Sunday, April 7, 2024

Can I Get Genital Herpes From Kissing

The Difference Between Hsv

What Is Herpes?

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.

When Is A Cold Sore Healed Enough To Get Back To Kissing

The coast is clear when the cold sore is completely gone and there is no visible scab.

The last stage in cold sore healing is when the scab and flakiness completely disappear, leaving healthy skin underneath . Until that point, cold sores are not completely healed which means, no kissing to avoid spread.

This healing process can take 7-10 days. Whatever you do, do not try to pop your cold sore in an effort to speed up the healing process. This can actually backfire on you. Read: Should I Pop My Cold Sore?

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How Do Genital Herpes And Oral Herpes Spread

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.

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Stds That Can Spread Easily Through Kissing

  • Herpes simplex virus 1 : This is a common virus that spreads easily in body fluids. Its easy to get from kissing. You can also get it from touching infected items like dishes, towels, or shaving razors. HSV-1 is very common. About 2 out of every 3 people in the world have HSV-1. It can cause painful blisters in your mouth , but most people with HSV-1 dont have any symptoms or even know they have it.

  • Human papillomavirus : HPV is a virus that usually spreads through sexual contact but it can also spread through deep kissing. In 9 out of 10 people with HPV, the virus will go away on its own without ever causing problems. If it doesnt go away, some types of HPV can lead to mouth and throat cancer.

Also Check: What Are The First Symptoms Of Herpes

Who Might Get Herpes Simplex

List of STDs which can spread from kissing

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.

Read Also: How To Speed Up Oral Herpes Outbreak

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.

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?

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Is It Possible To Have Unprotected Sex And Not Catch Herpes

If you have unprotected sex with someone who has genital herpes then youre not guaranteed to catch it, but you are playing with fire. Herpes infections are highly contagious and very easy to catch, so although you arent guaranteed to catch it you have a high chance.

OK. Lets get down to it and look at some specifics about how you can catch herpes infections:

Can You Spread Herpes Without An Outbreak

5 Stigma-Busting Facts About Herpes

Yes. It is possible for a person to spread herpes without an outbreak. As long as the person has a herpes infection, they can spread it even if an outbreak has never occurred.

Fortunately, many people who have a herpes infection never have an outbreak. If an outbreak does occur, visible symptoms such as sores and blisters will show up in the affected area. These symptoms may become visible about two and a half weeks after exposure.

When a person has an initial outbreak, they may experience symptoms such as painful urination and muscle and joint pain.

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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.

of transmission.

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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Understanding Herpes With H Hunter Handsfield Md

Herpes expert H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, explains the basics about genital herpes, including the difference between genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, testing options and the importance of knowing virus type, and the three-prong strategy for prevention. See more herpes videos at

Have a question about herpes youd like Dr. Handsfield or our other experts to answer? Visit our Ask the Experts page to learn how.

How Will My Doctor Know If I Have Herpes

Treatment: Can you catch genital herpes from kissing and how can u get ...

Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at your symptoms. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. In certain situations, a blood test may be used to look for herpes antibodies. Have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for herpes or other STDs.

Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or how long you have been infected.

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Can I Pass Herpes On To My Baby During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is possible for the herpes virus to be passed on to the baby. However, the vast majority of women with genital herpes have normal pregnancies and deliver healthy babies.

The virus can be transmitted via:

  • the placenta, when the baby is still in the womb
  • during delivery or
  • after the birth .

Fortunately, women who have genital herpes before falling pregnant and those infected early in pregnancy have a low risk of passing the virus on to their babies, because their body has built up antibodies to the virus. These antibodies cross the placenta to protect the baby.

How Are Cold Sores Treated In A Child

Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

The herpes simplex virus infection that causes cold sores cant be cured, but treatment may help ease some cold sore symptoms. Treatment may include antiviral medicine and other types of prescription medicines. These medicines work best if started as soon as possible after the first sign of a herpes infection or recurrence. Talk with your childs healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines. Cold sores usually dont scar. They last 10 to 14 days.

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How To Protect Your Baby From Herpes Infection

About one in six Americans ages 14 to 49 has genital herpes, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital herpes typically is caused by HSV-2, a herpes virus strain. But more than half of adults in America have been infected at some point in their lives with HSV-1, the herpes virus that commonly affects the mouth in the form of cold sores. HSV-1 also can cause genital lesions through oral sex. Both of these viruses can cause significant infections in newborns.

