Sunday, April 7, 2024

Can Genital Herpes Be Transmitted Through Kissing

How Do Genital Herpes And Oral Herpes Spread

Herpes and Pregnancy

A herpes infection spreads through skin-to-skin contact. A person with a herpes infection can transmit the virus to another person even if they do not have an active outbreak or any herpes symptoms. This is called asymptomatic shedding. In other words, the virus can be transmitted from the skin surface even if the skin appears completely normal. However, the greatest spread risk is when there are active sores and visible symptoms.

HSV-1 usually spreads through kissing or oral sex. HSV-2 is usually transmitted through sexual contact .

Rarely, pregnant women with herpes infections can pass the virus to their babies during delivery.

Once a person becomes infected with the herpes virus, it never leaves the body. However, both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can lie dormant in neurons for years after the initial outbreak. They can periodically become reactivated and cause symptoms or spread to other people through saliva and other body secretions.

What Can Be Transmitted Through Kissing

Here, doctors explain potential infections you can get from kissing, along with exactly what you need to know to stay as safe as possible.

  • Herpes. Herpes may be incurable, but it doesnt make you a pariah.

In this manner, what kind of STD can you get from kissing?

STDs that can be transmitted through kissing

  • Herpes. Herpes is probably the most common STD that can be contracted while kissing.
  • Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is another STD that can pass from one person to another through saliva and exposed open sores.

What STD can you get from kissing?

Yes, you can catch herpes just from kissing someone on the mouth. And while experts believe the risk of catching HIV from kissing is low, someone who has a cut or sore in the mouth has a chance of infection during open-mouthed kissing.

What diseases can be transmitted through kissing?

That said, youd be surprised by what can work their way from your saliva into your nose, throat and lungs:

  • Strep bacteria.

Ruling Out Conditions That Resemble Oral Herpes

Canker Sores

Simple canker sores are often confused with the cold sores of HSV-1. Canker sores frequently crop up singly or in groups on the inside of the mouth, or on or underneath the tongue. Their cause is unknown, and they are common in perfectly healthy people. They are usually white or grayish crater-like ulcers with a sharp edge and a red rim. They usually heal within 2 weeks without treatment.

This aphthous ulcer is located in front of and just below the bottom teeth.


Oral candidiasis is a yeast infection that causes a whitish overgrowth in the mouth. It is most common in infants, but can appear in people of all ages, particularly people taking antibiotics or those with impaired immune systems.

Other conditions that may be confused with oral herpes include herpangina , sore throat caused by strep or other bacteria, and infectious mononucleosis.

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Transmission Ofherpes Simplex Viruses

Both Herpes Simplex-1 andHerpes Simplex-2 are contracted via contact with the mucosal andabraded skin surfaces. Since HSV-2 is tropic for the genital regions,transmission of HSV-2 is usually through sexual contact. HSV-1, whichusually infects the mouth and lips, is usually transmitted via kissing orthrough the exchange of premasticated food, as in the case of HSV-1seropositive mothers pre-masticating food for their young children. Following contact, viral replication ensues and infection of eithersensory or autonomic nerve endings may occur. Virus, or most likely thenucleocapsid, is transported intraaxonally to the nerve cell bodies inganglia. HSV-1 has an affinity for the sensory nerve cells in the upperpart of the body and thus lies dormant in the cranial nerves. HSV-2prefers the sensory nerve cells in the genital region and thus lies latentin the dorsal root ganglia located in the lower part of the back. Despitethese propensities for certain regions of the body, both herpes simplexviruses can infect other parts of the body.

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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Transmitting Herpes

5 Diseases And Infections You Can Get From Kissing

You can reduce your risk of transmitting herpes by adhering to the following steps.

Talk to your doctor or visit your local sexual health clinic for further advice on preventing the spread of genital herpes.


1. Genital ulcer disease . In: eTG complete. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Limited 2016 Jul. .2. Australian STI Management Guidelines for use in primary care. Herpes . .3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Genital herpes CDC fact sheet . .4. BMJ Group. Patient information from the BMJ Group: Genital herpes . .

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How Can You Protect Yourself From Stds

The thought of STDs can be stressful. But instead of worrying, play it safe with these tips. Its the best way to lower your chances of catching an STD.

