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Herpes Simplex Virus 101

Herpes Simplex Virus 101


The most common versions of herpes simplex virus, or HSV, are HSV-1 and HSV-2.

Generally speaking

  • HSV-1 causes cold sores (oral herpes) on the mouth, and
  • HSV-2 causes genital herpes (which is essentially just having cold sores in your genital area, rather than your face).

With this in mind, it’s possible to get HSV-1 genitally and/or HSV-2 orally, but not as likely as the other way around. While HSV-1 and HSV-2 aren’t super picky, they do tend to prefer their former positions.

An extremely ignorant yet common belief is that only prostitutes, porn stars and/or promiscuous people acquire HSV. However, the reality of the situation is that this myth could not be farther from the truth.

"HSV doesn't check resumes - it's a virus. As far as it's concerned, any human with a pulse is sufficient."

Literally, the only way to be 100% sure you don’t get it is complete abstinence from sexual activity. Because most people are not okay with completely abstaining from sex, most people are at risk for contracting HSV— this is fact.

While condoms lessen the risk of transmission, they do not offer full protection from the virus as it can spread from mere skin-to-skin contact. Millions of people have contracted and continue to contract HSV while having protected sex.

HSV can also be acquired through oral sex. If someone has a cold sore on their lips while performing oral sex on their partner, they can actually infect their partner genitally (yes, it’s that easy). Usually, this is how genital HSV-1 occurs.

In addition, it can also be possible to infect someone through oral sex without a cold sore visible via asymptomatic shedding of the virus. While a reasonable amount of people (though not anywhere close to all) use protection during sexual intercourse, few to none use protection during oral sex. Sexually active people, whether they know it or not, put themselves at risk daily for contracting HSV. The risk is always there.


In the United States of America alone, 25-27% of society carries HSV-2. For the record, that’s over 50 million people (more people have genital herpes in the U.S. than the whole population of Australia) and counting.

As far as HSV-1 goes, we’re looking at a whopping 68-70%—well over half of the population! Considering these numbers, it’s actually uncommon to not have HSV, rather than the other way around.

If you’ve kissed 2 or more people, you’ve already kissed someone with HSV, whether you knew it or not. If you’ve had sex with 4 or more people, you’ve already had sex with someone with HSV, whether you knew it or not.

The United Kingdom has similar percentages, except their HSV-1 rate is higher by 10% or so. In Italy, it’s estimated that around 90% of the population carries HSV-1. In total, about 2/3 or 67% (upwards of 80%) of the entire world carries it. HSV is everywhere.

If it’s so common, you may be wondering why it can seem so rare at times. This is because many people who are HSV+ are asymptomatic—they do not have symptoms, and therefore have absolutely no idea that they carry the virus.

Other times, they have symptoms so mild that they’re unnoticeable or mistaken for something else, including but not limited to allergic reaction, skin irritation, jock itch, etc. Of course, it also doesn’t help that HSV testing is not included in the standard STI (sexually transmitted infection) checkup.

People that are responsible enough to get tested may have HSV and still not know about it because of this. So, a week or two later when they come out negative, they think they’re good and continue to spread the virus unknowingly via asymptomatic shedding.

Let’s not get started on individuals who don’t get tested and continue to have sex with multiple partners. The head-in-the-sand approach seems to be a popular choice among people these days. After all, ignorance is bliss, right? (Wrong.)

Try telling yourself that after you have full-blown AIDS, when you could have caught HIV in time and actually saved your life. Or, tell yourself that ignorance is bliss when investing your savings and retirement fund in the stock market without doing any research first. Yeah… that should turn out well…

So, please, get tested, and also request the HSV-specific blood test called the “IgG” while you’re at it. This ensures that you get all the information regarding your sexual health, for the sake of both yourself and your partner(s).

In essence, most people carry the virus, but only a few people realize it. So, the next time you hear someone say they are HSV+, just know that they aren’t different because they have HSV—they’re different because they’re aware that they have HSV. Nothing more, nothing less.


