Question

I was pondering this subject when I read this so I figured I could ask you a question about herpes. I get cold sores and I'm wondering if I perform oral sex on my husband while I'm having an outbreak if I can spread the virus to him. Are the herpes simplexes interchangeable? Can mouth herpes cause genital herpes or are they completely unrelated? Thank you.

Answer

Cold sores or fever blisters are generally caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), while genital herpes sores are generally caused by herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). It is possible to transmit HSV-2 to the mouth, and HSV-1 to the genital region. The symptoms of HIV-1 genital infections are believed to be less problematic than HSV-2 genital infections. But it is possible that performing oral sex on your husband while you are experiencing cold sores could transmit herpes to his genital area.

Please see my response to "Cold sores=genital herpes?" (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Archive/Hepatitis/Q37272.qna) for more information.

RMK