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DOES HAVING HERPES PUT YOU IN HIGH RISK FOR HIV
Oct 4, 2000

RYAN I THINK THE WORK YOU DO HERE IS GREAT. I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU COULD ANSWER MY QUESTION. I AM MALE AND HAVE RECENTLY BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH HSV. IT IS REALLY DIFFICULT FOR ME, AND I WAS WONDERING IF I COULD SPREAD IT BY HAVING PROTECTED SEX. LIKE IF A HERPE THAT IS LOCATED UNDER PUBIC HAIR RIGHT NEXT TO THE PENIS TOUCHES THE VAGINA. ALSO, COULD I GET HIV INFECTED IF VAGINA FLUIDS TOUCH THE HERPE. IT IS HARD FOR ME TO TALK TO ANYONE AND I THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.

Response from Mr. Kull

There is evidence that the presence of genital ulcers, like those caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV), increase the risk of HIV transmission. A condom that prevents fluids from coming into contact with the ulcer should sufficiently protect you from HIV infection and your partner from herpes infection. Any sores that are not covered by a condom could transmit HSV to your partner. HIV infected vaginal fluids coming into contact with an exposed sore does increase transmission risk to you, but the level of risk depends on many factors (location of the lesion, amount and type of fluids, viral load of your partner, etc.).

It is important that you educate yourself about HSV. Most people with HSV infection do not experience severe or serious outbreaks. Many do not have any outbreaks at all after their first one (which is usually the worst). If you suspect or know that you are beginning to have an outbreak, avoid sexual contact until the episode passes. Keep a supply of medication around so that you can start taking it as soon as you suspect the onset of symptoms (the earlier you start, the better chances you have of decreasing the duration of symptoms). Symptoms usually occur in the same region where you had the initial outbreak.

One study shows that 1 in 5 American adults are infected with HSV-II. Less than 10 percent of the infected reported having symptoms.

Call the National Herpes Hotline (919)361-8488 at the American Social Health Association (ASHA) if you need more info and support.

RMK



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