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Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes

Protecting Against Herpes

If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner about their risk. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.

You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your health, sex life, and relationships. While herpes is not curable, it is important to know that it is manageable with medicine. Daily suppressive therapy can lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options.

A genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships. Knowing how to talk to sexual partners about STDs is important.

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Can I Treat Herpes Simplex At Home

Avoiding known triggers, such as illness or stress, can help reduce how often you have herpes outbreaks.

How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-1 ?

  • Over-the-counter creams such as L-lysine, benzocaine or docosanol .
  • Applying ice to blisters or sores.

How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-2 ?

  • Apply an ice pack to your genitals. Wrap the ice pack in a washcloth or apply it over your underwear.
  • Keep your genitals dry. Wear cotton or other nonsynthetic underpants and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Moist sores take longer to heal.
  • Soak in a warm bath.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain.
  • Topical 1% or 2% lidocaine may be used as a topical analgesic.

Treatment Of An Initial Outbreak

The first outbreak of genital herpes is usually much worse than recurrent outbreaks. Symptoms tend to be more severe and to last longer. Your provider will prescribe one of the three antiviral medications, which you will take for 7 to 10 days. If your symptoms persist, treatment may be extended. An acyclovir ointment may also be prescribed for topical treatment of initial genital herpes.

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How Is It Treated

Prescription and over-the-counter medications, home remedies, and lifestyle changes are used to treat the symptoms of HSV. The type of HSV you have will determine which treatments you should use.

The goal of treatment is to prevent or shorten the duration of breakouts and reduce the risk of transmission.

Antiviral medications, such as valacyclovir and acyclovir , help reduce the severity and frequency of oral and genital herpes symptoms.

Your provider may prescribe a daily suppressive medication if you experience severe or frequent outbreaks.

OTC pain medication can help relieve pain from oral and genital herpes, and there are several topical OTC treatments available for cold sores.

Here are some other things you can do to help ease symptoms:

  • Soak in a sitz bath if you have painful genital sores.
  • Apply a cold compress to a painful cold sore.
  • Minimize outbreak triggers, including stress and too much sun.
  • Boost your immune system with a healthy diet and regular exercise to help prevent outbreaks.

What Stds Can Be Spread Through Kissing

5 Diseases And Infections You Can Get From Kissing

Small microorganisms can cause STDs. Some of these microorganisms can live in your saliva, or they can cause sores in your mouth. This makes it easier for them to spread between people when they kiss, especially during deep, open-mouthed kissing.

Lets break it down into what STDs you can and cant get from kissing.

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Can You Get Herpes From Sharing A Drink

Okay, so we cleared up all that herpes from kissing business. But you cant get it out of your head, that one time that Chad from homeroom told you that it was disgusting when you took a drink from your BFF Cynthias milk carton. BECAUSE HERPES.

Bad news guys, Chad was onto something. You can indeed catch herpes by sipping from the same straw.

If it involves virus-infected saliva, you best believe that you are susceptible.

Apply everything you learned above to this. Oral Herpes symptoms will vary from person to person, but they will sometimes show no symptoms at all. Herpes is a lifelong disease, but its important to still get tested to prevent spreading the disease.

We know youre probably on the edge of your seat for this one :

Kissing And Cold Sores: What Are The Rules

Medically reviewed by Patrick Carroll, MD

Cold sores are small blisters and sores that can develop on and around the lips. Theyre known medically as herpes labialis and theyre an extremely common occurrence, with about 2.5 out of every 1,000 people experiencing at least one outbreak per year.

Like other forms of herpes sores, cold sores are caused by the HSV-1 or HSV-2 viruses. Most cases of cold sores are the result of HSV-1, which is estimated by the World Health Organization to affect more than two thirds of people aged 49 or below.

Cold sores typically heal on their own, usually over the course of one to two weeks. Most people that develop cold sores will experience occasional recurrence, as the virus that causes cold sores remains dormant in the body even when you dont exhibit any physical symptoms.

Like all forms of the herpes simplex virus, cold sores are highly contagious. Kissing and cold sores is risky business, because if you kiss someone while you have one or more cold sores, theres a significant risk of the other person being exposed to and infected by the virus.

In this guide, well explain how cold sores can transmit HSV-1 from one person to another. Well also explain when its safe to kiss someone after a cold sore, engage in oral sex or have any other kind of oral contact.

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