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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Can genital herpes be transmitted while on Valtrex?

Answered by
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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3525 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 24 Mar 2017 in Infections
Question: I have had genital herpes for 20+ years and take 1000mg Valtrex daily for suppressive therapy. My boyfriend fingered me for quite a long time this weekend and I'm worried that I might be able to spread it to him? I did not have any active outbreaks. He did lick his hand once for lubrication. I've read all this stuff on the internet about getting it on fingers or hands, but so much of it seems like "dr google" and contradicts itself.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 38 minutes later
Brief Answer:
transmission is possible

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

transmission is indeed possible even if you take valtrex. Valtrex does reduce the risk significantly but there is still danger for transmission even if you don't have any outbreak with visible lesions. Using condoms and avoiding sexual intercourse during recurrences is the right way to avoid transmission as much as possible.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 6 minutes later
Sorry, to clarify, i'm not talking about sexual intercourse, so condoms are not relevant for this question. I'm asking if there's any risk to his fingers by having touched me? I've read that it highly likely to be spread by fingers, is that correct?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 9 minutes later
Brief Answer:
transmission to the skin is possible

Detailed Answer:
I was talking about sex in general. But transmission to the skin is also possible. A crack even small in the skin is required for transmission involving the fingers. But licking the fingers may transmit the virus to the mouth...

I hope it's clear now.
Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 42 minutes later
I understand that anything is possible but from what I've read is transmission to fingers or hands is highly unlikely especially if there are no active lesions and with suppressive therapy. Have you ever seen a case in your practice?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 38 minutes later
Brief Answer:
they're unlikely unless there's a crack on the skin

Detailed Answer:
Unless there's a crack on the skin transmission to it is unlikely (if possible). Suppressive therapy cuts tranmission risk to half (approximately) but some risk remains. I've never seen such a case but seeing patients with herpes is not my everyday practice and it wouldn't matter anyway because it's the actual risk that matters, not every single doctor's own experience with it.

So in conclusion, if you'd like to be safe you should avoid contacts at least whenever you have active lesions or feel like you're going to get a recurrence. Avoid at all times when your partner has scratches or other kinds of lesions on his skin.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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