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herpes HSV-1 and oral sex

May 16, 2001

hi, this question has been asked, and answered, but i was hoping to get further clarification. i was told by my dentist that i probably had oral herpes (as does 90 of america). she noticed an irritation of my gums after i has a cleaning. in any case, after a few days, my mouth returned to normal and i haven't experienced any symptoms since. the last post on this topic stated that a person with oral herpes (i don't suppose that's really the term, eh?) could give genital herpes to a partner through oral sex. i guess my question is, what are the precautions i can take, or what are the chances of giving my partner herpes when i have no visible symptoms? i am sad at the prospect of not being to perform oral sex on my partner and i guess i'm hoping there is something i can still do about it. thanks for your time.

Response from Mr. Kull

It is unlikely that you would transmit herpes simplex virus (HSV) to your partner when you are not experiencing symptoms. Some sources have estimated that people with HSV can transmit, or "shed", virus without symptoms--sometimes referred to as asymptomatic shedding--about 1% of the time per year/several days per year.

If you want to decrease your chances of transmitting herpes to your partner, abstain from sexual contact while experiencing symptoms and use a condom for oral, vaginal, and anal sex.


unprotected sex with treated person

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