How can I keep my boyfriend while lowering my risk of getting his HSV-1? (Herpes Simplex 1)
September 30, 2011 8:18 AM Subscribe
My serious boyfriend has just tested positive for HSV-1, while I have tested negative. We are both panicking, and need good, detailed statistics and math on the risks, reductions, and transmission rates in order to figure out what to do. Please help!
posted by anonymous to science & nature (42 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Emotional: The relationship, although only a few months old, is very intense. We are very much in love and have talked about building a future together, something that has been rare for me in the past. It is a long-distance relationship, where he is planning to move to be with me. I don't want to leave him, but I also don't want to contract HSV-1 for a few reasons: firstly, I saw some research on the internet that suggests it is strongly linked to Alzheimers, which my family has some history of. Secondly, if something happens-we break up for whatever reason, or there's a car crash- I know that having an incurable, highly communicable STD will make it harder to date. Thirdly, we both want to have children, and I am very concerned about the possibility of transmitting it to our children.
The Physical: To his knowledge, he has never had an outbreak, so we don't know if he has it orally or genitally. He does not think that he has ever had a cold sore, though did say that about a year ago he had some "jock itch", which disappeared after treatment.
What I already know:
I know that the virus is most contagious during outbreaks, but there's still a risk from viral shedding in between them. I know some antivirals exist that can be used for HSV-1 and may reduce the viral shedding. I know that condoms partially protect, but not totally. I know that a high percentage of the American public is believed to already have HSV-1. I know that the risk of neonatal transmission is low if you already have the virus, but high if you acquire it while pregnant (though I'm fuzzy on the details).
What I would like to know:
What is the base male to female transmission rate for asymptomatic HSV-1? (For oral to oral, oral to genital, genital to oral, and genital to genital, if anyone has it) How much is this reduced, male to female, by using a condom, for oral and penetrative sex? (I'd like to know if one is riskier than the other) How much is this reduced by antivirals? (Ideally, in percentages by year for base transmission rates, then percentage of reduction for mitigators) Are there any other methods of prevention I don't know about? Can HSV-1 be transmitted orally to other locations of broken skin on the body, or do manifestations other places on the body take place from already having the virus? (I.e, do I have to be worried about bites, etc) I see also that some vaccines have existed at points-are any still available anywhere? (Even if they only add an additional 20 or 30 percent protection, it would help)
Please also let me know where you are finding any information, if you can-my boyfriend and I would both feel much more comfortable with solid data other than the clinic's "no no, everything will be fine."