DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have been with my husband for 33 years, and for the past six I have been suspicious of him being unfaithful. I went to the doctor and tested negative for HIV, but I was positive for herpes 1 and 2. My husband claims I could have had this since before we met and says that he’s completely innocent. Do you think I could have had this for 30 years and not known it? It seems rather unrealistic to me. — D.F.
ANSWER: Herpes viruses are a group of common viruses that share several traits, one of which is that they all stay dormant in the body and may cause recurrences in times of stress. Herpes simplex 1 causes an outbreak of cold sores: These often come out when people are ill or stressed. Herpes simplex 2 usually causes genital lesions. About 20 percent of adults in the U. S. are positive for HSV-2; many or even most of them don’t know they have it. Once you acquire HSV-2, it stays in your body forever, and may (or may not) cause recurrent disease, which most commonly looks like a clear, fluid-filled blister. These are very infectious, but it is possible to transmit the virus even when there are no symptoms.
It is possible that you acquired the condition 30 or more years ago. The test isn’t able to tell how long you’ve had it.
The booklet on herpes and genital warts explains these two common infections in detail. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 1202W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853- 6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband tells me I have bad breath. I have seen my dentist and done all the things I was told to do, but there hasn’t been any improvement. I have tried many mouthwashes, without success. What more can I do? — W.B.
ANSWER: You were right in starting out with your dentist. When no oral conditions are found that produce bad breath, then the most likely cause is mouth bacteria that produce odoriferous, sulfur compounds. Let me repeat what your dentists told you for the sake of others. Brush after every meal, and brush your tongue as far back as you can. You might want to get a tongue scraper for the backmost part of the tongue. That’s where the sulfur-producing bacteria live. Keep your mouth moist by drinking water or chewing sugar-free gum.
Products containing zinc have been sold since the 1970s and have gotten mixed reviews for their effect on halitosis.
©2013 North America Synd.