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Guest AIM
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Hey guy,

 

Don't beat yourself up too much. I too contracted it a little over a year and half ago. As far as determining who gave it to you, 99% percent of the time, you show your first symptoms anywhere from a couple of days to a week from the time you were initially infected. If the last escort you were with is the only guy you've been with in the past week or two, well ... it probably was him (but nothing is ever for sure).

 

I strongly suggest you make an appointment with a gay doctor who will be more familiar with the sexual practices of gay men and STDs. You will find that the biggest part of dealing with having it is the "idea of having it" as opposed to the symptoms themselves. I, for one, was very suprised that my symptoms weren't harsher considering the mental image I always had about it. You will eventually realize that this is a VERY manageable condition.

 

And one more point, keep in mind that there are MANY TIMES more people who have it, but it's something that most gay men who do won't admit. So don't think you're alone. Trust me, you're not. Have you seen the commercials on TV for Valtrax? They wouldn't be advertising this stuff as often as they advertise allergy medicine if it wasn't a very common condition!

 

You'll be OK; hang in there.

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I've recently found out I've contracted herpes. I've been with 6 different escorts so far this year. Is my love life over? Can I ever be intimate with anyone? The symptoms appeared a few days after the last escort. Did he give it to me? Did I give it to him? I'm quite distraught over this. Any advice?

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Guest ChicagoCorey

Before you go blaming the last escort you were with, it's also just as possible that you were asymptomatic before and have just started showing symptoms. If the person you caught this from was asymptomatic as well (not showing any signs of having it), this is quite possible. Many genital herpes infections are spread from persons who are asymptomatic "shedders" of the virus -- people who never have symptoms but carry them itself. A friend of mine who works at a free gay health provider says estimates show that as many as HALF of gay men who are sexually active may be asymptomatic.

 

So in other words, be on the look out for sores, always play safe, and sure as hell don't swallow.

 

(However, chances are you will not spread the virus yourself if you take the proper medication and become asymptomatic, so as long as you get it treated -- rather than waiting for it to go away -- and don't have a recurrence, you more than likely will be fine.)

 

Good luck and take care of yourself.

 

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>Before you go blaming the last

>escort you were with, it's

>also just as possible that

>you were asymptomatic before and

>have just started showing symptoms.

 

It is true that you can't say with certainty from whom you contracted it or when. It actually is irrelevant -- you now have it. So you now need to take the proper steps to insure that you don't infect anyone else.

 

Corey, telling him that it "just as possible" that he was asymptomatic before and just now started showing symptoms is FALSE. Is it possible? Yes. "Just as possible?" No way. The overwhelming majority of those who DO SHOW SYMPTOMS (and not all do; see my comments below) will show their first set of symptoms (i.e., outbreak) anywhere from two to twelve days from their initial infection.

 

 

> If the person you

>caught this from was asymptomatic

>as well (not showing any

>signs of having it), this

>is quite possible. Many

>genital herpes infections are spread

>from persons who are asymptomatic

>"shedders" of the virus --

>people who never have symptoms

>but carry them itself.

 

For many years, doctors/scientists thought that those with genital herpes were not contagious unless they were having an outbreak. Although that is generally true, studies a few years back found that some individuals will actually "shed" the virus even when symptoms are not present. Corey, your statement that persons who are "shedders" are people who have never shown symptoms is also not true (See #1 and #5 below). The following are some facts about asymptomatic shedding:

 

1. Shedding can occur with both people who have outbreaks and those who never have outbreaks.

 

2. Not everyone with genital herpes (even those that periodically show symptoms) sheds the virus. There is actually a lot of debate within the scientific community as to how often this really occurs. The Mayo Clinic, for example, actually refers to the incidents of shedding as "not common." Further in their literature, they even used the term "rare." Others, including Johns Hopkins, say otherwise. Like I said, there's lots of debate on this issue.

 

3. According to Johns Hopkins, 50% to 60% of shedding incidents occur from 3 to 10 days after an outbreak has healed. Therefore, the "end of an outbreak" should not be strictly defined as when the visible signs are gone.

