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Telling my ex's new wife


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A brief history: I was a virgin when I got married, my ex-husband cheated multiple times (though he only confessed to one), our last sexual contact was over 6 years ago. I apparently had several outbreaks over past year or so, but because I am abstinent, never suspected an STD. The viral test came back negative, but the history and symptoms with outbreaks and successful treatment (on this last outbreak) with Valtrex tells me enough.  

Now:  He just got married again a few months ago and to a former friend of mine no less. I feel compelled to tell him (for lots of reasons, righteous vindication being one of them).  Also, since his new wife is an old/former friend, I think she needs to know too, but I don't trust him to be honest with her. He was never honest with me about his affairs when we were married--not even when he gave me two other STDs!  

My quandary: What do I say to them? They live overseas and she doesn't seem to want to speak to me at all.  I've decided a personal letter might be best, but what do I say?  

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Hi @bitsnpieces and welcome.

I am not sure I understand you. If your ex husband infected you, chances are you would have an outbreak in the days after infection, 6 years or more ago. Herpes doesn't really lie dormant upon infection. Especially if you have no form of HSV (1/2) at all.

Did you have the right blood test. Only an IgG type specific for HSV-1 and HSV-2 carries any credibility. Is this the test you had?

As for your ex, no there is no letter to send. Leaving aside whether you do or do not have herpes, I'm afraid he and his partner are not your or anyone's concern. You have no idea of the cultural aspects of their backgrounds and what they have discussed and agreed on the sexual front amongst other issues. Herpes is also not really an issue to write a letter about. An unknown child maybe, but not something as common and lacking relevance as herpes.

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I have read that the virus can lay dormant. The three medical professionals (seen at different times, different outbreaks) all agreed it was herpes. Although the Ob/Gyn (saw him when my regular PA was on maternity leave) did want to test for shingles just to be sure. That test hasn't come back yet, but I highly doubt it is shingles.  I have had probably 6 or more outbreaks ovet the past year or ywo and shingles doesn't usually recur like that.  The doctor did a swab of the actual blisters themselves for a viral culture. That came back negative. I am not sure exactly which blood test they did, but am calling the office anyway, will have to ask for a copy of the actual results.

Meanwhile, I get what you are saying about not talking to my ex and his wife. We are all Americans with basically same culture.  My ex didn't have symptoms of the other STDS he gave me it would figure he doesn't with this one (just reverse of Murphys Law not science backing that statement).  His wife and I may be estranged friends (long before they hooked up), but I still care enough to think she should know the risks.  Even if he knows he has it, my experiences with him lead me to doubt if he'd be honest.  

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Regardless, that is still an issue for them I'm afraid. I'm sure there is a Chinese proverb that says something like for a long and happy meal in life, stir only your pot!

For what it is worth though, this seems very fact free regarding herpes. You have a negative swab. If you have had IgG testing type specific for HSV-1 and HSV-2 and it is negative then it is game over, you have zero evidence that he has herpes let alone yourself!

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My outbreak experiences are textbook for herpes in every way but two: The time gap between last sexual contact and first outbreak being so long and that my outbreak sites are neither genitals or mouth.  My two outbreak sites are back of my thigh about midway up and on my bum a few inches from anus.  The Ob/Gyn kind of seemed to think that was unusual but aside from cross -checking for shingles, offered no other possibilities.  He started me on Valtrex and I could feel a difference after even the first dose? 

If it isn't herpes, what else could it be? Does the fact that I had several outbreaks before I got tested, mean the virus will be harder to detect?

(I honestly thought it was spider bites or something the first few times.  It wasn't till I started to realize there was a recurring pattern each time that I began to realize this was something else.  This also came at a time where I did not really have a PCP, just got annuals with Ob/Gyn. I am not sure but it's been maybe close to two years now since first outbreak???  I've had maybe 6-9 outbreaks???  The two sites also alternate or skip turns, but can't recall them ever being active at the same time.)

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Being honest as I always am, there is actually very little textbook about at all in what you describe as outbreaks. 

You are bang on. 1. timing is well out, you can expect an outbreak an average 4 days after infection; and 2. the thigh is not really a common place for an outbreak, the skin is way too thick for the nerve endings to issue virus to the skin's surface.

What could it be? Hives, staph, fungus, Rosea, eczema, ringworm etc. All conjecture of course. I understand your concern regarding the recurrent nature, but that doesn't really convincingly announce herpes.

What would not be conjecture is an IgG blood test type specific for HSV-1 and HSV-2. Antibodies are present if infected regardless of duration, number of outbreaks etc. Only a firm positive for HSV-2 would pretty much confirm this is herpes. This is an option even if the doctor didn't offer it.

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I was referring to my symptom history more than timeline history.  I have nerve pain at the onset, sores, pain, malaise, flu-like symptoms sometimes, ithciness, etc., and the Valtrex felt like a wonder drug; so it all seems to fit. But I have not researched all those other possibilities.  

Your post is helpful. I will find out exactly what test was done and if not the IgG, probably request that. I assume then that test can be done at any time? What is the PRC or PCR (?) DNA test then? I read a little about it and it seemed more conclusive, but honestly the last three weeks with two back-to-back outbreaks (which has never happened before) and the stress of having to figure out if and how to disclose and everything else, all the numbers and letters are having a hard time filtering through.  :relaxed:

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I agree herpes needs to be on your list, just that this is readily confirmed with an IgG test (especially if you're considering what people should know about the condition!)

Yes the IgG test from blood can be performed any time with credible results.

The PCR test does look for the DNA of HSV to diagnose, but this can only be reliably applied to swabs. It is sometimes used for spinal taps, but has no credibility for blood as the virus is rarely found there in an infected person. Short way of saying the IgG is what you need.

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Thanks for the explanation.  That helps. I checked today and they did NOT do IgG test. So I am thinking of going to new PCP and asking for it. And don't have to wait for an outbreak? Even better.  It's helpful to feel like answers are really out there.  I am glad I found this forum.  

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The antibodies are in your blood permanently, a test anytime is therefore credible.

I think it is a pretty special site, thank you for your questions, they really are what the site is about!

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