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  • #39324
    Dr. Kelly

    Having someone need distance after this is a common response.
    Do you know some of the facts about transmission to help him through this?
    If not, be sure to download our free “The Facts” download from our website by going to resources>the Facts

    Keep us posted.

    Live. Love. Thrive.
    Dr. Kelly


    Hi, I am new here, was diagnosed 30 yrs ago. I lived in Mexico for 28 years where I had no support with all of this. I have educated myself as much as possible but still have had a difficult time with it when it comes to relationships and disclosure. I also haven’t had much luck in getting clear information about transmission to another.

    I have for many years treated and steered off a flare up with mega doses of L-Lysine and Bioflavonoids.

    Am excited to share that recently I purchases a Red and Near-Infrared Light and am having amazing results in healing lesions.


    Hi, Miss Delilah!

    I believe it is always worthwhile to get a blood test so that you know what is going on in your body. Knowledge is power!

    I would say, now that you do know you have either HSV 1, 2 or both erring on the side of integrity and full disclosure is always best.

    Many of the cases of HSV transmission happens without the giver knowing they have herpes (85% of the population who has herpes does not know it) because they are in the category of ‘asymptomatic carrier’and have no signs or symptom.

    I always think that it is best to disclose so that potential partners have know the risk and can make a decision for their own health and wellness.

    I love this link. Watch the video, the doc is very thorough – super informative.

    Also, check out the facts about herpes on this website. Under the ‘Herpes’ tab.

    I hope this helps.

    Dr. Kelly

    I totally understand where you are coming from and I know this is all new to you. The first thing I notice here is the assumption that you will be rejected or that it’s not worth his time. The real question you should be answering is “is he worth your time?” You are worthy of a fantastic partner! Many guys are ready to jump in the sack immediately and there are many women that are willing to do that even if they aren’t ready. I encourage you to take your time getting to know this guy. If HE is worthy of the talk, then we at Pink Tent can help you to disclose. If you take valtrex daily and he uses a condom and you have no symptoms, then the chances are about 1% risk of transmission. You are most contagious at the site of where your symptoms are if you do in fact get symptoms. What I want you to think about is also, what might he have or what might be a deal breaker for you? Use herpes as a great screening tool to determine if a guy is even worthy of YOUR time and affection, not the other way around.


    The reason for my seeking support and knowledge now is that I feel like I was in a bit of denial or nonchalance for so many years – I was diagnosed with HSV2 after having sex with a guy using a condom one time. The next year, I got married and didn’t disclose – I have other chronic diseases (type 1 diabetes and thyroiditis) and had had HPV / abnormal pap in college. Perhaps I thought this wasn’t as serious or required so much attention or didn’t want to admit that I could infect others, not sure now. But anyway, I very rarely had outbreaks and treated them much like the rest of my vaginal health – with T1D, I have frequent Bacterial and Yeast infections, and so was super aware of changes, would treat appropriately, and abstain from sex during treatment and outbreaks alike. And as I stated, never had frequent outbreaks. At one point during my marriage, I talked to my husband about it, he also had symptoms and we agreed that we didn’t have much information about who infected whom, although in retrospect, I probably was afraid to own up to it. He was probably cheating on me anyway, so he avoided the topic and we went about our lives.

    Fast forward I divorced my husband about 5 years ago, while pregnant with our second child. I started a wonderful relationship with a man a year after and still did not think about disclosing until I had symptoms, told him, and treated it. He took it very well, we had protected sex, we were diligent about checking each other for symptoms and outbreaks and we carried on. That relationship ended for other reasons after 3 years. To my knowledge, he did not contract HSV from me at all.

    Starting last summer, I began dating again, and definitely taking advantage of my 40-something sex drive, and was casually seeing a couple of men at the same time, mostly using protection until committing to one person about 4 or 5 months ago. I STILL DID NOT have ‘the talk!’ I guess I believed that because outbreaks were so infrequent, and I was so aware, that my risk of transmitting to him was very low – at least as low as him or I just being out and having sex socially would be. Meaning that the level of risk was equivalent to our previous sex lives experience.

