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Risk of transmitting genital herpes without lesions

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I have had what I believe to be genital herpes for about 20 years. The initial outbreak appeared on my vagina and around my mouth. When I have recurrent outbreaks, they only appear on my mouth and I use topical acyclivor 5mg and take Valtrex as prescribed. Over the years, the frequency and severity of outbreaks have lessened significantly and I have not had one in almost 3 years.... Until this morning, of course. I divorced 2 years ago and was hoping to start a sexual relationship with a man who is not infected. He knows about my condition and was willing to have sex when I was not having an outbreak and he knows that there is still some risk that he could be infected. So here's my question: I am planning to finally see this man in 7 days for a much anticipated weekend. If my sores are healed and gone in 3 days and I have 4 days being sore free, is my risk of infecting my partner still high?

Category: Infectious Disease Specialist

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Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STD)Specialist
Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.


Thank you for asking your query at DoctorSpring.

Your risk of infecting the partner is not very high. But still there is a risk. (as you have rightly pointed out). It is difficult to quantify the risk, but think about these -

There is a good chance that you are not infective now.

There is also chance that you might not transmit the infection in the process.

There is chance that your partner is already infected (Upto 50% of adult population can have Herpes infection even without them knowing), so you are not risking him.

And finally there is a chance that he will get infected, but never manifest the disease. (Upto 20%)

So I would say odds are in your favours and you should not worry about this. Do take antiviral (Valtrex) for couple more days, if you have the prescription. This will reduce the viral shedding if any. There is no reason to worry. Go ahead and Wish you all the best in your relationship.

Hope this helps
Please feel free to ask followup questions
Thank you

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STD)Specialist
MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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