I believe I contracted HSV-2 (herpes) orally. What should I do?

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After giving a girl oral sex a few weeks ago, a blister appeared on my lip a week later, which was accompanied by swollen lymph nodes and some nausea, as well as continued cold sores on my lips since. I believe, therefore, that I have contracted HSV-2 orally (as I have had HSV-1 for as long as I can remember).

My main concern now is how to proceed in order to avoid spreading HSV-2 to my genitals. I do not know how common that is, but even though I have learned a lot about herpes (and how exaggerated the general perception of it is), I would still like to do everything I can to avoid genital herpes. This problem is made more difficult by the fact that I do not have health insurance, but may be willing to pay out of pocket if treatment would be worth it. Thanks!

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  • Posted

    Hiya, There are three major drugs commonly used to treat genital herpes symptoms: acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex).

    It is worth noting, however, that these are not a cure, they can just help manage the symptoms. I am afraid I have no idea how much they would cost though.

    The most improtant thing you can do is to maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands if you touch around your mouth or the cold sore, and be sure not to let someone kiss you and then give you oral sex without protection. 

    Most of the time, it is obvious when they virus is shedding as you will get a cold sore, but it is possible for the virus to spread without any obvious symptoms so it is worth using protection for oral sex. Even using a bit of clingfilm would work.

    The good news is that outbreaks of HSV-2 is that the outbreaks become less and less frequent over time. xxx

    Also, take safety precautions by not sharing glasses, mugs, towels etc etc. 

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    • Posted

      Most commonly, HSV-1 causes cold sores and HSV-2 causes genital herpes

      However HSV-1 sometimes causes genital herpes and HSV-2 can cause oral herpes (cold sores). About 90% of the population have herpes, although many are asymptomatic and therefore don't know they have it. Chicken pox is a type of herpes. Chickenpox is caused by a Herpes virus called Varicella. It can also be called Varicella-Zoster or Human Herpes Virus-3

      While both herpes 1 and 2 cause the same type of painful cold sore, the key difference between the two types is recurrence risk. While you can certainly get herpes 2 on your lips and herpes 1 on your labia or penis, this is mostly likely going to be a one shot deal. This is because herpes 1 prefers to be “above the belt” and herpes 2 “below the belt.” In a nut shell, herpes 1 on the genitals is far less likely to shed sporadically or give you recurrent cold sores and the same goes for herpes 2 in the mouth. They thrive best in their native habitat.

      The 8 known common names for Herpes viruses that can infect humans, are:

      Type 1- Oral Herpes (HSV-1)

      Type 2- Genital Herpes (HSV-2)

      Type 3- Chicken Pox and Shingles (HHV-3)

      Type 4- Epstein Barr virus (EBV) Can cause Mononucleosis (The kissing disease)

      Type 5- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Can also cause Mononucleosis

      Type 6 and 7- Roseolovirus (HHV-6a and HHV-6B and HHV-7)

      Type 8- Kapasi’s Sarcoma (KSHV)

      The symptoms of all herpes viruses are essentially the same... you get sore, itchy lesions on your skin. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your response! How likely is it that a case of oral HSV-2 could be accidentally spread to one's genitals by everyday contact? I have not experienced any signs of a genital outbreak (which makes sense, given that there was no contact made at all), but I want to know how concerned I should be that I could accidentally spread it to myself.

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    • Posted

      It is fairly unlikely, you just need to take some basic precautions. For example, wash your hands after touching anywhere near the cold sore, don't touch the cold sore then touch your genitals, and don't rub your face on a towel then rub it on your genital are. Avoid letting someone kiss you then do oral sex on you.

      To be fair though it is pretty uncommon to reinfect yourself, especially as your body will have made antibodies by now. This doesn't mean it is impossible, since we know the antibodies can't kill the virus on its own, but if it did find a new spot it may be able to stop it taking hold. Once it is on one part of the body though, that is generlly where it stays. x

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  • Posted

    Hi there! The only way you can completely avoid contracting genital herpes is to avoid having someone give you oral sex and to ALWAYS use a comdom whilst having sex. If you get a new partner make sure they get checked out so you know if they have it or not. I would also avoid giving oral sex to a partner as you could pass it on to them and then they could pass it back on your genital area! It's pretty hard to completely avoid as there are so ways of contracting, especially if 2 people have it at the same time. Herpes is so common and this is exactly why.

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  • Posted

    Angel91 has an excellent grasp of the viral nature and persistance of the herpes viruses. I would add that an infected individual can reduce the likelihood of transmission to others by taking a daily dose of an antiviral medication and use of barrier methods during intercourse. Interesting fact, most HSV 1 is given to us via our mothers, during an innocent kiss in childhood, given, as mentioned, 90% of us carry the virus, without ever manifesting a recurrent outbreak, yet have episodes of asymptomatic viral shedding. damn that virus is a b*****!
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  • Posted

    Can acyclovir prevent the spread of type 4- Epstein Barr virus?
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