Q. I am in my fifties, and have herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2). I am interested in having a sexual relationship with a new partner. I don’t want to transmit the herpes virus to him.
If my partner wears a condom and I’m on suppressive therapy famciclovir (Famvir), how safe will it be? I hope you will answer this question for many in my predicament.
A. Antiviral medications like Famvir and valacyclovir (Valtrex) diminish herpes outbreaks and decrease viral shedding by 85 percent to 95 percent. As a result, the chance of transmitting the herpes virus is reduced but not eliminated.
Regular use of a condom can further lessen the likelihood of passing the virus to your partner. Although this combination is not 100 foolproof, it does reduce the likelihood the virus will be spread. Avoiding intercourse when there is an obvious outbreak should also improve the odds that your partner will not catch herpes.