Will your partner always know when they may have an outbreak? Are symptoms noticeable?

by Jane lane
(Lowell, MA)

My boyfriend of 4 years was recently diagnosed with herpes of the genitals I usually have an outbreak of herpes on the same spot on my lips once a year and I can defiantly tell when I get an outbreak. My lip starts to tingle and that particular spot itches like crazy and that's when we avoid kissing or anything to do with oral sex.

I don't have herpes anywhere else on my body but I'm nervous about getting them down in my genital area. Will he know for certain if he has an outbreak?


Dear Jane Iane,

The early signs of an impending outbreak can be difficult to detect. Your partner may experience flu-like symptoms and muscle aches which he might dismiss as signs of other infections. This is called prodrome and this acts as a warning sign indicating the start of an outbreak.

There is a phenomenon called viral shedding in which the herpes virus can travel up the surface of the skin and not cause any visible signs or sores. This can be asymptomatic and unpredictable. So anytime you two get intimate, there is always a risk involve, even without noticeable outbreaks. This is why herpes gets passed around so easily, because some people don’t experience outbreaks!

So what’s important is that he should be honest with you whenever he feels even the slightest itch or tingling feeling. That way, you both can prepare for it and practice safe sex. He could consider doubling up suppressive medication to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Whatever you do, never have sex during outbreaks.

For more information, check our page on Male Herpes Symptoms.

Hope this helps!



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