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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Question: HSV-1

 jalega6 - Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:52 pm

I am a 28 year-old female. I have oral HSV-1, and have likely had it most of my life because of infection among family members.

My female partner has HSV-1 genitally. She contracted the virus from a previous partner who had oral HSV-1.

Is it possible for me to contract the virus genitally or she to contract the virus orally? What should our safer sex practices entail?

Thank you!
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:52 pm

User avatar Hi Jalega6,

Most commonly HSV-1 infections the mouth region and HSV-2 infects the genital region. However, both can infect both regions. Because of this it is possible for each of you to develop the infection in the unaffected area, though a little less likely.

Regarding protection, using condoms to limit skin contact can help prevent genital infections. There are barrier devices for oral sex if needed as well. The virus is most easily spread during episodes when blisters are present.

Best wishes.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Mon Oct 29, 2007 12:01 am

User avatar Yes, it is possible for you to get this infection in either place, especially through oral sex. Transmission is more common from the oral to the genital area than from the genital to the oral area. The risk for infection is highest with direct contact of blisters or sores during an outbreak. Sex should be avoided both during the outbreaks and the prodromes (the early symptoms of herpes), which include tingling, itching, or tenderness in the infected areas. Infecting another through shedding when there is no sign of an outbreak would be more common with HSV 2 than with HSV 1, however.

Female condoms would be your best alternative to reduce your risk of infection during the rest of the time (when asymptomatic). But, keep in mind, this is no guarantee with this. I know you understand by the way you worded your question.

Best wishes.

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