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Genital HSV-1 Questions


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So I was just diagnosed with genital HSV-1, and I have some questions. I'm also pretty upset about it :/ I don't know how I contracted it, I've been with the same girl for 7 months now.

  1. Is it possible that she could have transmitted the virus via oral sex if she had a small cold sore or even if she wasn't showing symptoms?

  2. Is it possible that I contracted it in a previous sexual encounter, and it's been dormant? Before we started dating 7 months ago?

  3. What's the best way to tell her about this......?

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1. Yes, this is probably how you got it. If your girlfriend has ever had a cold sore (or even if she has oral HSV1 but has never had a cold sore) and you received oral sex recently, this is probably your first outbreak. No cold sore has to be present. (That's how I got it!)

2. Yes, it's possible, but it's more likely that you just contracted it, especially if your girlfriend gets cold sores.

3. Ask her if she's ever had a cold sore. Tell her calmly what happened. Don't blame her/be mean to her; I'm sure she never meant to pass it to you, assuming she did. If she's not sure if she's had a cold sore before, suggest that she get blood tested. If she already has type 1, it's really, really unlikely you'd pass it to her genitally because 1) she already has antibodies and 2) it's really hard to pass type 1 genitally anyway. Talk to her openly about how she feels about it and what you can do to protect her. You don't HAVE TO do anything more than you already do if she's totally comfortable with the risk. But you can use condoms, take daily antivirals, take Lysine, etc. if she wants to be a little safer. The first year is when you're most contagious, so I'd probably try to be the safest during that time.

Here is a great fact sheet to show her: http://herpesopportunity.com/downloads/herpes-opportunity-disclosure-handout.pdf

Just try to be as calm and blame-free as you can be when you bring it up. How you feel about it will affect how she feels about it, so fake it til you make it if you can. (Btw, gHSV1 can be very mild. I've only had one outbreak so far and have had sex and all is good. This doesn't have to change anything.) Good luck!

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Most people get herpes from someone who does not know they have it because they have never had an outbreak and have never been tested. So yes, you could have gotten it from her even if she wasn't showing symptoms. Most new cases of genital herpes is hsv1 from receiving oral sex, so you are not alone.

It is possible you have had it a while and it has been dormant until now, however if you did have an outbreak it is most likely from your last sexual encounter.

Ask her if she has ever had a cold sore, chances are she has but not in a long time. Then tell her about your diagnosis and tell her you probably got it from her via oral sex. Don't be accusatory in your tone, just state facts that you were diagnosed and the reality is that you probably got it from her.

She will probably want to know how likely it would be for her to get it genital too and tell her you can't give her something she already has and the fact that she has had it a while means she has antibodies that will help prevent her from getting it genital. Also tell her that since you have it genital and that hsv1 doesn't like to be genital the chances of you passing it to her even if she didn't have it is almost zero.

Good luck!


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