Where To Get Help
- Communicable Disease Control Unit, Department of Health Victoria Tel. 1300 651 160
- Immunisation Unit, Department of Health, Victorian Government Email:
- NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 606 024 for expert health information and advice
- Heymann, D. L. , Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 18th edition, American Public Health Association, Washington.
- Communicable Diseases Network Australia, Guidelines for the early clinical and public health management of meningococcal disease in Australia – Revised Edition 2007, Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government.
- Blue book – Guidelines for the control of infectious diseases, , Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Surveillance , Department of Health, Victorian Government. More information here.
- Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare , National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Government. More information here.
Whats The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Oral Herpes
Because there are 2 different kinds of herpes simplex viruses that can live on many body parts, lots of people are confused about what to call these infections. But its actually pretty simple:
When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 on or around your genitals , its called genital herpes.
When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 in or around your lips, mouth, and throat, its called oral herpes. Oral herpes sores are sometimes called cold sores or fever blisters.
HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes, and HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes each strain prefers to live on its favorite area. But its totally possible for both types of herpes simplex to infect either area. For example, you can get HSV-1 on your genitals if someone with a cold sore on their lips gives you oral sex. And you can get HSV-2 in your mouth if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2 on their genitals.
Stds That Are Less Likely To Spread Through Kissing
Syphilis: This is a bacterial infection that can be spread by having sex. It isnt usually spread by kissing unless you and your partner both have syphilis sores present in your mouth when you kiss.
Herpes simplex virus 2 : This is a virus that spreads easily in body fluids. HSV-2 can cause painful blisters in your genital area, but it rarely affects your mouth. This means its less likely than HSV-1 to spread through kissing.
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What Should I Do To Protect My Loved Ones
There are a number of things you can do to help protect the people around you when you have a cold sore vi and they are very simple to put into practice.
- Dont kiss anyone when you have a cold sore. Kissing is one of the primary ways that HSV is spread. You can avoid that risk altogether simply by not kissing anyone from the moment you feel the tingle until the cold sore is completely healed.
- Dont kiss anyone when you have a cold sore. HSV doesnt necessarily require skin-to-skin contact to spread. Avoid sharing items like cold sore creams, towels, cutlery, or lipstick when you have a cold sore.
- Dont kiss anyone when you have a cold sore. You could potentially give your partner genital herpes if you engage in oral sex before your cold sore is completely healed.
- Dont kiss anyone when you have a cold sore. Other than applying a product like Abreva Cold Sore Cream to treat your cold sore, you should avoid touching it altogether. If, for some reason, you do have to touch your cold sore, be sure to wash your hands immediately afterwards.
How Are Itchy Genitals Treated What Medicines May Relieve Itchy Genitals
The treatment for your itchy genitals depends on the cause. If you have eczema, your healthcare provider may prescribe steroid creams. Lichen sclerosus responds to phototherapy . Antifungal medications are often prescribed for jock itch. Your healthcare provider will diagnose you and recommend the best treatment.
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What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they’ll always have the virus and can give it to others. But you arent alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the U.S. and worldwide. If you have herpes, you should:
- Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
- Talk about your illness with your doctor.
If you have herpes, you can still:
- Have sex if you use a condom or dental dam , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you in your relationship.
- Have children. People with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your healthcare provider.
If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .
Have You Met With Your Doctor Yet
Do you believe you have herpes? Dont live in fear and take action to protect yourself and others.
If you are sexually active, it is important to have a regular sexual health check-up as there is a chance you can pick up an STI. These dont always cause symptoms, but they can put you at greater risk of long-term health problems.
Although your sex life isnt anyone elses business, its important to be honest with your doctor, otherwise, youre doing yourself, and possibly your sexual partners, a disservice.
Need help finding a doctor who is right for you? Check out our doctor profile videos and patient reviews.
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Does The Type Of Kiss Matter
Nope. Full-on tongue action, a peck on the cheek, and every other kind of kiss in between can spread herpes.
