[Question #3056] Possible Exposure of HSV-1

40 months ago

Hello!

I have a situation that happened in regards to a possible exposure of HSV-1. I engaged in kissing with a male and after this encounter, I later learned that he admitted to having a cold sore in the past. Specifically, he admitted that he only had one cold sore in his life that happened 8 years ago. Since then, he has not had an outbreak of a cold sore. Visibly during this encounter, there were absolutely no obvious signs of a cold sore or lesion that I could see around this mouth. Also, I personally didn’t have any cuts or breaks in my mucous membranes around or within my oral cavity. This was our first and only time kissing. It’s hard for one not to feel paranoid or anxious when someone admits to this, so I can’t help but worry over this situation. This just happened a day ago, so this encounter is fairly new and fresh. I have a few questions to ask based upon your professional opinion and expertise:

1. When would symptoms develop after an encounter like this?

2. If I don’t develop symptoms after a certain time-frame, what is the likelihood I could have contracted HSV-1 from this encounter?

3. I’ve been thinking about getting an HSV-1 igG test done at some point down the line to put my mind at ease. How long should I wait to get an HSV-1 igG test done post last exposure?

Thank you so much for your time and help! 

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
40 months ago
I don't know how many people you have kissed in your lifetime or how old you or they are but more than 56% of the people in the US between 14 and 49 are infected with HSV 1 so the likelihood is that you may well have kissed others who have this virus or that your parents or grandparents might have kissed you with a cold sore as a child. People really didn't understand until recently that cold sores are caused by the herpes virus.   It might be worth you getting an IgG test at this point to see if you might be infected already because 70% of those infected don't demonstrate symptoms but do shed virus - or perhaps you've already done that.  The problem with testing for HSV 1 by IgG is that this common antibody test misses 30% of HSV 1 infections.  If you are currently uninfected, I seriously doubt that a person who hasn't had a cold sore in 8 years is going to be shedding virus on the one day he kisses you.  IF you are going to develop symptoms, it would happen within 2-10 days.

Terri
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40 months ago
Hi Terri,

Thank you for your helpful response. I actually did get an HSV 1 & 2 igG test about a year and a half ago just to be proactive with my health. Both were negative. The reason why I worried about this situation is because this is the first guy who ever admitted to me that he had a past cold sore. Then again, there could have been guys I kissed is the past that may have not known they had the virus or never openly admitted they've had a cold sore because it didn't come up in conversation. I'm currently 26 years old and when I was younger in my teens, I wasn't very conscientious with cold sores/transmission of the herpes virus strands.

How long should I wait to get the HSV-1 igG test post this current exposure to make sure it's as accurate as it can be?

Thanks again for your help!
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
40 months ago
12 weeks.  But remember that this particular test misses 30% of HSV 1 infections - and it could have missed one in you when you tested previously

Terri
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