[Question #360] transmission

35 months ago
I was curious about transmission of this virus (HSV2) via indirect contact (hand to genital). If a male touches his penis (no lesion present vs. lesion present), then touches an inanimate object such as a shirt, or other piece of clothing, then touches the female labia, can the female contract the disease?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
35 months ago
No, this kind of contact does not result in transmission.  It not only takes SOME virus to infect a person, it takes a substantial certain amount of virus, and that amount cannot be transmitted in that way.  Easy question, do you have others about this topic that I can answer for you?

Terri
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35 months ago

Yes, I was wondering if antibody development would occur for HSV2 if there was oral exposure (several times). Obviously genital herpes would not occur from this,  but I would expect you would develop antibodies which would then make it difficult to determine if you ever were exposed genitally.

I ask this because the previous question I had asked, did happen to me (genital to hand) and I was worried. However, there was no genital to genital contact ever so per your information I would not have contracted it that way... I did perform oral sex on this individual more than once so would expect I would have type 2 antibodies. I do have type 1 so am  not to concerned... However, ever since that indirect contact with that person, I have had strange irritation on the left side of my genitalia 2-3 times/year which to me is suspect of herpes.. I have raced to the doctor, was inspected (told it didn't look like herpes), and cultured vaginally with each culture being negative.  Before that individual touched me, I had no problems at all (other than yeast infections) and had always had the STD conversation and used condoms  prior to sex ( At that time I had about one partner/year-- if that). So, I am not sure what to make of these symptoms. Is this in my head?.. I did ask an ID doctor ( friend) about being  tested for HSV2. He told me that if I did have oral contact several times, that I would have antibodies, so the only  way to know would be physical DX and culture... Is this true?

I am so tired of thinking about this...

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
35 months ago
You could acquire HSV 2 by giving this person oral sex, yes, though that is not common. 
If you have antibody to HSV 2, that means you are infected with HSV 2 and can be infectious to others.  If you test positive now, and have had intercourse in the past, and have never tested before, you cannot know if you have this orally or vaginally.  It might be useful for you to get a baseline antibody test since you have been a sex partner of a person with HSV 2, even if you never had intercourse with him.  I'm a little confused about your statement" "I do have type 1 so am not to concerned".  What do you mean by that? 

Terri
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35 months ago

I meant I was exposed to type 1 (oral) when I was a child and had a cold sore at 10- I do not have recurrences thank goodness. Oral sex transmission of type 2 would not make a difference as it would not cause genital herpes, but I thought would simply mean I was exposed orally to type 1 and 2, which would not really change anything. Or am I mistaken?

I had only been an oral sex partner with this individual and not vaginal, so thought that such contact would not cause genital issues?. ..Really, if I had known at that time he had HSV2, I would not have had any contact with him at all. However, I did not think oral sex was an issue since I already carried oral HSV1, thus, we did not have the STD conversation at that... That is what I meant. I hope that makes sense?...

I have since been tested over two years time for hepatitis, HIV and everything else (all negative). But not HSV 2 because I was told I would have antibodies to both 1 and 2.

Are there other afflictions that can cause chronic intermittent irritation besides herpes?

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
35 months ago
So if you had cold sores as a child then you are infected with HSV 1.  You can also get infected with HSV 2 orally.  HSV 2 orally shed rarely so infecting someone by giving them oral sex IF you have HSV 2 orally is unlikely.  The good news is that if you do have HSV 2 orally is essentially vaccinates you against genital HSV 2 infection.  The problem is, if you've had intercourse, you could have HSV 2 genitally and not know so if you test positive for HSV 2 antibody, you cannot know where the infection is in your body.  You are correct - if you had no genital contact with this person with HSV 2 then you did not risk genital infection at all.  I am referring in my earlier comments to intercourse you might have had with people PRIOR to this person. 

Many things can cause genital irritation intermittently but if you continue to have intermittent genital irritation without another cause being identified, you may wish to have a herpes antibody test for HSV 2.

Terri
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