 

4. The same study also showed that "most" incidents of shedding occur during the first two years after the infection. (This is because as time passes, your body's immune system becomes stronger against the HSV virus. As a result, both the severity and frequency of outbreaks -- for those who have them -- will decrease. So incidents of shedding -- again for those who shed -- tend to decrease over time as well.)

 

5. Shedding is also more likely in people who have more frequent and/or severe outbreaks. Although someone who has never shown symptoms can shed, this is not common. You need to know that there are two primary reasons why someone can have genital herpes and never show symptoms: (a) the virus is always dormant (i.e., never activates), and/or (b) if and when it does activate, the person's immune system, for whatever reason, is able to suppress it. So generally speaking, if a person's immune system is able to completely suppress outbreaks, it stands to reason that it is also better able to suppress incidents of shedding.

 

5. An "incidence of shedding" lasts on average about 24 hours.

 

6. Unfortunately, one cannot tell if/when they are shedding.

 

 

>A friend of mine who

>works at a free gay

>health provider says estimates show

>that as many as HALF

>of gay men who are

>sexually active may be asymptomatic.

 

Your friend might be right on the 50% statistic (but maybe not quite that high, though). The most recent studies of the "general" population show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men have the HSV II virus. But only about 15% of those who have it know they have it. Most of the other 85% have never had symptoms. And some of the 85% do have symptoms, but their symptoms are so mild, they don't realize that it is herpes. My doctor initially dismissed my symptoms as a skin irritation!!

 

 

>So in other words, be on

>the look out for sores,

>always play safe, and sure

>as hell don't swallow.

 

What the hell does swallowing have to with contracting genital herpes? "Swallowing" or "not swallowing" does not increase or decrease your chances of contracting herpes (although it does for HIV). Herpes is NOT transmitted through body fluids like HIV; it is transmitted by simple skin-to-skin contact with someone who is at the time contagious. You can contract it in your mouth if you perform oral sex on someone who is contagious. Whether your partner cums in your mouth or not (and you swallow or not) is irrelevant.

 

>(However, chances are you will not

>spread the virus yourself if

>you take the proper medication

>and become asymptomatic, so as

>long as you get it

>treated -- rather than waiting

>for it to go away

>-- and don't have a

>recurrence, you more than likely

>will be fine.)

 

Corey is so right here. They have come a long way in developing treatments for controlling and managing this condition. The medications available today are very powerful in suppressing the HSV virus. Unfortunately, too many people with herpes choose not to take advantage of it. They feel that as long as they are not showing symptoms, they are not putting people as risk. And for whatever reason, they choose to ignore the studies to the contrary (about shedding). And many gay men resume unprotected sexual activity too soon after an outbreak has "visibly" healed when traces of the virus can still be present at which time they are still contagious.

 

Some of you may be wondering what does it mean that the virus "activates." Here's a brief(?) summary as to how herpes works:

 

It is transmitted by skin to skin contact. Unlike HIV, it does not replicate through your blood and semen. When you become infected, the virus does not infect your bloodstream, but enters through your skin via exposed nerve endings and travels through your nervous system to an area at the base of your spine called the ganglia. If the virus reaches this spot, and it almost always does, you have it for life.

 

The virus will (for those who show symptoms) replicate at the site of infection and cause symptoms such as redness, blister(s), and soreness. Your immune system immediately attacks it, eventually defeats it, and the symptoms go away. Since your immune system is not familiar with the virus at the time of the initial infection (i.e., has not developed anti-bodies to it), your first outbreak tends to be the most severe.

 

Unfortunately, your immune system cannot get to the virus when it is hiding in the ganglia. The virus hides there until some time in the future at which time it re-activates, travels (replicates) back to the site of infection, and causes symptoms again -- called an outbreak or recurrence. Again, your immune system will attack it, but because it now recognizes it (now has anti bodies against it), it is able to kill it more quickly and make the symptoms go away sooner. This is why recurrent outbreaks tend to be much less severe and of less duration than your initial one.

