[Question #6297] HSV 1 Positive

15 months ago
I am 30 years old and recently tested positive for hsv 1 after getting full blood work done. My range was 30. I don't have a history of cold sores, ever. I have a 19 month old daughter and I'm wondering how worried should I be about passing it to her through my saliva, kisses, sharing food, utensils, straws, etc? According to all the reading I've done, I'm assuming I have a latent virus. There is a lot of information online regarding asymptomatic reactivation for hsv 2 and hsv 1 for symptomatic patients but no information regarding the reactivation levels of someone who has never had an outbreak.  Could I have tested positive because I had the chicken pox as a child? Am I only contagious if/when I get a breakout? Is it possible to be positive and never have a breakout or reactivation? I'm really concerned with my daughter being so young.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
15 months ago
The IgG test for HSV 1 would not be positive due a childhood history of chicken pox.  You are infected with HSV 1.  But you cannot know whether the infection is oral or genital without an outbreak to swab in either location.  If you have never received oral sex in your lifetime, then genital infection is not a real concern.  Contagiousness to a partner or someone with whom you might share passionate kissing, even without an outbreak, is a possibility.  But I do not have concerns about you infecting your child when you have no symptoms.  The kind of kiss we give our children is not the kind that transmits this oral virus (assuming it is oral) and you don't need to worry about utensils or straws or food or saliva.  If you develop a cold sore, don't kiss her on the mouth when you have one.  These can also appear in the nares so consider that as a location for infection.  It is possible to be infected and never have an outbreak, yes.  Please be reassured about your daughter.

Terri
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15 months ago
Thank you,  that really does help. I’ve been so torn on how to handle her while being positive. Last two questions, I have had oral sex given to me.  So say for instance it is genital, does that mean I don’t have the risk of passing it orally?  And I noticed that you tell most negative hsv1 users to test again, is it assumed that everyone has it? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
15 months ago
About half the US population, at least, has HSV 1 infection, perhaps more.  I'm not sure that retesting is really helpful, with the IgG test.  The IgG test misses 30% of HSV infections, so if people really want to know if they have HSV 1, I suggest that they do the herpes western blot. 
HSV 1 genital infection is rarely contagious after the first couple of years, so if someone gives you oral sex and you happen to have HSV 1 genitally, it is highly unlikely that you would transmit in this way.

Terri
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15 months ago
I meant if hsv 1 is genital, could it be transmitted orally. Nonetheless, thank you so much for your input. I was able to love on my baby without any guilt and it felt amazing. This is a great forum.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
15 months ago
No.  If you are infected just genitally, you would not shed the virus from your mouth.  Love that little baby with all you have!  No risk here.

Terri
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