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Would you have a relationship with a man who has genital herpes?

(21 Posts)
littlestmummystop Sun 19-Jul-09 17:19:14

My friend has just met a new man and really likes him. However he has just told her he has herpes.

At the moment he has no outbreak and claims that his three ex girlfriends never used condoms ( when he was clear of an outbreak), and he never passed it on to them.

I am not sure this is true. Can you pass it on even if you are not suffering a current outbreak?
Also he went down on my friend and now she is panicking, so could that pass it on? Even though he has no signs?

I don't like the sound of any of this.


candyfluff Sun 19-Jul-09 18:20:21

dont know much about this subject but i wouldnt go there if it were me ,its a lifetime sti you cant get rid once you have it

MagNacarta Sun 19-Jul-09 18:25:23

My ex h had it and I site the moment I found out that he'd attempted to hide it from me as the moment our marriage started to fail.

However, we did have sex when he didn't have an outbreak and I have not contracted it. In my ex's case he knew immediately an outbreak occured (usually when stressed). As it is usually a genital thing it shouldn't matter to oral sex if he's giving. It didn't really make much difference to us tbh you must be careful with towells etc when there is an outbreak. I'd say the fact he told her is a good sign.

Thandeka Sun 19-Jul-09 18:32:09

Your friend needs to get herself checked at the clinic but unfortunately herpes can be difficult to diagnose unless there are active sores. To be honest the warning bells for me about the situation is the no condoms- I think its a good thing he told her he has it, but the obvious desire for him to go without condoms is not good. Although to be fair to him- herpes isnt actually prevented by condoms (risk is reduced but it and warts can be transmitted by skin cell shedding from skin to skin contact- eg. base of penis/testicles.)

Is he on regular medication to reduce the viral load?

In terms of oral sex again there is a risk but he would probably need an active lesion on his lips.

Herpes is a funny one as so many of us have HSV1 (cold sores) which is horrid but not nearly as stigmatised as HSV2 (genital herpes) but effectively they are the same thing just appear in different places. Herpes is manageable and treatable and to be honest you can supress outbreaks to a minimum (just like coldsores) so in a way is better than genital warts (HPV)- that need freezing off- owie! (and certain HPV's can cause cervical cancers).

Anyhow I am a sexual health professional but its a sunday and my brain is very tired and am 11 and a half weeks pregnant so if any of the above is wobbly info I can't be held responsible!

Good luck for your friend (in an ideal world he should have told her before they slept together and always always used a condom and dental dams for oral sex but life isnt like that I guess.)

georgiegirl2 Sun 19-Jul-09 20:46:42

It sounds awful but I don't think I'd want to take someone with herpes on. It would be gutting if you really liked someone though.

I worked with a guy years ago who got cold sores and passed it to his gf as genital herpes via oral sex. He was absolutely racked with guilt about it, because she had the misfortune to get an attack every month, when her period was due, and it was very painful and debilitating. He just couldn't forgive himself. They split up in the end (not because of this) and he felt awful that he'd basically given her this life sentence that she would have to take into future relationships. sad

I've never had herpes or cold sores but my mum gets cold sores. She was always terrified of giving them to my siblings and I so instilled a real fear in us and was really scrupulous about using separate towels etc when she had one.

I think if you get them then there is usually some tingling that warns you a sore is about to appear but I have got a feeling that with cold sores and genital herpes there may be a short time before any symptoms when the virus is active and can be passed on. I'd certainly find out as much as possible if I were in your friend's position.

What a shame. It's good that he told her, but I hope it was before they first slept together, not after.

expatinscotland Sun 19-Jul-09 20:51:36


Sorry, but eventually she'll wind up with it.

You can pass that on even with condoms!

chim000 Sun 19-Jul-09 21:03:01

I'm not going to bother name-changing to post this, but just wanted to give a view from the other side. Will be brief as off to bed once my boyfriend is out of the bath, but will come back tomorrow.

I've had it for about 18 months. I was unlucky enough to have a guy go down on me as he had a coldsore on his lip coming on. He refused to admit he had passed it on to me even when I tried to explain that it had been caused by the coldsore. (I haven't spoken to him since)

I have never passed it onto anyone else, and avoid any kind of sexual contact (except blow jobs) when I feel an outbreak coming on. He will know several days before he has an outbreak coming and so will know to avoid sex. Condoms will not stop it as it is an external infection.

Your friend willnot have become infected by him going down on her as he has it genitally not on his lip.

Sorry to be so brief, but as I say will be back on tomorrow to answer anything else if you want.

Oh and just wanted to add, if I was him I'd be absolutely devastated that your friend had been discussing it with others.

rupertsabear Sun 19-Jul-09 22:50:08

It doesn't last forever, and becomes less of a problem as time passes. Most people find that after a few years they don't get many if any attacks at all. It's not such a big deal.