  • Your partners oral health will affect you. So choose wisely and be wary, especially if deep kissing is a regular thing between the two of you.
  • Stay in a mutually monogamous relationship with someone who doesnt have any STDs.
  • Use condoms for good protection against STDs. Keep in mind that they arent perfect, though.
  • Never share needles, as many STDs are transmitted through blood.20


Avoid Triggering Herpes Outbreaks

If you have oral or genital herpes, avoiding an outbreak in the first place is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of transmitting herpes to another person.

Cold sores have many well-known triggers. If you suffer from cold sores, try to avoid any foods that commonly cause outbreaks. Also protect your skin during prolonged exposure to harsh wind and sunlight. Be careful not bite your lip when you chew your food.

If you have genital herpes, refrain from sexual activity if your genitals begin to feel irritated or raw. Make sure that your clothing isn’t too tight, since tight clothing can trigger an outbreak. Women may also want to use menstrual products without harsh dyes and perfumes to avoid irritating the genital area and triggering an outbreak.

Managing your daily stress level is an important part of avoiding a herpes outbreak regardless of whether you have HSV-1 or HSV-2.

Try to restrict your alcohol and sugar intake to moderate levels. Nourish your body with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and water. Be aware that outbreaks are a possibility when your immune system is fighting off other types of infections.

Using phototherapy, like that used in the Luminance RED Mouth Sore Treatment Device and the Luminance RED Genital Sore Treatment Device, at the first sign of an outbreak can also decrease the pain, healing time and frequency of outbreaks.

Also Check: What Can Trigger Genital Herpes Outbreaks

How To Diagnose Herpes Infections

Diagnosis of herpes infections is done by following methods-

  • Physical examination- Here the doctor does a thorough physical examination, checks the mouth, lips and genital areas for sores. Doctors may ask questions about the symptoms and a detailed medical history, to identify the cause and type of viral infection.
  • HSV testing Also known as herpes culture test, here the doctor takes a swab sample of the fluid from the blister or sores present in the oral cavity or genitals and sends it for lab tests. This is to identify the virus causing the infections.
  • Blood tests This is done to find the presence of antibodies . This helps to identify the infections in patients who dont have any sores or blisters.

What Happens If I Dont Receive Treatment

How Contagious is Herpes?

Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.

If you touch your sores or fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another body part like your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, quickly wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading the infection.

If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your unborn fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? for information about this.

Read Also: How To Check If You Have Herpes

Why Is It Important To Tell Your Partner

Herpes viruses are extremely contagious. And its not just the risk of spreading a cold sore that you should be worried about. If you have an HSV-1 infection, you can give your partner genital herpes through oral sex.

This is because HSV-1 can be spread from the mouth to the genitals as easily as HSV-2 can be passed from the genitals to the mouth. Skin-to-skin contact is all that is needed.

Having an open sore increases risk of an STD by providing the virus or bacteria a direct route into the body. With HIV, the infection can actually promote infection by providing the virus with the immune cells it preferentially targets and infects.

To this end, it is just as important to discuss both of your sexual histories and not just herpes. As awkward as this may seem, it allows you both to explore whether its time to get an STD screen from your healthcare provider or local health clinic.

Did I Get Herpes From My Current Partner

It is often difficult to identify the person who infected you with genital herpes. Because its possible to have the genital herpes virus but never experience any symptoms, some people are not aware they are infected, and can unknowingly transmit the herpes virus to a partner.

A current episode of herpes may not be from a current relationship. People who experience herpes for the first time may think that they have acquired their herpes from their current partner. However, a current episode may have been passed on by a sexual contact in the recent or distant past.

If you always use a condom or a dental dam during sexual contact, you significantly reduce your risk of catching or passing on genital herpes. However, a slight risk remains because the area of infected skin may not always be covered by the condom or dental dam.

Also Check: How Long Has Herpes Been Around

Sexual Ways You Can Transmit Herpes Other Than Sex

Weve all heard the saying people talk about sexual diseases and dont catch one. Were taught in sex ed or maybe were taught that having sex can lead to STIs, in our case herpes and other things. And so with that said we go out into the world and become sexually active and think that the only way we can get something is by having sex. The other big thing were told is that if you use a condom then youre fine but thats another whole topic.

Sotoday I want to talk about ways herpes can be transmitted to protect you and youre partners.

Before we go into the sexual ways herpes can be transmitted letâs do a little breakdown on why and how herpes is transmitted.

Also if you want to get the full deets on herpes you can .