As we talked about earlier, the only fail-proof way to prevent HSV is to abstain from sexual activity. And actually, that’s not even entirely true, as millions of people contract oral HSV-1 through friendly kisses from friends and family members (often as young kids).

So, honestly, the only way to completely prevent yourself from getting HSV is to abstain from human contact altogether. Unless you plan on moving to the jungle sometime soon (in which case, you’ll have much bigger problems to worry about), avoiding human contact isn’t very realistic. (Oh, and animals get HSV, too, by the way. Just FYI.) The upside is that HSV is a mostly harmless virus, and the social stigma attached to it is falsely manufactured out of pure public ignorance.

If some crazy guy on the street came up to you and started yelling that the world was going to end, would you believe him? People have been saying that since the beginning of time, yet here we are. The same is essentially true for HSV—don’t believe the hype.

Most people have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to the subject, anyway. There really isn’t much to fear. In fact, what you should be scared of most is false information provided by people who haven’t done their research. End of story.


To minimize transmission during physical intimacy, including but not limited to sexual activity, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Although nothing is 100% except fully abstaining from human contact (yes, human contact—not just sexual contact), as explained earlier, it is still in your power (or the power of your partner, depending on who’s positive and who’s negative) to significantly lessen the chances of contracting HSV.

A few things are obvious. If someone has a visible cold sore on their mouth—generally on the lips—you should avoid kissing and oral sex until it clears up. While it is still possible to spread the virus via asymptomatic shedding, it’s much less likely.

On top of that, with well over half the population being infected orally, that’s about as safe as you’re going to get.  Actually, there is a way to be safer, and that will be shown momentarily (and don’t worry, it’s not abstinence). The first rule of sexual intercourse is pretty similar: no sex during an active outbreak.

When you’re not having an outbreak, however, there are precautions you can take to exponentially decrease chances of transmission—so much that it’s literally safer to have sex with an HSV+ individual that is aware of their status, rather than a complete stranger.

Oh, and to clarify “complete stranger,” just to avoid any confusion or possible twisting of words, this is referring to someone whose sexual health you do not completely know. A “complete stranger” is not necessarily a random person you picked up a bar or party and barely learned their name before hopping in the sack, although that would certain qualify as well. In this situation, it’s simply someone whose official health records you have not seen with your own two eyes, along with some kind of assurance that those health records were confirmed after their most recent sexual partner.

Not great chances, we know. Yet, this is honestly the reality of sex, and anything else you may have previously believed is essentially nothing more than a fairy tale or Hollywood propaganda. So, considering what’s just been said, almost everyone—even people you have known for years—can and most likely do qualify as “complete strangers” sexually.

If this concerns you, and it should (not even just for HSV anymore, but for potentially life-threatening infections such as HIV/AIDS), there is hope. HSV+ individuals that are aware of their status generally tend to take better care of their sexual health than most people.

This is because they have already had a “scare” (HSV), then consequently realize how lucky they are to only have something as minor as HSV—a mostly harmless, oftentimes asymptomatic virus—and in turn become extremely responsible sexually.

At the same time, a large portion of society continues to have sex while remaining completely unaware of their sexual health, because they still live in fantasy-land created by the movies they’ve seen and music they listen to.

Most people who spread genital herpes are unaware that they have it in the first place.

“Bad things won’t happen to me,” or, “this doesn’t apply to me” are a couple of thoughts prevalent in the average person’s mind. Wrong and wrong.

The (seriously) good news about being involved romantically or sexually with someone that’s aware of their HSV+ status, is that you can both take the precautions necessary to practically destroy any chances of transmission. In an ironic way, this is actually what makes sex with an HSV+ partner safer than sex with someone else whose recent and proper medical documents you have not examined.

Even threesomes and adventurous sex are not out of the question with herpes. Trust me, it’s going to be ok because no matter what gives you pleasure in life it still can. Just read Ashley Manta’s account in Hot Steamy Sexy Sex Part I – The Threesome for an example. Manta is a sex educator who also happens to be HSV+.

When active outbreaks aren’t occurring, use of antiviral medications such as Valtrex or Aciclovir, combined with “protection” (condoms) almost completely kill your chances of transmission—especially when used together.

