Thoughts on HSV-1
Been giving this some thought - we've had a number of conversations over the past few years re: disclosure/risk etc. and it did come up recently with a potential partner of Dude's (in kind of an oblique way*).
I have had cold sores since I was a kid. When I have an outbreak or feel like one might be coming on I don't kiss, perform oral sex, or share food/beverages. I take anti-virals, it goes away. Between times I don't think about it.
MrS says that he thinks he may have had a few cold sores in his life - perhaps pre-dating meeting me. Has never really given it any thought and I don't recall him ever having one.
When I started fooling around with Dude he knew that I got cold sores and all of the above. He swears he never had one before (even though his mom used to get them) but 6-8 months into our relationship he had an outbreak.
In North American the majority of adults (>50%) test sero-positive for HSV-1 but many people don't know that they have been exposed to the virus and, as mentioned, there is asymptomatic shedding. So anyone who is willing to kiss relative strangers (as I am) is taking a risk there. To me this is a given risk of kissing (like catching a cold or strep throat).
I have never felt the need to "disclose" the fact that I sometimes get cold-sores to people before I kiss them (although this is one of the things that I am re-thinking). I would, however, disclose this to someone before performing oral sex (as I think that the risk of contracting genital herpes - whether from HSV-1 or HSV-2 is generally a much bigger deal for most people).
While periodic outbreaks of oral HSV-1 are not generally a medical indication for suppressive anti-virals I have been considering whether I would/should take them out of consideration for potential partners/metamours/random kissing strangers now that we are "actively" branching out? Hmmm...
*Dude has been chatting with this woman and seeing her socially but things hadn't gotten to the "sex talk" point yet. There was a moment, during one social encounter, where a kiss would have been appropriate/may have been expected. He refrained as I was just getting over a cold sore and he didn't know if, having kissed me shortly before the outbreak increased the risk of him passing it to her. He later explained it to her (as well as our general guidelines - no kissing/oral/sharing food/beverages when symptomatic) and she was fine with that.
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (22+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
TT: poly male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ
My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe