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Sex with GHSV1

Sydney J

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Hello Everyone!

Recently diagnosed with GHSV1 and have a few questions about my future sex life. Can I give oral sex without using protection, I have never had a cold sore on my face. Can I receive oral sex if I do not have an ob? Also, how likely is transmission if we are using protection? Lastly, if I do not have an ob and am on suppresive medication will I I ever be able to have unprotected sex? Due to my diagnosis my ob's are likely to be not very frequent, of course I don't want to infect anyone but just wondering..

Thankyou x

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Can I give oral sex without using protection, I have never had a cold sore on my face.

Yes, it is unlikely that you have oral hsv1 if ou have never had symptoms and recently caught it genitally (ghsv1 normally occurs in those with no ohsv1 infection and hence no hsv1 antibodies).

Can I receive oral sex if I do not have an ob?

That is up to you and your partner. Receiving oral, in your case, is the equivalent to kissing a girl who has ohsv1, except ghsv1 is far less likely to be infectious (it reactivates on only a fifth of the percentage of days oral hsv1 does).

Since over half of girls have ohsv1, meaning your partner has likely come into contact with hsv1 many times before (and more likely than not will have hsv1 himself) avoiding giving you oral seems a bit OTT.

Most men are likely to be fine with genital hsv1, it is, after all, just the same as an oral cold sore. Once a partner knows of your infection, it is up to them to choose what risk they take.

Personally, I'd be really offended if a guy refused to give me oral because I have ghsv1. I'd actually consider that a dealbreaker.

How likely is transmission if we are using protection?

Not likely. While ghsv2 reactivates about 15-18% of the time, and causes, on average, 6 outbreaks a year, ghsv1 only activates about 3-4% of the time and causes an average of one outbreak every 2 years.

When you bear in mind that the risk of catching hsv2 per year is 5-10% with no protection, and then take into account that hsv1 is significantly less infectious than hsv2, the risk is very low. Condoms lower the risk of transmission by about 30% - and are slightly less effective for transmission from woman to man.

Plus, 60% of your partners will have oral hsv1, whether they are aware of it or not (they can get a blood test to find out for sure, having a history of cold sores is a pretty good indicator). IF they have oral hsv1, they are VERY unlikely to catch genital hsv1 from you, since they will already produce antibodies to hsv1. Almost all cases of ghsv1 occur in people with no history of oral hsv1.

It also depends if you are female or male. GH transmission is slightly less of a risk for males than females.

Lastly, if I do not have an ob and am on suppresive medication will I ever be able to have unprotected sex?

Suppressive medication MAY be less effective for hsv1, but may still lower the risk by 50%.

All I can say to this question is oh God, is it really worth worrying that much? Change that question round to oral hsv1 and see how it reads: "I've got occasional cold sores since I was a kid. I know over half the population has oral herpes too, but can I risk kissing my boyfriend or giving him oral sex when I have no symptoms? Or will having oral herpes forever prevent me from kissing and force me to always use a condom/dental dam when performing oral sex?"

Do you really think people with oral hsv1 worry that way?

I've had unprotected sex with partners since being diagnosed. I've told several men, all reacted well. Some chose to ignore it, others got cold sores themselves and accepted it was the same thing. I wouldn't stay with someone in a long term relationship where they weren't prepared to have unprotected sex with me, since I'm over 30 and want children.

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