Herpes is a virus and its skin to skin transmission. So, in other words, you catch herpes from touching someone else who has the herpes virus. Dont freak out, this does not mean that if you touch someone youll immediately get herpes or if you have herpes you can never have human contact again. What it means is if you touch someone in the area that the person is infected in then youre at a pretty high risk of contracting the herpes virus.

So for example, if you have genital herpes and you hug someone then you are not at risk of transmitting herpes. Unless, of course, you used your genitals to hug someoneâ¦lol. So does that make sense?

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What Does Genital Herpes Look Like

List of STDs which can spread from kissing

Many people who have genital herpes dont show symptoms, or the symptoms are so mild they dont notice them so they might not even know they have it. When herpes does cause symptoms, the most common one is sores and blisters that show up on the parts of your body where the infection lives. This is called an outbreak.

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How Is Herpes Spread

HSV-1 is usually passed from person to person by kissing. HSV-1 can also spread from the mouth to the genitals during oral sex . If this happens, it becomes a case of genital herpes.

HSV-2 cannot survive long on a non-living surface, so there is no real risk of getting it from a toilet seat or hot tub, for example.


What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • What happens if I dont treat a cold sore?
  • What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
  • How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
  • Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
  • How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
  • Should I lookout for signs of complications?

Also Check: Quickest Way To Get Rid Of Herpes Outbreak

How Do You Get Herpes

The skin on your genitals, mouth, and eyes can be infected easily. Other areas of skin may get infected if theres a way for the herpes virus to get in, like through a cut, burn, rash, or other sores. You dont have to have sex to get herpes. Sometimes herpes can be passed in non-sexual ways, like if a parent with a cold sore gives you a peck on the lips. Most people with oral herpes got it when they were kids. A mother can pass genital herpes to a baby during vaginal childbirth, but thats pretty rare.

You can spread herpes to other parts of your body if you touch a herpes sore and then touch your mouth, genitals, or eyes without washing your hands first. You can also pass herpes to someone else this way.

Herpes is most contagious when sores are open and wet, because fluid from herpes blisters easily spreads the virus. But herpes can also shed and get passed to others when there are no sores and your skin looks totally normal.

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex

5 Stigma-Busting Facts About Herpes

Preventing HSV-1

You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.

If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:

  • Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
  • Touching the skin near their mouth.

Preventing HSV-2

If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:

  • Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
  • Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
  • Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
  • Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.

Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.

If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:

  • Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
  • Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
  • Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.

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Can Herpes Be Transmitted Through Saliva

Yes, oral herpes, caused by HSV-1, mainly spreads through contact with visible sores, saliva, and infected skin surfaces around the lips and mouth.

HSV-1 can also be transmitted through saliva to the genital area of a person if they receive oral sex from a person with oral herpes, but this is less common.

The Difference Between Hsv

Its important to understand that HSV-1 and HSV-2 are different types of the herpes virus. While HSV-1 is extremely common and primarily appears on and around the mouth, it can be spread to the genitals if you receive oral sex from someone with an outbreak .

Read our guide Can You Get Herpes From Oral Sex? for more information on this.

HSV-2 usually only affects the genitals and is very rare in other parts of the body.

In short, yes, you can get herpes from kissing. In fact and unfortunately kissing is one of the most common ways that oral herpes spreads.

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What Is The Risk Of Transmission Between Recurrences

Studies have shown that virus may sometimes be found on an infected area, even when there are no visible symptoms. This is called asymptomatic shedding. If enough virus is present when direct skin contact takes place, a partner may become infected.

The fewer recurrences a person has, the less chance there is of asymptomatic shedding.

How Long Are Cold Sores Contagious

Different Ways to Contract Herpes

If youve ever experienced a cold sore, odds are youve done some research on the topic. You likely know that cold sores are caused by certain strains of the herpes simplex virus . And you probably also know that cold sores are most often spread through close physical contact, like kissing or oral sex, or shared items such as a eating utensils that have come in contact with the virus. i If youre looking to help protect your loved ones from HSV infection, this very well may lead you to question just how long cold sores are contagious.

The Mayo Clinic tells us that cold sores are most contagious at the point when blisters are oozing, because the virus easily spreads through contact with infected body fluids. ii However, cold sores can be contagious even when you dont actually see the sores. iii Because of this, you should consider your cold sores contagious from the moment you first feel that familiar cold sore tingle to when the cold sore has completely healed. iv When it comes to protecting those around you from cold sores, its best to err on the side of caution. Sometimes it can take two to three weeks for a cold sore to heal completely, so you should play it safe that entire time.v

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