    I had a recent outbreak following sex, just before he left to visit family on a vacation. I contacted him right away and told him that I had a HSV outbreak and he should keep an eye out for any symptoms. I again, took it seriously, but from a quite clinical point of view, and didn’t consider his possible range of reactions. He completely freaked out. Many angst-filled text messages (he refused to take my calls) it was CLEAR that he was operating from a place of fear and ignorance and I was completely oblivious of the impact that my blunt honesty would have on him. I still haven’t seen him in person, we plan to on Sunday, because following his trip, I am now on a work trip abroad. I feel like on Sunday I have to explain myself, my rationale, admit my mistake in not disclosing sooner, AND do some serious evidence based education with him. I feel pretty awful about hurting him and betraying him. I really would never have intended that, and that has been really tough on me, not that I expect any sympathy from him.

    His reaction made me dig deeper and seek more knowledge than I ever have on HSV. I asked the dr. for a culture, confirmed I have HSV2. I feel like the shaming, the unworthiness, the stigma, has all just come to a head with me, 18 years after initial diagnosis. I also read up a lot more on risk of transmission and prevention of symptoms, and am more educated so that I can talk to him about it. I still have many questions though.

    I’ve also realized, in this experience, that I seek a more informed, communicative, and loving partner, than he has ever been able to exhibit. Its a new relationship, and I had had some reservations about him in these areas, but whats super clear now, in how this whole thing has been handled, is that in his current state of being, he is not the right partner for me. Of course I feel terrible for having exposed him (although truthfully, he admitted to having HSV1) but I don’t believe he really knows his status, and will ask him to be tested.

    So, I’m here to learn from your experiences, and figure out where to go from here with my new attitude and information. And wish me luck, on Sunday, when I finally have ‘the talk’ that I should have had many months ago. Although, I bet I wouldn’t have even been in this relationship if I had disclosed before. I think he would have chosen fear and stigma over getting to know me. And that says a lot, I guess.

    Sorry for long intro.
    Peace & light & health


    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


    Hi Safua,

    I’m brand new to this forum- brand new to herpes actually! I really can’t offer you any advice on this matter, but I’d like you to know that I can completely relate to your frustrations with medical practitioners and their lack of knowledge regarding HSV. I still think it’s amazing that after years of Pap smears and STI screenings I was declared “clean” over and over. HSV tests are not included in the standard STI panel and that leaves many of us completely dumbfounded as to when we acquired the virus. How many people have I unknowingly infected? Asymptomatic people still shed. That’s obviously how most people are exposed. And I believe the rates are higher for those with HSV 2- that’s why it’s important to take a type specific igg (say no to igm!!!) blood test. From what I’ve read risk of transmission is reduced considerably when the H positive partner consistently takes an antiviral and condoms are used. There’s still no guarantees, but don’t let that deter you. It’s crazy- I’ve put myself in this hypothetical situation BEFORE I knew I was H and imagined how I’d react to someone I have deep feelings for disclosing to me…I could never throw away an opportunity to be in love, to have a deep connection, a best friend, a true partner- even knowing the risks. Part of me wishes I had acquired this through an act of love- I don’t think I’d be as resentful. But I’m not ruling out love all together. My mind and body are still in the initial shock phase. Anyways, I hope you keep us posted!

    Best wishes,


    Hannah, your story is so honest and heartfelt. You have gone through quite a bit, and I must say that I feel honored that you would share your story here. I can’t imagine everything you are going through, not just with the herpes diagnosis, but with how the transmission happened. The fact that he forced himself on you is not OK.
    That’s great that *Jeff is there by your side through all of this- his reaction makes him sound like a keeper.
    I think the most important thing to remember is, you can’t change the past, as much as we wish we could. Don’t let dwelling in the past keep you from what could be an amazing relationship. Open up and realize that herpes does not define you, and while you may struggle from time to time, especially during an outbreak, you are worth far more than you are giving yourself credit for.
    I really do hope that you find solace here on this site, reading other women’s stories and seeing that you are not alone, and you certainly are NOT disgusting.
    You are beautiful, you are strong, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    There are so many great resources on this site, and Dr. Kelly’s book is a perfect way to get some basic facts and treatments, while also getting some positive life coaching and healing. I would definitely recommend it!

    Much love,


    It’s definitely possible he may be experiencing an outbreak, especially if he is the one who gave it to you…
    I have had herpes since I was a kid, so it’s crazy when you feel such shame about it, even if you had no control over it, or are not promiscuous. As scary as it will be to tell your friend, I think you just need to do it. I think it’s important he knows, especially if he is sleeping with someone else, so he can also get tested and protect himself from giving it to someone else. It’s possible to have it and not show symptoms for a while, if ever, so perhaps he has had it for a while, and just never knew or got tested!
    Use some of the awesome resources on this site to have as backup when talking to him about it. It’s important that there is no blame put directly on either you or him, as there is no way to be absolutely sure who got it from whom. Just be as open as possible and come bearing the facts about transmission and protection.


