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If I Have Genital Herpes What Should I Tell My Partner? What is Suppression?

March 25, 2018

It is imperative to let your partner know that you have a history of genital herpes before you have sex with him. 

 

Many people are reluctant to do this because it is often thought of as a “deal breaker” in a relationship. It is unfair to not share this information, because even if you do not have an active outbreak there is still a small chance (about 4%) of asymptomatic viral shedding where you have no prodrome or symptoms, yet you are still contagious and can transmit herpes to your partner. 

 

For patients who get 3 or more outbreaks of genital herpes per year, it is recommended to consider suppression with daily valtrex. One 500mg tablet is taken every day, and this can be done safely for years or decades because the medication is very safe and is even given in pregnancy. It affects only virally affected cells. It decreases the chances of outbreaks and of asymptomatic viral shedding. It decreases but does not eliminate your chances of passing it on to your partner. If someone is taking 500mg a day and still gets outbreaks they can increase the suppressive dose of valtrex to 1000mg per day. 

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Have questions about herpes and how to diagnose and treat it?

Schedule an appointment to chat with us at 516-365-6100. We answer questions like this every day and would love to meet you! We're conveniently located off the Northern State Parkway on New Hyde Park Road just minutes from North Shore University Hopital and Northwell Health.

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