Not a lover of rubber intervention? You don’t have to be.  Condoms aren’t for everyone and sex without them can be liberating and deeply connecting – even when herpes is in play.

Read this post by Ella Dawson about why she cares less (but still cares) about using condoms in her HSV+ situation. Big fan of this enlightened girl for blasting herpes stigma.


To give you a realistic idea that demonstrates exactly how much safer sex with an HSV+ partner is, take a look at the numbers provided by scientific studies.

By avoiding sex during an active outbreak, chances of virus transmission are 4% a year (Terri Warren, RN, NP – WebMD, 2005). Yes, per year, not sexual session. In the study that this is based off, couples were reported to have sex more than 5 times a month. Over 60% of the couples did not use condoms.

So if we look at the findings at the frequent end of the scale we would divide this figure by 120 (12 months x 10 sexual encounters per month). This makes the possibility of spreading the virus during any sexual encounter .0003%, or 1/3,000 (.04 / 120 = 0.00033333333333).

If also using condoms or anti-viral drugs, it cuts those already-staggering odds in half to about 2% a year. The possibility of spreading HSV on any given encounter would then become 1/6,000. To put this in perspective, you have a better chance of literally dying in a motor vehicle accident tomorrow on your way to school or work (1/9,000), although, surely this “risk” won’t stop you from driving. 1 in 9,000… driving seems pretty safe, doesn’t it? The fact that you will still drive your motor vehicle (or ride in cars) after reading this article is proof that you agree.

It’s cool, though, because you’d be right. Driving is pretty safe. Just remember: having a knowledgeable HSV+ partner is safer. If you’re not scared to drive, you are agreeing to this by default.

With the use of both simultaneously [condoms and anti-viral drugs], it cuts the number in half once again: a mere 1% chance of transmitting the virus per annual basis. On any given sexual encounter, we’re now entertaining a “risk” of 1/12,000. You now have better odds of winning an oscar, provided you’re in the industry 😉 (1/11,500). Do you plan on writing your awards thank-you speech anytime soon?

Didn’t think so.

Simply put: 99% odds are excellent. If you had a 99% chance of winning the lottery, would you buy a ticket? You’d be crazy not to. There’s no arguing with that.

Therefore, considering that the only (truly) guaranteed thing in life is death, 99% odds are as solid as it gets. 96% is pretty assuring as well. Plus, people that are aware of their HSV+ status generally tend to notice even the mildest of symptoms, including prodrome symptoms. Because of this, they are much more likely to recognize when an outbreak is about to occur, and can then inform their partner in time to knock transmission rates down to 1-4% per year by abstaining from sex temporarily.

For females, the chances of contracting HSV are slightly higher, but not by much. Ideally, we’re looking at about 98% prevention instead of 99% (“risk” is doubled because of increased point of contact). Hardly a significant difference overall, though.

On the contrary, “strangers” or people unaware of their status, can have the lightest outbreak the world has ever seen yet end up spreading the virus because they have no idea what’s going on, or that they’re even positive in the first place. This, along with asymptomatic shedding (generally from those not taking anti-viral medication), is how most people actually get HSV to begin with.

If you get anything out of this Website, it should be this: most people contract HSV from people who do not know they are infected, rather than from people who are aware of their status and hence bring it up for discussion.

With this in mind, do not be scared off by “the talk” (whether you are giving it or listening). The information is clear: the former person is risky, and the latter person is safe as long as the proper precautions are taken. The numbers speak for themselves.

Finally, one last friendly reminder: just because you do not discuss each other’s sexual health prior to engaging in sexual activity does not make you okay. And, it certainly doesn’t mean that you and your partner are clear of HSV… or anything else for that matter. Always be smart, responsible, and respectful of your partner (HSV+ or HSV-)—and your love life will be amazing. Awareness and education in addition to honest and consistent communication make HSV a virtual non-issue in any relationship.


Taking relationships to the next level, it’s time to discuss the possibilities of starting a family. This brings up the inevitable worries of HSV and pregnancy.

