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Laurenhelena

How confident can I be that I don’t have it

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Laurenhelena
Posted (edited)

4 weeks ago I had oral sex with someone with genital herpes without condom. Cuddled naked. I had flu symptoms for 10 days and it was painful to swallow. A week later ( just over 3 weeks ago) we have sex with a condom.  

My vagina feels tender and I think I feel weird minor pain/ nerve pain every so often, but don’t know if it’s in my head. Can’t find any blisters.

- how confident can I be that I don’t have it? It feels odd for me that I haven’t caught it when the guy got it from one exposure

- is it safe to kiss and cuddle someone with just underwear on? 

I’m just worried I’m going to spend the rest of my life anxious about eventually getting it because of one stupid occasion. I keep hearing mixed things - how if you haven’t got blisters within two weeks of exposure you’re fine, whereas other websites say it can happen anytime in your life. I feel so disconnected from my body I can’t describe it :/

 

really would appreciate some input :)

 

Edited by Laurenhelena

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Quest

Hard to say, but I would get tested at 12 weeks. Did they swab your throat?

It's not likely. Given oral and snuggling.

Your skin would have needed to be broken and I would have needed to enter the cut.

Get us these websites you speak of

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Laurenhelena

I went to see clinic and she said they only take a swab if I have blisters. She was very dismissive of everything I said - I heard somewhere that GPS don’t do blood tests anymore for herpes cause it was causing significant mental health problems due to being incurable 

I’m ambivalent about blood tests as they don’t seem accurate and whatever answer I get there’s still a part of me that will be unsure and will fuel anxiety

 

i thought it was difficult to get genital herpes in throat?But the flu like symptoms afterwards was nothing I’ve experienced before and happened the day after. Would this be as serious as genital herpes ? 

 

I just find it hard to sit and wait for any bump on my vagina and it’s all I can think about 

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Quest

I doubt it is HSV. I agree with them. If anything I would look at other STDs for throat symptoms. Make sure you are clear from everything

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Laurenhelena
Posted (edited)

I just can’t get away from this inner feeling that I have it.

i keep having weird visions that I saw something on his penis the first night and still engaged in oral but I don’t know if I’m making that up, he said he didn’t have an outbreak. But what if he did and then we cuddled naked.

i just don’t get how people get it immediately and others don’t. It doesn’t seem fair, I just feel as though I must have it it’s just waiting 

he has only had it less than a year and isn’t a healthy person at all so I imagine him having many outbreaks and constantly shredding. Women are more likely to get it and I don’t think he’s taking any suppressive medication. All the evidence suggests that it’s very likely I have it 

 

if im someone who doesn’t have outbreaks then what if the people I get involved with in the future get in from me ? In the uk I was told they only identify by swabbing active sores

@WilsoInAus you seem to have much knowledge I would really appreciate your input here 

Edited by Laurenhelena

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Laurenhelena

Sorry to be a nag but would really appreciate anyone’s opinions here

i can’t get tested so if I’m someone who has it but doesn’t show symptoms I’m going to be so anxious about transmitting it

i also can’t tell anyone so feel incredibly alone right now 

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WilsoInAus

Hey @Laurenhelena

In the end, I feel the idea of herpes is getting the better of you here. You are aligning symptoms to herpes driven by fear. What you are describing as flu symptoms is not what is meant when people talk about symptoms associated with herpes. It is related to the toxic shock of the immune system responding to the virus. 99% of the time flu symptoms are caused by the flu virus.

The only symptom that puts herpes near the top of the list of possibilities is lesions within days of infection. You rarely have to 'wait' for herpes, as you can see from many stories here, it just appears!

You may choose to have a blood test after 12 weeks for peace of mind. Make sure it is Herpeselect from Focus Diagnostics (are you in the US?), your doctor can order it.

