

    You deserve to feel confident and secure about intimacy. You shouldn't let your feelings of reservation about things fester into resentment.

    Congratulations on finding someone you genuinely care about. Seek comfortability and security in your relationship!
  • Yes I have gotten tested and I get tested every 5 months as per recommendation, as it takes 5 months to show in the blood. She is on the medication, although I am happy that you two responded my initial question still goes un-answered.

    I am looking to see if anyone on here has experienced the following:

    Do any of you, or do any of you know of anyone, who has, or is in, a long term relationship, or marriage, where one spouse has oral herpes, and has not transmitted to the other?

    Please I am looking for stories and experiences.

  • Hi!
    Im not trying to minimize your concerns, but this is the first time I have ever seen anyone be so concerned about cold sores. Here is my story, I have gotten cold sores (or fever blisters as we called them here) since I was a kid. I spent my entire life never feeling I needed to share that with anyone. If I got a fever blister, brought on by either way too much sun, or way too much stress, I just didn't kiss anyone. I am 50, have had numerous boyfriends and have been married twice now. My first husband, married to him for 15 years, never got fever blisters, ever. My second husband, who I was with for 7 years, also never came down with them. And he wasn't exactly the healthiest person either. A total non issue.
    It was just like if I had some sort of cold,or illness, I wouldn't kiss anyone until it was gone, so that person wouldn't catch my cold. Same applies with fever blisters.

    Honestly , there are many more things to be worried about contracting than oral herpes. It is only an issue if you have pre determined you are going to make it one. Which is what it kind of sounds like you might be doing :( .

    And additionally, if I ever feel like I have one that wants to make an appearance, (maybe once a year??) I take acyclovir tablets right away, and it never surfaces.
    I hope you don't worry yourself so much about this! :) You do realize that it is estimated that 2/3rds of the world population has oral herpes right? If you end up getting it, I promise you it is far from the being the worst thing you can get in your life. I would be more embarrassed by a big pimple on my nose, or a mole growing above my eye! :)
  • edited January 7
    @powerhouse3248 I can't provide a specific anecdote, but I can tell you that I somehow managed to never contract HSV1, even though statistics would indicate it is likely at least 2/3 of my partners over the course of my life have had it, and it's unlikely many (if any) of them were taking antivirals.

    Having said that, almost everyone will contract HSV1 at some point, either orally or genitally, mostly with the exception of those who first contract HSV2 which largely protects against HSV1. You may want to take a look at this chart to understand how very common HSV is (93% of people in their 40s infected; 95% in their 50s): http://projectaccept.org/who-gets-hsv/

    The fact that your girlfriend is taking antivirals and has very infrequent outbreaks would place her in a lower risk category for transmitting oral herpes than most people you will encounter. However, if her known HSV status is causing you anxiety that is interfering with intimacy and you expect that will not change, you may be better off either abstaining, finding a partner who has recently tested HSV-, or simply being with a partner who does not know her status if you are more comfortable with that. For some people, it is the awareness of risk that triggers anxiety rather than the risk itself.
  • edited January 13
    @powerhouse3248, I was with my ex-husband for 16 years and he never got HSV from me. I have both strains, and when when I was diagnosed after our divorce, I told him about it and he later tested negative for both. So I had been carrying both strains for 18-25 years with absolutely no idea. I know my HSV2 is genital, but since I’ve never had a cold sore in my life (I’m 44), I don’t know for sure where the HSV1 is. What I do know is that statistically speaking, it’s far more likely that I have oral HSV1. I have no idea why my ex didn’t get either strain from me over 16 years. It just is what it is.

    Oral HSV1 is something that the MAJORITY of adults carry, and only 1/3 of those ever have a cold sore. Think of every woman you’ve kissed. Every woman who has performed oral sex on you. The majority of them have HSV1. Now think about breaking it off with this woman and dating new people. The majority of them have HSV1 too. I’m not trying to say that your worry or concerns are not valid, only that a little perspective might be of help.
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