    In reply to: Outbreaks every week


    Lysine is absolutely awesome. I never let myself get out of stock on that stuff. I also used Acyclovir for a while to help manage the outbreaks and reduce the risk of transmission to my husband. I’ve had herpes since I was a kid, and I was definitely more prone to outbreaks back then than I am now. I used to get them about every 2 months or so, but with Lysine, reducing my intake of nuts and chocolate (those are my triggers), and managing my stress better through exercise, I get only 1 or 2 a year.

    I did recently stop taking Acyclovir because I am testing out managing my symptoms and outbreaks solely through natural remedies, such as using essential oils to kill the virus when I do start to feel a cold sore coming on. More often than not, tea tree oil, lavender, and geranium will stem off an outbreak if I put it on right at the first signs of tingling.


    Hey there,
    Unfortunately, he can still transmit the virus to you even if he isnt experiencing an outbreak.Through asymatimatic shedding, however depending on the strain of herpes, it can range from 1% to 15 per cent of shedding per year.If he is taking valtrex regularly, and you use a dental dam and condom then that should lower the rate of transmission.With valtrex its i think, about 50 per cent reduction and condoms a bit more, depending on the site of infection. Hope this helps! Take care!


    I know exactly how you feel the guilt in these situations is overwhelming. I too was inspecting myself all the time and every twitch itch or tingle I was scared that I had passed the infection on. If only there was a conclusive test we could do to swab and check our transmission status.
    It is nice to hear that it’s not just me getting crazy over the responsibility of not passing on the H. I found that being on anti viral meds helped and I was also taking the set of supplements Dr Kelly has outlined.
    I am no longer in that particular relationship but do want to get better at identifying and interpreting the itchy / red symptoms which are not always an outbreak.


    In reply to: My Story


    Thank you so much for the detailed answers, Dr Kelly! I really appreciate the attention to detail and agree with your points regarding “the talk” and that it is as much for me as for them…I need to remember that in the times I get anxious about having the talk and potentially being rejected in the future.

    I wanted to follow-up on one point…the genital to genital transmission rates you listed are identical to the genital to genital transmission rates for HSV2. All of my other research has indicated that genital to genital transmission of HSV1 is quite uncommon (handful of cases in 32 years was quoted by one doctor), if not unheard of per some doctors who have never seen a case. How do I reconcile this?


    In reply to: My Story

    Dr. Kelly

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know how devastating it can be to think that we have protected ourselves only to find out that we didn’t. I too contracted HSV 1 genitally through oral sex and I had no idea that was even possible, so I know exactly how you feel.

    I admire you for really wanting to know the facts, so that you can make the best decisions as you move forward. Here are some answers to your questions.

    1. What is the transmission rate/likelihood for a man to get HSV1 orally from me by giving me oral sex? Unfortunately, there are no statistics that I know of that answers this question. One thing for you to know though, is that if a man has HSV-1 already (maybe genitally), but not orally; then he can not become infected orally by performing oral sex on you. This is because his body already harbors HSV 1 antibodies that would protect him.

    2. What is the transmission rate/likelihood for a man to get HSV1 genitally from me by having protected genital sex? Unprotected genital sex? As long as you are not sexually active during a time that you have any symptoms, the chances are 4% transmission rates without using a condom and 2% with using a condom. These numbers can be cut in half if you are also using daily antivirals. These numbers represent the chances of transmision in a given year of having sex, regardless of the number of times you have it.

    3. I know the asymptomatic shedding occurrences are very low for HSV1 genitally, 3%-5% from what I had read, is that correct? Unfortunately, this is a statistic that varies depending on the research that was done. What I can tell you though is that HSV 1 genitally does not shed asymptomatically as much as HSV 2 does genitally. The HSV 1 strain of the virus really prefers the oral/facial region of the body.

    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.

    I counsel all people to disclose. I feel that this is an ethical question and I agree with you that a partner has the right to know about something that could impact their health. I also would encourage you to get your partners tested for an STD panel that includes HSV 1 and HSV 2. That way, you know what you are dealing with before you move forward. You should also be looking at “the Talk” as an engaged conversation about whether you want to move forward or not too. There might be a risk that your partner needs to disclose that you are not comfortable with.


    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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