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How soon am I contagious after having contact with herpes? How long should I take Famciclovir?

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HIV AIDS Specialist
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how soon after I contact someone with herpes 1 am I contagious to others?
Also, how long should I continue the famciclovir 2000mg/day to minimize hsv1 taking hold in my nerves? Should I switch back to Valtrex, same dosage?
Posted Sun, 22 Jul 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 5 hours later

Thank you for your question.

Type 1 Herpes is common over lip and around nose. Do you have any active lesion? - If yes, where are they located?
If it is around your mouth, only kissing and sharing cups, glasses and food may be contagious, not really sex contact. If it is Type 2 infection it is sexually contagious.

A person can be contagious if there are active lesions. If the lesions are healed, viral shedding can be present even after a week or two following complete healing. So avoid contact during this period.

Your dosage of Famciclovir seems to be more than what it needs. Valtrex may be given in that dose for seven days; suppressive dose is slightly lower though. In case of frequent recurrences it can be taken up to six months to one year.

Discuss with your physician. You may need to continue the drug.

Hope this answers your query. Let me know if I can assist you with any other queries.

Wish you a speedy recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How soon am I contagious after having contact with herpes? How long should I take Famciclovir? 6 hours later
Thankyou for your reply, Dr. XXXXXXX

I have had no outbreak, yet. I don't know if it is type 1 or 2. The person who had the lesion that I kissed did not know, but the lesions appear around her mouth, though she once had one on her arm, reportedly. I know both types can be spread to both locations, and eyes and hands if not careful with hygiene.

I do not have a regular physician, as they are in short supply in Vancouver. Access to walk-in clinics is good. The doctor I saw at the clinic was helpful with prescribing the famciclovir, but unfamiliar with the protocol for limiting penetration of hsv while my body is forming antibodies after initial exposure. Therefore I used the dosage of 20mg/kg per day as suggested by a study I found online. I am, perhaps, grasping at straws, but it might help.

here's a part of the write-up: XXXXXXX Famciclovir and valaciclovir have high oral bioavailability, minimal toxicity and proven efficacy in treating HSV. Available data suggest that treatment with these drugs after documented exposure to HSV reduces the severity of acute disease, limits the number of neurones infected and may reduce the frequency of subsequent recurrences. If started early enough, postexposure prophylaxis may prevent latent infection altogether. XXXXXXX

I am actually almost out of the famciclovir, with just enough for one more day. Should I switch to Valacyclovir?

Thanks so much for your help.
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 2 hours later
Thank you for your interesting question.
You are taking Famciclovir as a post exposure prophylaxis. Am I correct? All who exposed not necessarily to suffer from the disease. It depends upon the viral virulence, your immunity and the viral shedding at the time of exposure. Moreover Herpes Type1 is not so serious one and have only a mild course in majority of the individuals.
Any way you have already started the prophylaxis and only a day is left to complete the course. Regarding the dose, only for Herpes Zoster the drug is given in high dose. For Herpes Simplex 500 mg twice daily is sufficient.Nothing to worry at present.
Famciclovir and Valaciclovir are practically having equal benefit. So you need not change the drug.
Hope I have cleared your doubt.
Good luck to you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How soon am I contagious after having contact with herpes? How long should I take Famciclovir? 3 hours later
again Dr. XXXXXXX Thankyou for your prompt reply. It was very helpful. I feel assured I am following the best path at the moment.

That's right, I am taking the famciclovir as post exposure prophylaxis.

I feel very apprehensive about sex with my regular partner, though. I don't want to pass hsv on to her, though I know it is not so serious a disease. We especially enjoy kissing and oral sex for both of us, and this now feels very risky. I know a high majority of adults end up with hsv1, but still...

Also, how long should I wait before being tested? I don't know if it is hsv1 or 2, or even 100% that I have either ( though I would be very surprised if I didn't, as we kissed a lot and her sore was open at the end of our time...though not at the start). Tests can distinguish between 1 and 2, yes?

I used to get canker sores, and I understand that shows as a positive for hsv1...
if I don't break out, is there still a way to make sure I have hsv1?

Thankyou, again.

Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 4 hours later
Welcome for your feed back queries.

Of course there are tests for HSV1 AND 2 and test can able to differentiate the same. In recent infection you will have Ig M antibodies and in old infection you will have Ig G antibodies with appropriate infection. Usually it will become positive after 8-12 weeks of exposure.
If you are worrying about the infection not to be passed to your regular partner, then you can take a course of suppressive dose of Famciclovir in the dose of 500 mg daily for six months to one year.
Presence of canker sores makes one more susceptible for getting HSV infection from others easily.
So avoid close oral contacts when you are having any sores in mouth and in the presence of mouth sores and around the mouth of your sex partner.

Hope I have answered your question. Thank you for participating with us.

Good luck to you.

Dr S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How soon am I contagious after having contact with herpes? How long should I take Famciclovir? 18 hours later
Thankyou, again, Dr. XXXXXXX

So if I take the suppressive dose, 500 famciclovir daily for 6 months after a year, what happens after that time if I stop?

Best regards, XXXXXXX Mendgen
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 5 hours later
Thank you for your query.
You will not get the infection due to HSV and you will not likely to pass the infection to your girl friends or any others you have intimacy. You can enjoy kissing very well.
Wish you a happy time ahead. Enjoy the same.
Hope I cleared your doubt.
Dr S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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