OP: Confused about HSV-1

It's been a little while since I posted. And as I remember, last time I was around, I mainly posted in other people's threads. Decided to start a thread today, to discuss Herpes.

Last week, my girlfriend discovered she'd contracted a cold sore (Oral herpes) at some point. This is her first outbreak, although the virus is relatively common (Some statistics I found mentioned 50 to 80% of American adults have HSV-1, the virus responsible for cold sores).

Now, I've not seen her in about a month, and won't see her for another month, by which time the odds are, the infection will have died down. I was just wondering if someone could give me some information on what sort of precautions need to be taken. During an outbreak seems pretty clear - avoid contact with the effected area, but it is during times when she no longer has an outbreak that I'm curious about. What are the risks of asymptomatic shedding (Both oral-genital and oral-oral contact)?

I've read things suggesting that oral sex (Sans-condom) would no longer be safe, but the same sites do not make mention of kissing when she's asymptomatic. Is there a greater risk of transmission to the genitals, or is this just an oversight on their part? I suspect that the chance of transmission when she is asymptomatic is too small to justify any particular precautions, but decided that running it past the collective knowledge of sexinfo101.com was safest ;)

The impression I get is that HSV-1 is very common, and as long as care is taken during outbreaks, it should have no other effect on either of our lives. A lot of what I've been reading suggests that the vast majority of cases remain asymptomatic indefinitely, so even if I were to contract it, I most likely wouldn't notice. I'm not sure if this applies to HSV-2 as much as HSV-1 (And we'd very much like to keep this as just HSV-1, for obvious reasons)

I'm sure I meant to add some more things, but they're escaping me right now. May edit this later. Thank you in advance :)


Posted: 29 Sep 21:08


Well a cold sore on your mouth is more annoying than dangerous, so even if you DID get it on your mouth it would just pass in a week or so, so I wouldn't worry about kissing her. Now I'm not a doctor, but in my reading, you should NOT under any circumstances let her kiss/suck/lick or have her mouth around your cock until she heals, otherwise you're at risk of contracting herpes. Its not a permanent thing I don't think, just while she has the actual sore on her mouth. Don't quote me on that though :( lol wait for someone more knowledgeable to answer ;).


Posted: 29 Sep 21:08

You have obviously done your homework. Hopefully, you have encountered herpes.com. This is the best site I am aware of for giving straight information to the general population. I could not improve upon that short of a textbook but shall highlight some of the information here. Hopefully, clarifying and not adding to the confusion.

There are many strains of herpes including those causing chicken pox, shingles, mononucleosis and other diseases not usually considered social stigmas. Herpes is (are) actually a disease of the nervous system although most of them show up on the skin. Between outbreaks, the organism resides in ganglia or nerve bundles. Which ganglion they choose sometimes determines whether we call it cold sores or genital herpes.

HSV-1 and HSV-2 are nearly identical organisms at the level of their DNA. HSV-1 usually sets up housekeeping in a ganglion near the top end of the spine and -2 near the bottom end. This, alone, can determine whether the presenting symptoms are oral or genital. And, yes, there can be cross referral. The big difference then is social – a cold sore is no big deal to those around you but genital herpes means nasty sex has occurred. In fact, there could just be some confused herpes virus that is living the wrong place.

Most of us, as children, were exposed to herpes 1 (the cold sore variety) simply from overly demonstrative adults kissing us. We then develop anti-bodies and future contact is fought off by our own auto-immune symptoms. Some are overwhelmed and cold sores appear from time to time. Your figure of 50-80% exposure is accurate. Even among those of us who do not completely fight it off, our outbreaks are so mild as to not be recognized.

Genital herpes, the -2 kind, is not usually encountered until later in life when our immune systems are not as strong or are otherwise compromised. Nearly a quarter of us have been exposed. Again, many of us have outbreaks that are so mild as to be unrecognized. It is not unrealistic to find people who go for years with no identifiable outbreak of either form of the disease. We do not even know we “have” it! It is possible to pass it on during these mild outbreaks. Then, we say, we are passing it asymptomatically. That is, we have no symptoms but are passing the virus. In fact, we are symptomatic but at such a low level that no one knows it.

The whole picture is further clouded by “cross-resistance.” There are many studies that indicate children with bad cases of chicken pox are less likely to develop shingles in old age; other studies show the opposite. We know little about developing resistance to one form (-1or -2) giving resistance to the other. Possible, even likely, but we do not know.

The cold sore your g/f contracted “last week” may actually have been contracted when she was an infant! Some other factors allowed it to show up last week. I would not like to be kissed by someone with an obvious cold sore on the lip! Nor would I want to be the kisser. A common characteristic of herpes “patients” is that they are frequently more concerned about others than about their own health!

You two should sit down with one of your family doctors and talk this through. My guess is that there is much less to be concerned about than you think.

In the meantime, herpes.com


Posted: 29 Sep 21:08

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