Hello. I am a 23 year old mother. My son is almost 15 months old. My fiance and I have been together for almost 3 years, and I'm certain that we both have remained faithful to eachother in that period. I went to the GYN for my annual pap, and they cultured me and came back with the results of a positive genital herpes infection.
I have done my research, and am fully aware of how one contracts the virus, and that it is, relatively, harmless. I know that it is possible for this virus to lay in your body for years and never know. Therefore, I'm not going to post the whole "is he cheating on me?! he gave me this!" thread... Because, I am aware that the possibility of ME having it before sleeping with him, is just as likely.
I have a few questions, though, and would like any advice those living with this condition can give me. I discussed it over the phone with the GYN's assistant, but, she couldn't give me very much PRACTICAL information, seeing as how she's a trained medical assistant, but not, to my knowledge, an actual person living with genital herpes.
-This herpes virus never showed up during my pregnancy, so, is it possible that my son could be infected with it as well, and I just not know about it?
-I read online that it IS possible to shed the virus through saliva, so is kissing my son a risk? I am afraid of putting him at any risk what-so-ever.
-I wear contact lenses on a daily basis. I have always washed my hands before putting them in my eyes, due to the fact that I am a smoker and don't want to irritate my eyes with nicotine... So, is there a risk of spreading the virus to my eyes? I have, however, taken them out without washing my hands prior... And that worries me.
-I also read online that you are supposed to SHOWER with genital herpes, but because I am a stay at home mom, I prefer taking a BATH so I can hear if my son were to wake up or something. I would not be able to do that with running water. Is it unsanitary to bath in the same water you are sitting in if you have genital herpes?
-I wash my hands and use Germ-X constantly... so, how likely is it for me to "shed" the virus onto my other family members via food or drink?
And, of course, there's the treatment question. My fiance has yet to be blood tested to see if he is a carrier as well. He's in a stage of denial, I suppose, and believes the tests could be wrong. I, on the other hand, believe that professionals know more about the virus than I, and if they say I have it, then, chances are, they're right. When he gets his blood work done and if it comes back positive, the assistant told me that we really don't need to do anything about it, as far as medication goes... But, I was wondering, even if we are both carriers of the virus, is it a good idea to be medicated anyway? Will it keep us from shedding the virus to other parts of our own bodies, eachother's, or our family members? And, if it comes back negative, would you recommend a daily medication such as Valtrex or a medication that is only taken in the likely-hood of symptoms?
If any questions can be answered, or if you have any general advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it. This wasn't something I was expecting, as I'm sure it wasn't for the majority of you. I do feel embarrassed and scared, although I know there isn't a whole lot to be afraid of... And, I'd just like to know how to handle it better.
I too was recently diagnosed and pose much of the same questions have. Unfortunately, I am not able to answer all of your questions just the one's I am able to. First, lets start with the child one, to my knowledge the only way to pass it to your child is if you have an active outbreak during labor. When I say active outbreak it is the virus shedding and you having sore on your genitalia of which they would have delivered i via a c-section. Secondly, your question regarding transmission via saliva poses a more threat to persons with HSV 1 and active cold sores. If you have a cold sore, which is HSV 1, then your body is shedding the virus therefore, you are able to transmit it. For instance, if you have an active outbreak down there then the virus is shedding and you are able to transmit it. As far as the touching of the eyes, I know it is possible to transmit the virus to other parts of your body if the virus is shedding. For example, if you are having an outbreak in the genital area and touch down there and then touch your eye then there is possible risk of contamination. The other things I am not sure about I currently take medicine only when I have an outbreak, I am not on any suppressive medicine. My doctor told me that if I have frequent outbreaks then we would try daily suppressive but if I only experience 2/yr then there is no need to.
The last post was filled with great advice, you really don't have much to worry about. If you did pass it to your kid, you would have known it by now, but the chances are so small and only if you had an active outbreak during labor. I have two young kids myself (7 & 3), but I didn't contract the virus until after I had had both of them. At first, I was extremely paranoid about passing it on to them, but realistically if they never touch your genitals during an outbreak (this sounds horrible, I know, but sometimes kids are unpredictable) then the chance is almost non-existent. I used to bathe with my daughter sometimes when she was very young, and my son as well when I was trying to get him used to a bathtub, but as soon as I contracted HSV I stopped that altogether. I don't even like to use the toilet in their bathroom, outbreak or not, because I just don't want there to be any potential whatsoever that they could get this horrible disease anywhere. I've had the virus since June '08, so almost two years, and am currently having maybe only the second outbreak since then. I got so mad about it that I had to come here and vent. I'm still angry, I want to kill the guy who gave it to me, but 99% of the time I don't even think about it anymore and it's very easy to live with--as long as you don't have outbreaks.
As far as practical advice, I would just become religious about hand washing, not with Germ-X but with soap and warm water for (I think) at least 30 seconds each time. This has been scientifically proven to be the MOST effective way to prevent spreading germs/bacteria/viruses/etc. (And definitely before you get your fingers anywhere near your eyes...that is apparently a horrible infection if it gets in your eyes). And don't ever worry about kissing your son, you can't pass genital herpes to him that way, only the oral kind which is usually HSV-1. Genital herpes is usually HSV-2.
I don't know about the boyfriend thing, it is very true that it can be in your system forever and you can spread it without knowing about it, but it does seem a little strange that he wants to ignore it and won't get himself checked out. The assclown that gave it to me was in denial as well, but only because he knew he gave it to me. I found out AFTER I had slept with him that he had tested positive the year before, but one of his friends (who is a RECEPTIONIST at a dr.'s office and has no clinical background whatsoever) told him it could be a false-positive and not to worry about it if he never had an outbreak. So, a year later, he passes it on to me and then tries to say that I got it from my ex-husband who I'd been divorced from and hadn't slept with for almost a year. He was a total jerk about it, never offered me any sympathy or apologies, and is probably still spreading it around. My doctor as well offered me very little guidance or info, just gave me a pamphlet and samples of Valtrex that I never took. Pretty much everything I have found out has been from the internet. Sad, but true. So I guess you have to trust your gut instinct on this one.
From what I have been reading, though, hopefully a cure will be on the horizon soon. Good luck and don't let it stress you out.