Is it possible to be in a long term relationship and the other not get herpes?

by Anonymous

I've been in this relationship for several years and even though I thought my ex may have given me genital herpes, I was never sure. So I've just avoided sex during outbreaks in this relationship.

Reading here I just read about asymptomatic shedding (?) and I wonder now whether I already might have given this to him if I have it. He's never said so, but still I wonder. I've never had it checked but my symptoms match what I read here.


Dear Anonymous,

Yes, it is quite possible to be in a long-term relationship, with the significant other never acquiring herpes. This takes a lot of precaution though, to safeguard the non-Herpes positive partner. That means, never having sex during outbreaks, practicing protected sex, and religiously taking suppressive viral medication. Even during signs of a prodrome (first warning signs of an impending outbreak) which may be anything from itching to slight tingling around the area (oral or genital), there is still a chance of the transmitting the virus.

Due to the highly contagious nature of the herpes virus, there is always a risk involved when couples get intimate. You are correct with asymptomatic shedding, also known as viral shedding. It is the phenomenon of the herpes virus to remain dormant at the base of the spinal cord, and to travel up to the skin surface from time to time. This can be unpredictable and may not give out signals.

Best is to get yourself (and your partner) tested so as to dispel all doubts and worries. Our page on Herpes Tests has loads of confidential and fast herpes testing options for you to choose from.

Hope this helps!



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