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Laurenhelena
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, WilsoInAus said:

Hey @Laurenhelena

In the end, I feel the idea of herpes is getting the better of you here. You are aligning symptoms to herpes driven by fear. What you are describing as flu symptoms is not what is meant when people talk about symptoms associated with herpes. It is related to the toxic shock of the immune system responding to the virus. 99% of the time flu symptoms are caused by the flu virus.

The only symptom that puts herpes near the top of the list of possibilities is lesions within days of infection. You rarely have to 'wait' for herpes, as you can see from many stories here, it just appears!

You may choose to have a blood test after 12 weeks for peace of mind. Make sure it is Herpeselect from Focus Diagnostics (are you in the US?), your doctor can order it.

So do you feel from what I’ve said that there is nothing so far to suggest I have it?

it doesn’t feel right to me that him and others get it from one exposure  but I haven’t - even when being stupid enough to have oral without protection 

i spent the two weeks after exposure anxious and checking, now that time has passed I’m still worried a blister will simply appear

i assumed the flu symptoms indicated I had genital herpes in my mouth ? Considering it happened right after exposure 

 

I live in uk so not sure what accurate blood tests there are , wonder if this is something that I would order online. Also it sounds complicated and the stories i hear in here about staff not “typing” it up and people having a low false positive ? I think it would confuse me and aid further anxiety 

Edited by Laurenhelena

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WilsoInAus

Hey @Laurenhelena i think by your own admission you are letting fear get the better of you.

Any flu symptoms (immune toxic shock) happen after the lesions, not before.

Remember that most instances of sexual activity do not result in transmission of herpes. In the end it takes one exposure... but how many times has the person received oral sex from someone with HSV-1? or had sex with someone with HSV-2 even if they didn't know it was present?

The UK has amongst the lowest incidence of genital HSV-2 in the world! There's a very good chance he has HSV-1. This means much lower transmission chances than you might think and even a chance it is near zero if you have an oral HSV-1 infection yourself!

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Laurenhelena
Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, WilsoInAus said:

Hey @Laurenhelena i think by your own admission you are letting fear get the better of you.

Any flu symptoms (immune toxic shock) happen after the lesions, not before.

Remember that most instances of sexual activity do not result in transmission of herpes. In the end it takes one exposure... but how many times has the person received oral sex from someone with HSV-1? or had sex with someone with HSV-2 even if they didn't know it was present?

The UK has amongst the lowest incidence of genital HSV-2 in the world! There's a very good chance he has HSV-1. This means much lower transmission chances than you might think and even a chance it is near zero if you have an oral HSV-1 infection yourself!

I just feel that it’s known as such a contagious STD - I’ve been lying to my family cause when I tried to talk about it they became very anxious and begged me to tell them I hadn’t slept with him when I had - If someone told me that they slept with someone with genital herpes my mind would instantly think they had it. 

So it’s unlikely then that I’m going to get symptoms now? I’m not going anything further with that guy but we have cuddled and kissed in bed with underwear on, is that ok? 

Im quite sure he has hsv2 given that his ex gave it to him through a threesome 

I’ve never had a cold sore 

 

Edited by Laurenhelena

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WilsoInAus

@Laurenhelena how is this guy sure he has herpes? All sounding a bit odd to me.

Yes it is very unlikely you will develop lesions now. Rubbing skin to skin is required for any feasible transmission chance.

The odds of transmission with unprotected vaginal sex are of the order of 0.08% per epsiode. Halve this if a condom is worn.

Compare that to chamydia that has about a 33% chance of transmission with unprotected sex; now that's contagious!

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Laurenhelena
Just now, WilsoInAus said:

@Laurenhelena how is this guy sure he has herpes? All sounding a bit odd to me.

Yes it is very unlikely you will develop lesions now. Rubbing skin to skin is required for any feasible transmission chance.

The odds of transmission with unprotected vaginal sex are of the order of 0.08% per epsiode. Halve this if a condom is worn.

Compare that to chamydia rhat has about a 33% chance of transmission with unprotected sex; now that's contagious!

Him and his ex have regular breakouts with all the traditional symptoms and I believe he was swabbed. 

