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Sex ed - can someone educate me please regarding herpes?

(63 Posts)
educatemeplease Mon 29-Jul-13 17:06:08

I have to admit I am appalled by some of the things I don't know regarding sex and STIs etc. I had always thought that condoms protected you from everything (provided they didn't break obviously) but have only found out in the last few years that this isn't the case at all and that you can get herpes even using a condom that doesn't split. I am 31 ffs, how did I not know this?

I have also just realised that the tests you get for STIs on the NHS don't actually test for herpes. I was under the impression that this was because it couldn't be tested for but have since found out that this is not the case at all. Can anyone tell me why this test is not done as a matter of course? I'd have thought it was one of the most important ones?

Also, can anyone tell me the likelihood of getting herpes from sex if using condoms? Has anyone actually "caught" it even though they used condoms? I don't have any symptoms or anything but have just met a new partner and want to protect myself (he has just come back from travelling and by the sounds of things had unprotected sex with 2 or 3 girls while away).

veryconfusedandabitangrytoo Tue 30-Jul-13 14:00:36

I honestly think oral sex would be pointless with a condom.

My opinion, but I would rather take the risk or not bother.

PostBellumBugsy Tue 30-Jul-13 14:18:10

I worked myself up into a lather about this a few years back after discovering a partner had Herpes. I spent ages researching it & would agree that everything SlumberingDormouse has said sums it up.

It is basically a cold sore - could either be the same virus HSV1 or a very slightly different one HSV2. Vast numbers of us carry the virus without ever having an actual outbreak.

Condom won't protect you.

educatemeplease Tue 30-Jul-13 16:09:23

Thanks for all your replies. Is it the case though that if you do get herpes you have to tell all of your partners before you have sex with them? I reckon this might put a fair number off?

PostBellumBugsy Tue 30-Jul-13 16:13:48

LOL educateme, no one is going to send you to prison if you don't tell them.

However, it is surely only common courtesy. That is one of the reasons, I broke up with my ex-P because he hadn't had the decency to tell me he had Herpes, until I noticed the sore on his dick!!!!! I was livid. Not because he had it, but because he didn't have the good manners to mention it. It would not have put me off him anymore than someone with a cold sore but I thought it was beyond rude and inconsiderate to let me go down on him and notice the sore myself.

Auntfini Tue 30-Jul-13 17:39:07

I never get outbreaks anymore and until the topic is mentioned I honestly don't remember having it. So if I were single and got with someone knew I think I'd forget to tell them.
It annoys me though because loads of people could carry it and not know, or for example people who've had a cold sore once in their lives don't have to have a big talk with a prospective partner before they have sex, but I would be expected to tell people (and I would!) which could make them decide not to be in a relationship with me.

I haven't told one night stands that I have it, because it's type one and I wouldn't tell them if I got cold sores, nobody would. If I started a new relationship I would but I would very much downplay it because someone who freaks out about the word herpes is very likely to have had cold sores at some point, or be an asymptomatic carrier.

ToTheTeeth Tue 30-Jul-13 19:23:39

But how would you know at the beginning Ehric if it was a ONS or new relationship? I think that's the problem. At some point you'll want to tell, but by that point they might be furious that you've had sex several times without them knowing.

Never used a condom for oral sex either. Although I often don't do it to climax (theirs). Does that make any difference?

Missbopeep Tue 30-Jul-13 19:28:43

Dhalan using a condom ( a man) will not protect a man against herpes if the woman has it. So your 'unprotected' comments are incorrect.
The virus can be spread by skin to skin contact during the active phase when there may be no outward signs of the disease. So the virus could be on his scrotum, inner thighs, and a woman's vulva, and shed as skin scales during contact.

That is why condoms do not protect against herpes.

The sad facts are that the more partners you have, the more at risk you are because someone somewhere in yours or their sexual history may have had it and passed it on.

Missbopeep Tue 30-Jul-13 19:29:54

educate it would be polite to tell because at least it gives them the choice of saying no.

Auntfini Tue 30-Jul-13 19:32:50

'Never used a condom for oral sex either. Although I often don't do it to climax (theirs). Does that make any difference?'

No! It's caused by skin to skin contact. You can get it whether you use condoms or not

Dahlen Tue 30-Jul-13 19:51:50

Was that directed at me Missbopeep? I can't see the relevance. confused

My comment was that anyone who has unprotected sex with complete strangers is foolish. He or she may have contracted any number of STIs that they could pass on to subsequent partners, may have got someone pregnant or become pregnant themselves. Personally I wouldn't want to sleep with someone who behaved like that. Whether or not he or she had herpes would be a complete irrelevance to the shocking lack of responsibility towards health and responsibility.

ToTheTeeth Tue 30-Jul-13 19:57:47

I got accidentally pregnant once Dahlen. Does that mean I'm spoiled goods and people should stay away?

Although it wasn't via a complete stranger. Is unprotected sex OK if you know how the other person takes their tea?

Dahlen Tue 30-Jul-13 20:06:11

Don't put words into my mouth. hmm I'm not going to say that sleeping with people without using protection is ok. People can do what they like, but it's risky behaviour. That's just fact.

We're all human. We all make mistakes. Some of us can get carried away in the heat of the moment, either for the first time or with an established lover. That doesn't make anyone 'spoiled goods' hmm but it does mean a risk has been taken. To deny that is silly.

