[Question #3817] Oral HSV2

32 months ago
I am a female in my 40s and had my first and only cold sore a few months ago. It was swabbed and tested positive for HSV2. I followed up with a blood test, the IgG test, which confirmed at higher than 3.5. I've never had any symptoms in my genital area (no transvaginal symptoms I'm aware of), and no further cold sores. I've taken acyclovir since then to suppress.   My primary question is this: does the fact that I had oral HSV2 affect how and where it might be transmitted? In other words, is it possible for me to pass HSV2 by kissing someone on the mouth? Conversely, am I less likely to transmit HSV2 by genital contact since my only known outbreak was oral? I'm pretty much afraid to touch anyone because I don't understand what the risk is since this is a rare form of the virus.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
32 months ago
HSV 2 orally rarely recurs and shed very infrequently.  While it is possible that you could transmit this by kissing, it is very unlikely.  Please don't be afraid to touch people - there is no risk there at all.  But the thing is, most often people who are HSV 2 positive also have this genitally.I would encourage you to observe for genital symptoms as well. Did you recently have a new contact before you showed up with the cold sore? Do you think this is new or old infection?

Terri
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32 months ago
I really don't know if this is a new or old infection. I had a new partner in December 2017, but the last time I saw him was on Jan 1. My cold sore appeared around Jan 31 and was swabbed Feb. 1. The blood test was done Feb 19 and the result was a high 8.03, which I believe indicates that I'd had the virus at least 3 months, correct?

My best guess, although I don't know for sure, is that it was a man I was dating about a year ago. No partner has ever disclosed having the virus to me. I had never specifically requested to be tested for it before either.

I found an answer to one of the other questions that indicates if I keep taking acyclovir plus use condoms then the risk of transmission is reduced significantly. Is that correct? Thank you for your help.
32 months ago
If I don't have blisters in the genital area, what other symptoms should I be mindful of?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
32 months ago
It is certainly correct that if you take antiviral therapy daily and you have your partner use condoms, and you do have HSV 2 genitally as well,the risk of transmission is very low.  Other than blisters in the genital area or anywhere in the boxer shorts area there is not a lot you can do in terms of symptom recognition. Eventually, you may become aware of feelings that precede an outbreak and these are called prodrome.  When you learn to start recognizing the symptoms, you should avoid sex when they are present

Terri
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