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.

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  1. James

    is there an alternative med to gabapentin for nerve damage due to geltial herpes ? I had the outbreak 4 months ago and I am still experiencing pain. Thanks

  2. monica

    I got herpes and it’s on my face what do I do?

  3. SK

    I have HSV 2, but never knew it, I have had it for about 12 yrs and just recently found out, my breakouts are not on my genitals but on my lower back, I don’t believe that my ex boyfriend ever got the disease, so now I’m wondering, can I give someone else the virus if I don’t break out in the genital areas?

  4. susan

    For me, practical management of herpes has worked, no need to be emotionally traumatized. I start taking Valtrex the moment I feel a little twinge, it disappears in less than 2 days. I’m in my 50’s, have had herpes for 26 years and married for 24, my husband has not been infected. Good luck.

  5. Dana

    I’m early fifties too and contracted HVS2 two years ago from a man who had never had symptoms and didn’t know he carried it. Now I have a partner who doesn’t have HSV2, and I thank God I told him of my condition before we had sex. He is very understanding. I spoke to my gynecologist who reassured me that, with his very healthy immune system and taking care not to have sex when I have an outbreak, he’ll likely be fine.
    The risk of infection is evidently higher from man to woman than the other way around, and we women get it worse than men. We tried the condom thing once, but now have unprotected but sensible sex.
    I can feel an outbreak coming (nerve tingling down my leg) and whenever there is the slightest risk we find other ways to make each other happy. It was embarrassing at first, but now is just part of life.

  6. CKD

    I was informed by my health dept. years ago that to further prevent the spread of genital herpes, one should always use a latex condom (and not the other type of condoms made, which are more expensive and may have microscopic holes between the fibers, which can allow the tiny herpes virus to get through).

  7. K F

    Simple over 50 with Virus If you love someone DON’T infect them Period.
    And most important tell them about your Disease.

  8. G.S.

    Let’s pursue herpes transmission. If you have unprotected vaginal sex with a person on medication for herpes is it a foregone result that I now have herpes? The event took place a little over a year ago, and I discovered the herpes medication information, by asking her, within the last month. She advised me that she did not have sex when she had or was recovering from an outbreak. That information is a bit late, and truthfully, I can’t trust her statement. I have never seen any indication on me of herpes infection in the interim, but I wasn’t looking for it either. Frankly, I don’t know how to judge if I do or do not have it. What is the test?

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