RumourOfAHurricane Sun 19-Jul-09 23:16:19

Message withdrawn

HolyScrotum Sun 19-Jul-09 23:18:10


itwasntme Sun 19-Jul-09 23:29:04

I got it 19 years ago, (also from a man with a coldsore, coincidentally) and to my knowledge have never passed it on. DH and I have been together for 15 years and have had plenty of unprotected sex, and he does not have it.

You know when an attack is coming, so do not have sex for a week or so, simple as that.

I admire this guy for his honesty. It is essentially just a common virus. You Thankfully my partners have been more understanding than many people on this thread.

littlestmummystop Mon 20-Jul-09 18:10:46

Thanks for your replies.

ShineOn- It really is a 'real' friend honestly

She has only confided in me about it, but is upset because she likes him so much. I think she needs to know the stats of people who are infected by viral shedding, which is when there are no signs.

I really feel for her, as she's been single for ages, and now faces this dilemma. Not sure what I would do.

AuntieMaggie Mon 20-Jul-09 18:20:11

I wouldn't write him off for this, especially as he has been so honest. Had he hid it then that wouldbe another story.

What I would do in her situation is go to a sexual health clinic with him where they can discuss with someone who is properly qualified how best to manage this so your friend doesn't catch it. If he's that nice a guy and thinks that much of her he can't refuse that.

georgiegirl2 Mon 20-Jul-09 19:50:11

Having read later posts on this thread I feel bad about what I said at first - that I didn't think I'd be prepared to take on someone who had herpes. That's awful, isn't it? I suppose I remember my mum getting cold sores and how painful she said they were... the thought of having something similar 'down there' is horrifying. And the randomness of the attacks...

But it's awful to write someone off for something like this, isn't it? Something so blameless and unfortunate.

A lot of people on here (and everywhere) are terribly judgemental, myself included. I am married but in love with someone else, someone not available. But if he were available, I would take him on with herpes. I'd take him on with HIV. In fact, I'd devote my life to caring for him if he was dreadfully crippled. So what I said before was mad.

I take it back. Your friend has been in the wilderness emotionally and has finally found someone she likes, and who seems honest and honourable. She needs to see his willingness to share with her the fact of his having herpes (how terrifying it must be to have to share that!) as something positive, and if she wants a future with him, see it as a shared problem that they tackle together.

And I am sure it is right, that it gets easier as time goes on. Some people only get one or two attacks, ever.

You are a nice friend to post about this. smile

BrewRequired Mon 20-Jul-09 20:10:54

I have only had herpes for 6 months, and was unfortunate to contract it from someone I lost my virginity to, from oral sex.

I think if your friend really likes this man, genital herpes doesn't need to be a huge issue. Many people have cold sores but that is not stigmatised in the same way.

Hopefully in the future men will be more open minded about my situation than many of the posters on this thread.

Does he have cold sores? Why is she worried that she will get it that way?

I would leave a man if he had been dishonest about something like this, but his honesty is a good thing and perhaps he could take aciclovir to try and reduce outbreaks.

RumourOfAHurricane Mon 20-Jul-09 21:11:07

Message withdrawn

SolidGoldBrass Mon 20-Jul-09 21:15:36

If he has told her early on in the relationship then this is an indication that he is an honest, ethical person who cares about her. As others have said, it is not a bad idea to go to a sexual health clinic for proper professional advice, but lots of people have herpes, have relationships and don't infect their partners. Far better a decent human being with herpes as a partner than a virus-free arsehole, after all.

littlestmummystop Mon 20-Jul-09 23:04:42

You know I was hoping Solidgoldbrass would appear. I am a big fan of her advice!! (I'd love to know if you give it professionally grin )

I spoke to my friend last night and have imparted all your pearls ladies so thank you from her.

She has gone through a totally freaked out 'No' to getting advice and now she is going to speak with him later on. She says it feels like a commitment right at the start because it's something they have to be careful with together iyswim.
Of course I am sworn to secrecy. It's been a real eye opener for me to be honest.

I had no idea how much prejudice there was.

mrsmerryweather Mon 20-Jul-09 23:08:09

call me cynical, but I always think these "I am writing on behalf of my friend" are really about the poster...maybe too many years of reading Marge Proops ( that dates me.)

littlestmummystop Mon 20-Jul-09 23:16:55

I've had this one from ShineOn. smile

It is a friend. My best friend in fact. But if it makes it more juicy for you think it's me that's fine

Actually am showing her this thread tomorrow night so any more experiences with herpes- v welcome.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 20-Jul-09 23:50:02

Littlestmummy, well yes and no and sort of - have written for a lot of magazines including the odd advice column. HTH grin.

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