LAST EDITED ON Sep-28-08 AT 06:23 PM (CDT) by muffin (admin)
And remember, just being told that you have genital herpes is NOT a complete diagnosis. You may have either HSV-2 *OR* HSV-1 genitally, despite the common misperception that type 1 is only "upstairs."
It is estimated that 30-50% of new herpes infections in the genital area are actually caused by HSV-1, a.k.a. the "cold sore" virus.
If you haven't gotten a type specific Herpeselect blood test, it is recommended that you do so in order to have a better idea of your typical prognosis, and of what to tell future partners.
Most of the info about genital herpes you will come across is specific to GHSV-2. So here is some info specifically for those diagnosed with GHSV-1:
Transmission of HSV-1 to the genital area is almost always the result of a previously HSV-1 negative person receiving oral sex from someone with a history of cold sores.
When HSV-1 infects the genital area, it usually behaves quite differently from symptomatic type 2 after the first outbreak. Perhaps most noteworthy, for most people it is not very, if at all, recurrent. Current studies show that 50% of those whose genital outbreak was caused by HSV-1 will never have a recurrence in their entire lifetime. The rest average only 1 outbreak every other year.
(However, it should be noted that a small minority of those with GHSV-1 do experience frequent outbreaks.)
It is highly unlikely that someone with typical GHSV-1 will ever transmit HSV-1 to another person, either orally or genitally. This is because of two reasons:
1)HSV-1 is outside of its home territory when it infects the genital region, so it does not usually reactivate often (if at all) from that location. This means that those with GHSV-1 will rarely, if ever, be contagious after their initial outbreak.
2)60-80% of people already have HSV-1 and are therefore very well protected by their antibodies from ever getting it again or in a second location.
For these reasons, condoms and/or suppressive medication are not generally recommended for a typical case of GHSV1.
However, it is up to each individual how they would like to proceed with treatments and precautions.
Edited to revise hsv1 stat.