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-   -   Only 6 months for HSV-2 (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16442)

Hinegardner 11-01-2011 11:25 AM

Only 6 months for HSV-2
I have had genital herpes for almost 3 years. I am looking for some friends who are willing to talk about it. I only had one outbreak when I was diagnosed, but I don't know what to do if I have viral shedding or if some day I get another outbreak. I am afraid I will never find anyone who would spend his life with me because of this. I took every precaution that I know. I was very depressed. I'm really hoping to hear of some new treatment for this. Thanks for your advice and response.

MichelleZed 11-01-2011 01:34 PM

HSV-2 is not that big a deal. Something like 1 in 8 men and 1 in 4 women have it already. It is likely that a good many potential sexual partners you meet already have it.

It's not too much of an inconvenience, I've heard, after the first few outbreaks (which can be severe). There are antiviral medications you can take during an outbreak to shorten its length and lessen its severity, and those are best talked about with a doctor, not me.

Avoid sexual contact when you have an outbreak--it's the time you're most likely to pass it on. The disease can shed asymptomatically, also, though that is much less common. Also, use condoms. It doesn't totally negate risk, but it really helps.

I don't have any HSV, but a guy I'm seeing (Sven) has HSV-1. He has had it for many years and rarely gets outbreaks anymore. My husband and I talked about how we were willing to assume the small risk of my getting HSV-1. Sven has had one outbreak (the first for several years) during our involvement. I didn't engage in any contact with his mouth until it had cleared up. It was a little over a week. Not a big deal.

Don't panic. You'll be fine! What you have is common.

MichelleZed 11-01-2011 01:40 PM

Oh, also, I'm not sure whether you are a man or a woman. If you are a woman, and are pregnant and have an outbreak around the time of delivery, they will do a C-section to avoid passing the virus to the baby.

Also, most people have had at least some kind of herpes in their lives--chicken pox is also herpes! It just has less stigma because we don't associate it with sex.

nycindie 11-01-2011 02:59 PM

Shingles is a form of herpes also.

Some people feel that herpes is something horrible, others just consider it a pesky skin condition. I guess it depends on where your outbreak occurs. Some people get genital herpes right on their genitalia, others on their butt cheeks, and you can get it on your face. You can have oral herpes (HSV1) on the genitals, too. I assume you know where your outbreak occurs and how often.

A close friend of mine has HSV2 and I spent many nights talking with him about it and helping him find info on it. But he did some fantastic research on his own. I will share what I remember...

Once exposed to the virus, it lives in the spinal nerves. The virus is considered latent while hiding out in the spinal column, but can still become active, usually during times of stress. When an outbreak happens, the virus replicates and travels through the nerves to the skin. The outbreak will always stay localized to the area of the skin that is "served" by the nerves it lodges in (that region is called a dermatone). So, there is no reason to worry about it spreading elsewhere on your body. Some studies have shown that having HSV2 might offer a little resistance to getting HSV1, but apparently there's a lot of debate about that.

HSV can also "shed" its "particles" (and make it possible to infect someone) without any obvious symptoms. Suppressive therapy with a drug called Valtrex, or its generics acyclovir or valacyclovir, is supposed to be very helpful. It prevents outbreaks and suppresses asymptomatic shedding of the virus. It can be taken once a day (this is what my friend does). This family of drugs inhibits viral replication (and therefore shedding) by providing phony DNA building blocks. The virus needs the DNA building block to replicate, grabs the drug's molecule, and is fooled by it. When it goes to attach the next molecule in order to replicate and create a chain that leads to the skin, it can’t find where it’s supposed to attach. The drug doesn’t provide the right attachment for it. Hence, no outbreak or shedding.

Apparently, the drugs in this family seem to work a little differently for different people. So someone he knows had to switch to Valtrex, but my friend found valacyclovir to work really well for him and he doesn't have outbreaks anymore. He also takes supplements like Lysine and herbs to support his immune system. It seems that the reason outbreaks happen during times of stress is because stress affects our immune systems. So, if you strengthen and support your immune system, it can help prevent the herpes virus from finding a "reason" to show up again. Your doctor should be willing to work with you on finding the right suppressive drug for you. My friend says there are no side effects.