Before we go any further on this topic, just know that (as usual) everything is good. Do you think the world would be nearly as populated as it is today if only HSV- people had kids? If that was the case, this planet wouldn’t currently hold 7 billion people… that’s for sure. So, obviously it happens, and it happens often—like every day.

Having said that, it’s great that you’re concerned about the health of your future child (or children). That shows you’ll be a good parent. However, it’s not logical or healthy for you to worry needlessly, so we’re going to clear everything up.

First and foremost, if you plan to get pregnant, or suspect that you’re pregnant, inform your doctor about your HSV+ status. This way, they can give you their professional opinion and thoughts regarding necessary precautions. You do not want to keep your physician in the dark about this.

During pregnancy, it’s usually recommended that you take anti-viral medication on a regular basis—if you haven’t been doing so already. Certain herbs and supplements can also be helpful. At the absolute very least, it’s important to begin taking your weapons of defence a couple months before delivery. This will help to ensure you remain outbreak-free during the time of childbirth.

While neonatal herpes can be fatal since an infant’s immune system is so undeveloped, it is extremely rare. Medical doctor Zane Brown, an expert on neonatal herpes and a member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington, has been quoted saying: “Neonatal herpes is a remarkably rare event.” To give you an idea of how uncommon this type of transmission is, we’re looking at odds of less than .1%.

Like information about HSV in general, most of the fear associated with childbirth transmission is falsely manufactured out of ignorance. Remember: believe the research, not the hype. The former is grounded on fact, the latter on fiction.

Additional good news for being HSV+ and pregnant is that if you contracted HSV prior to pregnancy (rather than during), your odds of transmission colossally decrease to about .04% (Randolph, JAMA, 1993). This is assuming that you are still outbreak-free at the time of childbirth, of course.

For situations where the woman is having an outbreak during time of delivery, the doctor can perform a Caesarean section, or C-section, to prevent the child from contracting the virus. HSV or not, women have C-sections all the time, so there really isn’t anything too crazy about this.

All in all, it’s not necessary to stress about passing the virus to your baby. Aside from empowering the virus, stress just makes life in general worse. Inform your physician of the situation and take the proper precautions to ensure safety—and everything will be fine. You deserve to have a family if you want one, and HSV is not going to get in your way.

How do you live your life with herpes?

We’d love to hear about your herpes experience… make a comment, ask us a question or give your own advice below.

This Post Has 34 Comments
  1. Good job done in this website. I wish I had some proper sex education in my school before getting sexually active and exposing myself by unprotected sex. I also strongly recommend people checking God bless you and keep up the good work.

    1. Hi BB, just keep in mind that herpes can affect anyone, educated or not. All you have to do to be eligible for herpes is to have sex – if you’re a normal, healthy adult who enjoys sex, including oral, then you potentially can contract HSV at some point in your life. I have seen that website before and find Jenelle’s viewpoints refreshing. Thanks for the share!

  2. It’s very hard !! I still feel ashamed and dirty ! I meet someone and have connected in every level until I told him I have herpes. He has totally withdrawn from me! This doesn’t define the person I am and I just wish he would educate himself !!!!!

    1. Hi Meghan,

      So true! Herpes can be an eye-opener into seeing how people behave in different situations. At the end of the day, you really don’t want to invest too much of your energy into a relationship where the person doesn’t value you unequivocally.

      Herpes is a pretty minor deal really. Unfortunately it can take a little bit of wisdom for some folks to understand this.

      As with all new concepts, give him time. Let me know how it goes?

      If you need support you can always have a chat at – it’s an online herpes support website where you can connect with others.

      Best of luck X

    2. i am writing this with joy and happiness in my heart, i was cured from herpes by one great man. at first i thought i was about to be duped then he reassured me everything will be fine if i adhered strictly to his words and instruction. i live in NYC and i was diagnosed with HSV1 and 2 three years back. i have looked for any solution possible but all to no avail. until i came in contact with dr okigbochie, he saved my live and delievered me from the illness. you can contact him through his email [email protected] com i strongly believe he can cure you of any disease and virus.