 

So basically, the virus is always hiding from your immune system in the ganglia and then re-activates from time to time. Scientists are not exactly sure what causes it to re-activate. They do know that for many people, stress will cause it. For some people, certain foods, alcohol, or even sun exposure will do it too. They also don't know why for most people who contract it, it never activates -- just lies dormant forever.

 

Sorry to make this response so winded, but I wanted to take this opportunity to inform people. I think since the gay community has been dealing with HIV for so long, many have stayed ignorant when it comes to herpes. Unfortunately, I was one of them.

 

Disclaimer: If I offended anyone, depressed anyone, or just plain grossed anyone out, I apologize. It was not my intention.

 

:-)

Allen

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You probably did get it from the last escort you hired. The first outbreak tends to be the worst. Recurrences, if they occur at all, become less frequent and severe in time. And, unfortunately, you can't know for sure when you'll be contagious because you can be contagious without any signs. How you deal with this is up to you. I'm sure most escorts have probably been exposed to HSV whether they know it or not. Although I've never had an outbreak myself, I can't imagine I haven't been exposed at some point given the hundreds of guys and many escorts I've been with. I did get a cold sore on my lips once when I was 18 and started being sexually active. Maybe that protected me from genital herpes. It's quite mysterious as to why some people react and others don't. It's like scabies. There are more asymptomatic carriers than people who get a rash from the mite...

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Guest 7Zach

Really informative. However, I thought that after the initial occurrence, people would shed the most during the 24 period before any symtoms, other than that of just feeling tired. For the record, I had no idea people could carry/shed the virus who had never had any symptoms.

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Guest ChicagoCorey

Damn -- you quote a few websites and some medical text and you get reamed a new asshole. Remind me not to try to help next time and just send the link and leave out my own comments. I can't believe that people would use that tone in their day-to-day life. "Correcting" is one thing but being a jackass is unbelieveable.

 

http://www.herpes.com --- and many more. Not that anything on the Internet is foolproof, but I'd certainly trust other sites more than here.

 

(I will admit though that I was too misleading when I said "swallowing" when I meant don't take strange cock in your mouth if you're infected or worried about infection.)

 

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Corey,

 

Chill. You seem to have taken my response way too personally. It was not my intention to be mean or offend anyone. I was, however, attempting to correct what I felt were some mistatements you made. But it is YOU who have resorted to name calling. Why?

 

Corey, if you are so sensitive that the only way you can respond to someone disagreeing with you is to resort to name calling, then maybe these message boards aren't the right place for you.

 

(But that's OK too. I resorted to name calling once myself with Daddy-in-Training. And I got spanked. And it hurt.)

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Guest 7Zach

I'm with AIM on this one, thought his comments were well directed, on the mark, and nothing offensive at all. U'll just disagreed re: the virus and its transmission.

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Guest ChicagoCorey

In hindsight -- about 2 minutes later in fact -- I wish I hadn't submitted the post. I was in a way too sensitive mood. I still don't like the tone you use but you're right -- I was in the wrong on this one and I apologize -- especially since there are more important things to discuss in this thread than my sensitivity.

 

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Corey,

 

Don't worry about it. Again, I want to apologize "for my tone." I have to admit that sometimes I can be too direct. And the fact that emails and message board postings can't show the real tone in someone's voice, one can only ascertain a perceived tone by the words used.

 

You should also realize that both of us are affected by this topic differently. For you, this topis is just one that you are familiar with. For me, it is something that has really hit home.

 

Take care,

Allen

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Guest trekker

>Damn -- you quote a few

>websites and some medical text

>and you get reamed a

>new asshole.

 

Corey, I didn't take AIM's post that way. I think it seems that way to you because you are personally involved. AIM just corrected some misinformation, and he also pointed out some things that you said which were correct. And he added some more info.

 

Back to other matters, if you have two assholes now, ... :9

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