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Women's Health

Why Has My Herpes Made A Recurrence?

03/23/2011

Question:

I am presently a 21 year old lady, and during the summer of 2009 I had an outbreak of genital herpes. It was both painful and unexpected, but i did treat it properly. During the spring of 2010 I had an unplanned pregnancy, followed by a medical abortion. I have not (to my knowledge...they can be internal, right?) had another herpes outbreak since the first one. My mother also has herpes, and takes valtrex because it became so bothersome.

So I suppose my questions are:

1. Is it possible that the virus is somehow in an inactive state? I know it can`t be `cured,` but i have had such a stressful year, and both stress and pregnancy can be triggers.

2. I have been with my boyfriend for almost a year now (in some cases abortion causes break-up, but in ours [luckily] we ended up getting together), and he does not know that i was diagnosed with herpes. I didn`t tell him initially because our sleeping together was...rather spur of the moment. I suppose I was too embarrassed, liked him a lot, and justified not telling him based on the fact that I haven`t had another outbreak. Is it likely that he has it? He hasn`t complained of outbreaks, but i did notice for a couple months he had `acne` on his groin area. It wasn`t on his penis/testicles, though--just the area of the abdomen directly above. He said he thought it was acne, and that it didn`t hurt.

3. If there`s any other info you`d like to share beyond the typical rundown (i`ve read a LOT on the net about stds/pregnancy/abortion/etc), I would be very appreciative.

Yes I will make an appointment to see the gynecologist (suppose I`ve been putting it off due to sad/bad feelings post-abortion)

Thank you for your time and advice.

Answer:

1. It can't be cured. It usually recurs during times of stress like menses, pregnancy.

2. This is from the Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet

"HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found in and released from the sores that the viruses cause, but they also are released between outbreaks from skin that does not appear to have a sore. Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected."

I highly suggest you tell your boyfriend what's going on so he can also take extra precaution.

3. The CDC page on Genital Herpes is an excellent resource.

For more information:

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Response by:

Riza T Conroy, MD Riza T Conroy, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University