ZocdocAnswersCan I give myself HSV-2 since I have HSV-1?

Question

Can I give myself HSV-2 since I have HSV-1?

I have HSV-1, my partner and I have been together for over a year and he does not have either strain of the Herpes Virus. Is there a possibility I could get HSV-2 without him contracting either strain?

Answer

Yes, this is entirely possible (that you either had it already or that you contracted it from him or another partner). Alternatively, it is possible that you are having symptoms and he is not, despite the fact that he has been infected. This would make him a carrier of the viral disease, but not someone who is affected (just as some people can react differently to the same strain of other viruses and even bacteria based on their genetic composition and other factors). Alternatively, many people infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2, respectively) will have a latent state wherein they are infected but not yet demonstrating symptoms (although they may show these at a later date). In one study, it was found that the median time to transmission of the virus was about 3 months. Interestingly, if one partner knew that the other was infected, the time to transmission increased to 9 months (which indicates that condom and other barrier prevention methods can be effective but are not perfect at preventing transmission). As there is a risk of other STDs, including HIV, when a person has one STD already, you should discuss your symptoms with your primary care doctor. Your partner should do the same regardless of his current lack of symptoms.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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