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Newly diagnosed, but suspect infection 6 years ago - should I contact the guy?


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Hey, first post. Woot.

So a couple weeks ago I broke out into a terrible genital rash which looked textbook perfect for herpes. It was also excruciatingly painful, burned when I peed, made it difficult to walk or sleep, etc. I was traveling overseas at the time and wasn't able to get it cultured before it healed, but when I returned to the US, I got IgG tested and was confirmed HSV1 and HSV2 positive (antibody levels not given on the result). I had a prior history of cold sores and tested positive for HSV1 back in 2008 (though negative for HSV2 at the time), so I'm assuming that I have genital HSV2. I've been sexually active with my boyfriend for 6 months, and he is HSV1 and HSV2 IgG negative, so I'm also assuming that my HSV2 infection happened prior to our relationship.

The thing is, I remember developing painful bumps in my genital region shortly after having sex with one of my ex boyfriends, back in 2009. They were isolated bumps, not the classic clusters of bumps like I had recently, but I was worried because they were really painful. I went to my gynecologist at the time, who reassured me that it wasn't herpes, and never tested me. That ex never disclosed anything about having STDs to me (I asked, and he said he was clean). I've had (mostly protected) sex with a number of partners since then, none of whom ever said they had herpes. I've diligently had STD testing before getting sexually involved with any partner (including my current boyfriend) but whenever I asked about herpes testing, I was reassured that it wasn't needed since I didn't have obvious symptoms. I've had the occasional isolated red bump which I assumed was an ingrown hair from shaving, but now I'm wondering whether those were small outbreaks.

So a few questions...

1) Do I try to contact the guy who I suspect infected me? We're no longer in contact but I could potentially hunt him down on facebook, or try to see if i can find his old email. At this point I don't think there's any point to attacking him, and I would hope he'd know his status by now, but maybe he doesn't? And I could help him avoid infecting anyone else?

2) Should I contact all the partners I've had from 2009 until now? I'm not in current contact with most of them, but I am worried that I may have inadvertently infected them. Then again, none of them have contacted me? If I'd infected them, I'd think they'd probably have developed symptoms? Should I let them know about my status just to be on the safe side?

3) My current boyfriend refuses to wear condoms, even though he knows the risk. I'm starting on Valtrex and I'm hypervigilant about checking myself for new bumps or lesions, but I'm still terrified of infecting him. Other than avoiding sex during outbreaks, is there anything else I can do to protect him?

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You are describe what would seem more like an initial outbreak than a recurrent. Hence you more likely have just been infected. Are you sure your current partner has had the proper IgG testing for HSV-1 and HSV-2?

1. No need to contact anyone in the past, only current and future partners need be informed. Too much time has passed and there is a question as to when you were infected in any event.

2. No I would not, current and future only. Most likely if they didn't have issues at the time, they weren't infected.

3. Check his testing first, there is a suspicion based on what you say that he has it, but testing will confirm this or otherwise. Valtrex and avoiding sex at any time you are concerned there may be a pending outbreak is really the best you can do on your side. Condoms do add further protection, but he can assess risks and make decisions.

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Thanks for your reply...wouldn't the fact that I'm IgG positive for HSV2 mean that my recent big outbreak must be a recurrence? If it were an initial outbreak, the IgG would be negative. My current partner tested negative for IgG for HSV1 and HSV2 prior to getting intimate with me 6 months ago, but I guess theoretically he could have cheated, caught it from someone else, then given it to me (although he denies sleeping with anyone else since we started dating). He hasn't had any symptoms, and I figured it wouldn't make sense for him to get tested again until at least 3 months from my recent outbreak.

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I assumed there was a gap from the time your bad outbreak healed to you returning home to US? How long from sores to blood being drawn?

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No need to contact others since its been more than 6 years... They may have it and not even know, and well I'm sure they have also been sexually active after you so who knows if they got it from u or someone else... That's at least what my doctor told me...I thought I was being tested for it but wasn't.. I found out last December... My bf of 5 years is negative so I had it for more than 5 years and not known.... 3 years ago, I shaved and had some itching bumps around my pubic area... So know I wonder if that was an outbreak...

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