It sounds like you had a non-primary outbreak. This means you had herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2 passed to you in the past, but when this happened you didn’t have any noticeable symptoms. Only years later did you get your first noticeable outbreak.
HSV type 2 is common and could have been passed to you by anyone you have had sex with in the past. This would include your husband, the person you had the affair with or people you had sex with before you were married.
Most people who have HSV do not notice any symptoms and are unaware they have it, but can still pass it to other people. HSV blood tests are not usually done when people go for a STI check. This means you can get HSV from someone who feels fine and has been for a “STI check up”.
It is difficult for me to give specific advice as I don’t know the whole situation. In terms of health risk it’s not necessary to tell your husband about this as you are not having intercourse with him. Though, we suggest it is a good idea to speak with sexual partners about this and can usually be brought up in a general conversation around STI/HIV. If you feel your husband may be supportive you could always explore his HSV status by getting him a blood test. On the other hand, if you feel it may only bring a bad outcome you could leave this information private.
We know this can be a difficult topic to discuss with other people. Always feel free to come here if you want to discuss this topic. We also have some good clinics if you prefer to talk with someone face to face.
Also, have a look at our herpes page for additional resources as we have recently updated it.
Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.
For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.