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Can HSV 1 be transmitted to the genitals through oral sex?

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Infectious Diseases Specialist
Practicing since : 2002
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I commonly get cold sores once or twice a year. This morning I noticed a tingly feeling on my upper lip so I iced the area. No blister formed. I ended up hooking up tonight. I made out with a guy and performed oral sex on him for a short period of time. He also performed oral sex on me. What are the chances that HSV-1 could be transmitted to the genital area? Specifically when there is no visible blister. I'm not really noticing the tingling feeling now on my lip, but I just would like the information.
Posted Tue, 25 Feb 2014 in Sexually Transmitted Diseases
 
 
Answered by Dr. Praveen G 1 hour later
Brief Answer: HSV 1 infection following oral sex Detailed Answer: Hello, As you are getting cold sores on your upper lip once or twice in a year from herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), it is unlikely for HSV1 to be transmitted to the genitals through oral sex. Having been infected with HSV1, the immune system has already manufactured, and kept on reserve, antibodies to this virus. Whenever the virus is encountered again, the immune system is already well acquainted with its enemy and can initiate a quick and efficient counterattack. On the other hand, for someone who has never had herpes cold sores before, infection with HSV1 through oral sex can result in a true primary episode of genital herpes. But these cold sores can give your sexual partner genital herpes, because the same virus causes both genital herpes and cold sores. Cold sores, which usually appearing on your upper lip are also known as oral herpes and are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This same virus is also responsible for blisters and sores in the genital area, known as genital herpes. There are two types of HSV, cold sores are usually caused by HSV type 1 and genital herpes are usually caused by HSV type 2. The two herpes viruses are interchangeable. If HSV-1 comes into contact with genital area, your partner can get genital herpes. So if you have HSV-1 then you can spread it to your partner through any type of sexual contact where the mouth comes into contact with the genitals. Also you don't even need to have any outward sign of cold sores to spread the virus. In fact, you're most likely to spread the virus to your sexual partner in the first few days when the blisters are forming. Thank you
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