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How to avoid transmission of herpes simplex type 1 virus?

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Practicing since : 1985
Answered : 236 Questions
I have the herpes simplex type 1 virus which manifests on the ductus deferens in my right inguinal canal. My diagnosis was in 1993. I had one breakout which led to the diagnosis. I have taken acyclovir daily since with no breakout though at times I do have a slight itch. It is thought that the herpes was transferred from my wife orally when she had a fever blister. She did not demonstrate herpes in her reproductive system. I am in a new relationship and wish to protect my lady from infection. We are becoming intimate. In a previous three year relationship, I engaged in sexual activity with a lady wearing my under ware. I used the front slit to expose my penis and testes. My partner never exhibited any breakouts or symptoms of herpes. She was fully aware of my condition. My question, is this manner of covering my infected side sufficient to prevent transference of the herpes? I had a hernia repair on that side when eight years old (1953). After the operation, I had an uncomfortable fullness in that area which remains to this day. For decades, I am seventy, in three places along the hernia scar, I had individual sutures pass through the skin. Periodically, I could pull about an eighth of an inch of suture out of the scar which would eventually fill with more suture. This ceased in the late nineties. With this history, could I have been infected during surgery? Is it possible my wife's cold sore virus was transmitted through one of the holes through which the sutures were expelled since my virus lies in that side's vas deferens? My biggest concern is to protect my lady yet engage in sexual intercourse. Thanks for you reply.
Posted Mon, 17 Mar 2014 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Cori Baill 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Don't worry Detailed Answer: Daily acyclovir, combined with avoiding relations when you have a blister, which you say hasn't occurred in years, is sufficient to protect your partner. It is not necessary to wear under ware. The same virus that causes oral fever blisters, or cold sores, cause genital herpes and so it is far more likely that you were infected by your partner than by surgery. Though it is entirely possible that if you had an area of broken skin where you spit stitches, this was the opening for the infection. Also 1 in 5 adults test positive for the herpes virus, even if they never had oral or genital outbreaks. It is possible your current partner has already been exposed to the virus before meeting you. I hope this is reassuring information.
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Follow-up: How to avoid transmission of herpes simplex type 1 virus? 36 hours later
Had a vasectomy 1982. Does this mean I have no ejaculate coming throuh the vas deferens that could pickup virue cells? Understand your position on tranference as being negligble. Just curious about flow from testes to urethea.
Answered by Dr. Cori Baill 7 hours later
Brief Answer: Vasectomy has nothing to do with herpes infection. Detailed Answer: Hi You no longer have sperm in your ejaculate but you still ejaculate. The occlusion of the vas deferens has nothing to do with the lifecycle of the herpes simplex virus. HSV lives in the body of the nerve cell. The reason people describe a tingling sensation along the skin before a break out is because it travels from the nerve body out to the skin along the arm of the nerve cell (axon). You previously described that some old suture sites cause skin breakdown and broken skin is a portal which makes HSV infection easier to acquire. That is the only possible role it has in your situation. However broken skin is not necessary as the virus can infect across the intact mucous membranes. Oral to genital sex is a common vector. Before the virus can be transmitted it has to uncoat and that is the step acyclovir very effectively inhibits.
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