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How Long Between Exposure and 1st Outbreak?

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Old 09-30-2005, 11:57 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 19
megarra HB User
Question How Long Between Exposure and 1st Outbreak?

I had my 1st outbreak of genital herpes three years ago. It was awful, I was sick as a dog and had blisters and such for 2 weeks. During the following year, I had outbreaks (much milder) approximately every two months. Finally after 5 outbreaks, I started on a program to boost my immune system and I haven't had any outbreaks since.

I was in a LTR at the time of my 1st outbreak and my BF and I had some vigorous sex 4 days before my initial outbreak. At that time, I had no reason to suspect that my BF had herpes. But, although he never showed any visible blisters or other physical symptoms during the 3+ years we were together, he was complaining of feeling itchy down there and needed to pee a lot during the time period of what I assume was my exposure period.

Since it had been well over a year (at the time of my 1st outbreak) since I had any sexual contact with anyone else, I assumed my BF had to have given it to me.

He never questioned me, or my assumption that I contracted it from him (which made me think he suspected he had it all along) and he never bothered to get tested after I got diagnosed. He accepted the fact that he must have it and that he is simply a non-symptomatic carrier. We stayed together for another 2 years after that, and had unprotected sex the entire time of our relationship.

He is now starting another relationship and recently told me that he got tested for all STD's and that he came up clean, including for genital herpes (I do not know what kind of test he had).

My question to anyone knowledgeable in this - What is the more plausible explanation 1) that his blood test for herpes might be wrong or 2) that I got it from someone else and it stayed dormant for over a year, then presented itself as a SEVERE first outbreak, 4 days after having sex with my BF who was complaining about itchy genitals?

I understand that the virus can lay dormant after exposure for long periods of time, but everything I have read says that if that is the case, then your initial outbreak (if you have one at all) will be mild, simply because you will have antibodies in your body already.

My initial outbreak was HORRIBLE, and subsequent ones were a lot milder. This to me is overwhelming evidence that my exposure period was close to the date of my first outbreak, which means my ex-BF was the transmitter. Which then means his blood test was wrong?

Can anyone confirm this as the more plausible explanation, or does anyone have personal experience with having a severe 1st outbreak that occurred years after exposure?

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Old 10-04-2005, 11:09 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 121
cincbcat HB User
Re: How Long Between Exposure and 1st Outbreak?

I wish I could answer all of your questions, but I do have something to add. My experience is with oral herpes, but I can tell you that I kissed a person with a visible sore on his mouth, and not two days later, I had sores all over my upper torso. Everywhere he kissed me, there was a sore. I was, just as you were, sick as a dog. I went to the ER because I had no idea what was happening to me. They were on my nose, my neck, my chest, my mouth, inside my was hideous. My dentist is the one who finally explained to me what happened, and that what I had was oral herpes, from the guy I kissed. He told me that when my body was exposed to the virus, it went nuts because it was so foreign to my system. He told me it was unlikely that I would ever have another outbreak like my initial one, too (which has been true so far). Not sure if this helped or not, but I hope maybe someone else can provide more info for you!

Old 10-07-2005, 06:27 AM   #3
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Location: Michigan
Posts: 118
shelley49001 HB User
Re: How Long Between Exposure and 1st Outbreak?

Well for starters, I was raped and within 2 days after exposure I had the most HORRIBLE breakout ever and went to see the doctor and found out right away that I had herpes, there isn't a blood test (to my knowledge) that can diagnose it, you have to have a swab done on the open sore to know for sure, so it sounds like your ex is just trying to make you think that YOU are the one who got them from someone else. YES, viruses can lay dormant, but NOT herpes, they are an immediate thing, and yes the first initial breakout is the worst, I too was sick for what seemed like forever and my first breakout lasted 2 weeks, it was so painful that I ended up with a sore up in my urethra, it was so bad I couldn't pee, so they had to put a catherture (sorry can't spell that) and I had to use it for a week! Plus the sore down inside of my lip (vaginal) It was THE WORST experience of my life, but I over came it. Come to find out, my rapest who is also an ex fiance knew he had a breakout at the time of our terrible incounter, and he did it on purpose, he wanted to pay me back for breaking up with him years earlier...Some payback, I thought he ruined my life, but I have lived with herpes for 15 years now and its just part of me now. I don't give any blood because I am afraid of "spreading" it, and I have been married 3 times since I acquired this nasty diesease, but NOT ONE of my partners have EVER gotten it from me. They say that you have a 5% chance of spreading it even if you aren't broken out, but I don't think that is true, at least not in my case. Good luck to you and remember, this ISN"T the end of the world, you can control your breakouts with Valtrex.

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Old 10-07-2005, 06:32 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 443
beaker24 HB User
Re: How Long Between Exposure and 1st Outbreak?

Shelley, unbelievable that that guy would do that to you! What a *beep*!!

The herpes virus can lay dormant for a number of years - some people don't ever know who they got the virus from - although in a lot of cases the initial OB will show up shortly after the initial exposure to the virus (that was true in my case).

There ARE blood tests for herpes but they will only tell you whether you have type 1, type 2, neither, or both. They will not tell you in which location you have the virus, how long you have had it etc. A swab test of the sore would need to be done very shortly after it appears (within 24 hours), otherwise the test runs a risk of a false negative, but if done correctly, such a test would tell you whether you had a particular virus genitally or orally (i.e. precise info not available from the blood test).

Herpes is not transmitted by blood (as e.g. HIV is) but by bodily contact. What are present in the blood are antibodies to the herpes virus rather than the virus itself, which lives in the nervous system. Therefore, those with herpes can give blood (as around half the population have at least one type of the herpes virus, it would rule out a lot of potential donors if herpes could be passed on via blood! - but it isn't the case).

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