Male to Female Risk of Transmission

couple talking

Question:

What are the transmission rates of catching HSV2 from Male to Female when you are not experiencing symptoms. I have had herpes for about five years and I have met someone that I am going to have to tell. I am frightened because I don’t know what the reaction is going to be and I really like this girl a lot. I did some research and a few polls taken indicated that people without this condition would most likely not get involved with people that have HSV2. She has already told me that she is very sexual so I don’t know what is going to happen. I constantly hear negative talk about herpes on the radio and in general conversation with my friends. Although, you would be amazed of how many people that I have seen at my job with cold sores. I am wondering if I should just stick with the dating websites for people with herpes or should I take my chances with possibility and embarrassment?

Answer:

According to studies, over the course of one year, from a male with HSV2 to a negative female, if all you do is avoid sex during symptoms, the risk is 8-10%.

The risk further decreases if you also use condoms OR if you are taking antivirals daily therapy. These actions decrease the risk to 4-5%

If you use condoms AND take suppressive therapy, the risk lowers to under 2%.

When you talk to friend, be sure to explain that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men have HSV2 and about 90% of them don’t even realize it. If your friend has not had a type-specific IgG blood test, she should get tested to see if she might be positive without realizing it.

It’s entirely possible that she will not want to take the risk, but the chances are also good that she will be fine with it. I’ve seen lots of people have good results with negative partners. It helps to think positive (not presuming she’ll drop you like a hot potato!) and have the discussion calmly and matter-of-factly. Letting her sense you are secure and informed will invite secure and informed response. Discussing your sexual histories and suggesting you both get STD testing done and then share the results is never a bad idea. Don’t forget it isn’t all about your Herpes. If you don’t have a conversation and hopefully see her test results, you don’t know if she has an STD you’d like to know about too.

No one can promise that the talk can go perfectly, but you’ll never know until you have the conversation.

It could end up being embarrassing, but it could also end up being very rewarding too!

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