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Herpes and kissing
Aug 31, 2001

Dear Ryan

Please respond to this question because I have probed your archives for answer.

The Herpes virus ( HSV-1) which causes mouth sores or cold sores is only transmitted in its infectious or acute cycle?

If its true and is infectious when lesions are present then what is the probility of getting it from kissing a partner when lesions are not present ? just kissing and no sexual contact also involving saliva

Thank you

Response from Mr. Kull

There is a small chance that herpes simplex virus I or II (the types that generally cause cold sores or genital lesions, respectively) could be transmitted when lesions/sores are not present. This is theoretical only because it is difficult to prove that this actually happens. It's possible that infected people "shed" the virus (meaning the virus can be transmitted) without any symptoms. Some sources estimate that this happens 1% of the time per year.

Herpes is not spread by contact with saliva. It is spread by contact with skin where herpes virus is present.

RMK



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