There isnt any research showing that one type of kiss is riskier than another when it comes to oral herpes risk. That said, theres evidence that the risk of some sexually transmitted infections goes up with open-mouthed kissing.
Remember that kissing isnt restricted to the face either making oral-to-genital contact can transmit HSV, too.
The risk of transmission is higher when there are visible sores or blisters, but you or your partner can still contract herpes oral or genital if symptoms arent present.
Once you contract herpes simplex, its in the body for life.
Not everyone experiences an outbreak, but everyone with the virus experiences periods of asymptomatic shedding. This is why herpes can be spread even when there are no visible symptoms.
Its impossible to predict when shedding will occur or how contagious you or your partners condition will be. Everyone is different.
You shouldnt, especially during an outbreak.
You can contract herpes from sharing any objects that have made contact with the saliva of a person who carries the virus.
That said, HSV cant live very long off of the skin, so the risk of contracting it from inanimate objects is very low.
Still, the best way to minimize your risk is to use your own lipstick, fork, or whatever else.
For starters, avoid direct skin-to-skin contact during an outbreak.
Can I Catch Herpes Simplex Off Towels Cups Or Anything
No, you will not catch it off anything. The virus is caught from the skin, not from objects. It is a delicate virus and dies quickly when away from the skin where the sore is. There is more about transmission in our Transmission leaflet available to members. This statement is taken from the guidelines for doctors produced by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV.
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How To Prevent Transmission
The blisters and cold sores that appear during a herpes outbreak are very contagious. People can help prevent the spread of herpes by avoiding certain types of contact during an outbreak.
For example, when a person has a herpes outbreak during which they will have noticeable symptoms they should avoid:
- kissing, and any other form of oral contact
- engaging in oral sex
- sharing objects that have come into contact with saliva, such as lip balm
The virus can also spread even when a person has no symptoms.
Using condoms and other barrier methods correctly during sexual activity can help reduce the chance of herpes transmission. However, it does not completely rule out the possibility of transmission, as barrier methods do not protect the whole area around the genitals.
People can also take an anti-herpes medication to help prevent transmission to any sexual partners.
Anyone who has herpes during pregnancy should talk with their doctor about the possibility of passing it to the baby.
People with the herpes virus may not have any symptoms. If symptoms do appear, however, they are usually most severe during the first outbreak.
The following sections will list some symptoms by herpes type.
Can You Get Herpes From Kissing
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Herpes Simplex Type 1 is one of the most common viruses in the world, with upwards of 67 percent of the world population under the age of 50 carrying it, according to the.
This common virus causes cold sores around the lips and on the gums, with most people experiencing an outbreak once a year, give or take.
Many people who show no oral herpes symptoms are asymptomatic, meaning theyre infected with the HSV-1 virus but dont have oral herpes sores or other visible herpes symptoms.
Because of this, a very large percentage of people with HSV-1 arent even aware that theyre infected.
However, typical visible herpes symptoms include visible cold sores and lesions on or around the mouth, fever, tingling on the mouth or lips, headache, etc. .
Of course, unless you suspect you may be suffering from an initial outbreak, it’s best to just keep your eyes peeled for visible lesions.
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How Can I Get Tested For Herpes
Herpes testing isnt generally recommended unless you have an active outbreak. If you have lesions, your doctor can swab these to determine whether you have herpes. Its also possible to get a blood test for herpes, but this is not standard procedure. If you simply ask your doctor to screen you for STDs, they may or may not include a herpes test. You typically have to ask for this test specifically.
Outside of an active outbreak, you may want to have herpes testing if you know that your partner has herpes or if youve had several new sexual partners. Since herpes isnt spread through kissing as often, you typically do not need to get tested for herpes simply because you kissed someone.
Myth #: A Blood Test Is The Best Way To Know If You Have Herpes
Blood tests are not always accurate and testing for herpes can be tricky. It can take two weeks to six months after being exposed to herpes before it is detected in the blood. To make matters more complicated, if you are low risk for herpes and asymptomatic, it increases your risk of a false positive result. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against routine testing for herpes unless you or your partner have symptoms. The most accurate test is when you are able to take a swab sample from a new herpes lesion, but often times the diagnosis is made by a clinician based on your history and report of symptoms.
