Topic: Diagnosed in my 60's
I’m a divorced sixty-one year old woman who was surprisingly diagnosed about a month ago with HSV2. I don’t know how or when I was initially infected but the diagnosis was the result of recent sexual activity. I started dating a widower about 9 months ago. We eventually became sexually active with a good bit of oral sex. The day after sex I noticed a discomfort in my lady parts to find a swollen sore area that was actually a lesion. I also felt swollen lymph nodes on that side and made an appointment to see my gyn. She did a culture and sent me for blood work that came back positive for HSV2 and negative for HSV1. As it turns out earlier this year my partner developed a lesion on his lip from HSV1, which he admitted to having most of his life and as we know this is very common.
I have never had such a lesion in my life – so I’m now left wondering if it was a transmission of oral to genital to me which caused the lesion but by coincidence the blood test did prove that I already carried HSV2. I waited until we were able to see each other that week-end and told him what I was going through. It was so uncomfortable because I felt guilty that I may have transmitted the virus to him and also that he trusted me enough to know that I was completely unaware that I carried the virus. I’m usually on top of things and just wonder how I could have had this virus without even knowing it, perhaps I confused any prior outbreak to something else – and clearly I’ve never had a bad outbreak as I’ve read about others and all the discomfort and pain. Mine was quite simple, a bit uncomfortable, but not painful at all. My partner was very very good about it. He was tested and came back positive for HSV1 and negative for HSV2, but I’m still concerned that I may have transmitted HSV2 to him, so I’m going to suggest that he get tested again in another 2-3 months.
But the other part of my life is wonderful – I have two grown children, four grandchildren, great family, I’m still employed and am looking forward to retiring in 2-3 years. I hope I can be of help to others on this site
Topic: My Story
It feels twisted at times, but I just try to have faith that it will all make sense one day…last summer I dated a man that had recently undergone a divorce and our intimacy progressed very slowly between July and September. At the beginning of September we went out for my birthday with friends and imbibed and had a good time, came home and were physical and he insinuated wanting to have sex after we hadn’t done much more than kissing over the past two months. I told him we shouldn’t rush sex and that there’s plenty of foreplay we can explore…he wasn’t “feeling” the foreplay and wasn’t physically excited by it, so I rolled over ready to go to sleep…the alcohol got the best of me because all I really remember is him starting to caress me again and next thing I know we are having unprotected sex. I felt off, somewhat violated, and it wasn’t a very pleasurable experience although I didn’t say no. The next morning I could tell something was weird…he left my house and I asked if we could chat a few hours later. I went over to his house and explained that I was uncomfortable with how the night developed and that it felt like we went from 0 to 60 unnecessarily. I then asked him if he’s clean, thinking it was a question I just needed to get out of the way. Turns out, he has HSV2. He got it from his ex-wife who cheated on him and he never told me! All the connections fell into place with the slow progression of intimacy and the very awkward night that led to sex. This man was steeped in shame and I was his first dating experience after his divorce. I was devastated, felt violated, betrayed, everything..I thought he was a man I could trust. The next few weeks were tough and I started seeing a therapist to help me deal with my emotions…I got the blood test two weeks after exposure and it came back negative. I was relieved…and I ended things with him. I didn’t feel he was the right partner for me to put me at risk without giving me the option to choose to be in that situation with all of the information. Needless to say…I moved on, this time with a dedication to not let myself be put in these types of situations in the future by controlling my alcohol intake and experiences with men.
Fast forward to March of this year. I had met a guy we were talking a lot and he was fun, although I didn’t picture myself ever seriously dating him. We met up one night and ended up hooking up, but I refused to have sex with him, thinking this was the best of both worlds of getting some physical action without putting myself at risk. He performed oral on me several times that night and the next day…seems like a girls dream! Then, within 3/4 days I felt like I was having a yeast infection…and sure enough…the next weekend I discovered sores. Because of all of my research from my past encounter with herpes, I knew exactly what it was without question, but couldn’t fathom how I could catch it! I had NO idea you can get oral herpes genitally…none whatsoever, even in all the research I had done. I thought I was being safe by eliminating unprotected sex. I called him and told him and he confirmed that he does get cold sores but he didn’t think he had one when we were together and I don’t remember seeing one (he did have some facial hair though). This is why I say my story feels twisted at times…I came through one encounter unscathed and then, I get HSV1 genitally from a man I am not even interested in for an actual relationship outside a physical one.
It’s been a frustrating yet growth filled few months and I feel more emotionally stable and accepting of myself and loving of myself. I tell myself all the time that I will find the love I want to find, regardless of this, and that someone will be able to see through this and love me for me.
I do know that I want to be as well informed as possible and present the risks to any future partner I may have. I am trying to understand the risks to a future partner of foreplay and genital sex. A few questions I have…
1. What is the transmission rate/likelihood for a man to get HSV1 orally from me by giving me oral sex?
2. What is the transmission rate/likelihood for a man to get HSV1 genitally from me by having protected genital sex? Unprotected genital sex?
3. What is the transmission rate/likelihood for a man to get HSV1 genitally from me by giving me oral sex?
3. I know the asymptomatic shedding occurrences are very low for HSV1 genitally, 3%-5% from what I had read, is that correct?
4. How do you counsel individuals on disclosing this information to a prospective partner? I want to be up front with every person before engaging in any intimacy other than kissing because I want to empower them to make decisions in a way that was refused to me. I have read that some doctors say no need to disclose, but I refuse that route. Do you recommend having them get tested for HSV1 before anything else since it’s a very common occurrence in adults and if they have it, they can’t “re-get” it from me genitally since they already have the antibodies and it has presented itself orally (correct?)? I would definitely want to get tested for everything before engaging in sexual intercourse, but long before that stage when foreplay is the focus, I want to understand the risks involved at that time.
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