9:29 pm - 09/27/2018

questions about herpes?

hello everyone.

I'm obviously going to keep this anonymous but i'm a little confused and scared. i had a some questions about herpes. my friend was recently diagnosed with it genitally after getting a horrible outbreak, she's not sure which strain yet (she was visually diagnosed and is now waiting for the swab). she has been with the same guy for 2 years. he never got tested for anything, and they never used condoms. earlier in the relationship he actually gave her chylamidea (spelling?). now he got tested and they found HSV1 but he told my friend "he never had symptoms". right before she went to the DR she complained to me about having pain swelling/open sores ect. and was really worried. literally next day she got DX'ed...

I'm so confused how this could even happen???? I know theres so many unknown factors like he could have had symptoms but not recognized it ect. Also his ex before had oral HSV.

My questions are-
1. What are the odds of HSV1 or HSV2 staying dormant for YEARS and then appearing as a bad outbreak years later?
2. Is it typical for one partner to not have symptoms and still give it to the other?

I have severe health anxiety from having cancer at 17, and to be honest this is kind of triggering me and now i'm wondering if someone could randomly get an outbreak years later ect.
laideybugg 28th-Sep-2018 01:37 am (UTC)
laideybugg 28th-Sep-2018 01:40 am (UTC)
HSV can lay dormant for decades. Someone who has it can begin having outbreaks if their immune system becomes compromised.

Yes, one partner can have symptoms, while the other does not. Most people who have HSV are usually asymptomatic, meaning that they never show symptoms.

You can go to your gynecologist and request a IGg blood test, that will check for herpes antibodies, however swabbing during an outbreak is the best way to diagnose.

I'm sorry that your friend is going through this.
archangelbeth 30th-Sep-2018 06:25 am (UTC)
1: HSV can be dormant for years, as laideybugg says, and then have an outbreak. It can also shed contagious viral particles, without showing symptoms. Usually that happens just before an outbreak, but it's possible to do it other times.

My oral HSV was dormant for years, and then I set it off via lots of UV exposure trying to get rid of my dadgum goatee. (I guess I'm a refugee from the Mirror Universe...) Anything that lowers the immune system's strength can also do it, such as stress, poor sleep, etc. Some people have certain triggers that make it more likely that they'll get an outbreak, too, such as foods or too much caffeine or the like.

Side-note: I highly recommend acyclovir for people who get HSV outbreaks, if their liver/kidneys can stand it. The stuff is really helpful. (Valacyclovir is a little faster, I think, but it's also waaaaaay more expensive.)

2: It's definitely not impossible. If someone is careful when they have an outbreak, that helps, but if they're contagious 1-3 days before an outbreak? Kind of hard to be cautious enough.

If you're concerned for yourself, you might want to get tested yourself and see if you have HSV antibodies. Those are very protective if your immune system isn't compromised. (My spouse thinks he had cold sores -- aka oral HSV -- as a kid, and even though he's had accidental exposure, he's never had an outbreak since we've been married.)

3: You didn't ask, but in case you were wondering... HSV 1 is happy to be on either the genitals or the mouth area. (It can even get into the eyes or other mucous membranes, or into cuts in normal skin. As I have oral HSV, and could be shedding viral particles any time, I would, for example, NEVER kiss a baby on the face or eye area!) The vector for your friend could be her boyfriend's ex (oral HSV to oral or genital HSV, to genital (I presume?) HSV). Or it might be that the boyfriend had HSV 1 already, orally or genitally. People with penises sometimes have outbreaks inside the urethra, which you'd think would be noticeable as painful urination, but it would also be invisible. He could be the vector to both the ex-girlfriend and your friend -- or the ex and he could have had their own HSV colonies independently. (Many people get oral infections from sharing drinks with friends or relatives, or doing duck-kissy stuff with relatives, during childhood.)

It is very likely that your friend's bad outbreak is due to just recently being infected; if she doesn't have antibodies (they'd have to do a blood test fast) that can be detected, then that would indicate that was the First Outbreak. Hopefully any subsequent ones will be much less terrible, as her immune system starts learning how to respond to the virus sneaking out from its spinal hiding place.

HSV 2 can also infect both genital and oral mucous membranes, but anecdotally, it's much less likely to cause oral outbreaks and it may have a harder time getting a foothold orally.

Other trivia: HSV 1&2 antibodies have about a 40% chance to protect against the other strain! They're that similar. ("Look, it's that virus we hate, wearing a fake mustache. GET IT!") It's also somewhat rare for someone to have both HSV 1&2 infections at the same site (probably because the immune system parks "alert" cells in the neural clusters that are already being used as a viral highway to try to spread, so it can mount a fast response if it detects a HSV?).

I hope that's at least informative?
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