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Can you have sex with an OB if both partners are HSV-1 positive?


disasterhall

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Can you have sex while one partner is experiencing possible prodrome symptoms or has an OB if both partners have HSV-1? Besides the potential discomfort, is there risk of spreading it to a new location or for my asymptomatic partner to develop symptomatic HSV-1?

I feel like I've seen conflicting information so I want to know from people's experiences or other sources. My doctor told me I should start using condoms because it can still spread even if both partners are positive and that was alarming; also she said to not have sex during prodrome or with an OB especially. However, according to what I've read from the WHO and the American Sexual Health Association and some other sites, you can't re-catch the same form of herpes once you have it and once you have established antibodies (usually having it longer than 3 months). And it is very rare to get it in another area on your body after having it for over 3 months/having antibodies. So theoretically, having sex at any time (even when most contagious) should be safe. But nothing explicitly states that yes, you can have sex even during these most contagious times safely.

The reason I'm asking is because I've been having massive anxiety about passing it back to my monogamous partner who gave it to me (he was asymptomatic and didn't know he had it and is the only partner I've been with so I must have caught genital HSV-1 from him (pcr confirmed for me)). I'm assuming he has it orally but since he's never had sores anywhere, it is uncertain. I don't know how to identify what my specific prodrome symptoms feel like or if I will have them at all. I'm checking myself daily for anything that looks like it might be an outbreak and every time I feel the slightest bit weird down there, I'm worried that I need to wait 4 days before having sex to see if anything develops. For an overthinker with anxiety like me, that could mean never being able to have sex because I'm worried about a tingle or itch that I felt and am constantly waiting to monitor if something shows up. So far each time nothing has developed, but I'm still new into this diagnosis. I know the prodrome period and when you're having an OB is usually when you're most contagious.

Is there any risk of him developing symptomatic sores or catching it on a new location even if we have sex during my most contagious periods, during prodrome or while having an OB?

Sorry for the long rant. I'm just thinking about the future and if I don't need to inspect myself and keep tabs so thoroughly because we are both HSV-1 positive.

I'd love to hear people's personal experiences as well as any scientific data. Thank you!

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Hey @disasterhall the golden rule of herpes lesions I suggest applies at all times... no sex with an active lesion. If you observe this, then the chances of your partner (in terms of having HSV-1 already) are zero or negligible at worst.

I would suggest though that what you are thinking may be prodrome is actually not. Prodrome involves the initial disruption to the epidermis at the nerve ending where the virus is replicating off it. There is a feeling, a deep, concentrated tingle or throb from the exact spot where this is happening. A few people may experience some feelings in addition to this, such as sunburn feeling down the leg etc. but these are downstream. General itchiness or tingling in the genital region alone is more than likely not related to herpes.

Note that there is no reason to have concerns that your partner's experience with oral HSV-1 will be any different as a result of you now having it genitally. Nothing about his outbreak frequency orally will be any different.

I feel you will benefit from a bit more time to relax and accept and understand the virus and it true impact on you (which may very well be nothing at alll!) You'll then be able to enjoy your sexual relationship just as before. 

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