So I can return to life as it was before all of this drama ? I may still look into a blood test is I am confident it is accurate 

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WilsoInAus
1 minute ago, Laurenhelena said:

Him and his ex have regular breakouts with all the traditional symptoms and I believe he was swabbed. 

So I can return to life as it was before all of this drama ? I may still look into a blood test is I am confident it is accurate 

That's exactly right, you can return to your life and get the blood test as a sleep easy in 12 weeks time (from the last episode).

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researchingisfun
On 4/24/2019 at 1:34 AM, WilsoInAus said:

Hey @Laurenhelena i think by your own admission you are letting fear get the better of you.

Any flu symptoms (immune toxic shock) happen after the lesions, not before.

Remember that most instances of sexual activity do not result in transmission of herpes. In the end it takes one exposure... but how many times has the person received oral sex from someone with HSV-1? or had sex with someone with HSV-2 even if they didn't know it was present?

The UK has amongst the lowest incidence of genital HSV-2 in the world! There's a very good chance he has HSV-1. This means much lower transmission chances than you might think and even a chance it is near zero if you have an oral HSV-1 infection yourself!

 @WilsoInAus if HSV2 positive woman had only two sexual encounters with man but both unprotected - once while on antivirals and once while off, was clear of outbreak (even ob free for three years and had longstanding infection for 15 yrs) and a year later man is still free of symptoms, can it be reasonably assumed that he is in the clear and never caught it from these two encounters? 

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WilsoInAus

Hey @researchingisfun you can be absolutely confident he is not infected as a result of episodes with you!

Is there any particular reason for concern? He’s moved on now and will have had sex with others and no doubt had a partner with some form of herpes.

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researchingisfun

Hey! Thank you @WilsoInAus for your response and your time. I think that the concern stems not from logic, but from guilt. I know that the per episode chance of transmission is quite low, and the fact that he never exhibited any symptoms should be reassuring, but I sometimes worry that he got it from me anyway, in the off chance. 

Our relationship ended because of geographic reasons, but we have remained in very close contact and as of yet he has not been with anybody else.

I will try to let go of this concern. Is it true that most people do actually exhibit some kind of symptoms?

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WilsoInAus

@researchingisfun yes it is true that most everyone experiences an outbreak of some kind upon infection. The symptoms are often minimal but for a person who knowingly has sex with an infected person, it’s not at all likely to be missed. 

It’s also somewhat likely that he has tested post the end of your physical relationship.

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researchingisfun

yes, that’s what I tell myself but I still worry it would be missed bc of shaving bumps and things. Even so, once on Valtrex 1000 mg a day and one brief encounter prior with absolutely no symptoms present and longterm mild infection would be pretty low risk regardless, right?, even if he could have missed a symptom? 

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WilsoInAus

@researchingisfun the chances of infection would have been 1 in 5,000 per episode, maybe less.

The chances of him testing if he had any concerns seem quite high.

So, the combined chance of:

- transmission; AND

- no discernible symptoms; AND

- him not taking a test but being an absolute silent carrier

Seems as close to zero as it gets. Anything less than 5% is beyond reasonable doubt in human terms. 

Remember Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions is almost invariably the correct one. 

This explanation is that he doesn’t have genital herpes from you.

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researchingisfun

@WilsoInAus thank you. Your wisdom and caring is so very much appreciated, and I’m sure you have eased many concerns through your thoughtful and knowledgeable interactions with people on this forum. Thanks again. 

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researchingisfun

@WilsoInAus I left something out. I know it effects the answer you gave me as to whether or not I can feel confident that he is in the clear. I’m ashamed and plagued by this, but he didn’t know.

The first time it happened was very unexpected and both very intoxicated. I had also been under the impression from doc that I was not contagious outside of ob. There was no talk. But out of fear I did my research. I waited in agony for something to pop up on him and it didn’t.

