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Author Topic: follow-up to herpes question
carlyn_101
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I was recently blood tested for HSV-2 genital herpes and am awaiting results. (When I went to Planned Parenthood, I was told that HSV-1 and HSV-2 were not interchangeable and that the viruses acted totally different, occurring in different spots on the body). Since then, I've been researching the herpes virus and was shocked to learn that between 80-90% of people have HSV-1. Moreover, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes if an individual with it performs oral sex on someone else. HOW IS IT THAT THIS INFORMATION ISN'T MORE READILY AVAILABLE? AND WHY AREN'T MORE PEOPLE BEING TESTED FOR BOTH FORMS OF THE VIRUS? I guess my other question is: What is the risk of someone who is an asymptomatic carrier of HSV-1 causing their partner to get genital herpes via oral sex? The main advice I've read involves abstaining from giving/receiving oral sex if there is an active cold sore involved. But should one abstain or use a latex covering forever? I can't imagine anyone who has ever had a cold sore never being able to give uncovered oral sex again in their lives... Are there any percentages on this?

Now I feel like I should go back and try to get tested for HSV-1 and HSV-2... What do you think? All of this is making me feel really paranoid. I mean, every in their lives has shared a drink.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm not sure we can answer why information isn't available at any given place. We provide information like this here, and if you mean online, I'd say most sexual and public health sites have it, too.

Per why more people aren't tested, as I explained in one of the links i gave you in our last conversations, a lot of that has to do with a) that HSV testing, for either strain, is pretty iffy per showing a lot of false positives, b) the tests that can do that well are expensive, and c) they aren't suggested for most people because for most people, either HSV will not pose major health risks or issues.

Generally, per advice for people with either kind of HSV, yes, barriers or abstaining are what are suggested when and if you, or someone else, has an active sore or feels one coming on. Not using barriers (or engaging in sex, period) at other times isn't 0% risk, but it's a very small one, and while asymptomatic shedding is possible per someone acquiring the virus, it's understood to be uncommon. As well, that level of exposure is basically considered the same, if not lower, level that people will get in daily life, sex or no sex, barrier or no barrier, with HSV being so common.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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