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Asymptomatic Shedding?

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I have been trying to educate myself on herpes transmission when a partner has no open sores or other symptoms of an outbreak. Since herpes is transmitted through skin to skin contact how would a partner transmit the virus without the presence of open sores? Would the virus simply be existing in normal bodily fluids secreted during sex? Or normal saliva in the mouth that would I would come in contact with a partner during kissing or oral sex? 

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Great question. 

So, viruses are very unique in that they shed (basically this means the virus is active and they are multiplying). When the virus sheds, you can give/get herpes.

Usually when a virus is active and shedding, people feel prodrome symptoms, such as tingling, burning, itchiness, etc. These symptoms indicate the virus is active and may start an outbreak soon. Some people don't always get outbreaks after their prodrome symptoms/viral shedding. However, even without sores, someone can pass on the virus during the viral shedding. 

Herpes is so commonly and easily spread because the virus can shed without causing someone to experience prodrome warning symptoms, this is called asymptomatic shedding. Asymptomatic shedding is when there are no sores, no warning signs, but shedding. 

You bring up another great question! So, herpes doesn't live in body fluids. Herpes doesn't live inside saliva or vaginal discharge. Think of it like this: a mother who is pregnant with a baby doesn't pass on their herpes just by sharing the same blood and body as the baby. The baby only could get herpes through contact with sores or during shedding, and even then the likelihood of this happening is rare since there's ways doctors help monitor safe delivery ❤️.

So, by simply being in contact with fluids, it's okay. However, if the skin around where these fluids come out is shedding or is having an active outbreak, then obviously you'd want to avoid that area! 

I hope this helps!! 




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Thanks so much. To follow up then if someone has had outbreaks in the past is it possible that they may experience asymptomatic shedding at times while other times they have visible signs? Or is it black and white in That someone who has had outbreaks in the past will ALWAYS have an outbreak if they are contagious. Thanks so much. 

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Wow that's another great question! 

Awesome research. You're really doing your part in trying to understand everything. That is one of the best ways to be supportive! 

To answer your question, I honestly don't know! I am going to do some research on it and get back to you. 

In the meantime, maybe others who personally know this answer will respond! 

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