  3. I loved this gloom and doom.. Gives me brighter more informed outlook being HSV2 positive..more than my physician did.. But i have a question…If I am Hsv2 positive had oral sex (IgG and tested for both HSV1 &HSV2 and on daily valacyclovirovir daily)… negative for HSV1 .. Is it possible I am responsible for infecting my partner whom just testest positive IgG with HSV1 by oral sex one time nocold sores ever?

    1. Thanks Talon 🙂 HSV is a lot about perspective.

      You can only pass on the type of herpes that you have. So if you only have HSV-2 than this is the only type of herpes that someone is able to contract from you.

      The only exception I could see in this case could be if you did in fact have HSV-1 but tested negative to it in your blood test, say for example if the infection was a very recent one and the antibodies had not yet shown up at the time of testing.

      But otherwise no, your partner would need to have had direct skin contact in the affected area with a HSV-1 infection.

      One last thing, it is possible to have the herpes virus for a number of years before showing signs or symptoms. It can sometimes suddenly pop up for the first time ever after a period of unusual stress or illness, for example. So if your partner has contracted HSV and it is a different type to your condition it does not necessarily mean that they have been unfaithful. Just FYI.

      Good luck, I hope this helps to answer your question.

  4. Thank you for enlightening the masses and myself. I did a test last year and it came back as having no exposure. I took one last week at my gyno and I have been “exposed to it” bit don’t have virus-smh; wtf-lol…It was a message I was given by the medical staff. Meeting with the gyno to obtain a full explanation. I totally agree with Meghan-dude I felt soooo freaking dirty even though I use condoms ALL the time; even when doing oral. Nonetheless, because of this site and honeycomb-I’ve been given perspective. Whatevs-I just don’t think I should have any hopes for a meaningful relationship or even dating-that’s what I feel like right now. Perhaps, those feelings will subside later but it’s my reality presently.

    1. Hey Jsmn,

      It is awesome if you do not get outbreaks – this in itself is a real blessing. Herpes truly is so common, don’t let the negative voice in your head convince you that it is anything more than what it is. Read the Devil’s Advocate article to help get even more perspective. You’re doing great 🙂

    2. i am writing this with joy and happiness in my heart, i was cured from herpes by one great man. at first i thought i was about to be duped then he reassured me everything will be fine if i adhered strictly to his words and instruction. i live in NYC and i was diagnosed with HSV1 and 2 three years back. i have looked for any solution possible but all to no avail. until i came in contact with dr okigbochie, he saved my live and delievered me from the illness. you can contact him through his email [email protected] com i strongly believe he can cure you of any disease and virus.

  5. Hi, I have hsv1 and thankfully I still haven’t had a breakout. I take good care of myself, work out, eat right, Vitamins, everything. I read that taking garlic pills helps with your immune system, which will help with break outs. However, I do have little tiny white bumbs in the corners of my lips, (not noticeable) which is where it first started back in April. -it’s now spreaded to the other side a little. My Dr. said that it’s not a break out, & that I can kiss like that, I just had my first kiss since having this… I’m still worried that he may have got it? I keep hearing positive things about living like this & relationships, but it doesn’t seem as easy as it sounds… Advice please!! Thank you.

    1. Hi Travelerchick,

      Two of the biggest challenges for people affected by herpes is how to manage outbreaks and how to tell a partner.

      If you don’t get outbreaks you are a league ahead in the game.

      If you have HSV-1 or cold sores the talk is so much less of a big deal because the person you are giving the talk to is statistically likely to have HSV-1 too (even if they don’t realise it).

      So all in all there are many blessings. Even if you get outbreaks or face challenges in your relationships because of herpes, with the right attitude these can be overcome too.

      Life is full of twists and turns, like everything our reaction is half the battle. Try to keep a positive perspective because it makes all the difference.

  6. I don’t have them in my mouth, but the dr said to gargle with salt water now and then, so I do. I woke up this morning with I think my first blister, not too severe, but I’m pretty sure it’s from the sun. I was in it yesterday and the day before working out and yard work, pretty much all day. I did use sunscreen and blistex, however. So, now I’m definitely not kissing my new guy I’m talking to! Ugh. This is depressing, bc once again, I’m taking such good care of myself and it’s like I’m going backwards… I’m trying to stay calm, really trying here. Anyway, I put some warm water & salt on the blister, do you think that will help???