Because the blood test can be expensive and inaccurate, it is not typically included in a sexually transmitted disease evaluation unless you ask your provider for it specifically.
In short, if you dont have symptoms, you dont necessarily need a blood test. If you do experience an outbreak, a skin swab not a blood test is your best bet for confirmation.
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What Causes Cold Sores In A Child
The most common strain of the virus that causes cold sores is herpes simplex virus 1. The herpes simplex virus in a cold sore is contagious. It can be spread to others by kissing, sharing cups or utensils, sharing washcloths or towels, or by touching the cold sore before it is healed. The virus can also be spread to others 24 to 48 hours before the cold sore appears.
Once a child is infected with the herpes simplex virus, the virus becomes inactive for long periods of time. It can then become active at any time and cause cold sores. The cold sores usually don’t last longer than 2 weeks. Hot sun, cold wind, illness, or a weak immune system can cause cold sores to occur.
What Should I Do If I Have Herpes
If youre diagnosed with herpes, speak with your medical provider about the best course of action. There is no cure for herpes, but it is manageable with medication, and many people dont experience symptoms. During the initial outbreak, your doctor may prescribe 7 to 10 days of antiviral therapy. This typically helps the sores heal faster. Antiviral drugs, like valacyclovir, can help during subsequent outbreaks as well. If youve been previously diagnosed with herpes, Nurx can prescribe oral or genital herpes treatment online and deliver the medication to your door with free shipping. To request herpes treatment from Nurx, get started here.
Patients who have frequent outbreaks can take an antiviral drug daily as suppressive therapy. Doing so can decrease the number of outbreaks youll get. It also shortens the duration of outbreaks and minimizes some symptoms.
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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.
Herpes Through Indirect Contact
Less commonly, it is possible to contract herpes without skin contact.
This could involve sharing personal products that touch the sores or saliva of an infected person, like razors, washcloths, or other facial care products.
It could also involve sharing cups or utensils.
However, these are not primary ways that herpes spreads.
Anyone with an active cold sore or herpes blister should avoid allowing anyone else to come into contact with the sores, and should not kiss or share utensils or other objects that have saliva on them until the outbreak is over.
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How Long Do Sores From Herpes Simplex Last
If youre infected with HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes, you may notice tingling or burning around your mouth in the days before a cold sore appears. These blisters break open and ooze fluid before forming a crust. Usually, sores last for seven to 10 days.
If youre infected with HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes, your first outbreak may last between two to four weeks. Recurrent outbreaks usually last between three to seven days.
Who Might Get Herpes Simplex
People of any age can contract herpes simplex. You are more likely to get the virus if you:
- Were assigned female at birth.
- Have had multiple sex partners.
- Started having sex at a young age.
- Have a history of any sexually transmitted infection .
- Have a weakened immune system.
- Dont use condoms for intercourse and dental dams for oral sex.
Who gets HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes?
Anyone can get HSV-1. Most people contract HSV-1 during childhood. It spreads when an adult who has the virus has close contact with a child, such as when a family member kisses a child.
Who gets HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes?
Genital herpes affects sexually active teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms or dental dams.
People assigned female at birth are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black people who were AFAB are especially vulnerable, with an estimated 1 in 2 people AFAB between the ages of 14 and 49 infected with HSV-2.
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Talking To Your Partner
Even if you may be nervous about having that conversation, being open with your partner can make all the difference in your safe sex journey.
Its important to be direct and honest with your sexual partners, as this can lead to a more fulfilling sex life.
If you want to use a barrier method, like a condom or dental dam, be firm about your boundaries and expectations. Its your body, and a good partner will respect your boundaries.
If you have an STI, let your partner know before engaging in any sexual activity. This will help stop the spread of STIs.
Lastly, be understanding with your partner and yourself. More than half of people in the US will have an STI at some point in their lifetime. So dont jump to conclusions if your partner tells you that they have an STI.