Of course, it's still important to use barrier protection during sex, even if you are taking drugs for it.

nycindie 11-01-2011 03:06 PM

You may want to check out http://herpesite.org/.

marksbabygirl 11-01-2011 03:06 PM

The reality is that up to 85% of the population has ALREADY been exposed to either HSV1 or HSV2. That means that already have the virus in their body - regardless of symptoms.

This comes from years and years of people thinking that cold sores are "not a big deal" (let me tell you - as someone who has cold sores, they are a VERY big deal)

You CAN avoid transmission. I have it - my husband has never had an outbreak - but we assume he has the antibodies.

How to prevent HSV transmission.

MichelleZed 11-01-2011 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by marksbabygirl (Post 108765)
This comes from years and years of people thinking that cold sores are "not a big deal" (let me tell you - as someone who has cold sores, they are a VERY big deal)

I think what people mean when they say that is a) you won't die, and b) you're not a bad person because you have the virus.

I forgot to add that other good ways of strengthening your immune system include proper diet, exercise, and rest.

marksbabygirl 11-01-2011 05:54 PM


Originally Posted by MichelleZed (Post 108776)
I think what people mean when they say that is a) you won't die, and b) you're not a bad person because you have the virus.

I forgot to add that other good ways of strengthening your immune system include proper diet, exercise, and rest.

No - what they mean is that if you have genital herpes, your ass is diseased and you're unworthy of sexual contact.

Having a cold sore is 'no big deal' - in that it doesn't have the same social stigma of being a "diseased whore" - you're just unfortunate that your mother or grandmother or aunt or uncle who had cold sores kissed you as a child.

The reality is that genital herpes is a 'gentler' virus, and that oral herpes is more likely to move around on various parts of your body, potentially causing blindness and other issues if it gets into the brain.

Both viruses like to stay in their "home territory" but will happily take up residence in other locations (IE: oral on the genitals and vice versa)

The viruses share about 50% dna - so they are fairly similar.

What pisses me off the most is the social stigma.

Oh. And the excruciating pain when you pee because you're stressed and having a fucking flare. :cool:

MichelleZed 11-01-2011 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by marksbabygirl (Post 108794)
No - what they mean is that if you have genital herpes, your ass is diseased and you're unworthy of sexual contact.

Um, that's definitely not what I mean when I say cold sores are "no big deal". "No big deal" means the exact opposite of that.

I can see now that you're talking about how genital herpes has more of a stigma than oral herpes, and that's probably true. Just like I pointed out that chicken pox has less of a stigma than either of those other herpes strains. The more they have to do with sex, the more people judge you for getting it. Because sex is bad, apparently, and you're a bad person if you have sex.

Anneintherain 11-01-2011 08:56 PM

My husband has been dating somebody with HSV-2, when she found out she had two people she'd been dating who pretty much broke up with her immediately. She has dealt with a lot of rejection she says. Of course she has also met a lot of people who haven't rejected her, and she has a pretty active dating life. She discloses to people in the first or second message exchange.

The worst part for me is that she said two different poly guys she met on OK cupid said they have it, but only told her because she has it, and they do not tell people they date that they have it.

I went to get tested because after seeing the statistics I figured I should not assume that I don't have it (including that 80% of people who have it don't know) so that my husband wasn't precluded from being more intimate with her on the assumption that we don't have it. I haven't been exposed, but ironically while I was waiting for my results my boyfriends girlfriend ended up testing positive, so there's a holding pattern while they decide what to do. I don't WANT HSV-2 of course, but I do not think the having it is as bad as the social stigma surrounding it, and would not stop being intimate with him because of that. I think a lot more people are willing to take a risk with HSV-2 than you might think/feel at this moment - there was a thread about it recently on fetlife in the poly and kinky group, and mainly it seemed people with compromised immune systems that were more vehement that they couldn't take the risk.

So I would say be matter of fact about it, don't feel ashamed or treat it as if it's something horrible. Have the research read so you can answer questions if people have them. If you meet somebody you really like, don't feel like you can't gently suggest they get tested too since so many people don't know they have it. The less you make is seem like a "big deal" the less others are going to jump to the conclusion it's a "big deal"

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