    1. Hey Positivepriss,

      Yes, salt water can be really healing and is a good idea for cleansing the blisters too. A gargle with Sage or Myrrh extract can also be beneficial if you have it available to you.

      Find out if your new guy gets cold sores too? If he does, which chances are, then you will be able to relax about spreading the virus to him.

      Hang in there, cold sores are usually completely gone in a week or two. Just take it one step at a time.

  7. Thanks for this article. I have had hsv2 for the past 3 years. You see 10 years ago I was in a very happy loving relationship, but we let people get in the middle of our relationship and it ended. I got into another relationship a few months after and decided to do everything right this time we had a daughter and lived decent. 3 years ago I met up with my ex, who I never lost contact with, and he begged me to come back to him ( he was gonna be getting married to someone he didn’t love at his parents request because they thought he was getting too old, his mom actually called me up and said he’s still waiting on me and I should tell him not to). Anyways I decided to leave my current relationship to be with him, but 1 week later I found out I had hsv2 from my daughter’s father and I didn’t want my love to get it so I told him I realized I was still in love with my daughter’s dad and called off the whole thing. He married the girl and I married as well, however he still calls me all the time asking for another chance. I don’t know what to tell him. I can’t get over him, I wish I could get back with him but more than anything I fear giving him the virus. Thanks for your article. It certainly sets my mind at ease as everything I knew up to this point has been rubbish.

    I have to say living with hsv2 has not been easy because I feel a great sense of betrayal by my husband and don’t want to have any kind of a relationship with him. More so I feel like he’s ruined my chances of happiness.

    1. Hi Life and Love,

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      Yep, love can be complicated. It sounds like you made the best choice that you felt was possible at the time.

      The thing that stands out most from your comment is the need for truth and honesty. When you approach a situation with Truth it allows for much more real and deeper relationships to begin.

      If you’re struggling with how to handle the herpes part of all of this, or just want a little bit of moral support along the way, the Honeycomb herpes forums are a good place to start.

      There are worse things than telling someone you love that you have the herpes virus, and possibly one of these is living a life that is not true to your heart.

      Good luck, I wish you, your daughter and your loved ones the very best. You all deserve to be happy.

  8. Article put me at ease…got a lot of my questions answered thank you so much! I scheduled an appointment for next week though I’m sure I have both hpv 1 and 2 cause I’ve just noticed my first blisters that are starting to pop up. :p.

  9. This site is so appreciated for its positive outlook and creating hope – thank you. I was dating a man who I hit it off with in every way. It seemed like there was SO much potential to form a lasting relationship.. When it came time to disclosing I have herpes he said he didn’t know if he could keep seeing me. Despite my best reassurances – including next to zero outbreaks and zero infection of long term partners (x 3) over a ten year period I was cut. I’m really struggling to come to terms with this abrupt discarding. I get he’s scared about catching this virus (he said so) but it’s so disproportionate to what impact it has in life. Heck my monthly periods are far more painful, disruptive and just annoying! Most allergies are more irritating and even dangerous to life. I just can’t reconcile this and keep reading information which makes the condition sound big & ghastly or unserious. It’s confusing.. I just hope a vaccine can come out and give people more hope. I’m devastated, floored. I feel like a dirty, shunned infectious ‘thing’ it’s brutal.. and it hurts sooo much.

    1. Hi Jbee,

      Keep your head up high and stay focused – you are not dirty and you are perfectly adorable as you are, HSV and all. Every human being has a plethora of organisms traveling with us. Herpes, in reality, is a skin condition that flares up occasionally when we are stressed. Most of the time for most people it causes no major harm, but there is a lot of hype and stigma which clouds peoples’ judgement and creates fear. This man’s reaction is not a reflection on you even though it might feel like it right now. It is a reflection of his own fears. Give him time and if he doesn’t come around don’t let this one rejection set you too far back. Rejection can be a powerful catalyst to make us better and stronger.

