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how long does valtrex kick in before you can have sex again?

Discussion in 'Sex, Kissing and Intimacy' started by islandfever, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. islandfever

    islandfever Newbie

    I've been on valtrex for about a week now. I just got diagnosed a week ago. How long does it have to be in my system before I can have sex again or even have oral? Can I even have oral anymore? I am so depressed that I can never have a normal sex life again!
  2. RealisticGal

    RealisticGal Well-Known Member

    Hi islandfever ----

    I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to give you answers to your questions. The way you asked them tells me that you may not have a good handle on how Valtrex, and also transmission of HSV, work.

    So let me ask you a couple of questions and say a few things that might help.

    There is no set time period that one has to be on antiviral medications before having sex. When to have sex is a decision you and your partner should make together. Some of the issues that could factor into your decision include:

    • Does your partner have HSV?
    • Are you taking daily (suppressive) Valtrex or do you take it only when an outbreak is starting?
    • Do you currently have sores that haven't healed yet?
    • If you have sores, where are they located?

    Valtrex and other antiviral medications do not necessarily completely stop outbreaks or shedding of virus. That means, they do not make it 100% impossible to spread the virus. Studies suggest they decrease the chances by about 50% to 80%. So if you and your partner understand there is always a chance of transmission, you can have sex any time you feel comfortable doing so.

    If you take daily antivirals it will do a better job of lessening the chance you will pass HSV to a partner who doesn't have it.

    If you have sores, you will probably want to wait until the skin appears completely healed. Some folks here say they give it an extra week or so just to be sure. But again, this is a personal choice for you and your partner. I would think sex when sores are present would hurt, but maybe not for some folks. Still, when they are there it is the most likely time to pass the virus because it means you are definitely shedding virus. This applies to vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex or other skin-to-skin contact in the area.

    Can you have oral sex again? Sure, if you and your partner decide to do so. You can use barrier devices such as dental dams if you want to (I wouldn't). The chances of a partner who gives you oral sex getting oral herpes from you depends on which type of HSV you have, and whether or not your partner has either type.

    I know it seems like a huge bummer right now. It seems that things will never be "normal" again.

    Your attitude and perspective on this can go a long way. What is "normal" when it comes to sex, anyway? If you and your partner talk it over in an open, honest, loving way, you can figure out ways to have a good time together.

  3. islandfever

    islandfever Newbie

    my partner does not have it. I have been taking valtrex daily and havent had any outbreaks at all. I dont have any cold sores or any other sores.
    Even if im on valtrex, can i still have unprotected sex? If I do use condoms, is it still possible to transfer it to my partner?
  4. RealisticGal

    RealisticGal Well-Known Member

    If you've had no outbreaks, how did you happen to find out you have HSV?

    Do you have HSV-1 or HSV-2?

    Since you know your partner does not have HSV, that suggests he/she knows that you do.

    That's good; you can openly discuss together which precautions you wish to take.

    This seems like an odd question, because of the wording. "Even if" you are on valtrex? Did you mean to say something like, "Since I am taking suppressive (daily) Valtrex, can I have unprotected sex?"

    Here's the best answer I can give you. Both suppressive (daily) valtrex and condoms may lower the chances of transmission considerably, but neither (nor both together) can reduce the chance to zero.

    It is up to you and your partner to decide if you wish to have unprotected sex, despite the fact that you might transmit the virus.

    Keep in mind, that even when using both condoms and antiviral therapy, transmission could occur.

    I pretty well covered that above.

    To reiterate, it is possible to transmit HSV when using condoms.

    Consistent use of barrier devices has been shown to decrease, but not eliminate, the chance of transmission because condoms only cover a small portion of the skin surfaces that can shed (or come in contact with) viral particles.

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