Genital Herpes Clinic - Friday, March 23, 2018

Can you contract genital herpes by contact with a cold sore?

May 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Discussion

If there is contact by someone who has a cold sore and they have oral sex, can you get genital herpes like that?



4 Responses to “Can you contract genital herpes by contact with a cold sore?”
  1. me <3 says:

    yes!! this is how i got genital herpes. My boyfriend had HSV-1 but didnt have a cold sore present at the time and i still got gential herpes from him. The first time i ever received oral was for like no more than 2 mins. and i got it =/

  2. Paul's Next Wife says:

    Yes you sure can! I know someone that that happened to!

  3. lammylady says:


    And as another answerer says, you can even catch it when they are ‘in between’ cold sores and don’t currently have one.

    Like her, I caught genital herpes from a boyfriend with a history of cold sores giving me oral sex, when he didn’t have a cold sore and hadn’t had one for months.

    ‘Cold sores’ are outbreaks of oral herpes. The herpes virus that usually causes oral herpes is herpes simplex virus 1, or hsv-1.

    There is another herpes simplex virus, herpes simplex 2, or hsv-2, which normally causes genital herpes.

    However, herpes simplex 1, hsv-1, now causes over half of all genital herpes infections, as well as most oral herpes infections. It is usually passed from the mouth during oral sex.

    People often assume a genital herpes infection is always ‘type 2′ but the number refers to the virus, NOT the location. So if someone with hsv-1 gives oral sex to their partner and transfers the herpes virus, that person will have genital hsv-1 not genital hsv-2. The virus type stays the same.

    The only real difference between hsv-1 and hsv-2 is that once it is on the genitals hsv-1 causes less outbreaks than hsv-2. The symptoms themselves are identical.

    Of the three women I know with genital herpes apart from me, all have hsv-1 caught from their partner’s oral herpes infection – and none of their partners had a cold sore at the time.

    The problem with herpes is that it sometimes activates without symptoms, and the virus is then present on the skin. It is known as ‘asymptomatic shedding’ of the virus. Because there are no symptoms, the person doesn’t know they are infectious and to avoid contact – they think they are safe because they have no cold sore – and so they may pass it on to their partner.

    When there is actually a cold sore present, the risk is very high that you will infect your partner with genital herpes.

    If the person receiving the oral sex already has hsv-1 on the mouth too- i.e. they have a history of cold sores – their risk of getting hsv-1 genitally is hugely reduced, because they will already produce antibodies to the virus from their oral infection.

    People who have never had cold sores are very at risk of catching genital herpes through oral sex though. It is no different in terms of risk than having unprotected sex with a partner with genital herpes.

  4. LINDSEY S says:

    If the person who has cold sores (they are the same thing as oral herpes by the way) a visible open cold sore at the time they give you oral sex then they can pass cold sores onto your genitals. Oral herpes does not turn into the second type of herpes (genital herpes). They are two strains of the same herpes virus. Usually oral herpes likes to live and occur on the mouth but it can be passed to the genitals under the right circumstances.
    My boy friend transferred oral herpes to my genitals while he had a healing cold sore so it’s possible.

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