  10. Hello and thank you for posting this website. It’s helped me by reading your information as I am just recently diagnosed (three weeks tomorrow), (HSV1 and 2) and I’m still trying to come to terms with it. To my knowledge I haven’t had any OB as of yet. Once the doctor told me! I started having anxiety and worry and non sleeping. I let myself get down and caught a virus that I’m fighting now. I’m on prescription meds so hopefully that will clear this up soon. The anxiety comes and goes now, and I feel like I need to be stronger. My question though is regarding transmission. I have a long term partner that we aren’t sexual with each other, but occasionally we’ll sleep in the same bed. I’m afraid they will get it, just from being near me or from and occasional hug or kiss. Since I haven’t had any symptoms, am I worrying for nothing at this point?

    1. Hi Billy,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. Try to keep a clear perspective on things… 3 weeks ago you also had HSV but didn’t realize it so what has changed significantly since then, except for your knowledge of it?

      With knowledge comes the responsibility to try not to pass the virus on, and we can help you become more informed about this. Herpes is spread by direct skin to skin contact when the virus is active. Without ever having an outbreak it is hard to say exactly where and when the virus is active for you, if at all.

      Not having outbreaks means that your immune system is already quite capable of suppressing HSV. Steps that you can take to prevent spreading the virus will be to first be honest with your partner so you can avoid contact if you see or feel any symptoms. Remember signs like itching, tingling and redness can indicate that the virus could be active.

      Check out this page for more information about Preventing the Spread of Herpes.

      Good luck and stay focused – HSV is very common, not as easy to pass on as perceived and for most people doesn’t cause any major harm physically. The biggest battle is the mindset and stigma surrounding it.

    2. Thank you so much. This helped me relax a bit. Mindset is something that I’ve been working on. And it gets better every day. I appreciate you and this blog.

  11. Hello, I have tested positive for hsv 1. I believe I have ghsv 1 I’ve been to my doctor many times and she says she sees nothing. Tonight I looked inside my lady parts and notice red spots scattered. They are painless, no burning or itching. I’m so lost and alone. I’ve never told my husband what I think because I’m scared. I don’t want him to leave me we are finally happy after many unhappy years. I don’t know if I can go to the doctor and get check I’m terrified! I just need support and my anxiety is insane! I’m so alone I feel like I would be judged if I told anyone! I know people who have hsv 2 and I would never judge them and have never. I’m scared to pass this to him!

  12. Thanks for your blog. very informational and comforting. Question. I just tested positive for Herpes 2. However, I only have a very small bump below my lip. Tingling but not open, just similar to a new mole. No evidence of any occurrence around my genitals. I am bi and only perform oral. I do have a very good immune system and very healthy. . Since the bump never was open, will it be safe to kiss. Or do I wait until the bump is gone.
    Thanks again for your blog.

    1. A paper cut is different to an outbreak even though both sting and tingle. An outbreak would continue to sting and itch, it would general form an open lesion and go through the cycle it performs.

      Sorry for the late reply, if in doubt your always better off playing it safe.

  13. Thank you for this article! It put me at ease with my condition. Having herpes is really depressing. I have ohsv and ghsv and kissed guys without disclosing I have ohsv but no actual sores or any symptoms I’m having it. Told them about it and they freaked out, so if they get bother again having contracted it from me I will send this article to them. Though the other guy never had symptoms months now after we kissed so I assumed I didn’t transmit it and the very recent one I feel bad giving him something to worry about. I don’t take antiviral as doctors never prescribed it. Do U think it’s better to take antivirals even if your not showing any symptoms just to make sure you don’t expose anyone?

  14. I have genital herpes from HSV1. I tested negative for HSV2 and have never had a cold sore. My question is, if I were to transfer my HSV1 to a partner, would it be more likely that they would have genital herpes or oral herpes? (since cold sores are the typical HSV1 symptom)

    I’m confused as to whether you transfer your “physical symptoms”, or if the type of virus you transfer itself decides what physical symptoms an individual may have.

    Hope this makes sense! Thank you in advance for any information or insight 🙂

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Post Series: Herpes Facts 101
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