Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2008 Greg Paris, Community Member, asks

Q: What is my risk of contracting herpes?

I have been seeing a wonderful woman. She tells me that she contracted genital herpes many years ago, that she hasn't had an outbreak in years and that she takes daily antiviral medicine. There is a good chance that we may become sexually intimate soon and I am wondering what my risk is for contracting the virus. Of course, we would avoid sex during an outbreak (although there haven't been any for a long time) and we would practice safer sex--dental dams or plastic wrap for oral sex (me on her) and condoms from start to finish for intercourse and oral sex (her on me). I have read that condoms only offer limited protection since they do not cover every place where there may be contact. Realistically, what are the odds of me contracting the herpes virus? I understand that the odds would increase the more we have sex, but what are we talking about? Is there a 40 percent chance I will contract the virus, a 4 percent chance, or something in between? Thanks for your help with this. GP

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Answers (2)
Chelsea, Community Member
9/19/08 3:52am

Dear Greg,

 

Okay first of all, let me thank you for taking these steps so responsibly and maturley. Most people are very ignorant when they hear the word, "herpes"... they run away. LOL! As long as she is not in outbreak during sexual intercourse, your chances of contracting herpes are VERY slim. Condoms work very well, PLUS she's taking medication. Make sure you guys use "Latex" and not anything else. "Lamb skin" condoms are not affective against the herpes virus. Herpes is contracted through skin to skin contact, so as long as you use condoms you guys will be okay. I hope my answer was helpful for you.

 

Chelsea

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Disclosing Herpes, Community Member
1/ 7/11 5:39pm

Check out this blog: http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/giving-your-partner-herpes/. Yes you can be infected although the odds are much lower than a partner not taking Valtrex and practising safe sex.

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By Greg Paris, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/22/14, First Published: 09/19/08