Once is a mistake. Twice is carelessness. This man has done it twice that he's admitted to. I just hope for the OP's sake that in this case 'abroad' doesn't mean Thailand or something.

ToTheTeeth Tue 30-Jul-13 20:12:31

There's a massive gap between saying it's not "OK" to have unprotected sex, and saying that someone who has done so has behaved in a way that means other people should stay away from them, which is exactly what you're saying.

Missbopeep Tue 30-Jul-13 20:15:25

Was that directed at me Missbopeep? I can't see the relevance. confused

My comment was that anyone who has unprotected sex with complete strangers is foolish. He or she may have contracted any number of STIs that they could pass on to subsequent partners, may have got someone pregnant or become pregnant themselves. Personally I wouldn't want to sleep with someone who behaved like that. Whether or not he or she had herpes would be a complete irrelevance to the shocking lack of responsibility towards health and responsibility.

yep, it was .

For the same reasons as I am going to repeat here.

you wouldn't know presumably if a man had had unprotected sex with one or 1001 partners unless he told you.

He might have had unprotected sex but then been checked out and given the all clear ( except for herpes.)

Dahlen Tue 30-Jul-13 20:18:07

I haven't said any such thing! In all three of my posts I have said that "I, personally" would not sleep with someone for the reasons I have given. I think a lot of people feel the same, and frankly I would expect anyone who cared about their own sexual health to be protective of it.

My problem with the OP's potential partner is not that he has herpes but that he is routinely having unprotected sex.

Missbopeep Tue 30-Jul-13 20:20:43

Eh?

I don't think you can read what you have written.

My comment was that anyone who has unprotected sex with complete strangers is foolish. He or she may have contracted any number of STIs that they could pass on to subsequent partners, may have got someone pregnant or become pregnant themselves. *Personally I wouldn't want to sleep with someone who behaved like that.*

You said you wouldn't have sex with someone who'd had unprotected sex. I said how would you know they had.

Dahlen Tue 30-Jul-13 20:21:04

Missbopeep - I think you're missing the point or maybe I just didn't make myself clear.

You're right that I wouldn't know how many people a man would have slept with. Which is why - regardless of what he tells me - I would not sleep with anyone without using protection.

We have threads on here where men get short shrift for using the excuse "but she told me she was on the pill" when trying to abdicate responsibility for an unwanted pregnancy. The same applies to sexual health. You don't believe the other person until you are in a position to verify or where you know the person well enough to have established that degree of trust.

Missbopeep Tue 30-Jul-13 20:23:35

You were very unclear. You said you wouldnt have sex with someone who slept around not using protection ( which means before he met you).

You didn't say what in fact you mean- which is you would insist they used protection with you.

Big difference.

But you could still get herpes whether they used a condom with you or not. That's the bit you are not getting it seems.

Dahlen Tue 30-Jul-13 20:36:39

Well I'm sorry if it came across as unclear, but I stand by what I said. I will attempt to clarify it here.

Having regular unprotected sex is foolish, risky behaviour. I defy anyone to argue with that.

When you take a new sexual partner, you don't know how many people they've slept with, granted. Personally I would suggest that anyone who is that irresponsible about their health will probably display similar irresponsibility in other areas of their life, but in the case of a ONS or something admittedly you'd be unlikely to notice that. In those cases, where any knowledge about the new potential partner is absent, surely you'd be using a condom anyway.

However, we are not talking about a ONS in this instance, we are talking about a man who has just freely admitted to travelling abroad and having unprotected sex on more than one occasion. The OP knows that her potential lover has behaved in a risky fashion and that this has implications for her own wellbeing.

I would not expect anyone who wanted to protect their health to be happy about sleeping with someone who regularly had unprotected sex with others in the past, unless they could make a very, very plausible case about how they were now grown up and responsible. The OP's potential lover may have done just that, but she hasn't mentioned it.

Herpes, or the absence of it is irrelevant. I am well aware that you can get herpes (and other STIs) despite using a condom. What about all the many more STIs that are preventable - particularly the really nasty ones like HIV and Hepatitis?

Missbopeep Tue 30-Jul-13 20:41:53

I agree with all of that Dahlen.

educatemeplease Tue 30-Jul-13 21:52:11

Me and new guy had a bit of a chat and actually I don't think he did have unprotected sex while abroad. Something he said made me think he did but he didn't actually say he had. Because I thought he did though I asked him if he'd been tested since he got back and suggested we delay sex until then. He said he hadn't been tested as he hadn't had unprotected sex with anyone since a girlfriend a long time ago but thought it was a sensible idea and said he would go any way.

But none of that will stop herpes - still worries me a bit to be honest although I am a bit less worried about some things thanks to some of your posts. He is just so lovely though (looks and personality) and I am getting nowhere on match.com with my quest to find an actual boyfriend or husband! I will probably just go for it but we will very definitely be using condoms even if they only offer partial protection.

ToTheTeeth Tue 30-Jul-13 21:54:21

Has he got any Herpe symptoms? I'm confused why you seem so convinced he's got it?

educatemeplease Tue 30-Jul-13 22:16:08

ToTheTeeth - I'm not convinced he has, I've no reason to think he does, I'm just a stresser.

Bogeyface Tue 30-Jul-13 22:21:02

Anyone who says that Herpes is not that big a deal clearly doesnt know what could happen to a baby born to a mother who has an active infection.

Babies can and do die when they are born via the birth canal to mothers with an active infection.

It IS a big deal and only a fool would say otherwise.

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