The second time I was prepared with meds on board, and about to tell him (with courage from wine) when he dropped the bomb about moving. I was devastated, I chickened out and let it happen again knowing we were protected by meds (high dose). Again, panic for weeks following. I asked docs and panel experts (Terri warren) and all said the meds and the single exposure make for very very low odds.

It has been a year now, and I’m ashamed and still worried. He is meticulous about his health, and knowledgeable, I feel certain he would notice something if it popped up and I know he’d mention it. We talk often still. 

So the truth is, he probably wasn’t “looking” and wouldn’t have tested. 

Still, given the fairly limited exposure and the meds for one time, plus the lack of symptoms in me (for very long period), plus no reported symptoms from him, would you still say I can assume he’s in the clear?

I have thought about telling him but I fear that would place a burden on him that might not be necessary, with uncertainty in blood testing and many unwilling to test without symptoms/nothing to treat. 

I have learned a very hard lesson and would and will never let this happen again.

please tell me what you think now. Thank you. 

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WilsoInAus

Hey @researchingisfun thank you for your update. That took a lot of bravery.

Please note that morally you are well within the bounds of what one ought to do. Most people do not disclose either not at all or when the relationship is established, perhaps a few months in. For many cultures, it is simply not a moral question at all.

Nothing changes in terms of the probabilities or the fact that beyond reasonable doubt he was not infected by you.

But this is not the issue. There is only one unresolved issue. Do I tell him now? 

That's a philosophical question, hence the best place to start is with the objective form of the question: "ought a reasonable person in these circumstances inform a prior partner now".

That's a Yes or No question but needs context:
- there is no knowledge of whether or not the partner already had HSV-2 prior to the sexual encounter
- there were two sexual encounters only
- there has been no indication from the partner of any infection 
- the partner has likely had other sexual contact that may have included exposure to HSV

A further consideration here is the utility of the information for both of you. What will possibly happen? Is there a net benefit for both of you - or just you?

How do you get the answer to "ought a reasonable person in these circumstances inform a prior partner now", you discuss it with people prepared to think about it... sometimes you get responses from sites like these, sometimes not, sometimes one other view is enough, sometimes not.

My personal view is NO. Why? Because there is no benefit to him if he is truly negative and if he is positive then it is more likely he obtained the virus from another source.

Regardless of what one ought to do, it is simply valuable input to your thinking, only you can can then answer the question for you!

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researchingisfun

Thank you again for your kind and thoughtful and informed support. I have decided there is only a benefit to me if I told him now, and that it would only be a benefit if he tested and it was negative. In the process I would put him through stress, and subject him to an imperfect blood test and perhaps a long run of uncertainty. I know how very low the risk is that I infected him, so I just need to now try to focus on letting go of my guilt. Any suggestions for that? 

Thank you. 

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WilsoInAus

@researchingisfun I believe the answer lies in the following. More people get herpes from their mother as a child than any other carrier or time of life. 

Ought mothers feel guilt?

I suggest most don’t because the virus is insignificant next to the person they are and the love they have to give.

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researchingisfun

@WilsoInAus

I’m just so ashamed of myself for being cowardly, and self-centered. I know I protected him with the meds and by not continuing or repeating the mistake, and I’m lucky he hasn’t developed/noticed symptoms further decreasing the liklihood of infection, but I’m having a terrible time forgiving myself for even the 1/1000 chance I could have exposed him. The guilt comes in waves. I can’t do anything to change it, because I believe telling him now will only either cause him undue concern or alert him to an asymptotic infection in an instance where I think many would agree that “ignorance is bliss”. I feel like there are so many people brave in their disclosures, full of integrity, and I’m the only bad person who chickened out. I’m glad he didn’t get infected (beyond reasonable doubt) and if the pain is my punishment, I guess that’s better than him suffering. I just wish I could find some more self forgiveness. 

You are a wise and kind person, as it comes across in your writing, do you think I can permit myself at some point to let this go? 

Thank you. I wish I knew how to repay your kindness! 

 

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