[Question #632] HSV-2 from hand job + saliva

43 months ago
What are the odds, statistically, of contracting herpes by receiving a handjob where a lot of saliva was used as lubricant? Unlikely?  Negligible?  High?
43 months ago
Follow up: please assume handjob was provided by a sex worker and that she used a lot of saliva.   Please also comment on any other significant or probably STD risk from this activity.  Many thanks.
43 months ago
Apologies for yet another follow up: assume encounter lasted at least 45 minutes; please advise if testing is recommended to confirm no transmission; 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
43 months ago
The kind of herpes that we would worry a bit about here would be HSV 1, the kind of herpes that causes cold sores.  Have you ever in your life had a cold sore on your lip or in your nose?  If yes, then I would not be at all worried about this kind of transmission since you have it already.  I wouldn't be very concerned at all about HSV 2 as it doesn't like the oral area and even when someone is infected there, it is rarely shed from the mouth and rarely recurs there, making transmission from her mouth unlikely.  Other STDs are also unlikely.  Let me know about the cold sore issue.

Terri
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43 months ago
Thank you very much.  I have had many cold sores on the inside of my bottom lip, I just don't know whether I have HSV1 for certain because I've never been tested.  Say I don't, could I get genital herpes?  And also, what are the mathematical odds of HSV2 or genital herpes from this kind of activity?  Looking for some reassurance - highly concerned - is testing recommended?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
43 months ago
By the way, I forgot to say that I think you have very little risk if any from this encounter.
I think the odds of getting herpes in this way are one in a million!  I would not really suggest testing in this situation at all unless you develop sores of some kind in which case you should have them swab tested.

Terri
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43 months ago
Thank you again, Terri.  

First, I wanted to ask why some websites warn about transmission of HSV2 via saliva.  Are they referring more to the risk of receiving HSV2 *into the mouth* from the genitala (as opposed to the other way around)?  I ask because there seems to be conflicting information out there, and I wanted to understand what these websites are talking about, and if they are referring to the chance of receiving HSV2 **into the genetalia** is from saliva.  

Second, can I get genital herpes from HSV1, if I don't already have HSV1?  What are the odds of this happening based on the activity I described? And what does that mean?  In other words, is genital herpes from from HSV1 the same as genital herpes from HSV2?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
43 months ago
Genital herpes only describes the location of the infection, not the type.  So you can get HSV 1 genitally, yes, but far more likely from direct mouth to genital contact than saliva.  It takes a certain amount of virus to contract herpes and it seems to be to be very unlikely that you could get enough virus in saliva to infect someone without direct mucous membrane to mucous membrane contact.  There's quite a bit of misinformation about herpes on the internet - I would be careful what you read and believe.  What websites specifically are you reading that said you could contract genital herpes from saliva without any direct mouth contact?

Terri
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