Name: Lis
Age: 36
Sex: F
Occupation: Paralegal/SAHM
Type: HSV 1 & 2
Yr Infected: unknown

OB's Per yr: HSV 1- once or twice a year. HSV 2-asymptomatic

Method of Control: Acyclovir

My Story: I've had cold sores (HSV 1) ever since I can remember. The HSV 2, 
on the other hand, was a complete shock. My husband of 4 years had his first 
HSV 2 outbreak last year. Our Dr. said it was possible that I gave it to him 
via viral shedding of a cold sore, or that he could have been infected years 
earlier. I was never tested for HSV 2, we just assumed I didn't have it. Big 
mistake. I became pregnant in March of 2000, and told my OB/GYN of our herpes 
history. When I expressed my concerns about passing the virus to the baby 
during pregnancy and delivery, I was told that as long as I wasn't having an 
active ob that the risk to the baby was almost non~existant. We were never 
told to abstain from sex during the last trimester (the worst time to get a 
primary infection), and it was never suggested that I be tested to see if I 
did have HSV 2. Another big mistake. Our son was born on 1/3/01, beautiful 
and seemingly healthy. 5 days later our pediatrician noticed some small 
vesicles around the babies eyes (a primary site for HSV in newborns) and sent 
us to an infectious disease specialist once he knew we had a "history" of 
herpes. The specialist immediately admitted the baby to the hospital to begin 
a "precautionary" course of intravenous acyclovir. Skin cultures and a spinal 
fluid sample were taken to see if this was indeed herpes. 24 hours later we 
learned the worst...the baby had central nervous system herpes, which in 60% 
of babies is fatal. We were in for a 21- day stay with our 5 day old baby 
receiving intravenous acyclovir 3 times a day. He had to have a central line 
inserted in his jugular vein since his other veins were too tiny to hold an 
IV for such an intensive duration. Somehow (?) he managed to make it through 
this entire ordeal without ever getting sick...the usual symptoms of CNS 
neonatal herpes are seizures, encephalitis, liver damage, brain 
damage...death. By some miracle we caught it and started treatment early 
enough that he wasn't affected (we still have to watch him for signs of 
another outbreak for 5 months). After the 21 days of treatment, another 
spinal tap was done and the virus had cleared from his spinal fluid. We spent 
the first 4 weeks of our seemingly healthy baby's life next to his isolet in 
a neonatal intensive care unit because of the devastating effects this virus 
has on a newborn. We found out thru the asking of a billion questions that 
it's possible that my HSV 1 infection lessened the severity of my HSV 2 
infection, which is why I'm asymptomatic. It's also likely that the baby 
didn't get sick because of the antibodies I gave him, although that's not 
always the case, most babies don't do as well. We were told by the numerous 
Drs. and specialists that took care of our son that 95% of babies they see 
with neonatal HSV had mothers who never knew they had HSV. We still don't 
know if I've had this virus for years and gave it to my husband and son, or 
if my husband gave it to me. It really doesn't matter at this point. We have 
it and sadly now our son will have to live with it, too. 

Telling: Obviously our entire family (including my 2 older children) and 
close friends are now aware of our HSV infection.