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Herpes and HIV
Aug 16, 2001

I have test positive for Herpes Type I & II through a blood test ten days after an encounter with a sex worker. I was aware of my oral herpes from the past but not genital.

This encounter was with a condom. The condom did not slip out and it seemed intact although I do not know if there could have been some small holes or tears in the condom. Does a herpes infection enhance the chances for an HIV infection.

Secondly, will the herpes infection affect the HIV test window period.

Response from Mr. Kull

Testing positive for antibodies to Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2), the virus that is commonly associated with genital herpes lesions, is limited information. First of all, the result does not tell you that the sex worker infected you with HSV-2. Since the majority of people who are infected with HSV-2 are either asymptomatic or do not know that they have it, you cannot always tell who infeted you. Secondly, being HSV-2 antibody positive does not predict whether or not you will experience genital outbreaks of herpes lesions. Remember, most people are asymptomatic. So the only thing you can do is see a doctor if you suspect that you are having genital herpes lesions and receive treatment.

Having HSV-2 should not affect the outcome of your HIV antibody test or the window period. Recent research suggests that being infected with HSV-2 increases a person's susceptibility to or transmissibility of HIV. It's clear that having active lesions will increase the risk of transmission. It is not clear what role asymptomatic herpes infection plays in transmission. The best you can do is continue to use condoms for sex.

See my response to "Cold sores=genital herpes" (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Archive/Hepatitis/Q37272.qna) for more info.

RMK



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