HSV Facts #2: You can get herpes from oral sex.

Yes, we said it! You can get herpes from oral sex. (Even if your partner isn’t in an outbreak!)

Herpes is a tricky virus. HSV1 and HSV2 can be found both genitally and orally. People can have both at the same time in one or both locations.

 

Here’s some stats and facts from Herpes.com!

What if your partner has genital HSV-2 and you perform oral sex on him or her? Will you get HSV- 2 in the mouth? Given the widespread practice of oral sex (some three-quarters of all adults practice it, according to The Social Organization of Sexuality, 1994) and the prevalence of genital HSV-2 infection, you might expect oral HSV-2 to be relatively common. It’s not.

According to one study, almost 100% of recognizable HSV-2 infection is genital (Nahmias, Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases Supplement, 1990). One reason is that most adults are already infected with HSV-1 orally, which provides some immunity against infection with HSV 2. Another reason is that oral HSV-2 rarely reactivates, so even if an infection does exist, no one knows.

So far we’ve been talking about transmission of HSV-1 or 2 from its site of preference. What about transmission from another site? Say you acquire genital HSV-1 through oral sex. Can you spread the virus to a partner through genital sex?

The answer is yes, but probably not as easily as it was spread through oral sex. The main reason is that the virus reactivates and sheds less often outside its site of preference. Only about one quarter of people with genital HSV- 1 shed virus at all in the absence of symptoms, while 55% of people with HSV-2 do (Wald, New England Journal of Medicine, 1995). “Shedding data appear to parallel recurrence data, meaning that people who have a lot of recurrences also have a lot of shedding,” says Wald.

While HSV- 1 can be spread from genitals to genitals, “we think it is spread more easily through oral sex because HSV-1 reactivates more frequently in the oral area,” says Wald. However, she warns, “transmission of genital HSV-1 during asymptomatic shedding has been documented.” In other words, genital HSV-1 can be spread through genital sex, even when there are no symptoms.

HSV Facts: #1 – Condoms don’t always protect against herpes.


It is estimated that 90% of American adults acquire some type of HSV in their lifetime. It’s also estimated that of that 90%; over 80% have never shown symptoms! These people can unknowingly spread the infection.

Without using any protection, transmission for female to male is about 4%; male to female, about 10%. Other than abstinence, condoms and daily suppression have been proven very effective. With condoms reducing around 30% and a daily suppression routine reducing about 50%.

Genital herpes can be found anywhere within the boxer region. Meaning transmission is possible if every precaution is taken. (Even if the person has never shown signs or symptoms)

There are many couples where one person has herpes and the other doesn’t. They are typically aware of the risk they are taking. However, for those who are single and have multiple partners- it’s extremely difficult to be fully protected.

Get tested & don’t forget to specifically ask for the IGG blood test to test for herpes antibodies. Herpes is NOT included on a regular STD panel. It’s up to YOU to ensure your health. Don’t be afraid if your test may come out positive. The result is still the same whether you know it or not. You may be unknowingly spreading HSV.

It’s important to know your partner(s) and always have “the talk” before initiating sexual contact. If a potential partner claims to be “clean” double check if they’ve had the blood test for HSV. Remember – most people are unaware they have it!

 

Source

Support Meeting Today- “Stigma & Me” 

Today’s Topic: “Stigma & Me” 

This week we will explore the stigma that comes with HSV- why is it taboo when it’s so common? How did we get here and can we change it?!

Why is it we feel so alone when first diagnosed? When most of the population has a form of HSV? Stigma, y’all! It’s something almost everyone has and refuses to discuss. It’s up to us to stomp it out!

People hide behind terms like “cold sores” and “canker sores”. We all know what’s on your face, Karen!!!

See you tonight!

We’ve partnered with the Polk County Health Department to provide an in-person herpes support group. The group will meet regularly; every 3rd Tuesday of the month @ 6pm. Hope to see you there!