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Herpes transmission questions

May 30, 1997

This is my second question regarding herpes transmission. If a woman has no herpes lesions on her external genitalia, is it still possible to have herpes transmission from vaginal fluids assuming the woman previously had herpes?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. The Herpes viruses (Herpes Simplex I and II) are not transmitted by body fluids (saliva, vaginal secretions, semen etc.). They are transmitted by direct contact with a Herpes lesion. Herpes is most infectious when a person is having symptoms. It can also be transmitted when the person has no symptoms, however the chances of transmission occurring when no symptoms are present are very low. Direct contact with the infected skin area is required for infection to occur. So although transmission of the Herpes virus can occur at any time, it is much more likely to occur when a person is having symptoms of the infection.

For more information about Herpes, see the question, "How is herpes transmitted exactly...fluid mucosal contact?"

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

Herpes?Or Aids?

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