[Question #6481] Cold Sore to Genital HSV1 Likelihood

13 months ago
Hi,

I've had cold sores for about 5 years now. During my last outbreak I May have touched my cold sore and a few minutes later touched my private area while urinating. What is the likelihood that I could pass oral hsv1 to my genital region? 
While I have noticed some tingling in my private area over the last two weeks I don't see any lesions or blisters and this would have been 2 weeks ago when it happened. Not sure if the tingling is a result of working out a lot and having jock itch. Think I've just been much more weary of anything down there. Please offer your thoughts.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
13 months ago
Once you have HSV in one location, and at least four months have passed since becoming infection, it 's EXTREMELY unlikely that you would then acquire this same type in a new location on your body.  So almost all cold sores are HSV 1.  I am not concerned about you now having genital HSV 1.

Terri
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13 months ago
Thanks. A few follow ups. In your opinion how common is oral hsv1 and also what is the reason why it's common but only a small percent of people get cold sores?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
13 months ago
About 47% of the population is positive for HSV 1 antibody, HSV 1 is the cause of the vast majority of cold sores.  Probably most of that is oral but some is definitely genital.  We don't really know why some people who are infected orally get cold sores and others just don't. 

Terri
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13 months ago
Last question. Should I be concerned about kissing a new partner when having no symptoms? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
13 months ago
that's not a simple answer, I'm afraid.  Is there some risk of transmission of oral herpes to a partner with kissing?  Yes, there is some risk but we don't have any information about how large or small the risk is.  I know you wish we had that information - so do we!  But I'm afraid we do not.  If you are kissing someone who has ever had a cold sore, this is not a risk.

Terri
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